Senegal flag Senegal: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Senegal

Economic Indicators

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. However, during 2023, domestic socio-political unrest alongside political and security tensions in neighboring areas led to shifts in consumption and investment patterns, impacting sectors such as manufacturing (textiles, agri-food), agriculture (fertilizer and transport prices), and retail and hospitality. Consequently, economic growth was constrained (+4.1%, still below its pre-pandemic level, as per the IMF). In 2024, GDP growth is poised for a significant leap forward, propelled by hydrocarbons. The nation is banking on the initiation of two offshore fields, one for gas and the other for oil, to stimulate production, exports, investment, and tax revenues. The IMF forecasts growth at 8.8% this year and 10.2% in 2025.

Concerning public finances, the authorities remain steadfast in their commitment to achieving fiscal consolidation objectives. In 2023, they anticipated that enhanced revenue collection and improved spending control would decrease the fiscal deficit to 4.9% of GDP. Looking forward to 2024, reaching a fiscal deficit of 3.9% of GDP hinges on implementing measures to streamline tax expenditures and reduce energy subsidies to 1% of GDP. This year, authorities are accumulating liquidity buffers to ensure debt service payments during January-April 2024. Debt is projected to peak in 2023 (81% of GDP) and gradually decline as a percentage of GDP over the medium term, reflecting sustained fiscal consolidation and economic growth (decreasing to 67.6% by 2025 – IMF). Inflation receded to 6.1% in 2023 (down from 9.7% one year earlier) and is not expected to return to the WAEMU target of 3% before 2025 (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 sectoral policies (IMF). Increasing revenue mobilization, rebuilding fiscal buffers, putting public debt on a downward path, improving the 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. In 2022, the unemployment rate of the country was at 3% (World Bank, ILO estimate). In Senegal, several statistical studies conducted by the ANSD indicate that nearly 97% of economic units operate informally, with 96.4% of the active population engaged in the informal sector, encompassing both urban and rural areas. Overall, poverty (using the low middle-income poverty line) remained stable around 36.3% in 2022, while the country’s GDP per capita (PPP) was estimated at USD 4,209 (World Bank).

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 27.7431.4135.4539.9642.95
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,5701,7291,9002,0842,180
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 76.079.672.567.667.5
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -5.53-4.76-3.15-1.93-2.35
Current Account (in % of GDP) -19.9-15.1-8.9-4.8-5.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

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. Although only 19.9% of the land is arable, agriculture employs 22% of the workforce and contributes to 15.5% 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”). According to the Ministry of Commerce, Small and Medium Industries, horticultural production in Senegal reached a record level of 435,000 tons during the 2022-2023 campaign.

The industrial sector contributes to 24.5% of the GDP and employs 23% 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 resources). 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). Overall, the manufacturing sector is estimated to account for 15% of the country’s GDP. According to the national statistical office, over the twelve months of 2023, industrial production decreased by 0.9% compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

The service sector contributes 50% to the GDP and employs 56% 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 travelers.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 21.6 22.6 55.8
Value Added (in % of GDP) 15.7 24.5 49.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 0.3 1.1 6.2

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


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.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

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Latest Update: May 2024