France and Senegal

Political relations

Relations between Senegal and France are close and multi-faceted, and political leaders from the two countries meet often. Senegal is the only sub-Saharan African country with which France holds an intergovernmental seminar every year (alternating between Dakar and Paris).

Bilateral visits

  • Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, visited Dakar on 13 July 2017.
  • Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, visited Dakar on 15 June 2017.
  • President Macky Sall met with President Emmanuel Macron on 12 June 2017.
  • Michel Sapin, Minister of the Economy and Finance, visited Dakar on 16 June 2017.
  • President Sall attended a meeting and dinner at the Élysée Palace on 22 March 2017.
  • Jean Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, met with his counterpart, Mankeur Ndiaye, on 21 February 2017.
  • President Sall made a State visit from 18 to 22 December 2016.
  • Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Amadou Ba, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Planning, visited Paris to attend the Open Government Partnership Summit in Paris from 7 to 9 December 2016.
  • Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, participated in the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa on 5 and 6 December 2016.
  • Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, visited Senegal on 7 and 8 October 2016.
  • An intergovernmental seminar was held in Dakar on 22 and 23 September 2016, attended by Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

Economic relations

France is the leading investor in Senegal and its number one trading partner. France posted a trade surplus totalling €834.2 million in 2016.

With more than 78% of FDI stock (€2.2 billion in 2015), France remains the top investor in Senegal.

Despite a still-+difficult business environment, Senegal presents interesting investment opportunities for French companies. These companies play a significant role in the country’s economic vitality, accounting for 25% of GDP and tax revenues.

The recent discovery of hydrocarbons (gas and oil fields in 2014) could change Senegal’s economic situation in the coming years. TOTAL, already working in Senegal in the area of distribution, is establishing its position in exploration and production with the signature on 2 May 2017 of a deep offshore exploitation agreement.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

System

The French network in Senegal consists of:

  • Senegal’s Institut Français, which includes the Dakar and Saint Louis sites;
  • Two Alliance Française branches in Ziguinchor (687 students) and Kaolack (362 students) (and a third in Banjul, Gambia, managed from Dakar);
  • A network of 11 schools teaching French curriculums (and one more in Banjul managed from Dakar).

The Institut Français mainly works in sectors in support of Francophonie and cultural promotion, and in support of academic and scientific sectors. It has Campus France offices using a study-in-France Centre (CEF) procedure. On average, 135 higher education scholarships are awarded each year to local students. Nearly 9,500 Senegalese students are enrolled in French higher education institutions.

Dakar is home to a Pasteur Institute and regional offices of French the Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).

In 2016, France deployed 49 international technical experts to Senegal. Thirteen of them were posted in multilateral institutions. They help to implement projects to tackle terrorism and organized crime, modernize the justice system, support democratic governance and create start-ups.

France works in coordination with international and especially European donors through which most of the French multilateral assistance passes (€347 million pour le 11ᵗʰ European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014-2020).

Senegal is the African country with the most cooperation partnerships with French local governments (114 ongoing partnerships between Senegalese and French local governments). Senegal is among the main countries receiving French volunteers, including in reciprocal programmes.

Security and defence cooperation

Senegal is the leading beneficiary of French structural defence and security cooperation.

Moreover, the French forces in Senegal constitute a regional operational cooperation hub. They also run training programmes in Senegal and in the region for national armed forces.

Development assistance

Senegal is one of the 16 priority poor countries for French official development assistance. The bilateral partnership framework paper for the period 2013-2017 sets three priority sectors: sustainable development, democratic governance and human development.

Since 2000, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has committed more than €1.5 billion in funding in Senegal, combining all financial products and sectors. Flagship projects include the Train Express Régional (TER) in Dakar (€100 million), the KMS III project which is expected to secure the supply of safe drinking water in Dakar (€93 million, granted in July 2016) and several projects aiming to diversify the country’s energy mix.

In accordance with Senegal’s development strategy, the 11ᵗʰ EDF is focused on three sectors for the period 2014-2020:

  • strengthening democratic governance;
  • sustainable agricultural development and food security;
  • water and sanitation.
  • Civil society support is also covered, in addition to these key sectors.

The overall envelope of this 11ᵗʰ EDF for Senegal stands at €347 million, split between two phases: the first National Indicative Programme (NIP) covers the period 2014-2017, with a budget of €200 million. The second phase is for 2018-2020 and will be subject to joint programming with the Member States of the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Through its Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for West Africa, the European Union also supports the strengthening of regional integration, infrastructure, trade, good governance and sub-regional peace and security.

Senegal is eligible for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, aimed at tackling the root causes of irregular migration and displacement, which was created during the Valetta Summit in November 2015. This fund has €1.8 billion of European funding, of which a billion is dedicated to the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

Updated: 11 September 2017

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