Home to about 15 million people according to the 2016 population census, the western African nation of Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, and Guinea-Bissau to the southwest.
Like many African countries scattered over Africa, Senegal was under colonial rule having been a colony of the French since the mid-17th century but later regained independence on April 4 1960.
Léopold Sédar Senghor, a well-known and respected intellectual and poet, was elected the first president of independent Senegal.
Currently, Senegal is under the leadership of Macky Sall who took over the political reins from former president Abdoula Wade in the 2012 presidential election run off.
Senegal has been lauded as one of the most stable countries in Africa with three peaceful political transitions and four presidents since independence in 1960: Leopold Sedar Senghor (1960–1980), Abdou Diouf (1981–2000), Abdoulaye Wade (2000–2012) and, since March 2012, Macky Sall.
The generally peaceful environment which prevails in the country is fertile ground for would be investors in the African country.
The Senegalese economy is driven by a robust mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture sector which is the primary source of employment in rural areas.
Its macroeconomic performance in 2016 was pleasing with economic growth stable at 6.6percent after an only slightly lower growth rate of 6.5percent in 2015, making Senegal the second fastest growing economy in West Africa behind Côte d’Ivoire, and the fourth fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Industry which plays a pivotal role in the success of a country continues to enjoy unassailable growth in Senegal. In 2016, industry speeded to 6.8percent with strong performances by extractives, food, and chemicals, while services—more than half of Senegal’s total GDP—also expanded, though at 5.6percent.
Advances in transport and financial services coupled by good reforms and public investment under the Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE), good weather, and affordable oil precipitated service expansion.
Exports in the West African country continue to increase at a relatively faster rate than imports resulting in its current account deficit falling from 7.0percent of GDP in 2015 to 6.5percent.
As a fast growing economic nation, Senegal is an attractive business destination where investors can come in and do business.
In its assessment of the nation, global audit and financial consultancy firm Deloitte experts said: “Senegal offers a stable political environment, a favourable geographic position and strong institutions with growing opportunities for foreign investment.”
This is because it boasts of a quality human resources pool, an attractive legal and fiscal framework that emphasises on investor protection as well as a healthy and competitive economy.
There are various lucrative sectors that are yearning out for investment in this nation.
The oil, gas and mining sector is one such area of investment. The country hunger to enhance oil exploration and investment has drawn the attention of foreign oil, gas and mining (OGM) companies.
Strategic exploration has been fixated on the fruitful Mauritania-Senegal-Guinea Bissau Basin. The basin – as its name indicates – covers a few neighbouring countries.
OGM companies consider the basin as an entry point into West Africa and an opportunity to build a regional presence.
These companies bring the same aspirations to the region, and companies look to foreign investors to aid their expansion.
Purchasing additional drilling equipment does not come at a cheap price. But, if the industry’s success matches just half of Senegal’s economic ambitions for it, the returns will be worth substantially more than the cost.
Main cities in Senegal have seen a significant rise in construction work as authorities seek to give a facelift to existing infrastructure, from ports to roads.
This has increased demand for heavy industry supplies, particularly in the cement sector. A strong regional demand for construction supplies adds another significant boost to the sector.
An executive from Senegalese transport logistics company Bollore Africa Logistics was quoted as saying dilapidated transport infrastructure requires capable and competent providers, a reason the strongest companies can earn great returns especially in cement and steel sectors adding that regional production and supply also provides an opportunity for supplying differing price points.
With its 700 km of fine sand, and gifted with a mild and pleasant climate, Senegal, which is around six and a half hours from New-York by plane, and only five hours from the main European capitals, is the first destination in black Francophone Africa.
It has a thriving tourism sector that is ranked second after the fishing sector.
The country which is a celebrated tourist destination and a cultural and leisure centre offers good investment opportunities as it has so much potential and development opportunities as far as tourism is concerned.
Senegal is also the major sub regional destination for health tourism, and newly established clinics are experiencing significant growth.
Due to its geographical position and its degree of openness, the nation now attracts service sector investments, particularly in the health sector.
Foundations for growth in the high added value sector of health are strong: Biomedical research, clinical trials, pharmaceuticals and phytopharmaceuticals are ripe for substantial development.
Other investment opportunities in the sector crying out for recognition include Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Neurology, Nephrology and the treatment of kidney diseases, Laser surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology and Medical Imaging, Rheumatology and Urology.
Biomedical research, genetics, microbiology, convalescence and well-being centers, plastic reconstructive surgery and pharmaceuticals are areas investors can also look at.