SENEGAL

FIGURES, DATA, FACTS:

Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa, located directly on the Atlantic Ocean coastline, with a total area of 196,712 square kilometers where is living a population estimated to 17 million d‘habitants Senegalese (2021). The country is bordered by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast and Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal nearly surrounds the Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal’s southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal’s economic and political capital is Dakar. Main part of people live in modern cities. The capital, Dakar proper has a population of 1,030,594, whereas the population of the Dakar metropolitan area is estimated at 3.94 million in 2021. Besides Dakar, the most populated and dynamic cities are Thiès, Touba and Kaolack.

ECONOMY

Senegal is the second largest economy in West Africa behind Ivory Coast and is considered one of the most prosperous and stable countries in Africa, both economically and politically. This is very attractive for investors and partners, so the country is very active in terms of international cooperation. Moreover, Senegal has been a reform partner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since November 2019, along with Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Morocco, Togo and Tunisia.

The primary sector (16.5% of GDP, 50% of the active population) remains particularly exposed to climate change and the volatility of the commodities prices. The secondary sector is developing (25.6% of GDP with gold mining, phosphates, cement, agri-food, industry, and construction) as well as tertiary sector activities in which telecommunications play a major role. Recent discoveries of oil and gas should increase the value added in the near future.

The private sector remains strongly dominated by the informal sector. Unemployment and high cost of living remains the main concern of Senegalese population, especially among young people, whose lack of jobs is relatively high. Hopefully, facing these problems, entrepreneurship has developed strongly over the last years bringing a growing dynamism. In the capital Dakar, the city is buzzing with investors, businessmen and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

RELIGION AND CULTURE

The coexistence of the 20 or so ethnic groups works without conflicts, and most Senegalese belong to the Muslim faith. As in other African countries, more attention and faith is given to the spoken word than to the written word in Senegal. This is one reason why radio stations, podcasts and voice messages via messaging services are very popular. Even though it is estimated that more than 90 percent of Senegalese speak or understand Wolof, the officially recognized language of the country, the official language is still French – it is spoken at secondary schools, in parliament and in courtrooms – and English also goes a long way in business.

HISTORY TEXTILE INDUSTRY

Senegalese cotton is sold all over the world and is recognized as being of excellent quality. Even if many spinning mills, circular knitting mills, and weaving mills are currently at a standstill: Senegal can look back on a long history of textile production that is just waiting to be revived. Especially between 1970 and 1990, the industry flourished, creating tens of thousands of jobs, and exporting a large proportion of its clothing to other West African countries. If one goes back even further in textile history, one quickly comes across the special significance of the Mandjak weaving style, which creates a firm yet supple fabric with symbolic motifs – not least for the traditional loincloth, the pagne. Young designers and artists are becoming aware of this elaborate weave again and are reinterpreting it. It is also important to note that Senegal is a country of artisans and fashion designers where traditional and modern clothing is a daily lifestyle.

Dakar is especially famous for the well-known rally-raid, in which motorcycles, quads, trucks and cars participate on vast stretches of land without marked trails. But the city is also a dynamic and creative. In December 2021, the luxury fashion house Chanel chose Dakar to present its Métiers d’art 2022/23 CHANEL collection. The luxury label said in a statement that by choosing Dakar, it “intends to resonate the expertise of its crafts with the artistic and cultural energy of the city“. Everything leads us to believe that the Senegalese capital will become at this flow the city highlighting African fashion.

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