Senegal, the land of Teranga (a word denoting its unique sense of hospitality), is said to be one of the most welcoming countries in the world. It is an attractive country for business and investment due to its political stability, democratic tradition and openness to reform, a feature recognised by international observers. Located on Africa’s Atlantic coast, with modern port and airport infrastructures, Senegal is a favoured gateway to West Africa. Senegal’s economy is ranked 4th in the region after Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
Paving the way for success
Faced with an acute need for infrastructure, since the turn of the century Senegal has launched a number of projects based on public-private partnerships. Schools, hospitals, airports, roads, cultural facilities etc., the many projects nationwide are boosting the economy (+6.5% in 2015). Compared with other African countries, Senegal has limited natural resources, but a greater level of industrialisation thanks to the presence of multinational corporations, mostly French and American.
The majority of its wealth comes from the service and construction sectors. These activities are centred on Dakar and its surroundings, home to a quarter of the population. Service industries, such as tourism, transport and communications, account for over 50% of GDP. The economy also relies heavily on the primary sector — fisheries, mining and agriculture — making up 60% of the country’s exports. Senegal remains dependent on imports for most of its processed products.
France, the leading partner
In all this, France is by far Senegal’s leading partner. It tops the list of the country’s clients, suppliers and investors. Trade between the two countries, which stood at €853 million in 2015, is in France’s favour, with a trade surplus of €681 million in the same year. French companies generate nearly a quarter of Senegal’s GDP. Its other major partners are India, Italy and, increasingly, China, a market in which Senegalese exports quadrupled between 2014 and 2015.