The West African country Senegal shipped US$4.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 59.8% uptick since 2015 and a 15.2% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the West African CFA franc appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. Senegal’s weaker local currency since 2018 makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers during 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 74.7% of products exported from Senegal were bought by importers in: Mali (23% of the global total), Switzerland (14.7%), India (8.7%), China (6.6%), Ivory Coast (3.8%), Spain (3.6%), Guinea (3.2%), United States (3.2%), Italy (2.4%), France (2.1%), Gambia (1.9%) and Mauritania (1.6%).
From a continental perspective, about 45% of Senegal’s exports by value were delivered to fellow African countries while almost 30% were sold to importers in Europe. Senegal shipped another 19.9% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to North America (3.3%), Latin America (0.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Senegal’s population of 16.8 million people, its total $4.2 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $250 for every resident in the West African nation.
Senegal’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Senegalese global shipments during 2019 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Senegal.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$831.1 million (19.9% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $641.9 million (15.4%)
- Fish: $495.9 million (11.9%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $340.4 million (8.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $196.9 million (4.7%)
- Oil seeds: $195.3 million (4.7%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $193.6 million (4.6%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $144.6 million (3.5%)
- Iron, steel: $102 million (2.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $100.4 million (2.4%)
The Republic of Senegal’s top 10 exports accounted for almost four-fifths (77.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Oil seeds represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 131.5% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was the mineral fuels including oil category via a 45.4% gain led by refined petroleum oils. Senegal’s shipments of fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 45.3%.
The leading decliner among Senegal’s top 10 export categories was salt, sulphur, stone and cement thanks to a -6.1% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, refined petroleum oils were Senegal’s most valuable exported product at 19.2% of the country’s total. In second place was unwrought gold (15.4%) trailed by phosphoric and polyphosphoric acids (8%), frozen whole fish 6.3%), unroasted ground-nuts (4.6%), hydraulic cements (3.2%), soups and broths (3.1%), moluscs (3%), niobium or zirconium ores and concentrates (2.5%) then titanium ores and concentrates (2.2%).
The following types of Senegalese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Gems, precious metals: US$638.3 million (Up by 13.8% since 2018)
- Fish: $435.8 million (Up by 12.2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $288 million (Up by 18.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $194.3 million (Up by 9.8%)
- Oil seeds: $169.4 million (Up by 178.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $99.9 million (Up by 45%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $78 million (Down by -6.1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $64 million (Up by 265.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $58.2 million (Up by 77.8%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $37.1 million (Up by 5%)
Senegal has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Senegal’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals category.
Overall, Senegal incurred a -$4 billion trade deficit for 2019, down by -10.8% from -$4.4 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Senegal that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Senegal’s goods trail Senegalese importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.3 billion (Down by -24.4% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$695.8 million (Up by 20.3%)
- Cereals: -$543.6 million (Down by -19.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$521.3 million (Up by 25.5%)
- Vehicles: -$468.3 million (Down by -11.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$256.8 million (Up by 10.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$247.6 million (Down by -1.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$199.1 million (Down by -14.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$191.3 million (Up by 3.6%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$189.1 million (Up by 41.3%)
Senegal has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits notably for petroleum oils, coal and petroleum gases under the mineral fuels-related category.
Senegalese Export Companies
Not one Senegalese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists export-related companies from Senegal. Selected examples are shown below:
- Dakar–Niger Railway (industrial transportation)
- Groupement Aérien Sénégalais (airliner)
- Senelec (electricity)
- Sonatel (telecommunications)
In macroeconomic terms, Senegal’s total exported goods represent 6.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($64.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 4.4% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Senegal’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Senegal’s unemployment rate was 19.1% at March 2019 up from 15.1% in December 2018, according to Trading Economics.
Senegal’s capital city is Dakar.
See also Top African Export Countries, Perfumes Exporters by Country and Rice Exports by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Senegal. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Senegal. Accessed on March 2, 2020