Senegal is one of the world’s poorest countries. It ranked 170th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2015 Human Development Index. Wealth distribution in the country is very unequal, with a higher poverty rate in rural areas.

Senegal currently has approximately 15.13 million inhabitants (2015). Senegal’s population is young: an estimated 62% of Senegalese are under the age of 25. The country has low productivity and very high levels of unemployment and underemployment, especially among youth. Not everyone has access to basic education, and illiteracy is widespread, especially among women and girls. Environmental degradation is hindering development in some regions, where food security is threatened by such things as accelerating soil erosion, salinization and the disappearance of vegetation. Drought in the Sahel is exposing Senegal to recurring food and nutrition crises.

Despite challenges hampering its development, Senegal has significant socio-economic potential. Following a cycle of weak economic growth over the 2006-2013 period, good progress has been made in the past two years, with economic growth rates of 4.5% (2014) and 5.1% (2015). For 2016, the International Monetary Fund is forecasting a growth rate of 5.9%. Senegal hopes to become an emerging country by 2035.Senegal plays a lead role in Africa. It is an example of democracy and political stability in West Africa. The transition of power following the presidential elections of March 2012 and the legislative elections of July 2012 demonstrates the maturity of Senegal’s democratic tradition. The next presidential election is expected to be held in 2019.

In its new strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction—the Emerging Senegal Plan—introduced in February 2014, Senegal outlined its development priorities based on the following three key areas:

  • growth and development of new sectors that generate wealth, jobs and social inclusion;
  • improving living conditions for the populace and addressing social inequalities; and
  • governance, institutions, peace and security (including human rights).

Find out what Canada is doing to support development in Senegal.

Thematic focus

Senegal is a country of focus for the Government of Canada's international development efforts. Since 1962, Canada has been one of Senegal’s development partners and has invested more than $1.3 billion in official development assistance there.

Canada’s activities in Senegal are aimed at reducing poverty and fostering sustainable and inclusive economic growth for all Senegalese. This is in line with the objectives set out in the Emerging Senegal Plan. To achieve this, Canada focuses its support on actions targeting three priority themes: children and youth, food safety and nutrition, and sustainable economic growth. Governance, the environment and gender equality are cross-cutting themes in all of Canada’s interventions in Senegal.

On November 12, 2013, Canada and Senegal signed the Mutual Accountability Framework for development cooperation. This agreement is the first of its kind for Canadian cooperation. The goal of the framework is to reaffirm the foundations of transparent, effective and sustainable cooperation. The framework includes clear commitments, anticipated results and rigorous monitoring processes.

Children and youth

Canada aims to secure the future of children and youth by supporting the Government of Senegal to ensure that girls and boys have access to quality education and vocational training. Canada is also working in partnership with the Senegalese government and with multilateral and Canadian organizations to enhance the protection of children and youth who are marginalized by the education system to create a school environment that is safe and respectful of their rights, including girls’ rights.

Key anticipated results

  • Increased elementary school completion rates for boys and girls owing to inclusive, safe, violence-free and gender sensitive schools.
  • Delivery, by Senegalese ministries, of a more inclusive, fairer and higher quality education program for youth, particularly for girls and women.

Food security

Canada’s development program in Senegal seeks to increase food safety by promoting sustainable agricultural development and improving maternal and child nutrition. With support from its partners, Canada aims to strengthen the capabilities of farmers, particularly women, to source higher quality inputs and new technologies to increase productivity, and to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices.

Key anticipated results

  • Increased productivity, including of nutritious food, by farm producers.
  • Increased consumption of nutritious agricultural products by the Senegalese population, particularly women and children.

Sustainable Economic Growth

Canada supports Senegal in implementing the Emerging Senegal Plan to engage the country in strong, inclusive and job-creating growth. To stimulate sustainable economic growth in Senegal, Canada supports the implementation of reforms to improve public financial management and create an environment that is conducive to investment in key sectors of the Senegalese economy.

Key anticipated results

  • Increased effectiveness of Senegal’s institutional framework in implementing public policies and programs.

Ensuring aid effectiveness

Senegal adheres to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. Under the leadership of Senegal’s government, donor harmonization and coordination is improving from year to year, prompting the government to take more and more responsibility for development, and leading to increasingly effective donor cooperation.

Donor coordination

There is a well-organized division of labour among the donors that are contributing to Senegal’s development. Canada the G-7 group supporting the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Canada is also coordinating the donors of the “Scaling Up Nutrition” Movement in Senegal and is one of the leading bilateral donors in the field of education, which provides Canada with the opportunity to further contribute to improving aid coordination and harmonization.



Achievements 2015-2016

Children and youth

  • In the education sector, Canada’s assistance has helped distribute 3.3 million textbooks to date and improve access to and the quality of primary education for 1.8 million Senegalese girls and boys.
  • With Canada’s support, significant progress has been made in the education and vocational training sector to improve gender equality in Senegal. In 2015-2016, 141 women were appointed to positions of responsibility within Senegal’s Ministry of National Education and Ministry of Vocational Training, Learning and Craft Industries.
  • Advances have been made in promoting girls’ access to vocational training in traditionally male sectors. As part of the Canada-funded Support to Learning Development and Integration Project, 126 young girls were trained in various career-developing occupations, including in primarily male-dominated sectors, representing an important lever for reducing access, integration and retention inequalities.

Food security

  • With Canada’s support, the creation of a major investment fund made available to rice producers in the Senegal River Valley helped 1,735 women acquire equipment and infrastructure better adapted to their needs, allowing them to increase their processing capacity and improve the quality and market value of marketed rice.
  • The introduction and use of innovative technologies is also an important breakthrough for Senegalese women. Thanks to the Economic Development of Casamance Program, a Canada-supported initiative of Senegal’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, today, 1,581 women are using higher performing technologies that are helping them increase the productivity of their agricultural activities and better respond to market requirements.

Sustainable Economic Growth

  • Canada supported the Government of Senegal in implementing the Emerging Senegal Plan and key reforms to enhance the performance of its public institutions and the growth of its economy. Canada contributed to the creation of the National Office for the Fight Against Fraud and Corruption, improved the functioning of the Court of Auditors (equivalent to the Auditor General of Canada) and assisted the Government’s efforts to improve public financial management.

2014-2015 international assistance disbursements to Senegal (in millions of dollars)

Global Affairs Canada65.54
Other departments and sources1.06