The French colonies of Senegal and French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982. The envisaged integration of the two countries was never implemented, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s. Several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict, but an unofficial cease-fire has remained largely in effect since 2012. Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until Abdoulaye WADE was elected president in 2000. He was reelected in 2007 and during his two terms amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition. His decision to run for a third presidential term sparked a large public backlash that led to his defeat in a March 2012 runoff with Macky SALL, whose term runs until 2019. A 2016 constitutional referendum reduced the term to five years with a maximum of two consecutive terms for future presidents.
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
fish, phosphates, iron ore
Population - distribution
the population is concentrated in the west, with Dakar anchoring a well-defined core area; approximately 70% of the population is rural
French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke
DAKAR (capital) 3.52 million (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Republic of Senegal
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Republique du Senegal
- Local short form
- Geographic coordinates
- 14 44 N, 17 38 W
- Time difference
- UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Senegal’s economy is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture, which are the primary sources of employment in rural areas. The country's key export industries include phosphate mining, fertilizer production, agricultural products and commercial fishing and it is also working on oil exploration projects. Senegal relies heavily on donor assistance, remittances and foreign direct investment. For the first time in the past 12 years, Senegal reached a growth rate of 6.5% in 2015 and surpassed 6.6% in 2016, due in part to a buoyant performance in agriculture because of higher rainfall and productivity in the sector.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 5,893,172,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -1,347,835,449
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 6,671,160,809
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 4,243,917,460
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 345,211,486
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 1,162,231,617
peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables; cattle, poultry, pigs; fish
agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, zircon, and gold mining, construction materials, ship construction and repair
- fish, groundnuts (peanuts), petroleum products, phosphates, cotton
- Mali 12.8%, Switzerland 9.7%, India 5.9%, Cote dIvoire 5.3%, China 5.1%, UAE 4.1%, France 4.1% (2015)
- food and beverages, capital goods, fuels
- France 17.9%, China 10%, Nigeria 8.7%, India 5.6%, Spain 4.9%, Netherlands 4.5% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- Political and economic uncertainties and an occasionally difficult business environment can affect corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is appreciable.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is mediocre. The availability and the reliability of corporate financial information vary widely. Debt collection can sometimes be difficult. The institutional framework has a few troublesome weaknesses. Intercompany transactions run appreciable risks in the unstable, largely inefficient environments rated B.
- Faster growth linked with the implementation of major investment projects
- Support from the international financial community through debt relief (2004 and 2006) and funding pledges under the Plan Sénégal Emergent
- Political stability
- Activity and exports subject to climate variables, irregular energy supplies and movements in primary product prices
- Inadequate infrastructure (energy, transport)
- Continuing twin deficits (budget and current account)
- Poverty and regional disparities
- Head of state losing popularity
Economic activity, which accelerated in 2015, thanks to the start of projects under the Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE - Emerging Senegal Plan) and good performance in the agricultural sector, continues at a satisfactory pace. The improved business climate, likely to encourage private investment, ongoing major State projects and the support given to the strategic sectors (agriculture, agro-industry, energy, mining extraction, tourism) continues to sustain economic activity. The government is committed to promoting private investment in competitive activities and reducing public consumption so as to give itself room for manoeuvre on public investment, the effectiveness, meanwhile, needs to be increased. In the longer term, the country, which already exports refined petroleum products, is expected to benefit from the discovery of significant crude oil reserves off its coast, which together with the recent inauguration of a large solar plant will help improve energy supplies and reduce energy dependency.
Inflation remains under control, even though it was higher in 2016 because of rising rents and increasing domestic demand. Inflationary pressures are expected to increase slightly in 2017 in response to the modest rise in world commodity prices.
The fiscal deficit is on a steady downward trend in line with the commitments by the authorities under a programme supported by the IMF. The deficit target for 2015 was reached and the initial target for 2016 has been maintained, as the government provided for an improvement in tax collection, the removal of energy subsidies, new measures to rationalise spending on public consumption. The public debt has grown strongly in recent years, specifically through the issue of euro-denominated bonds, but is still on a sustainable trajectory. Moreover, Senegal benefits from among the lowest sovereign interest rates in Subsaharan Africa.
There is still a very large current account deficit because of the substantial need for imports of capital equipment for carrying out infrastructure and investment projects (which despite everything are a positive sign of long-term structural change) and heavy energy dependence. This deficit declined only slightly in 2015 due to the marked fall in oil prices and the rise in export volumes. In 2016, the drop in the price of imported oil was less patent, imports of equipment continued to grow and weak prices for commodity exports, which include agricultural products and gold, limited a rise in sales abroad. The energy bill is expected to edge up again in 2017 but, at the same time, exports are expected to increase thanks to a rise in agricultural and gold output and the modest recovery of world prices. It is worth noting too, the diversification efforts undertaken thanks to the development of exports of cement and phosphate derivatives and to the considerable contribution in terms of foreign exchange income, provided by expatriate workers' remittances and, to a lesser extent, tourism. The current account deficit is funded to a large extent by grants and loans to the public sector (plus, in some years, euro-denominated bond issues). Flows of foreign direct investments remain weak compared to the average for other developing countries.
Senegal remains a model of stability and democracy in the region. The country went through its second political changeover since the 2012 presidential elections, won by Macky Sall. However, the presidential party emerged weaker from the 2014 local elections. The lack of social progress, the abandonment of some election promises (reduction of current term to five years) and disaffection within the coalition has somewhat tarnished the Head of State's image. Against this backdrop, the opposition is trying to organise itself in preparation for the mid-2017 parliamentary elections.
Furthermore, despite the resumption of talks, there is still no final resolution of the Casamance conflict with the separatist movement and relations with Gambia remain tense. Finally, instability in the Sahel region reinforces the terrorist threat in Senegal.
On governance, even if there is still a significant risk, especially regarding the effectiveness of public bodies, the country is favourably positioned compared to most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.