DAKAR, Feb 10 (Reuters) - South Korea will build a 250 MW coal-fired power plant and high speed train link in Senegal, the West African country’s minister of international cooperation said late on Tuesday.
First of all, where's the coal going to come from? I don't know of any large coal deposits in Senegal. Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to use natural gas or even nuclear power? Does South Korea have a surplus of coal these days? Weird.
So when most people are riding along in one of these, maybe alternative transportation makes sense. Note in particular the hubcap...
But where is this train going to be built? From where to where? My prediction? From Dakar to Touba so people can get to this holy shrine faster. This is not Touba, but this times 10 is what the mosque there resembles:
During the first week of our visit in Senegal, everyone was trying to scrape together enough money to make the pilgrimage to Touba. Mouride pilgrims from all over Senegal and beyond pour into Touba for the annual Islamic pilgrimage “Le Grand Magal de Touba.” The population swells from it's normal population of 900,000 to over four million people. Talk about traffic jams! Yikes! But hey, it was a good time to buy souvenires ("half-price today").
More interesting information at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou_Bamba
For pictures of the mosque at Touba: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjhaslam/344494201/
Erratic power supply is a near-constant source of ire for Senegalese. Angry mobs took to the streets to protest at power cuts in the outskirts of the capital Dakar during Ramadan last September, and discontent with state-run utility Senelec is high on the domestic political agenda.
This part made me laugh because it's just the most under-whelming statement ever! I lost count of how many times the power went out in Thies. The only thing you could count on was that it would go out. However, yours truly has a funny incident to regale you with. I woke up one morning in the "middle of the night" and couldn't get back to sleep. I'm laying there awake when all of a sudden the yard lights go out. You need to understand that I was sleeping out on the front porch thus making such events noticable to old "eagle-eyes". Being the contientious guy that I am, I immediately went on alert to any shadowing movements or unusual sounds. I'm thinking this is a good opportunity for someone to try and break in. Lord knows I didn't want to be caught in my jamies trying to fight off marauding hoards!
Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night wide awake worrying about being taken advantage of. Well, maybe not all night. Seems I drifted off to la-la land at some point becuase the next thing I know, it's bright and sunny out. Dragging myself out of bed, I met the lovely hostess of our little abode and commented to her that the electricity went out at some point in the night. She replied, "yea, I turned it off when I got up". Silly me.
Back to the news article...
“(South) Korea has pledged to build a power plant of 250 megawatts, which will help Senegal satisfy its need in power as well as lower the cost,” Karim Wade, who runs a wide-ranging department whose portfolio also includes infrastructure and aviation, told national television after a visit to South Korea.
The minister, who is the son of Senegal’s octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade, did not say how much the project would cost, which company would undertake the project, when work would start, or how it would be financed.
Another guffaw! Just like a politician! And the President's son no less. Wonder who's angeling to be the next president of Senegal? Hope he can keep a promise better than most politicians!
Last September, the country won $540 million over five years in aid grants from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which earmarked road rehabilitation and infrastructure as priorities. MCC is a US government agency which allocates large-scale grants for development and poverty reduction.
Wow! That's a chunk of change, considering I heard on the radio tonight that World Vision had "only" received $40,000,000 to rebuilt Haiti. How does one get a grant like this?
The president has come under fire from some Senegalese for spending money on showpiece projects while parts of the country go without basic infrastructure, and districts in Dakar suffer from frequent power outages and severe flooding.
North Korean workers are building a 21 million euro ($28.79 million) monument to the African family, a Soviet-style triumphalist bronze figure that looks westwards over the Atlantic.
This monument was the talk of the town while we were there! I didn't get to see (my brother and Dad did), but you can learn more about it at these links:
Nice summary of the issues: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/senegal/100113/renaissance-monument-wade
Wiki Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Renaissance_Monument
Karim Wade also said South Korea will help Senegal build a high speed train system linking Diass, where a new airport is being built, and Dakar, around 40 km away.
Oops! It pays to read the whole article. So know I know where the train will run. Makes sense to set up a high speed connection between Dakar and the airport for all us tourist types. And a new airport is sorely needed (refer to my earlier post)! Maybe not such a bad idea after all...
Entering and leaving peninsular city Dakar is often a struggle of several hours on a single choked road, though work is underway to widen the highway.
The one freeway in Senegal is a whole other blog post. When I get some of my nephews photos back, I'll try to post my thoughts on that project! Let's just say that the above statement is at times a gross understatement!
(Reporting by Diadie Ba; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and Keiron Henderson)