Senegal Industry

Senegal is one of the most industrialized countries in West Africa. The industrial sector is dominated by the processing of agricultural products, which provide, among other things, peanut oil, tuna preserves and purified cotton.

Despite the advantage in the region, the industrial sector is relatively poorly developed and competitiveness is low. This is due to high production costs, a stringent regulatory framework and a small domestic market.

In addition to agricultural processing, there is a certain clothing manufacture, chemical industry, tobacco industry and manufacture of skins, paper, cement and wood products. There is also an oil refinery in the country. Most factories are located in or on the outskirts of the capital Dakar.

The government is trying to encourage private initiatives and foreign investment. It focuses especially on industries with export opportunities. Thiès has been producing buses for the regional market since 2003. Another vehicle assembly plant was added in 2008, when the Iranian car brand Samand began to be manufactured. Later, the two Chinese companies Great Wall and Cherry started a joint assembly plant for cars and trucks in Rufisque.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Senegal. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

Foreign trade

Through its large port in the capital Dakar, Senegal has developed into an important hub for regional trade. The country’s constant current account deficit has decreased in recent years due to increased exports of phosphates and fish.

Fish is Senegal’s most important export commodity, although phosphates have increased in importance and in some years yielded almost equal revenues. Peanut products were the largest until the end of the 1980s, but are now in third place.

The peanuts are mainly sold in the form of oil or peanuts used for animal feed. Demand is declining on the world market because peanut oil is considered less useful than some other vegetable oils.

Imports mainly consist of oil products, foodstuffs and consumer goods. Senegal has a constant deficit in trade abroad, so the country buys more than it sells.

France and other EU countries are important trading partners, as are countries in the so-called franc zone (currency union between 14 countries in West and Central Africa). Trade also increases with India and China.



Merchandise exports

US $ 3,278 million (2017)


US $ 5,973 million (2017)

Current account

– US $ 1,522 million (2017)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

47 percent (2018)

Main export goods

fish, peanuts, phosphate, chemicals

Largest trading partner

Mali, India, France, Italy, Nigeria, Germany


Senegal is West Africa’s largest tourist country with around a million visitors each year. Tourism makes an important contribution to the country’s economy, not least in the form of foreign currency. The tourists are attracted by fine beaches south of Dakar and in Casamance, a region that also has beautiful scenery and interesting village architecture.

Senegal has relatively many hotels of international standard and Dakar is an important conference center. The island of Gorée outside Dakar is a well-visited tourist destination, with several museums telling the dark history of the slave trade.

Senegal is known for its rich bird and wildlife life and the country houses several national parks. UNESCO’s World Heritage List includes Gorée and the old colonial capital of Saint-Louis in the north.

Almost half of the visitors come from France and the rest mainly from other EU countries, USA and Guinea.


Number of foreign visitors per year

1 006 600 (2015)

tourist revenue

US $ 481,000,000 (2014)

The share of tourist income from exports

11.2 percent (2014)



Clashes in Dakar

Clashes occur in Dakar between police and protesters protesting against the government and Wade’s candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.

Several dead in rebel attack

Several people are killed in a rebel attack against a military base in Casamance.

The Opposition Alliance appoints AFP leaders as a candidate in the presidential election

Opposition Alliance Benno Siggil Senegaal appoints AFP leader Moustapha Niasse as his candidate in the presidential election. PS leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng, who lost to Niasse, says he plans to stand anyway.


Singer Youssou N’Dour is involved in the presidential election

Singer and media mogul Youssou N’Dour announces that he is engaging in the presidential election with his movement ‘Fekke ma ci boole (I am a witness, so I respond).


Opposition activist sentenced to prison

An opposition activist is sentenced to two years in prison for death threats against the Constitutional Court judge. He wrote that the Senegalese people will “hold the judges accountable” if they find that Wade can stand for re-election.


Attention to large cash contributions

Senegal is gaining a lot of attention when French media report that former French President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin have received large cash grants for election campaigns from five African presidents, including Wade.


Increased fee for presidential candidates

The government more than doubles the fee that presidential candidates have to pay in order to run for election. The opposition protests. But the result can be a more difficult challenge for the government candidate, as opposition voters become less divided if fewer people are candidates.


Protest movement against the president’s planned candidacy

The newly formed June 23 (M23) movement organizes protest meetings against President Wade’s planned candidacy. The rapper Thiat, who is one of the leaders of the movement, is arrested and interrogated after speaking to thousands of participants at a peaceful mass meeting.


Serious scratches erupt

Later in the month, serious riots erupt in Dakar and other cities, in protest of recurrent power cuts.

New legislative proposals

The government is proposing a bill that will create a vice presidential post and reduce the voting share required for victory in the first round of a presidential election from 50 to 25 percent. Violent street protests erupt on June 23, with around a hundred injured, leading to the government withdrawing the proposal.


The former prime minister is excluded from the PDS

Former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck is excluded from PDS. He is one of a few within the ruling party who opposed President Wade’s re-election attempt (see November 2010).


Arrested for conspiracy in government

Four people are arrested on suspicion of involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the government. They are released after a few days, without prosecution.


The government expresses concern about the MFDC guerrilla

After a few months of fierce fighting in Casamance, with several dead soldiers and rebels, the government side expresses concern that the MFDC guerrillas appear to have acquired more advanced weapons than they had before.

Senegal Industry

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