Senegal: Doing business and staying in touch
Doing Business in Senegal
A lightweight suit is advised. French will generally be needed for meetings. Appointments should be made and punctuality is expected, despite the fact that a customer may be slightly late. Business cards are essential, preferably in French and English. The right hand should be used for handshakes and to pass items. The period from July to October should be avoided for business visits, as many people are on holiday.
Mon-Fri 0800-1300 and 1400-1700. During Ramadan, some offices open 0730-1430.
Senegal is the second most industrialised country in French West Africa. In 2007, Senegal signed agreements for major new mining concessions for iron, zircon and gold with foreign companies. There are thought to be oil reserves both on- and offshore.
The country's main export commodity is groundnuts, and the farming industry also produces millet, sorghum, maize, rice and vegetables for domestic consumption. Fish products have become an important export commodity, and the government also accumulates revenues from the sale of fishing licences to other countries, mostly from the EU.
GDP growth in 2013 was up 4.1% and it is forecasted to grow at a rate of 4.9% for the next 4 years. Inflation stood at 0.8% in 2013, but official unemployment rates, from 2007, remain high at 48%.
US $15.36 billion (2013).
Fish, peanuts, cotton, petroleum products and phosphate products.
Food and beverages, capital goods, transport equipment, fuels and computer equipment.
Main trading partners
France, India, Switzerland, Nigeria, China
Keeping in Touch in Senegal
Senegal's telephone network is extensive, with landlines in use throughout the country. However, since the advent of mobiles, these have taken over in popularity. It is still possible to make international calls using a prepaid calling card.
Mobile phone coverage is limited to the main cities and tourist areas. Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies.
There are internet cafes in Dakar, Saint Louis and other major towns. However, out in rural villages, don't expect to be able to get online; and if you do find a connection, it is more likely to be a slow dial-up than super-fast broadband.
Senegal's constitution guarantees freedom of the news media, although there are laws prohibiting reports that discredit the state or incite disorder. Still, the country has traditionally enjoyed a liberal media climate, and private media frequently criticise the government. In recent years, however, there have been a number of attacks on journalists. Publications must be registered, but foreign publications circulate freely and multichannel pay-TV is readily available.
Le Soleil is the state-owned daily whilst Sud Quotidien and Wal Fadjri are privately published. Radiodiffusion Television Senegalaise (RTS) is the state-run national broadcaster that operates the RTS1 and RTS2 TV channels. The RT Salso operates the Chaine Nationale and Chaine Internationale networks, the capital's 94.5 FM and Dakar FM, as well as four regional services. Sud FM is a private station available in Dakar and other cities, whilst Radio Nostalgie is a Dakar-based private station. Sept FM is a private Dakar station operated by Groupe Com 7, while Walf FM is operated by Groupe Wal Fadjri. BBC World Service and Radio France Internationale are available on FM in Dakar.
Airmail to Europe takes between seven and 10 days, and surface mail between two and six weeks.