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'Lights and shadows of Senegal, the emerging neighbour' talk by Pepe Naranjo at the MUNA

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'Lights and shadows of Senegal, the emerging neighbour' talk by Pepe Naranjo at the MUNA

Museo de Naturaleza y Arqueología
Calle Fuente Morales, s/n, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
922 53 58 16

Canary Islands Communication Award winner Pepe Naranjo this week participates in the "MusaSenegal” Senegalese Culture Festival.

Senegal is one of the closest sub-Saharan African countries to the Canary Islands. Thanks to its established democracy and stability, unique in that region, and its strong economic growth in the last decade that has already made it a middle-income nation, countless networks have been being built between the two shores recently, either in terms of cooperation or in the business world, bilateral relations between institutions or by civil society.

Despite this, Senegal remains largely unknown to a wide proportion of the population. Its history, culture, ethnic groups, natural environment and important role in West Africa make it particularly attractive, but as with the countries surrounding it, it faces enormous challenges such as waste management, child beggars in the cities, an under-funded education system, poverty and unemployment or the challenge of the imminent mining of oil and gas in its waters.

In the face of these problems, Senegalese civil society has shown ample capacity to change things and correct its future path, such as in 2012, when they managed to force the fall of a president who sought to stay in power indefinitely. Vibrant, in full flux, contradictory, anchored in their traditions and customs, but also connected with today’s world, Senegalese society is a natural laboratory showing what the African continent offers us. We will only be able to move forward together from a better mutual understanding.

José Naranjo is a Canary Islands journalist who is specialised in the phenomenon of African immigration to Spain. Since 2011, he has worked as a freelancer and resides in West Africa, specifically in Senegal and Mali. He collaborates with big media companies such as El País, la Cadena Ser; Mundo Negro magazine and La Provincia journal. He is also a co-author of the "Africa is not a country” blog for El País newspaper. Naranjo has covered issues such as the war in Mali, the Ebola epidimic in Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia, terrorism in the Sahel region and the migratory routes of African people from countries such as Senegal, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. He is the author of Cayucos, which saw him names as a finalist for a Debate Prize, and Los Invisibles de Kolda. His work has been rewarded with the 2016 Canary Islands Communication Prize, the 2007 General Council of Spanish Lawyers Human Rights Prize and the 2006 Antonio Mompeón Motos Prize for Journalism.

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