The first official visit in Africa by the new Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, took place in Dakar on 2 December 2019, to take part in an international conference jointly organized by the Senegalese Republic and the Cercle des économistes, in partnership with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations. Titled “Sustainable development and viable debt : finding the right balance”, this conference was exceptional given the participation of six heads of State (from Senegal, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast and Benin) and the Prime Minister of Mali, who initiated an open and symmetrical dialogue with the leaders of international organizations and the many experts and academics in attendance. A distinguishing feature of the Conference was that African voices dominated the discussions, placing other participants in a position fo listening and reaction.
In closing the Conference, President Macky Sall of Senegal summarized discussions and African countries’ expectations in a text that he presented as the “Dakar Consensus”. Beyond the reference to the infamous “Washington Consensus”, which it occasionally contradicts, this new consensus for African countries remains nonetheless quite measured. It is not in opposition to multilateral nor bilateral donors, nor does it question the principles for sound management of public finance that they promote. It combines a strengthening of macroeconomic and institutional governance by African States with a request for a differential treatment of risks and debt ratios by creditors, so that investments needed for a sustainable and prosperous future can be financed.