Innovative bridges to boost economic development in Senegal



The city of Dakar, capital of Senegal and the westernmost point in Africa, is home to 25% of Senegal’s population while occupying less than 0.3% of the territory and traffic problems have long been a roadblock to progress. As the region’s economic performance resonates throughout Senegal, better urban mobility is crucial to local and national prosperity. In this context, traffic management and new facilities are a priority.

The Senegalese government has launched a vast project to provide the country with modern road infrastructure through its Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE). This key development project aims at improving the transport network, reducing traffic congestion and transport time in the region of Dakar and contributing to the fight against pollution. In the region of Casamance and Saint-Louis, it aims at facilitating access for isolated areas and boosting economic development. 

Modular bridges, an innovative and original architecture

As part of the opening up and improvement of urban mobility, the Senegalese government has entrusted Matière since 2018, a French company founded in 1932and specialising in bridge construction, to develop 18 bridges and flyovers that can be erected very quickly in order to relieve congestion of Dakar traffic. At the end of 2022, a project of 4 new bridges to reduce congestion in Diamniadio city (50 km from Dakar near the new airport) has been entrusted to Matière once again. 
As a recognised player in its field, over the decades Matière has developed innovative and original architecture, ranging from concrete to metal; this includes the firm’s star product: a modular metal bridge offering very rapid assembly methods, which contributed to the company’s international development. 
Those facilities will reduce congestion, creating road shortcuts for the population to decrease transport time, connect peripheral isolated areas, and boost economic development. 
The project is also taking the environment and the well-being of the population into account. Indeed, in addition to improving urban mobility, the construction works of Dakar’s flyover also contribute to the development of a better living environment for local residents. Urban planning and landscaping are planned around the structure with paved and vegetated surfaces, pedestrian walkways, playgrounds, etc. 

A long-term support 

Societe Generale has supported Matière since the beginning as Mandated Lead Arranger and Agent in the financing of the construction of the first 18 bridges. 
The financing package of the 4 additional bridges project has been labelled Social Loan, as the uses of proceeds are aligned with the eligible categories of the Social Loan Principles. Moreover, the Senegalese authorities have agreed to add a number of KPIs in the loan documentation in order to assess the impact of the project on the improvement of traffic around Diamniadio City. Societe Generale acted as Social Loan Coordinator on this ECA-backed social loan in Senegal. 
By building resilient infrastructure, and promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, Societe Generale, via its Development and Structured Export Finance business, is embracing the N°9 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). The project will also contribute to other UN SDG by reducing inequalities between regions (N°10) and by enhancing sustainable cities in Senegal (N°11). 

 The installation of the flyovers and bridges are generating multiple positive impacts, including social benefits for the population saving critical time in their commute, to significant reduction in CO2 emissions and pollution, contributing overall to a better life in Senegal!  Combining the expertise of Matière, and the financial support of Societe Generale and BPI Assurance Export, illustrates the strategic and long-term partnership between France and Senegal in supporting the Emerging Senegal Plan. 

 Cécile Camilli - Head of Development and Structured Export Finance, Societe Generale