The return of the Senegalese diaspora

© Radio France / Stéphane Beaufils

Often nicknamed “returnees” in opposition of “expats”, the people who have chosen to come back to their country of origin in order to have a concrete economic impact on the development of their country are more and more numerous in Senegal. This phenomenon is explained by the stability of the country whether from the political or economic point of view. Senegal seduces its diaspora which come back to have a concrete impact on the country.

This is the case, for instance, of Soad Diouf, back in Dakar since a year and a half, where she open her own energy audit firm, financed by Ofii (The French agency in charge of immigration and integration), a French organisation that finances voluntary returns. For her, this return was a moral duty, because being there is more important that providing support from abroad. However, this phenomenon doesn’t immediately appeal to the families who remained on the spot, it is “unthinkable”, “inconceivable” that someone wishes to leave France to return. The Soad Diouf family wasn’t pleased about this return because “For them, you have to stay in Europe. This is the Eldorado, she explains, but it is only a myth. They love Europe but didn’t know it. They only see the tourists who come here, but when you’re on vacation, of course, everything is perfect!” Soad Diouf has returned to Senegal with a strong desire to show to the country and to her family that she can have a concrete impact, without staying abroad.

“It’s better to return and develop our country by being there, rather than sending help. (…) A country never developed with help.”

Furthermore, the President Macky Sall recently launched the emerging Senegal plan, allowing a GDP growth of 7% as well as numerous professional opportunities to seize for the famous returnees. And N’daga Sarr understood it right away. He worked at Adecco before returning to Senegal two years ago and today he works in a recruitment company.  

All this returns are far from compensating those who leave for Europe. However, the many returns have brought success stories from entrepreneurs all over the country that could deter young people to leave the country. That is the opinion of Moubarak Wade, Head of a communication agency in Dakar, returned from Europe in 2012.

“In Senegal, the return of the diaspora”, a report of Geraldine Hallot and Stephane Beaufils, to find in full on France Inter site.