Background to the programme


The tourism sector and the interest it can present for the growth and development of Senegal have been highlighted in the Accelerated Growth Strategy (SCA) elaborated by the Senegalese authorities. Tourism, like the fisheries sector, is one of the growth clusters identified.

In 2006, the "strategic diagnostic study and development plan for the tourism, cultural industries and arts and crafts cluster (TICAA)" proposed to the Senegalese authorities that they should think in terms of tourism development centres. Six are identified, including one in the Saint-Louis Region.

La région du fleuve et de la ville de Saint-Louis, inscrite sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO en 2000, débordent d’importantes potentialités touristiques. Le fleuve Sénégal et les régions qu’il traverse offre une large diversité de paysages et de sites, les réserves naturelles et les parcs nationaux présentent une grande diversité d’espèces animales, notamment d’oiseaux, et le patrimoine historique, culturel et naturel de Saint-Louis du Sénégal en font une destination touristique singulière

Despite the efforts of the Senegalese authorities and the support of the international community, the loss of heritage values due to the accelerated degradation of the listed site is compromising the possibility of basing the city's economic development on the heritage resource. In 2010, the Government of Senegal requested AFD's support to sustainably develop the cultural, urban and natural heritage of Saint-Louis and its Region, to support a local dynamic already underway to improve the living conditions of inhabitants and develop economic activities and to improve urban infrastructure, equipment and services that are a hindrance to tourism development.

The presence of local and international actors (decentralised cooperation, UNESCO) who have been accompanying the commune of Saint-Louis for many years benefits the implementation of the Programme.

Objectives and content of the programme


The territorial and tourism development programme for Saint-Louis and its region aims to develop sustainable tourism based on the enhancement of its historical, cultural and natural heritage. Its aim is to support strong economic growth in the Senegal River region, particularly in its main urban centre, Saint-Louis, by diversifying its economy based on the development of sustainable tourism. It includes actions in a variety of fields which help to create the necessary conditions for local development, by contributing to the improvement of the living environment of the populations and users of the city of Saint-Louis, to the reduction of nuisance and insalubrity, by preserving the major economic role of the fisheries sector and by participating in the preservation and conservation of the heritage of the island of Saint-Louis.

Geographically, this programme extends to the city of Saint-Louis as the entry point for tourist flows for the northern region and to the Djoudj Natural Park and the Gueumbeul Natural Reserve, located in the Saint-Louis Region.

The programme has six components, including an institutional support component:

  1. Improving tourist facilities : The aim is to increase the density of tourist facilities in the urban area, in order to prolong tourists' stays in the city. In addition to physical achievements, this axis requires a strengthening of the actors of the tourist reception, in particular by specific support to the Tourist Office of Saint-Louis. In addition to training and support for those involved in tourism, the planned projects include the redevelopment of the Tourist Office and the Mermoz Museum, the redevelopment of the viewpoint on the roof of the Post Office, the redevelopment of the craft village and improvements to the Djoudj and Gueumbeul parks.
  2. Requalification of public spaces : This involves enhancing the urban heritage and requalifying several public spaces on the island, both to improve the attractiveness of the site and to make it more functional and attractive for its inhabitants, particularly in terms of urban mobility. This component includes the rehabilitation of Faidherbe Square and Pointe-à-Pitre Square, the redevelopment of Avenue Jean Mermoz, the rehabilitation of certain roads and networks, the rehabilitation of the Quays (Jay, Giraud and Roume), the requalification of the southern cornice (Ile de Sor) and the development of the bus station.
  • Rehabilitation of private and public buildings: Through an approach inspired by the (OPAH) in France, it is planned in this framework the rehabilitation of the house of the sisters of Cluny to become the "Maison du Patrimoine", the rehabilitation of elements of the State heritage, such as the Cathedral for example, the expected complete rehabilitation of 42 private buildings of architectural interest of the safeguarded sector which are in bad condition, the expected partial rehabilitation of 93 private buildings located on the urban sequences presenting a touristic interest (operations of the type "facades, roofs, security").
  1. Reinforcement of solid waste management: The aim is to reinforce the management of solid household and medical waste, in particular through the redevelopment of the Gandon Technical Waste Disposal Centre, the redevelopment and reinforcement of the cleaning service workshops and the improvement of the elimination of biomedical waste.
  2. Improving the conditions for landing fishery products: This involves improving the conditions for landing and packaging artisanal fishery products within a properly equipped fishing base on the site of the Polish Port (hydrobase) on the Langue de Barbarie, in particular with the development of the hydrobase site and the resumption of the road between Saint Louis and the fishing quay.
  3. Institutional capacity building : This involves supporting the implementation of the programme and building the capacity of the various stakeholders, project owners and municipal services of the city, by means of general resident and ad hoc technical assistance, complementary studies, acquisition of logistical means and training.

Stakeholders and modus operandi

In view of the programme's local roots, it was agreed, from the time it was defined with the Senegalese authorities, that the Commune of Saint-Louis should play an important role in its implementation. During the execution phase, the Commune of Saint-Louis is the project manager for the parts of the programme that fall within its competence, in particular the development of public spaces, waste management and interventions on the built heritage that fall within its remit.

The State services ensure the control of the parts of the programme falling directly under their competence: fishing, the management of natural parks and the interventions on the State's heritage. Finally, the Tourist Office of the city of Saint-Louis is in charge of part of the activities of direct support to the actors of the tourist sector and the promotion of the destination Saint-Louis.
The programme is conducted under the aegis of a Steering Committee (SC) chaired by the Governor of the Saint-Louis region. It is complemented by a Technical Committee (TC) bringing together the various contracting authorities. For each of the programme's components, an actor responsible for monitoring it is designated and a national coordinator will be responsible for supervising the whole. Finally, technical assistance to the project owner and capacity building measures are put in place to strengthen the project owners in the implementation of the components, to accompany the implementation of the programme within the required timeframe and conditions, and to ensure the sustainability of the policies developed and the works carried out.

It has been responsible for carrying out the feasibility studies, in consultation with all the actors concerned, in particular the State services.

Costs and Funding

The total amount of the programme is around €27M. Most of the financing is provided by AFD in the form of a sovereign loan to the State (€22.5M), a project management support grant (€1M) and two grants under the Commercial Capacity Building Program (CCBP) (€1M) for the State and the Saint-Louis Tourist Office-Initiative Syndicate. The State of Senegal and AFD signed the first two agreements on 12 October 2012 in the presence of the Presidents of the two countries. The last two agreements were signed on 3 July and 18 June 2013 respectively. 16.25 million of AFD's financing will be implemented under the responsibility of the commune of Saint-Louis. The project's set-up includes contributions from private individuals to the rehabilitation of private property, from the commune's own resources (mobilized in particular to strengthen municipal human resources) and from cooperation actions already underway.

Main expected effects

Through the renovation of public spaces, natural parks, fishing landing conditions and waste management, the living conditions of inhabitants and users will be improved. Through the sustainable development of the listed heritage of Saint-Louis and its region, the improvement of sanitary conditions, infrastructures and urban management, the programme aims to create a favourable environment for the reinforcement of economic activity around cultural and heritage tourism and nature discovery.

It participates in the development of the territory and contributes to the enhancement of the image of the city and its region and the preservation of the UNESCO classification of the site. In addition to the positive economic impacts expected in the medium term, the programme should result in a strengthening of the capacities of the commune of Saint-Louis.

New Institutionnal framework

Following the working seminar and the Steering Committee meeting in July 2017, an important change in the project's management methods was formally agreed: no renewal of the general technical assistance and recourse to APIX, the agency in charge of major works and investments in Senegal, as the delegated project manager.

To this end, an agreement was signed between the main project owners (Commune of St Louis, Ministry of Culture, Syndicat d'initiative) and APIX on 28 November 2018.

A specific agreement will also be signed between the Chamber of Trade and APIX for the rehabilitation of the craft village.