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Senegal - Overview

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Capital:: Dakar
Area:: 197 km2
Total Population:: 12.534
Annual growth rate:: 3.00%
Density:: 65.00/km2
Urban population:: 43%
Population of Dakar (2.625), 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 Dioula, 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%), Dioulas (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

With a GDP per capita of USD 1,066, 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 2009, the effects of the global economic crisis started to touch the Senegalese economy with a decline in the money transfers from emigrant workers (8% of the GDP in 2008), a reduction in exports and in FDI. According to an IMF report, the Senegalese banking sector, which does not have any toxic assets, was not directly affected by the global crisis. Nevertheless, the effects of the crisis can have an indirect effect, namely on the quality of loans. According to an IMF report, the Senegalese authorities have managed to redress the budgetary overflows and to put their economic program back on track in 2010 with a GDP's growth of 4%.  The IMF estimates that the country's growth should speed up in 2011.

Main industries

The primary sector employs 77% of the active population and contributes about 15% 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.

The secondary sector contributes approximately a quarter 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 (despite a growing depletion in the resource).

The tertiary sector contributes 60% to the GDP. It benefits from the excellence of the telecommunications infrastructure, which favors investments in teleservices and the Internet.

Foreign trade overview

Foreign trade accounts for about 70% of Senegal's GDP. 

Imports account for 47% of the GDP. The country's main suppliers are France, Nigeria, Thailand, China and the United Kingdom. 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, India, France, Gambia and Guinea. The main export commodities are mineral fuels, oil, sea products, inorganic chemical products, salt, sulfur and vehicles.

For several years now, China has become an increasingly important partner of Senegal as it has been witnessed in the China-Africa summits.  The country's trade balance improved in 2010 and this improvement should continue in 2011.


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 have provoked a reduction of about 20% of FDI in 2009.  The economy of Senegal remains largely dependent on the European growth.
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