Overview

  • The West African nation of Senegal is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Mauritania and surrounds its much smaller Anglophone neighbor, Gambia. Relatively dry, its shoreline runs along the Atlantic Ocean at the Sahel’s westernmost point. Up to half of its population of 15.4 million (2016) is concentrated around Dakar and other urban areas.

    Political Context

    Senegal has been among Africa’s most stable countries, with three major peaceful political transitions since independence in 1960. In a presidential election held on February 24, 2019, the Senegalese people voted in President Macky Sall for a second term. Macky Sall won with 58,27% of the votes with a very high voter turnout of 66,23%. This was followed by Idrissa Seck, former prime minister (20%), Ousmane Sonko (15%), El Hadj Sall (4,07%), and Madické Niang (1,48%). Since the referendum organized in March 2016, Macky Sall will have a 5-year term compared to the 7-year term he served in 2012. 

    Local elections are scheduled on December 2019 and legislative elections slated for 2022. In 2017, the ruling coalition Benno Bokk Yakaar party (“United in Hope" in the widely-spoken Wolof language) won 125 of 165 seats. A dozen other parties hold seats in the national assembly, including the Coalition gagnante Wattu SenegalManko Taxawu Sénégal, and Parti de l’unité et du rassemblement.

    Senegal has so far been spared regional security shocks, but activism by terrorist groups in neighboring countries and the higher number of radicals entering the country are factors that risk fueling instability.

    Economic Overview

    Growth has been high, over 6% since 2014, and the forecast remains optimistic, particularly with   oil and gas production expected in 2022. Growth accelerated to over 7% in 2017 and is expected to remain over 6% in 2018 and in the following years. All sectors supported growth in 2018, but agriculture – due to support programs, robust external demand, and large infrastructure investments in the context of Emerging Senegal Plan (Plan Sénégal Emergent or PSE) implementation remain key drivers. Maintaining high growth in the future will require additional efforts to strengthen the efficiency of public investment and to insure the stability of the macroeconomic framework, while sustained reforms to reduce remaining structural constraints would also help boost private investment. Looking forward, growth stands to substantially accelerate when production of offshore oil and gas begins.in 2022.  

    Despite recent advances, additional efforts to strengthen the macro-fiscal framework would be welcome. The fiscal stance remains under pressure due to fixed domestic energy prices in a context of high international oil prices, resulting in lower revenues and higher energy subsidies. As a result, the 2018 deficit increased to 3.5% (from 3% in 2017) and payments to suppliers were delayed. For 2019, Senegal remains committed to a 3% deficit target (WAEMU’s convergence criterium), yet high commodity prices imply continued constraints on the fiscal balance. Senegal may need further efforts to increase revenues and keep public expenditure under control to reach the deficit target. Looking forward, expected oil and gas production would increase fiscal revenues beginning in 2022.

    Public debt continued to increase, but Senegal remains at low risk of distress, partly due to GDP rebasing. Debt (using an expanded perimeter including State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and para-public entities) is estimated to have increased from 60.6% of GDP in 2017 to 64.5% in 2018. This is partially linked to Eurobonds issuance (around $2.2 billion in March 2018) in good financial conditions. GDP rebasing – which increased GDP by about 30% – and buying back expensive debt with part of the Eurobond proceeds helped maintain a low level of debt distress. Continued growth and fiscal discipline would help reduce debt as a share of GDP since 2019.

    The current account deficit remains large, due to high commodity prices and imports of intermediary goods. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) is expected to remain large at 7.3% of GDP in 2018 (similar as in 2017) due to strong energy imports linked to high prices and volumes, but also important intermediary goods and foods imports. High growth and investments also help explain stronger imports. Exports increased rapidly – thanks to strong performance of gold, phosphoric acid and food products – but could not outpace imports. The deficit is expected to worsen in the next few years: large imports linked to important oil and gas investments – but also to high commodity prices – would keep the trade deficit large despite a good export performance. Since 2022, the external balance is expected to improve as oil and gas exploitation and exports start.

    Social Context

    National poverty was last measured in 2011 at 46.7% (national poverty line) and 38% using the international poverty line (US$1.9 PPP). No new household consumption data have been collected since, but strong growth suggests a decrease in monetary poverty, driven by the primary sector in rural areas, and construction and services in urban areas.

    Non-monetary indicators also improved (access to services and assets ownership) but they suggest a stagnation of inequality. Questions on inclusiveness remain pertinent as job creation is insufficient to absorb internal migration and a growing labor force. Furthermore, most labor is informal, entailing low remuneration, underemployment, and limited social protection.

    Poverty should begin to fall faster—from 34% in 2017 to 31.2% in 2020 (IPL)—and by 2020, the decline in the number of poor that started in 2016 should accelerate due to agricultural growth. Under this scenario, poverty reduction in urban areas would be driven by services, remittances, and public construction.

    If PSE reforms continue, the poor would progressively be able to access high growth or value-added sectors, such as horticulture or agricultural processing, while the enhanced pro-poor programs that have been unfolding since 2014–15 (including the adaptive social protection program) may reduce vulnerability and build up the asset base of the poor.

     

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2019

  • World Bank Group Engagement in Senegal

    The World Bank’s active portfolio comprises 22 national IDA investment operations totaling $ 1.8 billion, and nine regional IDA operations worth 332.55 million in commitments. The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) committed portfolio is worth $170 million, while the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency’s (MIGA) gross exposure in Senegal was $106.52 million. 

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2019

  • The World Bank Group has contributed to Senegal’s development performance in various sectors, including:

    Stormwater Management

    The Stormwater Management and Climate Change Adaptation project has allowed Senegal to protect populated, flood-prone areas. Some 137,500 direct beneficiaries (against 90,000 targeted initially) and 571 hectares (against 343 initially targeted) have been protected.

    With the groundwater level (the source of flooding in many areas) lowered from 1 to 2 meters below ground, sanitation has also improved (as the water table drops in septic tanks in poor settlements).

    Water and Sanitation

    The World Bank has supported Senegal for nearly two decades in the water and sanitation sector through successive projects: the Water Sector Project; the Long Term Water Sector Project (PELT); the Water and Sanitation Millennium Project (PEPAM); and the ongoing Senegal Urban Water and Sanitation Project.

    Interventions have yielded the following results: in urban areas, some 206,160 persons gained access to piped water and 82,260 to improved sanitation and, as of April 2017, about 95,000 more gained access to improved water services. In rural areas, some 172,370 people have gained access to safe drinking water, while 193,730 additional people have gained access to improved sanitation.

    Agriculture

    The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), a regional project involving 13 countries, has yielded the following results in Senegal: as many as 423,000 agricultural producers and processors have benefited from the development, dissemination, and adoption of improved agricultural technologies from 2012 to 2015, of which 38% were women.

    WAAPP enabled the agricultural research needed for climate-smart agriculture, generating 14 new, high-yielding, early maturing, drought-resistant varieties of millet, sorghum, and cowpeas. It upgraded core facilities, equipment, and the human capacity of the National Center of Specialization and introduced an important fellowship program for young agricultural researchers, resulting in 170 fellowships—99 for PhDs and 71 for Masters. The program seeks to develop scientific careers, fill gaps in some research field areas, and replace researchers who are retiring.

    An E-subsidy platform was developed to improve the distribution of subsidized inputs; about 800,000 farmers have registered with it so far, out of a goal of one million.

    Social Protection

    The Senegal Safety Net project has registered 442,019 households in the Unique National Registry (about 30% of the population), and the National Cash Transfer Program (Programme National de Bourses de Sécurité Familiale) has reached its final target of about 300,000 beneficiary households (about 20% of the population). 

    PARTNERS

    Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal. Progress has been made to streamline development assistance in keeping with the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2019

  • Most bilateral and multilateral development agencies have an active presence in Senegal. Progress has been made to streamline development assistance in keeping with the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda.

    Last Updated: Apr 13, 2019

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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
Corniche Ouest X
Rue Léon Gontran Damas
Dakar, Senegal
+221-33-859-41-00
For general information and inquiries
Mademba Ndiaye
Sr. Communications Officer
+221-33-859-41-00
mademba@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
senegalalert@worldbank.org