Senegal seeks to keep food prices down

DAKAR — Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has asked for proposals to lower the prices of basic commodities after steep increases, the government said Friday, after protests over food costs shook north Africa.

The Senegalese head of state “expressed great concern about the high prices of essential commodities,” according to a cabinet statement.

He instructed Prime Minister Souleymane Ndiaye Ndene and the ministers of finance and commerce “to promptly submit possible proposals suitable to lower prices to relieve households,” it said.

According to the national statistics agency, gas prices have increased 25.4 percent between November and December.

Costs of fuel and transport have also increased sharply, as have oil, milk and sugar.

An 18-member coalition of unions is organising a national protest against “the high cost of living” in Senegal next Tuesday.

Algeria and Tunisia have been rocked by protests that have centred on rising food costs and unemployment.

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