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Structural transformation of rural agriculture in Senegal

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Guest blog by Racine Ba, LEG ’22

My impressions after ten weeks of intense reflections on the concepts and challenges of growth is that the Leading Economic Growth course at the Harvard Kennedy School constitutes an exceptional framework for learning interactive processes that allow you to apprehend growth issues in a pragmatic way. If I had to retain key concepts, I will mention three mainly: the PDIA approach, the identification of binding constraints and the essential notion of “Sense of Us”.

  • The PDIA approach offers an innovative angle of analysis of growth challenges by focusing more on the nature of problems than on ready-made solutions. This approach advocates an iterative approach through its inclusive process, and also an adaptive approach to the specific contexts specific to each country.
  • The identification of binding constraints within the framework of the diagnosis of growth through the fishbone diagram makes it possible to determine the main bottlenecks, the removal of which would boost growth. The idea is not to focus on a long list of reforms but on binding constraint.
  • The key notion of “Sense of Us” is essential in the success of a growth challenge. Indeed, this is apparent in the example of Singapore where Prime Minister Lee in his statement after the separation with Malaysia recalled the things that united the people, their common desire to live together which transcends divisions.

I was able to work on the economic prospects of Senegal in an approach relating to the economic complexity EC. The Atlas of Economic Complexity developed by HKS is an innovative tool that provides a glimpse of the complementarities between growth sectors and those that require special attention to boost growth.

Concerning my choice as a growth challenge for Senegal, relating to the “structural transformation of rural agriculture”, I was able to identify the original structures of the members of the project team that could be set up (the resource agents of the ministries concerned), an accessible focal point (the Secretary General of the Government) and dedicated government agencies (agency for the promotion of investments in the agricultural sectors and the statistics agency for the deployment of new indicators in terms of inclusion) .

The use of technology and innovation in value chains, as suggested by the course, is a growth factor to be integrated into the strategy.

I thank all the teachers and assistants of HKS, as well as my comrades from the “Shakti” working group for these moments of sharing.


This is a blog series written by the alumni of the Leading Economic Growth Executive Education Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. 71 Participants successfully completed this 10-week online course in May 2022. These are their learning journey stories.

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