Senegal is one of few stabile countries in the West African region. Since independence the country has not experienced a single coup. The middle class is growing, and the government has succeeded in making the country more market oriented. The country has to import most of its food and a large proportion of the population suffers from protein deficiency. Senegal has a challenging business environment ranking 153 out of 189 countries in the 2016 World Bank ease of doing business index survey. While Senegal has made it easier and quicker to register a new business, it has scored poorly in other indicators, including registering property, getting electricity, dealing with construction permits and paying taxes. The government is implementing a program to improve its ranking.



14 mill.

(% of population)

40.3 %

Corruption Perception Index

44 / Rank 61

Income per Capita

1000 USD

Income Distribution (gini index)

40 (2011)

Tourism contribution to GDP

5.3 %

Annual growth rate

6.5 %

Wholesale & retail sector (% of GDP)

20 % (2016)

Travel Turist industry growth forecast

4.1 %

Import 2015

Trading partner - EXPORT

Mail 16.8%, Switzerland 9.7%, United Arab Emirates 5.6%

Main export of goods (USD):

Petroleum oils non-crude, gold unwrought, phosphoric acid, portland cemet, soups and broths

Export 2015

Trading partner - IMPORT

France 16.4%, Netherlands 8.2%, Nigeria 7.9%

Main import of goods (USD):

Petroleum oils, petroleum oils non-crude, broken rice, wheat and meslin, medicants


Sources:  World Bank, AfDB, CIA Factbook & Transparency International

  1. World Bank: Population, Income pr. Capita (current USD 2015), Annual growth rate (2015), Urbanization (% of population), Income distribution (Gini index of 0 represents a perfectly equal distribution of income, where all income recipients receive the same income. The greater inequality, the higher the gini index. If the gini-index is 100, one person earns the entire income in the economy. ), Poverty at 1,25/day
  2. AfDB 2011: Middle class distribution: Middle class with floating class ($2-20 per day) / Middle class without floating class ($4-20 per day)
  3. Transparency International 2014: Corruption Perception Index (a scale from 0-100, where 0 means the country is highly corrupt and a 100 mean that a country is perceived as very clean). The ranking is out of 168 countries.
  4. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, World Bank
  5. World Integrated Trade Solutions, World Bank 2015: Trading partners, main imports and exports of goods

The political climate

Senegal has not experienced a single coup since independence in 1960. The government currently consists of a coalition of 4 parties. Initiatives to decentralize powers have been ongoing but power remains centralized within the government which is highly influenced by the two major Sufi-brotherhoods, the Mourides and Tijaniyyahs. Senegal’s bureaucracy remains complex and suffers from a slow paced legal system contributing to challenges in resolving commercial disputes which are an impediment to investment in Senegal. This is intensified by high costs for real estate and energy. However, the currency is pegged to the euro which makes it stable. The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, is currently chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

According to Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, which measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, Senegal ranks 61 out of 168 countries with a score of 44.

Primary production

75 % of the population is involved in agriculture. Key commercial opportunities in the agricultural sector include farming equipment, expanded irrigation systems, post-harvest handling systems, storage and silo facilities. With only 12.5 % of the land being arable, deforestation is an increasing issue as farmers look for new land.  40 % of the arable soil is used for groundnuts and 33 % on cotton. The largest food imports are rice, wheat and concreted milk. Aquaculture is gaining interest, but due to poor management, planning and lack of investment it has been difficult for business to achieve growth. Yet, fish is the third largest export commodity only superseded by oil and gold.


Agriculture, value added (% GDP)  Food imports (% GDP)  Food exports (% GDP) 
 16,2 (2015)  23 (2014) 39 (2014) 


The government of Senegal has signed CAADP Compact which pledge to allocate 10 % of national budget to agriculture. To date, Senegal has exceeded this target. The CAADP Compact focuses on improving and promoting agriculture across Africa. In 2013 the Accelerated Program for Agriculture in Senegal (PRACAS) was launched with the aim of making Senegal self-sufficient in producing rice and onions. Furthermore, through Feed the Furture programme, Senegal cooperates with USAID to reduce poverty and undernutrition by promoting agriculture as an economic growth engine. Under its "Emerging Senegal Plan", the government of Senegal is pursuing ambitious plans for economic reforms and a series of investments intended to double economic growth in 2014-2017. The plan calls for concerted efforts to promote private sector investment in agribusiness, mining, tourism, housing and infrastructure. The government has made progress in several reforms to facilitate private investment, including business climate improvements, a new law on public-private partnerships and land tenure reforms

Commercial indicators

Dakar is the focal point of imported consumer-oriented foods in Senegal. Not only is it home to 20 percent of Senegal’s population, it is also the seat of Senegal’s sizeable expat community (mostly European) and at least a quarter of high-income consumers. Euromonitor International identifies Senegal as one of the twenty Markets of the Future that will offer the most opportunities for consumer goods companies globally. This is due to the combination of high growth rates, a stable currency and prices. In Dakar the per capita spending level is double that of the country’s average. The total average per capita spending level in Senegal level lacks behind the average of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

 In 2012 retail space and new products offerings exploded with the opening of six Citydia supermarkets and new boutiques. In 2011 total retail food sales reached $2.3 billion, up 29 percent from the previous year. This is promising for consumer-oriented foods given the rate of urbanization, sizeable expatriate community, and reliance on imports. The formal retail food sector is dominated by hypermarkets and conventional markets (2 % in 2016) found almost exclusively in Dakar, grocery and convenience stores including gas marts (8 % in 2016) in Dakar and in largest cities and thousands of small boutiques, kiosks and traditional open air markets (80 % in 2016) in rural and urban areas. The expansion of modern retail will be expected to serve as a catalyst for unleashing the official trade potential.

Wholesale & retail sector (% of GDP)  Retail growth  Informal/traditional open trade 
 20 (2016) 2,3 %  80 % (2016) 


The society is very hierarchical, where patron-client relationships are common. In Senegal this is reflected in the power of local shaykhs (marabout) function as local chiefs whom even political leaders have to honor in order to gain needed support. Senegalese  society is collectivistic in the sense that loyalty is paramount and overrides most other societal rules and regulations, offence leads to shame and the loss of face, and employer/employee relationships are perceived in moral terms (like a family link), hiring and promotion decisions take account of the employee’s in-group and management is the management of groups. In opposition to many other African countries Senegal is dominantly femine, hence, Senegalese’ focus on ‘working in order to live’ valuing equality and managers strive for consensus. Being a normative society the Senegalese exhibit great respect for traditions, a relatively small propensity to save for the future and focus on quick results. The analysis reveals no clear preference for the need to avoid uncertainty.

Senegal is characterized by having one of the best transport and ICT infrastructures in Sub-Saharan Africa. With its capital city of Dakar located on the westernmost point of Africa, Senegal is well positioned to expand its role as a regional business hub. Dakar has become an aviation hub of West Africa region, with a number of airline connections with North and West Africa, Europe and the U.S. Delta and South African Airways. A new Aéroport International Blaise Diagne (AIBD) is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017 with the latest technology in airport safety and security. Senegal has plans to create a Dakar Special Economic Zone located adjacent to the new airport, as well as nearby energy projects and port facilities, with the ambitions of developing a regional hub for logistics, services and industry. With high energy costs constraining economic growth and competitiveness, Senegal has developed plans to expand power production while diversifying energy sources to cheaper sources including coal, gas and renewable sources. Senegal has ambitious plans to increase energy access from 35% in 2013 to more than 60% by 2016. The Port of Dakar is the first major port-of-call from Europe and is well served by major shipping lines and allows around-the-clock access. The Port serves as a transshipment center for landlocked nations in West Africa. Almost all goods entering Senegal transit through the Port of Dakar and are distributed by truck or by rail, to interior areas and the neighboring landlocked country of Mali.


President Sall is preparing to construct a new railway from Senegal to the city of Ziguinchor in the southern part near the border of Guinea-Bissau to boost the local agriculture sector. In January 2000, Senegal put in place a new import tariff structure to conform with the common external tariff (CET) scheme agreed upon by the member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU or UEMOA). Under the new structure, Senegal lowered its highest tariff rate and established four product categories with tariff rates of 0, 5, 10 and 20 percent. It also eliminated a separate customs stamp tax of five percent, replacing it with a one percent “statistical fee.” The new tariff regime covers the following product categories for the four tariff rates:

  • Category  1 (zero rate) social, cultural and scientific goods, agriculture inputs, capital goods and computer and data processing equipment not available through local production.

  • Category 2 (five percent): raw materials, crude oil, and cereals for industries.

  • Category 3 (ten percent): semi-finished products, intermediate goods, other cereals, diesel and fuel oil.

  • Category 4 (twenty percent): goods for final consumption, capital goods and computer and data-processing equipment already available through local production, new and used vehicles.

    Paved roads (% of total)  Total network (railways km)  Mobile Cellular subscribers (per 100 people)  Airports with paved runways 
     36 (2016) 906 (2014)  99 (2014)   9 (2013) 

Senegal has been scaling up tourism. They have solid institutions and have prioritized tourism as a sector. The evident market failures are high costs of access to destination, of financing and of hotel construction and maintenance. These are mainly related to government failures pertaining to regulation and resources which tend to affect the general macro economy. Dakar is among the 10 most popular tourist destinations in Africa, but tourism has witnessed a continuous decline. The outbreak of Ebola in neighboring Guinea and increased cost of living has negatively affected the tourist sector. Tourism contributed to 11.3 percent of GDP and the sector is expected to grow 5.2 percent the coming years.

Middle class distribution (millions)

Reports of interest

The Danish Embassy in Senegal


Currently Denmark only has a Consulate in Senegal. Please contact the Embassy of Denmark in Mali which also covers Senegal. 


The Danish Consulate, Senegal

Consulat Général de Danemark 

c/o Maersk Senegal S.A. 

Km. 3,5 Bd du Centenaire de la Commune de Dakar

B.P. 3836

Dakar, Senegal


Tlf: 33 859 1103


The Embassy of Denmark, Mali 

Ambassade Royale du Danemark 

Lots 94-95, Cité du Niger II

BP E1733

Bamako, République du Mali 


Tlf: (+223) 20 70 53 00 


Click here to visit the website of the Embassy