Competitive intelligence to strengthen the competitiveness of the new Senegal

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Following the holding of the General Assembly on African Competitive Intelligence (EGIEA) on 29 and 30 April 2019 in Dakar, the Senegalese Head of State, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has decreed the creation of the Bureau d’intelligence et de prospective économique (BIPE), a special bureau for competitive intelligence and foresight. Five years later, almost to the day, the announcement was made during the Council of Ministers on April 17th, 2024. A decision hailed by the African Centre for Competitive Intelligence (ACCI) as the embodiment of a new paradigm.

The General Assembly on African Competitive Intelligence, organized by The African Centre for Competitive Intelligence (ACCI), took place from 29th to 30th April 2019 at King Fahd Palace Hotels in Dakar. As a ground-breaking event in the landscape of competitive intelligence in Africa, this high-level meeting brought together over a hundred actors of competitive intelligence from 25 African countries, as well as international experts in related disciplines, in the Senegalese capital. The announcement of the creation of the BIP) on 17th April 2024, by the President of the Senegalese Republic, was hailed by the ACCI as it embodies the authentic African competitive intelligence in action.

A context marked by major economic challenges

Senegal, like many African countries, faces significant economic challenges. Geopolitical tensions, increasing globalization, heightened competition, and technological changes: the international stage is constantly evolving, demanding unprecedented adaptability and anticipation from states. How to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment, poverty, debt, and dependence on imports through competitive intelligence? How to promote economic patriotism and renegotiate contracts with foreign entities, restore investor confidence, stabilize the economy, and maintain growth through high-value information? It is to address these issues that competitive intelligence emerges as an indispensable tool for strategic decision-making in a complex environment.

Competitive intelligence at the heart of its policies

Under the local supervision of Dr. Lansana Gagny Sakho, the current Secretary General of The African Centre for Competitive Intelligence (ACCI), the proceedings of the EGIEA in Dakar provided an uncompromising assessment of competitive intelligence in Africa. This meeting also helped define priorities for African economies. The outcomes of this gathering and the outlined perspectives have led to the establishment of initiatives such as the BIPE. In line with the ACCI’s recommendations, the creation of this instrument, which is both defensive, offensive, and influential, embedded in the realities of the local context, reflects the new Senegalese executive’s commitment to placing competitive intelligence at the heart of its development policies and strengthening the country’s competitiveness.

Competitive intelligence: a lever for performance

Unlike some competing approaches, competitive intelligence is not synonymous with espionage or limited to information warfare. For the ACCI, it is a structured and methodical process of questioning, collecting, processing, analyzing, and securely disseminating economic information that is useful for strategic decision-making in competitive, uncertain, and/or hostile situations. In African countries, it enables businesses and states to identify opportunities and threats in their markets, rigorously protect their interests, and develop sustainable competitiveness strategies.

BIPE, an instrument of competitiveness for Senegal

The creation of the BIPE marks an important milestone in implementing a national framework for competitive intelligence in Senegal as recommended by the ACCI. In this regard, the BIPE will, among other things, collect and analyze economic information from various sources (companies, administrations, associations, international organizations, etc.), identify opportunities and threats in domestic and international markets, develop decision support tools for leaders, and timely and securely disseminate high-value economic information to Senegalese economic actors.

ACCI, a strategic and natural partner for the BIPE

The African Centre for Competitive Intelligence (ACCI) is known as the pan-African organization of reference for the promotion, training, certification, and implementation of systems for competitive intelligence in Africa. The Centre possesses recognized expertise in the field and an extensive international information network. With this foundation, it can provide valuable support to the BIPE in its missions, including access to additional sources of information, expertise in analysis and intelligence, and substantial assistance in strengthening the capacity of BIPE personnel.

Competitive intelligence, a key factor for Senegal’s competitiveness

By establishing an effective system of competitive intelligence and economic foresight, Senegal is equipping itself with a major asset in line with its current situation, to strengthen its internal competitiveness and its standing on the international stage. With the collaboration, experience, and expertise of the ACCI, the BIPE could play a crucial role in this endeavor by providing Senegalese economic actors with the necessary information and analysis to safeguard the domestic market through legal means, target new markets by leveraging its powerful diaspora (within multinational companies and international organizations), make informed decisions, and develop disruptive and winning strategies.

The embodiment of authentic African competitive intelligence

Competitive intelligence is an essential tool for Senegal’s economic development. The creation of BIPE marks an important step in establishing an effective national system. By embracing this strategic approach, Senegal is equipping itself to face economic challenges and seize opportunities for its future development. Through its mere establishment in the current context, BIPE embodies authentic and sovereign African competitive intelligence in general, and Senegalese competitive intelligence in particular. The ACCI commends President Diomaye Faye’s initiative and is committed to contributing to its success.

Dr. Guy Gweth, President of ACCI, Director of Operations at Knowdys Consulting Group, and Director of Doing Business in Africa at CentraleSupélec.