Thanks to its leading position in French West Africa,
Senegal had a favorable economic situation in relation to
its neighbors, with its well-developed industrial sector, in
relation to its neighbors. After independence, the country's
economic situation has deteriorated; Among other things, the
industry is experiencing increasingly fierce competition
from Senegal's West African neighbors, and the country has
for a long time experienced high inflation and high
unemployment and suffered from recurring dry periods.
Despite this, the country has one of the region's highest
GDP. Annual economic growth during the 00s was on average 4
percent. Agriculture, mainly peanut farming, and fishing
form the basis of the economy.
COUNTRYAAH, Senegal is heavily dependent on foreign (especially
French) aid. In recent years, tourism has become an
important source of foreign exchange income.
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for about 75
percent of employment. However, due to changing weather
conditions, the economic importance of agriculture varies
between years. Peanuts are by far the most important crop
and are grown on about 40 percent of the cultivated area.
Other important crops are millet and corn. The Government
strives to diversify the production of both sales and
consumption crops. The main aim is to increase the
cultivation of cotton, rice, sugar and garden crops.
Livestock management is mainly conducted by nomads in the
northern parts of the country.
Fisheries and fish processing have grown in importance
and fish is now the country's most important export
commodity. Small-scale coastal fishing dominates and still
accounts for most of the catches. Another important source
of income is the sale of fishing licenses to EU countries.
Due to, among other things, poaching, the waters are
threatened to be fished.
The country's mining industry accounts for a small
proportion of GDP. The industry is dominated by phosphate
mining, mainly around Thiès. Deposits have been made of iron
ore and gold in the country's eastern and southeastern
parts. Oil has been found off the coast at Casamance in
southwest Senegal. The country's electricity generation is
mainly based on oil. However, there are plans to expand
hydropower. However, wood burning still covers most of the
The industrial sector is, second only to the Ivory Coast,
the most developed in French-speaking West Africa. The
industry, which is primarily based on the processing of
agricultural and fishery products (peanut oil, textiles and
canned fish), is concentrated to the capital Dakar and to
the city of Thiès.
Senegal has a permanent deficit in the trade balance, and
dependence on foreign aid is significant. The most important
export products are fish preserves and peanuts, mainly in
the form of peanut oil. Imports are mainly food, capital
goods and fuels. Important trading partners are France,
India and China. About 20 percent of exports go to
Tourism and gastronomy
Senegal is West Africa's largest tourist country; tourism
contributes its approximately 1 million annual visitors with
just over 20 percent of export revenue. Dakar and the Cape
Verde region exert attraction through their French-African
cultural meeting. In Dakar there is another well-stocked
museum with masks, wooden figures and tissues from the
entire region. Several large markets, e.g. The Sandagama
market in the turn of the century, offers a colorful
spectacle and the opportunity to acquire Senegal's and
neighboring artisans. On the car- and bicycle-free holiday
island of Gorée just southeast of Dakar, the anxiety of the
days as the center of the slave trade has been replaced by
the tranquility and relaxation of the small town's
18th-century houses and nice restaurants. Here you can also
swim in crystal clear water, which also applies to the fine
sandy beaches along the coast southeast of Dakar.
Saint-Louis at the far northwest, Senegal's old capital,
has its 19th-century town plan and buildings, a little
neglected but full of charm.
Senegal's bird sanctuaries are among the best in the
world, such as the Djoudj National Park's lush wetlands
along the Senegal River and the Saloum delta area. Under
favorable conditions, you can see the hippopotamus,
crocodile, various kinds of monkeys and rare birds in the
large Niokolo Koba National Park in the southeast.
Casamance in the south has long been shielded from the
rest of the country. It therefore offers much unspoilt
nature and dazzling sandy beaches, but also a periodic
violent separatist movement that disturbs tourism. The
classic experiences in Senegal include the train journey
from Dakar via Kayes to Bamako in Mali and the boat trip
Dakar – Ziguinchor in Casamance.
The main crops millet and maize are basic ingredients in
many Senegalese dishes, among other things, they are
included in the obligatory porridge served every day. Millet
is also used in couscous dishes (bassi salts) with
vegetables or lamb and goat meat. Monkeys are eaten, they
can be the main ingredient in yassa, which consists
of lime marinated meat and onions, or enjoyed as kebabs. The
fish accounts for a very large part of the animal protein
intake; tié boudiéné are pieces of fish (cod, hake,
sea bass, bream) that are seasoned with chili, garlic and
lemon and served with vegetables and rice. Soups are, as
always, common in Africa; caidou is fish soup with
rice. In addition to chili, garlic and lime, peanuts are the
most common flavoring.