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Senegal - Overview

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Capital:: Dakar
Area:: 197 km2
Total Population:: 13.726
Annual growth rate:: 3.00%
Density:: 71.00/km2
Urban population:: 43%
Population of Dakar (2.253), Pikine-Guediawaye (1.200), Touba Mosquee (530), Thies (260), Kaolack (190), Mbour (180)
Official language: French
Other languages spoken: The Wolof for most people, but there is also the Diola, the Poulaar, the Malinké and the Mandingue. The Wolof is spoken and understood by most of the Senegalese. Dialects are numerous (at least 50, 15 of which are spoken by more than 15,000 people). It is to be noted that since many of the ethnic groups are essentially Muslims, the Wolofs and the Mandingues use the traditional Arab greetings.
Business language: French and Wolof
Ethnic Origins:: Wolofs (43%), Halpulaar (24%), Sereres (15%), Diolas (5%), Mandingues (4%).
Beliefs: The religions in Senegal are mainly Islam (94%), Christianity (5%) and animism (1%).
Telephone codes:
To make a call from: 0
To make a call to: +221
Internet suffix:: .sn
Type of State::
Republic state based on parliamentary democracy with presidential form of government.
Type of economy::
Low-income economy, Developing Country
Very few natural resources; fishing and tourism are the main sectors of activity.

Economic overview

Senegal has, for a long time, experienced one of the highest growth rates of the UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union).  Structural reforms have created an important change in the economic environment of Senegal, notably thanks to the privatization of a number of public companies in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure. However, Senegal remains an LDC with almost 50% of the population living below the poverty threshold in 2014.

The informal sector still represents, in 2014, over 60% of GDP. The economy suffers from a faulty power grid, which slows down the growth of the country. Nevertheless, the economic growth went from 3.8% in 2012 to 4.0% in 2013. Investments are expected in 2014 to again improve the situation.

The country is poor in natural resources but it is one of the most industrialized in West Africa. Growth is driven in particular by the telecommunications sector, and should continue in 2014, helped by the government's strong investment in public transport. The IMF has predicted a growth rate of 4.6%.

Senegal has many bilateral partnerships and benefits from assistance of several international agencies (World Bank, IMF, EU, ADB). The World Bank in particular has provided a loan of $ 3.6 billion to fund over 160 programs currently developed in many areas.

Main industries

The primary sector employs 50% of the active population and contributes 18% to the GDP. The Senegalese agriculture is characterized by being highly vulnerable to climatic hazards and locust threats. Senegal's main crops are peanuts, black-eyed peas, cassava, watermelons, millet, rice and corn.  The country is relatively poor in natural resources. Fishing is also source of important revenues.

In 2013, the secondary sector has contributed to 24% to the GDP. It is based on the production of fertilizers and phosphoric acid to be sent to India and peanut processing (oil and cattle meal) and seafood processing (despite a growing depletion in the resource). Today, the secondary sector is in crisis due to lack of energy management.

The tertiary sector contributes 58% to the GDP. It benefits from the excellence of the telecommunications infrastructure, which favours investments in teleservices and the Internet.

Foreign trade overview

Foreign trade has accounted for around 70% of Senegal's GDP in 2013.

In 2013, imports again account for nearly half of the GDP. The country's main suppliers are France (representing 16% of imports), Nigeria, India and China. Senegal mainly imports mineral fuels, oil, cereals, machinery and vehicles.
Goods and services exports account for 25% of the GDP. Senegal's main clients are Mali, Switzerland, India and France. The main export commodities are mineral fuels, oil, sea products, inorganic chemical products, salt and vehicles.
Fishing is leading export, with its products benefiting for the past two years from ports modernization and a strong agribusiness industry.

For several years now, China has become an increasingly important partner of Senegal, as evidenced by the China-Africa summits. The country's trade balance improved in 2013 and this improvement should continue in 2014. However, the Senegalese foreign trade is characterized by a structural deficit of current account equivalent to several percentage points of GDP every year.

In 2014, the country remains under assistance from the international financial community, is not competitive enough and has difficulties to convince international investors.


In a context where global foreign investment increased by 10.9% in 2013, in particular in Europe (+25.2%) and in Latin America (+17.5%), FDI flows to developing economies reached a new high of US$759 billion. The African continent has posted an increase of 6.8% of FDI in 2013.

Senegal has a proactive policy towards FDI.  At the end of the 90s, there was an FDI boom in the direction of Senegal. France is historically one of the countries that invested the most in Senegal.  However, the effects of the crisis of 2008-2009 caused a drop of about 20% in the flows of FDI. The Senegalese economy remains largely dependent on European growth.

Senegal has a large stock of FDI, mainly of French origin. In 2013, FDI has again been driven by large-scale projects for the development of infrastructure and the country's power grid. For the last few years, the flow of foreign investment into Senegal has remained around 300 million USD annually (338 million USD in 2013).

Information on the 2013 FDI influx in this region can be accessed in the Global Investment Trade Monitor published in January 2014 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
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