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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

After registering a decade of strong growth, the Senegalese economy was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. It remained resilient though, avoiding recession and continuing to expand at an estimated 1.5% (IMF). Recovery started mid-2020, driven by industrial production and the services sector, and GDP growth rebounded to 4.7% in 2021 (IMF). Economic growth is expected to accelerate in 2022 (5.5%) and 2023 (10.8%), boosted by construction, gold mining and oil and gas production (IMF). However, new Covid-19 outbreaks, regional security issues and fiscal pressures are downside risks.

The Senegalese economy started a robust recovery in 2021, supported by exceptional spending aiming to contain the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Measures were also taken to strengthen social protection and the health sector including domestic vaccine production, and energy subsidies were increased. As a result, fiscal deficit soared from 3.8% GDP in 2019 to 6.3% GDP in 2020 and 2021. With the implementation of key structural reforms and fiscal consolidation, it is expected to reduce to 4% GDP in 2022 and to stabilize at around 3% GDP by 2024, in line with WAEMU commitments (IMF). Public debt continued its ascending trend, reaching an estimated 71.9% GDP in 2021. It is expected to gradually decline to 70.1% GDP in 2022 and 64.5% GDP in 2023 (IMF). As pointed out by the IMF, risks to debt sustainability will need to be carefully monitored. Inflation reached an estimated 2.4% in 2021, driven by an increase in food prices, and is expected to decline progressively to 2% in 2022 and 1.5% in 2023, well below the WAEMU’s standard of 3%. After focusing on the health response and immediate economic support, the authorities are now focused on implementing the revised Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE). The objective is to promote strong and inclusive private sector-led growth through structural transformation and diversification, with a new emphasis on accelerating the domestic production of critical supplies through sectorial policies (IMF). Increasing revenue mobilization, containing energy subsidies, improving business environment, enhancing the social safety net, broadening access to quality education, addressing youth unemployment and tackling financial system weaknesses are the key challenges identified by the IMF.

According to the World Bank, if PSE reforms continue, the poor layer of the Senegalese population would progressively be able to access high growth or value-added sectors, such as horticulture or agricultural processing. Senegal has been ranked 168th in the human development index. In 2020, the unemployment rate of the country was at 7.1% (ILO Estimate). The urban population working in the informal sector was particularly hit by the pandemic, with about 85% of households reporting declining incomes (IMF).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 23.31e24.6827.5830.0434.34
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 4.41.5e4.75.510.8
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,4301,4741,6031,6991,891
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 63.868.771.970.164.5
Inflation Rate (%) 1.02.52.42.01.5
Current Account (billions USD) -1.90-2.51-3.36-3.48-2.06
Current Account (in % of GDP) -8.1-10.2-12.2-11.6-6.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by La Coface.

 

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Main Sectors of Industry

Even though Senegal is relatively poor in natural resources, the country is rich in minerals, especially phosphates and iron ore. Senegal is one of the world’s leading phosphate producers, and has significant deposits of zirconium, titanium, marble, gold, and limestone, as well as several types of precious stones. Senegal is expected to become an oil and gas producer from 2023. Although only 16.62 % of the land is arable, agriculture employs 30% of the workforce and contributes to 17% of the GDP. Senegalese agriculture is highly vulnerable to climatic hazards and locust threats. Senegal's main crops are peanuts, black-eyed peas, cassava, watermelons, millet, rice and corn. Fishing is also an important source of revenue. To facilitate the processing of agricultural products, the government is setting up four agro-food processing hubs (“agropoles”) (IMF).

The industrial sector contributes to 23.2% of the GDP and employs 13% of the workforce. It is based essentially on the production of fertilizers and phosphoric acid - which is sent to India, as well as peanut processing (oil and cattle meal) and seafood processing (despite a growing depletion in resource). The most important industrial segment is food production, followed by textiles and chemical industries. Senegalese industries also produce construction materials, machinery, equipment, electricity, and water. The government is supporting the establishment of an integrated park for the pharmaceutical, biomedical and pharmacopoeia industry (“Pharmapolis”) (IMF).

The service sector contributes to 49.9% to the GDP and employs 57% of the workforce. It benefits from the country's excellent telecommunications infrastructure, which fosters investment in tele-services and the Internet. This sector has been expanding steadily. Tourism has also been growing, particularly among European travellers but the covid-19 crisis has severely impacted this dynamic. The pandemic’s impact was particularly severe on contact-intensive and mobility dependent sectors and the informal sector (IMF).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 30.1 13.1 56.8
Value Added (in % of GDP) 15.8 23.1 49.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 8.2 2.9 -1.7

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 593.01582.09555.72585.90575.59

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Foreign Trade

Senegal is an open economy where foreign trade accounts for 56% of its GDP (World Bank's latest available data). According to Comtrade, in 2020, the country’s main exports were gold (18.7%), petroleum oils (15.6%), frozen fish (7.6%) diphosphorus pentaoxide (6.7%), and groundnuts (5%). Meanwhile, main imports include petroleum oils (20.4%), rice (5.5%) and medicaments (3.4%).

The country's main export destinations in 2020 were Mali, Switzerland, India, China, and Australia while it imported mostly from France, China, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Nigeria. Senegal is a member of the Economic Community of West African States, and the country has trade agreements with several countries, including the EU, the United States, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, and Australia. Given its growing influence in the African continent, China has become an increasingly important partner of Senegal, illustrated by the China-Africa summits and the boom of Senegalese exports to China. Senegal's trade policies are designed to help reduce the trade deficit, ensure regular supplies to the domestic market, promote local value chains, strengthen the regional integration process and access to international markets and promote competition. Under the Emerging Senegal Plan, the government seeks to deepen regional integration by further developing the infrastructure network; eliminating barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, and services; and developing intra-community trade.

Senegalese foreign trade is characterized by a structural current account deficit, which reaches an amount equivalent to more than 10% of GDP. Future offshore oil production will help narrow the deficit in the medium term. The trade deficit (of goods) for 2020 amounted to USD 3.9 billion. In 2020, imports of goods decreased to USD 7.8 billion while exports of goods decreased to USD 3.9 billion. The country imported services for the total value of USD 2.3 billion while its services exports amounted to USD 758 million (WTO).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 5,4786,7298,0718,1437,812
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,6402,9893,6234,1793,929
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,3741,4641,6431,8072,327
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,2301,1301,2161,204758

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 54.157.761.862.859.3
Trade Balance (million USD) -1,965-2,702-3,396n/an/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -2,087-2,906-3,673n/an/a
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6.716.79.05.32.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.18.28.211.2-4.6
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32.535.838.838.536.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 21.621.922.924.322.4

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 5.524.162.421.15.8
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 9.111.621.613.47.1

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Senegal is a member of the Economic and Monetary Union of Western Africa (UEMAO) and also adheres to the Franc Zone
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Mali 21.0%
Switzerland 12.4%
India 7.6%
China 6.7%
Australia 5.4%
See More Countries 46.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
France 15.7%
China 9.2%
Netherlands 6.2%
Belgium 6.0%
Spain 5.1%
See More Countries 57.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Macky SALL (since 2 April 2012)
Prime Minister : To be appointed in 2022
Next Election Dates
Presidential: February 2024
National Assembly: July 2022
Main Political Parties
Senegal maintains a robust multi-party system, where the number of parties is important. The major political parties in the country are:

-Alliance for The Republic (APR)-centre, liberal
- The PDS (Democratic Senegalese Party) - Liberal Democratic Party;
- AFP (Alliance of Progressive Forces) - progressive liberal party, which believes in social justice and development;
- The PS (Socialist Party of Senegal) - Socialist Democratic Party, whose base of the electorate is at the level of the unions;
- The African Party for Democracy and Socialism - Socialist Revolutionary Party;
- URD (Union for Democratic Renewal) - liberal democratic party.

Executive Power
The President is the chief of state and is elected by a popular vote for a five-year term under the new constitution of 2001 (earlier it was seven years). The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys immense executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. He appoints the Prime Minister as Head of the government. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Senegal is unicameral. The parliament called National Assembly has 165 seats with its members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms. President has the right to dismiss the National Assembly. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The people of Senegal have considerable political rights.
 

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COVID-19 Country Response

COVID-19 epidemic evolution
To find out about the latest status of the evolution of the COVID19 pandemic and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID19 disease in Senegal, please visit the Senegalese government platform. Official information on the progress of the epidemic in Senegal is consolidated by the Senegalese Ministry of Health. The Ministry provides a daily epidemiological update, which includes key national figures. It also offers more precise data on the epidemic on the government’s data platform available here.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest
situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country.
Sanitary measures
To find out about the latest public health situation in Senegal and the current sanitary measures in force, please consult the Senegalese government platform including updated information on the containment measures put in place and public health recommendations.
Travel restrictions
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
Import & export restrictions
So far, no restrictions have been imposed on imports or exports in Senegal. For information on all measures applicable to movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including eventual import and export restrictions, if applicable), please refer to the portal of the Senegalese Directorate-General for Customs and Indirect Duties.
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Senegal on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
Information on the economic recovery plan put in place by the Senegalese government to deal with the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the national economy is available on the website of the Senegalese Ministry of the Economy.
For a general overview of the main economic policy measures (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the Senegalese government to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Senegal in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For information on the local business support plan established by the Senegalese government to help small and medium-sized companies to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID19 epidemic on their activity, please consult the news section of Senegalese government platform.
For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, please refer to the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.
Support plan for exporters
To find out about all the measures applicable to the specific schemes for exporting companies following the coronavirus epidemic outbreak, please consult the portal of the Senegalese Directorate-General for Customs and Indirect Duties.
 

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