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After registering a decade of strong growth, the Senegalese economy was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but was amongst the minority of economies that managed to avoid recession. After rebounding in 2021, the economy was hit by the consequences of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the country being heavily dependent on external food and energy supplies. Amid weaker external demand, soaring food and energy prices, tightening financial conditions, and US dollar appreciation, GDP growth slowed to 4.7% in 2022, compared to 6.1% in 2021 (IMF). However, due to favorable oil and gas production prospects, GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 8.1% in 2023 and 10.4% in 2024 (IMF).
After a robust recovery from the crisis induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2022 the Senegalese economy suffered from the negative spillovers on global growth and commodity prices from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Inflation soared to 7.5%, from 2.2% in 2021, and food insecurity increased (IMF). The authorities adopted support measures to tackle soaring cost of living, including untargeted energy subsidies. Initially planned at 1% in 2022 and then re-estimated at 3%, targeted cuts in levies (VAT, customs and fuel taxes) were implemented to mitigate the inflationary shock (Coface). Fiscal consolidation efforts were postponed, as fiscal deficit remained stable at -6.2% GDP (IMF). The authorities have committed to accelerate fiscal consolidation in 2023, raising selected electricity and fuel prices, in order to reduce budget deficit to -4.5% GDP (IMF). A further reduction of the budget deficit to -3% by 2025 is planned, in line with WAEMU commitments, through the phase out of energy subsidies and increased revenue mobilisation (IMF). Public debt increased from 73.2% GDP in 2021 to 77.3% GDP in 2022 ; and it is expected to reduce to 74.3% GDP in 2023 and 69.0% GDP in 2024 (IMF). As pointed out by the IMF, risks to debt sustainability will need to be carefully monitored. Inflation is forecast to decrease to 3.1% in 2023 and 2.0% in 2024 (IMF). After focusing on the response to external shocks, 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, rebuilding fiscal buffers, putting public debt on a downward path, 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 is ranked 170th out of 191 countries in the human development index (UNDP). In 2021, the unemployment rate of the country was at 3.7% (World Bank, ILO estimate).
|Main Indicators||2020||2021||2022 (E)||2023 (E)||2024 (E)|
|GDP (billions USD)||24.53||27.64||27.46||31.22||35.01|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||1.3||6.1||4.7||8.3||10.6|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||1,465||1,607||1,554||1,719||1,876|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||69.2||73.2||75.0||73.1||69.9|
|Inflation Rate (%)||2.5||2.2||9.7||5.0||2.0|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-2.67||-3.76||-4.39||-3.25||-1.60|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-10.9||-13.6||-16.0||-10.4||-4.6|
Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Senegal is rich in minerals, especially phosphates and iron ore. The country 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 in 2023. Although only 16.62 % of the land is arable, agriculture employs 30% of the workforce and contributes to 15.3% of the GDP (World Bank). 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 24.7% of the GDP and employs 13% of the workforce (World Bank). 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 49.6% to the GDP and employs 57% of the workforce (World Bank). 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.
|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)||15.3||24.7||49.6|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||-1.0||10.9||5.7|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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|CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR||16.68||16.88||16.38||16.50||14.63|
Source: World Bank - Latest available data.
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The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.
Senegal is an open economy where foreign trade accounts for 63% of its GDP (World Bank's latest available data). According to Comtrade, in 2021, the country’s main exports were gold (18.7%), petroleum oils (14.9%), diphosphorus pentaoxide (9.2%), frozen fish (5.7%) and groundnuts (5.4%). Meanwhile, main imports include petroleum oils (22.3%), rice (4.9%) and medicaments (3.2%).
The country's main export destinations in 2021 were Mali, Switzerland, India, China, and Ivory Coast; while it imported mostly from France, China, India, Russia and Nigeria (Comtrade). 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 historically represents more than 10% of GDP. However, future offshore oil production will help narrow the deficit in the medium term. The trade deficit (of goods) for 2021 amounted to USD 4.5 billion (WTO data). In 2021, imports of goods increased to USD 9.7 billion while exports of goods increased to USD 5.2 billion (WTO). The country imported services for the total value of USD 3 billion while its services exports amounted to USD 1.1 billion (WTO).
|Foreign Trade Indicators||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021|
|Imports of Goods (million USD)||6,729||8,071||8,143||7,812||9,699|
|Exports of Goods (million USD)||2,989||3,623||4,179||3,929||5,202|
|Imports of Services (million USD)||1,464||1,643||1,807||2,327||3,051|
|Exports of Services (million USD)||1,130||1,216||1,204||758||1,076|
|Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||16.7||9.0||6.8||7.0||8.0|
|Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)||8.2||8.2||14.7||-13.2||14.7|
|Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||35.8||38.8||39.3||39.3||40.9|
|Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)||21.9||22.9||25.0||20.7||22.3|
|Trade Balance (million USD)||-2,702||-3,396||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD)||-2,906||-3,673||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Foreign Trade (in % of GDP)||57.7||61.8||64.2||60.0||63.3|
Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data
(% of Exports)
|See More Countries||44.9%|
(% of Imports)
|See More Countries||60.4%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
|5.2 bn USD of products exported in 2021|
|Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form||18.7%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||14.9%|
|Diphosphorus pentaoxide; phosphoric acid;...Diphosphorus pentaoxide; phosphoric acid; polyphosphoric acids, whether or not chemically defined||9.2%|
|Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304)||5.7%|
|Groundnuts, whether or not shelled or broken (excl...Groundnuts, whether or not shelled or broken (excl. roasted or otherwise cooked)||5.4%|
|See More Products||46.1%|
|9.7 bn USD of products imported in 2021|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals||17.0%|
|Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude||5.3%|
|Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006)||3.2%|
|Wheat and meslinWheat and meslin||2.8%|
|See More Products||66.9%|
Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data
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|1.4 bn USD of services exported in 2018|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||28.19%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||7.18%|
|1.7 bn USD of services imported in 2018|
|Personal travelPersonal travel||5.41%|
|Business travelBusiness travel||4.72%|
Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data
-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.
The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).
The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.
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Latest Update: September 2023