Executive Summary

Senegal offers a stable political environment, relatively good infrastructure, strong institutions, and a favorable geographic position. This creates an attractive set of opportunities for foreign investment. The Government of Senegal welcomes foreign investment and has prioritized efforts to improve the business climate. Senegal’s macroeconomic environment is stable. The currency—the CFA franc used in eight West African countries—is pegged to the euro. Repatriation of capital and income is straightforward. Investors cite high factor costs, bureaucratic hurdles, inadequate access to financing, and a rigid labor market as obstacles. The government is working to address these problems and improve Senegal’s competitiveness.

Senegal is pursuing an ambitious development plan, the Plan Senegal Emergent (Emerging Senegal Plan, or “PSE”), that targets economic reforms and increasing private investment in strategic sectors. A key PSE goal is to increase real GDP growth to an average of 7.1 percent by 2018. The growth rate reached 6.5 percent in 2015 and 6.6 percent in 2016, according to IMF estimates. This is the first time in at least 36 years that Senegal’s growth rate has exceeded 6 percent in two consecutive years. The government is implementing reforms to the energy sector, higher education, and fiscal management in order to improve Senegal’s attractiveness for foreign investment. Senegal also aims to build on its position as a regional business hub with relatively good transportation links to become a regional center for logistics, services, and industry. The government is focusing on development of port facilities, transportation infrastructure, and a Special Economic Zone. As the government undertakes investment-friendly reforms, capacity constraints and bureaucratic bottlenecks continue to impede the implementation.

Senegal’s low ranking (147th out of 190 countries) in the 2017 World Bank’s Doing Business survey reflects the bureaucratic challenges that foreign investors can face. After an even lower Doing Business ranking of 178 in 2014, Senegal was cited as a top performer in 2015 and 2016 for improving its business climate to raise its ranking. The Government of Senegal continues to implement measures to reduce the cost of setting up a business.

While Senegal has a well-developed legal framework for protecting property rights, settlement of commercial disputes can be cumbersome and slow. The government of Senegal has prioritized efforts to fight corruption, increase transparency and improve governance. Senegal compares favorably with most African countries in corruption indicators, but companies report that problems persist. The United States and Senegal signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1983 which took effect in 1990, including provisions on non-discrimination, free transfer of funds, international legal standards for expropriation, and third-party arbitration for dispute resolution.

France is historically Senegal’s largest source of foreign direct investment, but the government wants more diversity in its sources of investment. U.S. investment in Senegal has expanded since 2014, including several investments in power generation and participation of U.S. companies in offshore oil and gas development. In addition to the nascent petroleum industry, other sectors that have attracted substantial investment are agribusiness, mining, tourism, and fisheries.

Investors may consult the website of Senegal’s investment promotion agency (APIX) at www.investinsenegal.com for information on opportunities, incentives and procedures for foreign investment, including a copy of Senegal’s investment code.

Table 1

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 64 of 176 http://www.transparency.org/
World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business” 2017 147 of 190 www.doingbusiness.org/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2016 106 of 128 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 14 http://www.bea.gov/
World Bank GNI per capita 2015 $980 http://data.worldbank.org/

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Government of Senegal welcomes foreign investment and generally maintains a level playing field for foreign investors to participate in most sectors. There are no barriers to ownership of businesses by foreign investors in most sectors (exceptions are discussed below).

The government conducts ongoing dialog with the private sector through the Conseil Presidentiel de l’Investissement (presidential council on investment, or “CPI”). Among other activities, the CPI usually sponsors an annual forum at which investors comment on the government’s policies and actions. Details are available at cpi-senegal.com. Another important venue for dialog is the annual Assises de l’Entreprises sponsored by the Conseil National du Patronat, the national employers’ association. More information can be found at www.cnp.sn.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Senegal allows foreign investors equal access to ownership of property and does not impose any general limits on foreign control of investments. Senegal’s Investment Code includes guarantees for equal treatment of foreign investors, including the right to acquire and dispose of property. There is no provision in Senegalese law permitting domestic businesses to adopt articles of incorporation or association that limit or control foreign investment. There is no pattern of discrimination against foreign firms making investments in Senegal.

There are restrictions on foreign ownership of water and electricity utilities and seaports. State-owned companies have responsibility for infrastructure in these sectors, while private companies, both domestic and foreign, are allowed to provide services via that infrastructure.

The government does some screening of proposed investments, primarily to verify compatibility with the country’s overall development goals and compliance with environmental regulations. If the government is involved in project financing, the Finance Ministry will also review financing arrangements to ensure compatibility with budget and debt policies. The government’s investment promotion agency, APIX (Agence pour la Promotion des Investissements et Grands Travaux), can facilitate, where relevant, government review of investment proposals and the project approval process.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

As part of its PSE, the government has prepared a series of reports to outline sector policies and business opportunities in priority sectors including agriculture and agribusiness, tourism, fishing, health care and other sectors.

Business Facilitation

Among other services, APIX operates an online point of entry for registering a business at www.investinsenegal.com .Through the APIX one-stop shop, the Administrative Procedures Facilitation Center, it is possible to register a business in two days. This center enables entrepreneurs to perform all business registration procedures with government, local authorities, and public institutions. Under legislation passed in 2008, there are special preferences for investment in small- and medium-sized enterprises, including reduced interest rates for Senegalese-owned companies. Senegal defines medium-sized as an enterprise with fewer than 251 employees. Small enterprises have fewer than 21.

Outward Investment

The government neither promotes nor restricts outward investment.

The bilateral investment treaty between Senegal and the United States took effect in 1990. The agreement provides for Most Favored Nation treatment for investors, internationally recognized standards of compensation in the event of expropriation, free transfer of capital and profits, and procedures for dispute settlement, including international arbitration. A copy of the Bilateral Investment Treaty can be found at: http://investmentpolicyhub.unctad.org/IIA/country/186/treaty/2890 

Senegal has signed similar agreements for protection of investment with France, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Romania, Japan, Australia, China, Iran, Morocco, and Sudan. Senegal has concluded tax treaties with France, Mali, and member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. There is currently no tax treaty between the United States and Senegal.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Senegal has made progress towards developing independent regulatory institutions, including regulators for the energy, telecommunications, and financial sectors. The government also seeks to increase transparency of its regulatory system. The government has made good governance and transparency in the management of public affairs a high priority. While Senegal lacks established procedures for a public comment process for proposed laws and regulations, the government frequently holds public hearings and workshops to discuss proposed initiatives.

Authority to make rules and regulate rests with the relevant government ministry unless there is a separate regulatory authority for a particular industry. But in some instances, a ministry or the president will exert authority over regulatory matters—e.g., determining electricity tariffs. Local government bodies do not have a decisive role in regulatory decisions.

In 1988, the government established the Commission de Regulation du Secteur de l’Electricite (CRSE) as an independent agency that regulates the electricity sector. The government is preparing to expand the CRSE’s role to include regulation of hydrocarbon fuels. The CRSE holds public consultations every three years as part of its technical process for reviewing electricity tariffs. The Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes is responsible for licensing and regulation of telecommunications and postal services in Senegal. The regulator of financial institutions is the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO), the regional central bank for the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). In October 2013, Senegal was approved as a candidate country for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The government of Senegal is working to comply with EITI requirements and submitted its first EITI in 2015.

Senegal is a member of UNCTAD’s international network of transparent investment procedures. At senegal.eregulations.org there is detailed information on administrative procedures applicable to investment and income generating operations. This includes the number of steps required, name and contact details of the entities and persons in charge of procedures, required documents, and conditions, costs, processing time and legal bases for procedures.

Legal, regulatory and accounting systems closely follow French models and WAEMU countries present their financial statements in accordance with the SYSCOA system, which is based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in France.

International Regulatory Considerations

As a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Senegal adheres to regional requirements concerning the movement of people and goods. Similarly, financial and fiscal-policy directives of WAEMU are also enforced in Senegal, as are regulations issued by the BCEAO. Senegal is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and notifies draft regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

While Senegal has well-developed commercial and investment laws and a legal framework for resolving business disputes and enforcing property rights, settlement of disputes is cumbersome and slow. Senegal’s legal system is based on French traditions and practice. While Senegal’s legal system is one of the most effective in francophone Africa, it presents a challenging environment for resolution of commercial disputes. Court cases tend to proceed slowly, with ample opportunity for the parties involved to prolong the proceedings. Even when courts issue judgments, companies may encounter challenges in implementing court decisions and enforcing their contractual rights. Investors may consider including provisions for binding arbitration in their contracts in order to avoid prolonged entanglements in Senegalese courts. To alleviate the growing backlog and delays in resolution of commercial disputes, the government of Senegal has taken steps to establish commercial courts, as part of its investment climate reforms.

Senegal’s constitution states that the judiciary is independent of the legislature and executive. In practice, however, the executive’s influence over the courts is occasionally evident though generally not overt. Executive interference in judicial matters is, however, rare in strictly commercial matters. While often cumbersome and time-consuming, judicial processes in Senegal are, as a rule, procedurally competent. Companies may seek judicial redress against regulatory decisions. Such cases are heard in administrative tribunals that specialize in adjudicating claims against the state.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Senegal’s 2004 Investment Code provides basic guarantees for equal treatment of foreign investors and repatriation of profit and capital. It also specifies tax and customs exemptions according to the investment volume, company size and location, with investments outside of Dakar eligible for longer tax exemptions. A law to enhance transparency in public procurement and public tenders entered into force in 2008, establishing a public procurement regulatory body, the Autorite de Regulation des Marches Publics(ARMP), which publishes annual reviews of public procurement. The government enacted a law on public-private partnerships in 2014 to facilitate expedited approval of projects that include a minimum share of domestic investment.

More information on Senegal’s legal and regulatory environment, including texts of the investment code, the mining code, and many other reference documents can be found at www.investinsenegal.com.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

Senegal’s national competition commission, the Commission Nationale de la Concurrence, is responsible for reviewing transactions for competition-related concerns.

Expropriation and Compensation

Senegal’s Investment Code includes protection against expropriation or nationalization of private property, with exceptions for “reasons of public utility” that would involve “just compensation” in advance. In general, Senegal has not pursued expropriations against private companies. The government may sometimes use eminent domain justifications to procure land for public infrastructure projects, with compensation provided to land owners. Senegal’s bilateral investment treaty with the United States also specifies that international legal standards are applicable to any cases of expropriation of investment and the payment of compensation.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Senegal is a member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a signatory of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention). Senegal is a signatory to the Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa Treaty (OHADA). This agreement supports enforcement of awards under the New York Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Senegal has growing experience in using international arbitration for resolution of investment disputes with foreign companies, including some cases involving tax disputes with U.S. firms. The government has also prevailed in some arbitration cases, including a 2013 arbitration decision in a high-profile case with a multinational company over an integrated mining/railway/port project, fostering greater confidence within the government to the arbitration process. Senegal’s bilateral investment treaty with the United States includes provisions to facilitate the referral of investment disputes to binding arbitration.

International firms have pursued a variety of investment disputes during the last decade, including at least two U.S. firms involved in tax and customs disputes. One U.S. energy firm was involved in a tax dispute and ultimately prevailed in arbitration. Another company has an ongoing case over whether imported industrial inputs would be subject to customs duties. Other foreign companies in the mining and telecommunications sectors have pursued commercial disputes over licensing. These disputes have often been resolved through arbitration or an amicable settlement.

Senegal has no history of extrajudicial action against foreign investors.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

The government has initiated several programs to establish commercial courts and use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in order to reduce the time required for resolving business disputes. Under the OHADA treaty, Senegal recognizes the corporate law and arbitration procedures common to the 16 member states in western and central Africa. Senegalese courts routinely recognize arbitration clauses in contracts and agreements. It is not unusual for courts to rule against state-owned enterprises in disputes involving private enterprises.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Senegal has commercial and bankruptcy laws that address liquidation of business liabilities. Foreign creditors receive equal treatment under Senegalese bankruptcy law in making claims against liquidated assets. Monetary judgments are normally in local currency. Under the OHADA treaty, Senegal permits three different types of bankruptcy liquidation through a negotiated settlement, company restructuring, or complete liquidation of assets. Senegalese law does not treat bankruptcy as a criminal matter. Senegal ranked in 101st place of 190 countries on the “Resolving Insolvency” indicator in the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business survey.

Investment Incentives

Senegal’s Investment Code provides for investment incentives, including temporary exemption from customs duties and income taxes for investment projects. Eligibility for investment incentives depends upon a firm’s size and type of activity, the amount of the potential investment, and the location of the project. To qualify for significant investment incentives, firms must invest above CFA 100 million (approximately USD 165,000) or in activities that lead to an increase of 25percent or more in productive capacity. Investors may also deduct up to 40percent of retained investment over five years. However, for companies engaged strictly in “trading activities,” investment incentives may not be available.

Eligible sectors for investment incentives include agriculture and processing of agricultural produce, fishing, livestock and related industries, manufacturing, tourism, mineral exploration and mining, banking, and others. All qualifying investments benefit from the “Common Regime,” which includes two years of exoneration from duties on imports of goods not produced locally for small and medium sized firms, and three years for all others. Also included is exoneration from direct and indirect taxes for the same period.

Exoneration from the Minimum Personal Income Tax and from the Business License Tax can be granted to investors who use local resources for at least 65percent of their total inputs within a fiscal year. Enterprises that locate in less industrialized areas of Senegal may benefit from exemption of the lump-sum payroll tax of 3percent, with the exoneration running from 5 to 12 years, depending on the location of the investment. The investment code provides for exemption from income tax, duties, and other taxes, phased out progressively over the last three years of the exoneration period. Most incentives are automatically granted to investment projects meeting the above criteria.

An existing firm requesting an extension of such incentives must be at least 20 percent self-financed. Large firms—those with at least 200 million CFA (330,000 USD) in equity capital—are required to create at least 50 full-time positions for Senegalese nationals, to contribute the foreign-exchange equivalent of at least 100 million CFA (165,000 USD), and keep regular accounts that conform to Senegalese standards. In addition, firms must provide APIX with details on company products, production, employment, and consumption of raw materials.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Based on legislation passed in 2007, the government has plans to create a special economic zone outside of Dakar, adjacent to the city’s new international airport. Businesses operating within this zone are to benefit from tax exemptions and exemption from certain labor regulations. As of April 2017, both the new international airport and the special economic zone remained under construction. Information about incentives to be associated with the special economic zone is available at http://investinsenegal.com/Zone-Economique-Speciale-Integree,202.html .

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The government does not, by statute, impose specific conditions or performance requirements on investment activities. But the government does negotiate with potential investors on a case-by-case basis to support local employment or ensure incentives for investors to meet their contractual commitments. The bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Senegal includes provisions for companies to freely engage professional, technical, and managerial assistance necessary for planning and operation of investments. Acquiring work permits for foreign staff is typically straightforward. Citizens of ECOWAS member countries are permitted to work freely in Senegal. Senegal does not have any requirements for localization of data storage, nor does it restrict access to encryption. The National Commission on Personal Data is responsible for oversight of the privacy of personal data.

Real Property

The Senegalese Civil Code provides a framework, based on French law, for enforcing private property rights. The code provides for equality of treatment and non-discrimination against foreign-owned businesses. Senegal has systems for title to real property and registration of land ownership, but application is uneven. Outside of urban areas, there are also locations where land tenure is governed by custom rather than law. Confirming ownership rights to real estate can be difficult. But once established, ownership is protected by law.

The government has undertaken several reforms to make it easier for investors to acquire and register property. It has streamlined procedures and reduced associated costs for property registration. The government has developed new land tenure models that are intended to facilitate land acquisition by resolving conflicts between customary tenure and formal land ownership. If the new models are widely adopted, the government and donors expect they will facilitate land acquisition and investment in the agricultural sector while providing benefits to traditional landowners in local communities.

The government generally pays compensation when it takes private property through eminent domain actions. Commercial banks can and do make mortgage loans, but the majority of households in Senegal do not have bank accounts. Senegal’s housing finance market is underdeveloped and few long-term mortgage financing vehicles exist. There is no secondary market for mortgages or other bundled revenue streams. The judiciary is inconsistent when adjudicating property disputes. Senegal ranked 142nd out of 190 countries in the 2017 Doing Business indicator for registering property.

Intellectual Property Rights

Senegal maintains a legal framework for protection of intellectual property (IP), but there is not sufficient institutional capacity to implement this framework and enforce IP protections. Senegal has been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since its inception. Senegal is also a member of the African Organization of Intellectual Property (OAPI), a grouping of 15 francophone African countries with a common system for obtaining and maintaining protection for patents, trademarks, and industrial designs. Local statutes recognize reciprocal protection for authors or artists who are nationals of countries adhering to the 1991 Paris Convention on Intellectual Property Rights.

Patents are protected for 20 years and an annual charge is levied during this period. Registered trademarks are also protected for a period of 20 years. Trademarks may be renewed indefinitely by subsequent registrations. Senegal is a signatory to the Bern Copyright Convention. The Senegalese Copyright Office, part of the Ministry of Culture, attempts to enforce copyright obligations. The bootlegging of music cassettes and CDs is common and of concern to the local music industry. The Copyright Office has taken actions to combat media piracy, including seizure of counterfeit cassettes and CD/DVDs.

Despite an adequate legal and regulatory framework, Senegal’s enforcement of intellectual property rights is weak. In general, government agencies lack capacity to combat IPR violations or to seize counterfeit goods. Customs screening for counterfeit goods coming from China, Nigeria, Dubai, and other centers of illegal production is weak. Confiscated goods occasionally re-appear in the market. Nonetheless, the government has made efforts to raise awareness of the impact of counterfeit products on the Senegalese marketplace, and officers have participated in training provided by manufacturers to identify counterfeit products.

For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/ .

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Senegalese authorities take a generally benign view of portfolio investment. The government relies on a smoothly functioning debt market to manage its finances, regularly issuing debt instruments in local currency on the regional market. The government also issues debt instruments denominated in U.S. dollars, as with its 2014 and 2011 Eurobond offerings.

A handful of Senegalese have listings on the West African Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM), headquartered in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The BVRM also has local offices in each of the WAEMU member countries, offering additional opportunities to attract foreign capital and access diversified sources of financing.

The government does not restrict payments for current international transactions.

Money and Banking System

While Senegal’s banking system is generally sound, the financial sector is generally under-developed. Senegal’s twenty commercial banks, primarily based in France, Nigeria, Morocco, and Togo, follow generally conservative lending guidelines, with collateral requirements that most potential borrowers cannot meet. Few firms are eligible for long-term loans, and small- and medium-sized enterprises have little access to credit. According to the results of a government survey conducted in 2014, less than 5 percent of enterprises receive financing from commercial banks. Senegal’s banking sector is regulated by the BCEAO, the regional central bank, and the WAEMU regional banking commission.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

As one of the eight WAEMU countries, Senegal uses the CFA franc as its currency. The CFA franc is pegged to the euro. Senegal’s Investment Code includes guarantees for access to foreign exchange and repatriation of capital and earnings, though transactions are subject to procedural requirements of financial regulators. Commercial transfers are routinely carried out by local financial institutions without delays. The government limits the amount of foreign exchange that individual travelers may take outside Senegal. Departing travelers may take a maximum of 6 million CFA francs (approximately USD 10,000) in foreign currency and travelers checks upon presentation of a valid airline ticket. Senegal’s bilateral investment treaty with the United States includes commitments to ensuring free transfer of funds associated with investments.

Remittance Policies

There are no restrictions on the transfer or repatriation of capital and income earned, or on investments financed with convertible foreign currency. Remittances to Senegal from citizens living overseas are routine and provide a significant source of income for many Senegalese households. In 2013, the value of remittances, formal and informal, was estimated by Senegalese authorities at USD 1.7 billion or 12 percent of GDP. According to an IMF report, this was been the average level of remittances to Senegal relative to GDP between 2008 and 2015.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

In 2012, Senegal established a sovereign wealth fund (Fonds Souverain d’Investissements Strategiques, or FONSIS)) with a mandate to leverage public assets to support equity investments in commercial projects supporting economic development objectives. Senegal maintains several taxes and funds allocated for specific purposes such as expanding access to transportation, energy, and telecommunications, including the autonomous road maintenance fund and the energy support fund. For these funds, some information is included in budget annexes; these funds are subject to the same auditing and oversight mechanisms as ordinary budgetary spending. FONSIS reports that it abides by the Santiago Principles for sovereign wealth funds.

Senegal has progressively reduced government involvement in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) during the last three decades and only a handful remain. The principal SOEs are the national electricity company, Dakar’s public bus service, the Port of Dakar, and the national water utility. The state-owned electricity company, SENELEC, retains control over power transmission and distribution, but it relies increasingly on independent power producers to generate power. The government has also retained control of the national oil company, Petrosen, which is involved in hydrocarbon exploration in partnership with foreign oil companies and operates a small refinery dependent on government subsidies. The government has modest and declining ownership of agricultural enterprises, including a state-owned company involved in rice production.

The Direction du Secteur Parapublic, an agency within the Ministry of Finance, exercises the government’s ownership rights in enterprises. The government’s budget includes financial allocations to these enterprises, including subsidies to SENELEC. SOE revenues are not projected in budget documents, but actual revenues are included in quarterly reports published by the Ministry of Finance. Senegal’s supreme audit institution (the Cour des Comptes) and Inspector General Office conduct audits of the public sector and SOEs. Their reports are publicly available at www.coursdescomptes.sn and www.ige.sn.

Privatization Program

Since the 1980s, Senegal has reduced the involvement of state-owned enterprises in most sectors of the economy. The government has privatized companies involved in the aviation, water, finance, real estate, and telecommunications sectors with no restriction on the participation of foreign investors. Several state-owned firms privatized in recent years were sold in part or in their entirety to foreign entities. The government has no program for privatizing the remaining SOEs.

Senegal participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). In 2015, Senegal completed its first annual EITI report, providing data from 2013 on government revenues from extractive industries and also expanding the information available on natural resource concessions. In 2016, Senegal published its second EITI report, with data from 2014. Under the EITI process, Senegal has made significant progress in collecting and publicizing information on natural resource concessions.

The government publishes some information about natural resource concessions in its official gazette (www.jo.gouv.sn ), including details of the geographic area, resources under development, the companies involved and the duration of the contract

Since taking office in 2012, President Macky Sall has proclaimed his commitment to fighting corruption, increasing transparency, and promoting good governance. His government mounted investigations against former government officials suspected of corruption and secured several convictions. But there have been no similarly high-profile corruption prosecutions of currently-serving officials. Sall also created a new anticorruption agency, the Office National de la Lutte Contre la Fraude et la Corruption (OFNAC). A key responsibility of this agency is to take custody of asset declarations from public officials. The government has also taken steps to increase budget transparency in line with regional standards. Senegal ranked 64th out of 176 countries, in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), representing a substantial improvement over its 2011 ranking at 99th place.

Notwithstanding Senegal’s positive reputation for corruption relative to regional peers, investors continue to report corruption as an issue at lower levels of the bureaucracy where officials with modest salaries may demand “tips” for advancing permits and other official paperwork. It is important for U.S. companies to assess corruption risks and develop an effective compliance program or measures to prevent and detect corruption, including foreign bribery. U.S. firms operating in Senegal can underscore to interlocutors in Senegal that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States and may consider seeking legal counsel to ensure compliance with anti-corruption laws both at home and abroad.

Senegal is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption but it is not a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

Resources to Report Corruption

Mme. Seynabou Ndiaye Diakhate
37, Avenue du President Lamine Gueye
+221 33 889 98 38

M. Mouhamadou Mbodj
Coordonnateur General
Forum Civil
40 Avenue Malick Sy (1er etage) – B.P. 28 554 – Dakar
+221 33 842.40.44


Senegal has long been regarded as an anchor of stability in West Africa, a region vulnerable to political unrest. It is the only mainland West African country that has never had a coup d’etat since gaining independence in 1960. Voting in the 2012 election proceeded peacefully and reinforced Senegal’s reputation as the strongest democracy in West Africa. Public protests occasionally spawn isolated incidents of violence when unions, opposition parties, merchants, or students demand better salaries, working conditions or other benefits. Petty banditry sometimes causes violence in the Casamance region, which has suffered from a 35-year separatist rebellion in which a de facto ceasefire has held for over five years as the government and rebel groups move toward negotiations.

Senegal has an abundant supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor. Skilled workers in engineering and technical fields are in short supply. While Senegal has one of the best systems of higher education in West Africa and produces a substantial pool of educated workers, a lack of suitable job opportunities in Senegal leads many to look outside of the country for employment.

Relations between employees and employers are governed by the labor code, industry wide collective bargaining agreements, company regulations, and individual employment contracts. There are two powerful industry associations that represent management interests: the Conseil National du Patronat (the national council of employers, or “CNP”) and the Conseil National des Employeurs du Senegal (national employers’ association of Senegal, or “CNES”). The principal labor unions are the Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs du Senegal (national confederation of Senegalese workers, or “CNTS”), and the Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes du Senegal (the national union of autonomous trade unions of Senegal, or “UNSAS”), a federation of independent labor unions.

Senegalese law permits all workers to form unions, with some exceptions for law-enforcement officials, including police and gendarmes, customs officers, and judges. The labor code requires prior authorization from the Ministry of Interior before a trade union may be legally recognized. The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference and provides for the right to bargain collectively. Collective bargaining agreements, however, apply only to an estimated 44 percent of union workers. Trade unions organize on an industry-wide basis, similar to the French system of union organization, though most workers have informal occupations in which they are self-employed and not subject to the labor code.

The inflexibility of the labor code, the complexity of labor issues, and arbitrary court rulings in labor cases are often high on the list of complaints voiced by investors and foreign companies. Foreign firms are often sued in the Senegalese courts by terminated employees seeking to recover damages and return to their former positions. Although adverse court decisions are sometimes overturned on appeal, the appeals process is costly and time consuming.

OPIC has an agreement in Senegal and offers financing and investment insurance to support U.S. investment projects in Senegal. OPIC is currently supporting several investment projects in Senegal, including three energy projects, one microfinance project, and an agribusiness project. Senegal is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, an arm of the World Bank.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2016 $14,600 2016 $14,870 www.imf.org 
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 N/A 2015 $14 BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2015 N/A 2015 N/A BEA data available at http://bea.gov/international/direct_investment_
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP 2015 N/A 2015 0.09% N/A

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

No data available.
Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

No data available.

Youhanidou Wane Ba
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy, Route des Almadies, B.P. 49, Dakar, Senegal
+221 33 879 4238

2017 Investment Climate Statements: Senegal
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