Official name Republic of Senegal
Political capital Dakar
Local currency CFA Franc (XOF)
Official languages Wolof and French
Passport & Visa To enter Senegal, a passport valid for at least six months after date of entry is required by all Australian, American, Canadian, British and other EU nationals. Visas are not required by those nationals for stays in Senegal of up to three months, except nationals of Australia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic, who do require a visa. Nationals not referred to are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Senegal. Applications from nationals of the following countries must be referred to the authorities in Dakar and will therefore take longer (up to 21 days): Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovak Republic. A WHO vaccination card, with current yellow fever and cholera vaccinations, may be required if national is travelling from an endemic area.

Why Senegal

Senegal’s growth in recent years has been slow preventing inclusive growth and poverty reduction. A period of relatively strong, although still under-par, growth in 1995–2005 of 4.5% led to a substantial decline in poverty from 68% to 48%. However, in 2006–2013 growth decelerated to an average of 3.4% insufficiently broad and rapid reforms to deal with a poor business climate, persistent problems in the energy sector, poor infrastructure, low efficiency of public investment and significant unproductive public consumption spending on subsidies, transfers and administrative overhead. In addition, Senegal was hit by a series of exogenous shocks, such as the spikes in food and fuel prices, the global financial crisis, regional droughts and floods, and more recently, the spillovers from Ebola. As a result, poverty has declined only slightly in recent years and stands at about 47%.

To exit the trap of low growth and high poverty, the government has developed an ambitious program (“Plan Sénégal Emergent”, PSE). The PSE intends to make Senegal a hub for West Africa by achieving high rates of equitably shared growth. It is articulated around three pillars:

  • higher and sustainable growth through structural transformation;
  • human development and social protection;
  • improved governance, peace, and security[1].

The PSE envisages structural reforms to attract FDI and increase private investment. It also calls for constraining public consumption and increasing public savings to generate fiscal space for higher public investment in human capital and public infrastructure.

Exports: fish, groundnuts (peanuts), petroleum products, phosphates, cotton
Imports: food and beverages, capital goods, fuels
Primary sector: Agriculture - peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables, cattle, poultry, pigs, fishSecondary sector: Industries -agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining; iron ore, zircon, and gold mining, construction materials, ship construction and repair
Tertiary sector: grew rapidly during the 1990s and accounted for 60 per cent of GDP in 2001 (including non-market services). It has been fuelled by steady migration from the countryside and growth of small businesses arising from urbanization. Senegalese private investment is traditionally affected by constraints on production, the fairly low domestic savings rate and the virtual absence of foreign direct investment. The relative stagnation gave way in 2001 to recovery as domestic savings conditions improved (the savings rate rose from 12.3 per cent in 1997 to 14.3 in 1999) and investors regained some confidence after the political changeover. The troubles in Côte d’Ivoire could strengthen this trend in 2003 by causing redirection of investment to Senegal

[1] IMF Country Report, Senegal 2015

Investment opportunities in Senegal

Fishing sector. Fish is a major source of protein for the Senegalese population. Fishing plays a dominant role in the Government's policy towards generating employment. It currently generates about 100,000 direct jobs for nationals, of which more than 90% are in small-scale fishing.

Unlike most of Senegalese industry, the fishing industry has grown rapidly in recent decades. Senegalese waters are very rich in a number of fish species highly prized in world markets. The rising global demand for fish combined with pressures on world supplies makes it an increasingly valuable resource. It is an industry with great promise but also major problems, as Senegalese industry is at present not in a position to take full advantage of this resource.

Within industrial fishing there is a further cleavage between nationally-owned and foreign-owned boats and processing facilities. Fish stocks in Senegal can be separated into four categories: coastal bottom, coastal surface, deep-sea bottom, deep-sea surface (mainly tuna).

Most of the fresh fish exports are caught by artisanal fisherman, and delivered to industrial processing factories located around Dakar. Frozen fish exports mostly originate from the industrial fishing fleet equipped with freezing facilities. Tuna catches are mostly intended for canning.

The main export markets are the European Union (which takes 42% of fresh fish exports), Japan (which imports mainly invertebrates--cephalopods, shrimp) and other African countries, which are important for frozen and salted fish sales, on which the profit margins are slim[1].

Senegalese fish-processing factories face two main difficulties.

1) Low profit margins. Among the four categories of fish exports (fresh whole, fresh filets, frozen, and salted/smoked) only the first two have decent profit margins. For the other two categories, prices barely cover costs, except for cephalopods and shrimp. But fresh fish only account for about 15% of exports.

2) Small scale. The fish processing plants are often small operations, with limited access to finance; this inhibits their ability to move to higher value-added activities such as filets and can make them very dependent on financing from foreign clients[2].

In November 2014, Following an eight year lapse, EU and Senegal have signed a new five-year Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement. the agreement is based on the principles of resource sustainability, good governance, and local development. As part of the deal the EU will invest €750,000 a year into developing the local fisheries sector. In particular, support will be directed towards improving surveillance, combatting illegal fishing, and promoting scientific cooperation. Local artisanal fishermen will also directly benefit from the conservation and rehabilitation of spawning areas and vulnerable ecosystems on which their livelihoods depend on.

Renewable Energies: solar water pumping systems, batteries deep cycle, photovoltaic systems, biomass energy systems, solar thermal energy, solar street lighting
Investment incentives: APIX promotes foreign investments in the country, on the basis of tax and customs incentives (tax exemption, tax credit).


[2] Ibidem.

Ongoing programmes

Fisheries in West Africa: a study tour in Italy for potential partnerships and acquiring best practices in the fishery sector
UNIDO ITPO Italy in the regional committee of the project fishery in west Africa
UNIDO ITPO Italy at the Observatory of Mediterranean fisheries
Presentation of the technical assistance project in favor of fishermen in West Africa
UNIDO ITPO Italy – Ambassadors’ Roundtable