Plane at the Leopold Sedar Senghor airport in Dakar, Senegal, with the African Renaissance monument in the background

Senegal A reform-oriented and established democracy

Located in the extreme west of Africa, Senegal has a long democratic tradition and is politically largely stable. Since the country's independence in 1960 it has enjoyed uninterrupted civilian rule and has a constitution enshrining the rule of law. Senegal pursues active peace efforts and pan-African efforts, which makes the country an important stabilising force in the region and for the entire continent.

Straight to
Fish market in Saint Louis, Senegal

Senegal's economy has grown considerably in the last few years. However, the development of the country is being hampered by food crises, strong population growth and a high rate of unemployment. Senegal managed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic rather well, yet its economic fallout is still being felt very clearly. The impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine has caused disrupted supply chains in Senegal, sharp rises in the cost of living, inflation and growing sovereign debt.

President Macky Sall has presented an ambitious government and economic recovery programme. By 2035, the government wants Senegal to have graduated from the least developed country category, achieving the status of an emerging economy. The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) currently ranks the Republic of Senegal 170th out of 191 countries.

German development cooperation with Senegal

(External link)Germany and Senegal can look back on a long tradition of development cooperation. Germany is one of Senegal's top five bilateral donors.

In 2019, Germany and Senegal agreed a reform partnership under the G20 Compact with Africa initiative. It is intended to improve the environment for private investment and thus create more employment. Very close cooperation has grown from the reform partnership. The focus is on the following core areas:

  • Peaceful and inclusive societies
    Area of intervention: good governance
  • Sustainable economic development, training and employment
    Areas of intervention: technical and vocational education and training, private sector and financial sector development
  • Climate and energy, just transition
    Areas of intervention: renewable energy and energy efficiency; sustainable urban development
  • Health, social protection and population policy
    Area of intervention: health, pandemics and One Health

In 2022, the German Development Ministry (BMZ) approved funding totalling 128 million euros for the cooperation with Senegal. 68 million euros are being provided in the form of budget support. This funding flows directly into the country’s budget and can be used by the partner government with complete autonomy – in compliance with pre-defined rules. Structural reforms in the area of public finance, improvements of the business environment and initiatives to increase the resilience against the consequences of climate change are prerequisites for the disbursement of the funds.


Since 2017, Senegal has been a target country for the BMZ programme on migration and development. In 2018, a German-Senegalese migration advice centre (External link) was opened in the country’s capital of Dakar. Together with local projects under German development cooperation, the centre is offering advice on social and job opportunities on the ground and assistance in finding training and psychosocial support and is helping returning migrants to acquire vocational training and find jobs. In the long run, the partner is to assume full ownership and responsibility for operating the centre.

Close partnership Creating jobs and fostering private investments

The overarching goals of the Senegalese-German partnership are the development of the private sector, the creation of jobs, and better training for the workforce. An additional objective is to increase the effectiveness of the administration so that it can provide better support to small companies that have so far been operating informally to help them transition to the formal sector.

The biggest hurdles for companies are in the areas of labour law, land law, access to loans and vocational training. Under the partnership, Senegal has committed to carry out reforms in these areas. In return, the BMZ is providing support to the reform programme through a range of measures.

The partnership is being complemented by the Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition”. Under the heading “Invest for Jobs (External link)”, the special initiative supports companies in making investments that lead to job creation and training opportunities and thus open up opportunities for a better future, in particular for young people. The initiative fosters attractive sites for business activity and growth sectors, the development of practice-oriented training and degree courses and the development of business relations between medium-sized companies in Senegal and like companies in Europe and especially Germany.

Since 2019 the partnership has evolved in line with needs on the ground. New key aspects of the cooperation are a just energy transition, higher crises resilience, the development of local markets for medicinal products and targeted support to empower women and girls.

Postcolonial architecture in Dakar, Senegal

Core area “Peaceful and inclusive societies” Modernising administration, implementing reforms more effectively Internal link

The Senegalese government has launched a reform and investment programme and set the goal for Senegal to become an emerging economy by 2035. The BMZ is supporting the Senegalese government in these efforts. However, the administration is not yet strong enough to successfully implement the reforms and deliver the policies needed to foster economic development.

Street scene in Dakar, Senegal

Core area “Sustainable economic development, training and employment” Loans for small companies, better training for young people Internal link

It is Senegal's micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that are the backbone of the economy. Yet so far, they can hardly access loans and can therefore not make any investments, expand their business or employ new staff. Through its activities in Senegal Germany wants to contribute to giving MSMEs better access to financial services.

Street lighting through a solar-powered mini power grid in a village in Senegal

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Climate-friendly and reliable power supply Internal link

A shortage of energy is one of the main constraints to development in Senegal. Not quite half of the rural population has access to electricity. Germany is contributing to expanding energy supply in a climate-friendly way. Germany’s support is part of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) which the G7 heads of state and government agreed with Senegal in June 2023.

Production of antigen tests at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal

Core area “Health, social protection and population policy” Developing local markets for medicinal products Internal link

Africa’s dependence on vaccine and drug imports from abroad has been thrown into sharp focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. The continent needs its own production facilities in order to improve supply. That is why Germany has been supporting the Senegalese government in its efforts to comprehensively develop the country’s pharmaceuticals sector.

Current situation

Fish market in Saint Louis, Senegal
A young woman in Senegal
The port of Dakar, Senegal

As at: 22/06/2023