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44-year-old Faye Sworn-In As Senegal’s President

Mr Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a 44-year-old strong was today sworn in as Senegal’s youngest president.

Faye swept the election in first-round vote.

He pledged to embark on radical reform 10 days after he was released from prison before the election.

Faye has never before held an elected office but several African leaders attended the ceremony in the new town of Diamniadio, near the capital Dakar.

“Before God and the Senegalese nation, I swear to faithfully fulfil the office of President of the Republic of Senegal,” Faye said during the oath taking.

He also vowed to “scrupulously observe the provisions of the Constitution and the laws” and to defend “the integrity of the territory and national independence, and to spare no effort to achieve African unity”.

The formal handover of power with outgoing President Macky Sall will take place at the presidential palace in Dakar.

Faye was among a group of political opponents freed from prison 10 days before the March 24 presidential ballot under an amnesty announced by Sall, who had tried to delay the vote.

Faye’s campaign was launched while he was still in detention.

The former tax inspector becomes the West African state’s fifth president since independence from France in 1960 and the first to openly admit to a polygamous marriage.

Working with his populist mentor Ousmane Sonko, who was barred from the election, Faye declared their priorities in his victory speech: national reconciliation, easing a cost-of-living crisis and fighting corruption.

The anti-establishment leader has vowed to restore national sovereignty over key assets such as the oil, gas and fishing sectors.

Faye wants to leave the regional CFA franc, which he sees as a French colonial legacy, and invest more in agriculture to reach food self-sufficiency.

But he has also sought to reassure investors that Senegal “will remain a friendly country and a sure and reliable ally for any partner that engages with us in virtuous, respectful and mutually productive cooperation.”

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