Senegalese politician Bassirou Diomaye Faye has quickly risen to power after a tumultuous period in the country’s politics. His release from prison alongside ally Ousmane Sonko came just before the presidential election, leading to his victory and the nickname “Mr Clean.” Despite his lack of experience in government, Faye is known for his modesty and methodical approach to tackling poverty, injustice, and corruption in Senegal.

Faye’s agenda includes renegotiating key deals in sectors like gas, oil, fishing, and defense to benefit the Senegalese people. He aims to replace the CFA franc currency with a new Senegalese or regional West African currency, a move with ambitious goals but practical challenges. Strengthening judicial independence, creating jobs for the youth population, and breaking away from past leadership styles are also top priorities for the new president.

Faye’s alliance with Ousmane Sonko, a popular opposition figure, has raised questions about his leadership by default. However, supporters see their collaboration as an opportunity for a new style of leadership that moves away from a hyper-presidential model. Faye’s background as a tax collector and his admiration for pan-Africanist figures like Cheikh Anta Diop suggest a left-wing, Afrocentric approach to governance.

As Faye’s presidency begins, celebrations in Senegal contrast with concerns from international investors about potential policy changes under his leadership. The election, delayed by President Macky Sall, faced challenges but demonstrated Senegal’s commitment to democracy and self-correction. The true test for Faye lies ahead as he works to fulfill his promises of reform and address the pressing issues facing Senegal.

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