DAKAR - Growth in Senegal's economy is expected to accelerate in 2023 but still come in lower than expected, IMF mission chief Edward Gemayel said on Tuesday following a staff-level visit.

He said in November that the West African country's economy was expected to grow 8.3% in 2023 on the back of a temporary boost from oil and gas production.

"If oil production starts at the end of the year as expected, GDP growth is seen at around 8%, however, if it is delayed until next year, growth is forecast at 5% or 5.3%," Gemayel told reporters.

The International Monetary Fund has also lowered Senegal's 2022 gross domestic product (GDP) estimate to 4% from 4.7% due to a fall in agriculture and industrial output, Gemayel said.

No formal talks have started on a new Senegal programme, Gemayel said, adding that negotiations would begin on the sidelines of the IMF spring meeting.

Gemayel said the fund and the government of Senegal have exchanged ideas around a three-year programme that would focus on three key areas, including the strengthening of the West African nation's finances.

"There is a need to consolidate public finances and reduce Senegal’s debt. The debt is sustainable at a moderate level for now," the leader of the IMF mission said.

He added that Senegal was also in talks to benefit from a new IMF programme focused on climate resilience.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Alexander Winning and Alex Richardson)