Overview of the country

Senegal is located on the extreme western tip of the African continent between 12.5° and 16.5° north latitude and 12° and 17° west longitude. Its western point (Pointe des Almadies in Dakar) is the most western in all of Continental Africa. The country is bordered to the west by 700 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean.


The bordering states from north to south are: Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea Bissau. Landlocked in the southern part, Gambia opens onto the ocean. Senegal is aligned with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).


Senegal has many different ecosystems:

  • mountain: in south-eastern Senegal, on the border with Guinea, from the west of the Niokolo-Koba National Park to the Falémé River.


  • forest: in Basse-Casamance


  • dune desert: south of Saint-Louis


  • mangrove: in Basse-Casamance and in Sine-Saloum


  • lakes: Lake Guiers


  • bush: Central Senegal


  • salt lakes: Lac Rose (Lac Retba), Lac Mbeubeusse,


  • rivers: Senegal, Gambia, Casamance, Saloum rivers, Niokolo Koba, Falémé, Soungrougrou rivers, etc.


  • savannah: Tambacounda region.


  • ocean: from Saint-Louis in the north to Kabrousse in the south.


The country is divided into 14 administrative regions comprising 45 departments since 2008: Dakar, Diourbel, Fatick, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Kédougou, Kolda, Louga, Matam, Saint-Louis, Sédhiou, Tambacounda, Thiès and Ziguinchor.


The Senegalese population is growing at a rapid pace. From 3.207 million inhabitants in 1960, the year of the country’s independence, it numbered 16,209,125 in 2019, against 15,726,037 inhabitants last year.


Official figures from the National Agency for Statistics and Demography (ANDS) which has delivered the new figures on the number of inhabitants in Senegal for the current year. These data come from demographic projections made by ANSD for the period 2013-2063.


More than half of the people living in Senegal live in rural areas (53.3%) against 46.7% of urban dwellers. For a surface area of 196 thousand 712 km2, the country has an average density of 82 inhabitants per km2.


The ANSD survey showed that the country is populated by more women than men. In 2019, the female population was 8,140,343 and that of men 8,068,782. Last year, it was 7,896,040 women (50.2%) and 7,829,997 men (49.8%). ). A ratio of 50.2% in favor of women which raises real concerns.


The other socio-demographic indicators of the survey reveal in particular that the average age of the population is 19 years and life expectancy at birth is 67.4 years. The crude birth rate is 36.5 per thousand%, the overall fertility rate 152 per thousand and the death rate 6.8 per thousand.


Political, economic and social context of the country


  • Political context

Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa. Since its independence in 1960, it has undergone three major political changes, all of them peaceful. The last presidential election, which took place on February 24, 2019, was marked by a high turnout (66.23%) and ended in the victory of the outgoing president, Macky Sall, with 58.27%.


Macky Sall, who had previously served a seven-year term, was re-elected for five years, under the March 2016 constitutional referendum that shortened the presidential term.


During the 2017 legislative elections, the ruling coalition, Benno Bokk Yakaar (“Union around the same hope” in Wolof, one of the main languages of the country), won 125 seats out of 165. About ten other parties also sit in the National Assembly, including the winning Coalition Wattu Senegal, Manko Taxawu Senegal and the Unity and Rally Party.


Senegal is a member of the African Union (AU), the Community of Sahelo-Saharan States (CES), the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).


At the sub-regional level, Senegal is part of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union Commission) and OMVS (Organization for the Development of the Senegal River).


  • Economic context

Real GDP growth has remained above 6% since 2015 under the impetus of the Emerging Senegal Plan 2014–2018. Growth, from 6.7% in 2018, slipped to 6% in 2019.


This performance is largely explained by a dynamic activity in the primary sector (78.98%) and the good performance of the secondary sector (6.9%) and the tertiary sector (65.47%).


Public investments in infrastructure, agriculture and energy maintained the budget deficit at 3.8% of GDP in 2018 and 2019, above the WAEMU convergence threshold of 3%. Given the low fiscal pressure (15% of GDP) and domestic savings, this deficit was partly financed by external borrowing, which raised the public debt to 54.7% of GDP in 2018 against 47.7% in 2017. Inflation in 2019 remained very low, at 0.5% in 2019.


The deterioration in the terms of trade, driven by higher oil prices and the importation of capital goods, pushed the current account deficit to 8.8% in 2018, with projections of 9.7% in 2019 and 9.8% in 2021. The mobilization of external resources (foreign direct investments and Eurobonds) and strong remittances from migrants have made it possible to cover the financing needs of the current account.


  • Social context

According to the latest figures available, the poverty rate was estimated at 46.7% in 2011 using the national poverty line, and at 38% based on the international threshold (of $ 1.90 at purchasing power parity). No data on household consumption has been collected since, but the good growth performance suggests that monetary income poverty has declined, in the countryside thanks to the primary sector and, in the cities, due to construction. and services.


Non-monetary indicators, which are also on the rise (access to services and holding assets), however, reflect a stagnation of inequalities. The issue of inclusiveness remains essential, as job creation is not sufficient to absorb the internal migratory flows or the increase in the labor force. This is particularly true given that work is largely informal, resulting in low wages, underemployment and limited social protection.


The reduction in the poverty rate should accelerate (from 34% in 2017 to 31% in 2020 [international poverty line]) and, by 2020, the decline in the number of poor that began in 2016 should become faster thanks to the dynamism of the agricultural sector. Services, migrant remittances and public works should help reduce poverty in urban areas.


With the continuation of the reforms initiated under the Plan Senegal Emergent, the poor should gradually gain access to more dynamic and value-added sectors, such as horticulture or agricultural processing. For their part, the enhanced pro-poor programs deployed since 2014-15 (including the adaptive social protection system) should reduce vulnerability and allow the poor to build an asset base.


Agro-sylvo-pastoral and fishery sector


Senegal has a relatively large natural resources offering a real potential for economic development, especially for the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries sector. According to statistics from the 1990 census, the country has 13 million hectares of plant cover, or 65% of the territory. About 3.4 million hectares are cultivable according to official statistics. The average rainfall varies between more than 1000 mm in the south, and less than 300 mm in the north. In addition, the country is irrigated by relatively large rivers: i) the Senegal River: 1,770 km long and 337,000 km2 of watershed, ii) the Gambia River: 1,150 km long and 77,000 km2 of watershed, iii ) the Casamance river: nearly 200 km long and 21,150 km2. of watershed, and iv) many other secondary rivers: the Saloum, and the Kayanga. These rivers, combined with a sea coast of around 700 km, offer important possibilities for the development of agro-sylvo-pastoral and fishery activities.


The Climate is tropical, Sudano-Sahelian type with two main seasons: i) a dry season (from November to April) marked by the predominance of maritime trade winds (in the north-west) and continental trade winds (inland), and ii) a hot and rainy season, dominated by the monsoon flow from the Saint Helena anticyclone. Temperatures are generally high, with thermal minima reached during the month of January (15-20 ° C) and maxima during the rainy season (from 35 to over 40 ° C).


Additional information

The dialogue between actors of the agro-sylvo-pastaral sector is well established in Senegal with the organization of the joint review of the agricultural sector around the national program of agricultural investment, nutrition and food security (PNIASAN).