Senegal Market Entry

Senegal Market Entry


  • Market entry
  • Forms and conditions of operation on the market
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Issues of intellectual property protection
  • Public procurement market
  • Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
  • Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
  • Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
  • Fairs and events

Market entry

The most common way to enter the Senegalese market is to find a person interested in goods or services, or those interested in representation, distribution (exclusive/non-exclusive). The local market is difficult to process remotely. Before the implementation of cooperation, in Senegalese conditions, personal contact is necessary within the framework of the visit, preferably reciprocal (ie at least one meeting in Senegal and one meeting in the Czech Republic). Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Senegal.

The way distribution and sales channels are used depends on the commodity, the company’s strategy and the length of its presence in the local market. Foreign goods are imported to Senegal mainly through the port of Dakar. Foreign importers should use the services of a sales representative or distributor/dealer. Agent commissions vary radically from case to case, depending on the deal. The Senegalese market is relatively well stocked, but there are many types of goods that would certainly find a buyer – but the key is the price. For comparable products, the cheaper offer wins.

Distribution companies are often family businesses without specialization in specific goods. The chain of supermarkets is mainly located in Dakar – these are the Casino and Auchan brands. In addition to the wholesale distribution system, the country has a highly developed system of small distributors, often of Lebanese origin, who provide one-off distribution without specialization. Recently, these distributors have been joined by a fairly large number of members of the new Chinese community in Senegal, who target the cheap goods sold on the streets of Dakar and other larger cities. Informal distribution channels are certainly the largest share of the country’s business activities, e.g. Dakar’s Sandaga market is the center of distribution of West African handicrafts and traditional products.

The customs system is declaratory, the exporter or importer must use the services of a “transitor” who works with the Customs Administration. After registering the goods, they will be physically checked and customs fees paid. From 1/1/2015, the customs duty is governed by the External Common Tariff (TEC) of CEDEAO, which strengthens the customs unity of the Economic Community of West African countries and offers 4 tariff bands according to the type of goods from 0 to 20%. 5th zone – 35% is intended for the protection of strategic goods from the point of view of the development of the region. There are no restrictions on the export of legally purchased goods, food products undergo phytosanitary control. Before export, a customs declaration must be made, after which the goods will be physically inspected. Senegal has signed WTO agreements and therefore respects the free exchange of goods. However, time-limited protection is applied in the case of onion production. 28. 2.

Forms and conditions of operation on the market

Steps required to set up a company in Senegal:

processing of the application for the establishment of the relevant business entity (notary public)
issuance of a business card (chamber of commerce)
registration in the commercial register (chamber of commerce)
issuance of an Export / Import certificate (chamber of commerce) obtaining the RCCM
registration number, NINEA and COFI matriculation numbers
long-term residence permit in the territory of Senegal (on site at the foreign police)

The Senegalese trade policy contains several incentive steps for the establishment of joint ventures (Senegalese law does not recognize the concept of “joint-venture”, in such a case the companies merge into s.r.o.). In general, it is recommended to clearly delineate the area of ​​responsibility of the individual partners in the founding agreement, as the Senegalese side often believes that all external costs are automatically covered by the foreign investor.
Licensing agreements are commonly practiced in Senegal in the field of tobacco products, soft drink production and food. The amount and terms of payment of royalties and fees, including local taxes, must be precisely defined in the text of the agreement.
There is a Single Investment Office (Guichet unique d’Investissement) in the country, within the APIX agency. Its goal is to assist those interested in establishing businesses or “joint-ventures”. The office accepts applications for the establishment of companies and has generally reduced the time required to establish a company from 60 to 10 days. In addition, every company founder needs the assistance of a local notary, whose specialty is contracts, and who will take on the task of registering a new company in the local commercial register – OHADA.
The most frequently used forms for business are s.r.o. (SARL) and a.s. (SA). To establish a company, at least one owner is required and as a minimum the company’s capital is only 100,000 FCFA (approx. 4,000 CZK).

Marketing and communication

All promotional materials and technical documentation for the Senegalese market must be prepared in French. Good photo documentation should be an essential part of promotional materials.
Simple instructions in French, product demonstration, sample provision and personal visits to the distributor are essential for successful sales. It is advisable to provide service through trained local technicians, especially for consumer goods.
The most widespread form of product promotion in Senegal is radio and television – you can use one of the television channels or radio stations that often publish commercial advertising.
Local newspapers and periodicals (e.g. weekly Le Journal de l’Economie) can be used for advertising. Press publicity will primarily target consumers from Dakar and other large cities.
The use of the Internet is also of increasing importance, for example advertising on news servers such as, or
Other popular means of publicity in larger cities are billboards or mass texting – everything must be in French, ideally also in the local Wolof language. Effective targeted promotion can be carried out directly in supermarkets.

Issues of intellectual property protection

Senegal is a signatory to the Berlin Copyright Agreement and a signatory to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS) of the WTO. It is also a member of the OAPI (African Organization for Intellectual Property), which brings together 17 francophone countries in Africa, among which a common system has been established for obtaining and maintaining patent, trademark and industrial design protection. Rights registered in one of these countries are valid in all other member countries at the same time. Patent protection is valid for 20 years, trademarks/trademarks for 20 years from registration, and protection can be extended without limitation.

In practice, however, the intellectual property protection system is completely inadequate. The Senegalese Criminal Code does not provide for the possibility of criminal prosecution in the case of copying a brand or copyright infringement. The Senegalese Copyright Office (BSDA) has difficulty catching hackers, sellers and distributors of copies of CDs and DVDs, etc. due to a limited budget. However, BSDA tries to fight illegal sales – for example, with a nationwide campaign against piracy or incentives for consumers to buy original software.

Useful IP contacts:
Bureau Sénégalais des Droits d’Auteur (BSDA) (Senegalese Copyright Office)
7, Rue Saint Michel X Ngalandou Diouf
Tel: +221 338 89 01 86

Public procurement market

Public contracts are governed by a special code (Code des marchés publics) – Decree No. 2014-1212 of 22 September 2014, which replaced Decree 2011-1048 (of 27 July 2011) – and are posted on a special website of the Portail des Marchés publics du Sénégal.

Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes

Senegal has a progressive trade and investment code, but it lags behind in practice. Disputes are recommended to be prevented by high-quality texts of business contracts and possibly an agreement, regular inspections at the place of business and the services of a good and reliable local lawyer. Small disputes are usually resolved with the relevant department of the Ministry or, preferably, with the help of local arbitration created ad hoc for the given case.

A criminal report can be filed against the debtor at the police station, or through a court of law through a court tribunal through a lawyer. However, legal proceedings can be costly and time-consuming, and the final verdict is sometimes non-transparent. Given that Senegal is a member of the Washington Agreement on the Settlement of Investment Disputes, it is recommended to include a clause in the investment agreement on the possibility of international arbitration in the event of a dispute, as Senegal and the Czech Republic have not yet concluded an Agreement on the Protection of Investments.

The main problems are:
· Lengthy administrative and judicial processes
· Unstable payment morals
· Delays in import and export formalities
· Corruption of public officials

The most common payment instrument is an irrevocable or documentary letter of credit. Payment is usually made in EUR or USD. Proforma invoices and final invoices must be issued in French. For the first contracts, it is recommended to request payment in advance. The payment morale of individual Senegalese clients is very different, usually unstable. The most solid partners are long-established merchants and owners originally from Lebanon or France. More also on the website of the Council of European Investors in Senegal.

Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory

EU citizens can stay in Senegal for 90 days without a visa. When traveling, it is necessary to observe safety conditions as in other countries, Senegal is not a country with increased crime.

For short and long distances, you can use the ubiquitous and affordable taxi service (don’t be afraid to negotiate the price). When walking, it is recommended to watch your purse/backpack, there are cases of theft from passing scooters. At night, more caution is in order when moving on the street, especially in the unlit parts of Dakar. At night, local drivers often drive without lights and there is a risk of traffic accidents.

There are a number of accommodation facilities in Senegal, from individual apartment rentals to Aibnb-type platforms to large hotel chains and resorts.

Tap water is not suitable for consumption due to the increased chlorine content, so bottled water is recommended (almost mandatory outside of Dakar).

The connection between the airport and the city center is provided by either a taxi service or public bus transport.

In large hotels and restaurants, you can pay by credit card, but most other transactions are done in cash. ATMs are located in tourist areas.

Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic

In the case of an application for a work permit and a long-term residence permit, which are essentially the same, you need to contact the Ministry of the Interior and apply for a residence card. There is no possibility to submit an application at the relevant ZÚ. The following documents are required (translated into French): passport photo, birth certificate, extract from the criminal record, completed form, employment certificate, medical certificate, stamp duty.

Salaries vary dramatically depending on the employer and the type of contract (local/international). As of December 2019, the hourly minimum wage is 334 FCFA (1CZK). The monthly minimum wage is 58,900 FCFA (CZK 2,266).

Senegal’s social security system for employees covers all risks except unemployment. Self-employed persons are not covered by the social security system. However, they can voluntarily subscribe to insurance: accidents at work with the Social Security Fund (CSS), illnesses by taking out private insurance. The employee’s or employee’s insurance covers his/her spouse and children.

The prices of medical procedures are relatively expensive, for example, you will pay approximately CZK 23,000 for a hearing aid without insurance. The maternity allowance is a total of CZK 2,500. The health risk is not guaranteed by the Social Security Law (Law 73.37 of July 31, 1973), but by the provisions of the Labor Code resulting from Law No. 75-50 of April 3, 1975 (relating to social security institutions). The Ministry of Labour, Social Dialogue, Professional Associations and Relations with Institutions has implemented a reform of compulsory health insurance (AMO), introducing universal health insurance (CMU). This reform, which entered into force in March 2013, requires employers of companies with more than 100 employees to create or register their employees with a health insurance institution (IPM).

Health care is provided to the entire population in the following structures:
· at the local and municipal level by health stations that are staffed by nurses
· at the district level by health centers
· at the regional level by specialized health centers (dispensaries)
· at the national level by hospitals and faculty hospital centers.

Medical emergency:
· SOS Médecins: +221 33 889 15 15
· “SUMA”: +221 33 824 24 18

The most important medical facilities in Dakar:
Hôpital Principal de Dakar
Clinique privée de la Madeleine
Institut Pasteur
Clinique Casahous
Clinique du Cap

Fairs and events

The Dakar International Fair (FIDAK) is one of the largest exhibition and sales events in the West African region, held annually in late November and December

The International Fair of Medical and Healthcare Technology and Equipment (SISDAK) in Dakar, usually takes place in June

The International Fair of Agricultural Technology and the Food Industry (SIAGRO), which takes place in Dakar every two years

Dakar International Trade Fair for Construction and Building Materials, Machinery and Equipment (SENCON), usually held in February

More detailed information on the holding of trade fairs can be obtained on the website of the Senegal Fair Center:

Senegal Market Entry