As an original Member of the WTO, Senegal plays an active part in its activities (joint report, Chapter II(1)). However, Senegal is still encountering certain difficulties in the implementation of some WTO agreements, including that on customs valuation (Chapter III(2)(ii)). The information available to the WTO on Senegal's trade policies has been broadened since its 2003 TPR thanks to the notifications sent; however, some of it is no longer up to date (Table II.2), especially as regards prohibitions, licences and quantitative restrictions, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and technical regulations; subsidies; protection of intellectual property; the customs tariff; and other duties and taxes.34
Documents relating to Senegal's participation in the WTO, April 2003
G/SCM/N/3/SEN/Suppl.1, G/SCM/N/16/SEN/Suppl.1, G/SCM/N/25/SEN of 21 November 1997, G/SCM/N/3/SEN, G/SCM/N/16/SEN of 27 January 1997
G/SCM/N/19/Add.1/Rev.1 of 26 November 1996 G/SCM/N/12/Add.1/Rev.3 of 22 November 1996 G/SCM/N/7/Add.1/Rev.4 of 21 November 1996 G/SCM/N/153/Add.1 of 18 April 2007
Notification of absence of measures
Agreement on Safeguards
G/SG/N/1/SEN/1 of 1 November 1996
Laws and regulations
Agreement on Trade‑Related Investment Measures
G/TRIMS/N/2/Rev.16/Add. of 28 March 2008
Laws and regulations
General Agreement on Trade in Services
GATS/SC/75 of 15 April 1994 et Suppl. 1 of 11 April 1997 and Suppl. 2 of 26 February 1998
List of specific undertakings relating to services
GATS/EL/34 of 15 April 1994 and Suppl. 1 of 26 February 1998
List of exemptions under Article II (MFN)
S/C/N/441 of 10 March 2008
Laws and regulations on telecommunications services
Agreement on Trade‑Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
IP/N/1/SEN/1 of 6 February 1997
Laws and regulations
WT/COMTD/N/11 of 3 February 2000 WT/COMTD/N/11/Add.1 of 2 March 2001 WT/COMTD/N/11/Add.2 of 22 August 2001 WT/COMTD/N/11/Add.2/Corr.1 of 26 March 2002
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)
WT/COMTD/N/21 of 26 September 2005
Economic community of West African States (ECOWAS)
a Schedule amended in accordance with the results of the GATT 1994 tariff negotiations under Article XVIII, which ended in 1997.
b Notified separately under the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
Source: WTO Secretariat.
Senegal also participates in regional organizations of which other west African countries besides Senegal are also members (joint report, Chapter II). Moreover, since the common trade policy of the WAEMU member States, including Senegal, came into effect, its earlier bilateral trade agreements have lapsed.
The investment regime has been overhauled since Senegal's last TPR in 2003. It consists essentially of the Investment Code and the rules governing the free export enterprise (FEE). Agricultural, mining or oil projects are subject to specific and/or supplementary sectoral rules, as are small and medium‑sized enterprises (Chapter IV). The legal framework for public/private partnerships consists of building‑operation‑transfer ("BOT") contracts. The Code and the FEE regime each contain their own provisions on incentives available to investors, guarantees offered concerning transfer of capital and earnings, application of the WAEMU exchange rules and settlement of disputes. They all provide for fair advance compensation in cases of expropriation or nationalization in the public interest.
Any investor may enter any sector of activity, except for those that are exclusive either by reason of a state monopoly (basic postal services, electricity transport and distribution) or by reason of a concession (for example, water, railways, port and airport services). Obtaining a licence from a regulating authority in the sector may be made a precondition of establishment (for example, in telecommunications networks). However, approval under an incentive scheme is granted only in the case of projects meeting specified criteria (Section (ii) below). There is no limit on participation by foreigners in the capital of enterprises established in Senegal, and they may settle anywhere on the national territory.
Senegal observes the principle of equal treatment between foreign and national investors. When it comes to settling disputes with the State, a foreign applicant has various options in addition to the Senegalese courts, such as recourse to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)35, to an arbitral tribunal to be established under the agreement or treaty on protection of investments concluded between Senegal and the state of which the person in question is a national, or to an arbitration procedure chosen by common agreement between the parties.36 Senegal has concluded bilateral agreements and treaties on investment currently in force with: Switzerland (1964), Germany (1966), Sweden (1968), Romania (1984), the United Kingdom (1984), the Republic of Korea (1990), the United States of America (1990) and Italy (2008). It has concluded other reciprocal investment promotion and protection agreements (Spain, Malaysia, Mauritius, France, Qatar, Egypt, India, Argentina and South Africa) which are in course of ratification. Bilateral tax conventions have been concluded with France, Belgium, Italy, Qatar and Tunisia. These conventions are designed to avoid double taxation and establish mutual assistance rules with regard to income tax, inheritance tax, registration fees, stamp duty etc.
Investment Code37 and free export enterprise (FEE) status38
Senegal's Investment Code covers two categories of investment: investment by SMEs (three‑five employees) in priority sectors39 for a minimum amount of CFAF 15 million; investment by enterprises in eligible activities40 for a minimum amount of CFAF 100 million. The main innovation introduced by the revised 2004 Code was the simplification of the regimes available and the extension of the sectors covered to include telecommunications and commercial property.41 Two tax regimes are provided for: either for the creation of a new enterprise, or for the extension of an existing activity (an increase of at least 25 per cent in production capacity or in the value of the assets immobilized, with an investment of at least 100 million). The main customs advantages accruing to projects approved under the Code are exemption from customs duty on importation of the equipment and materials needed to create a production unit, provided that they are not available in Senegal, and suspension of VAT during the investment implementation phase, which must be three years or less.
The free export enterprise regime has also evolved since 2003, in particular as regards the extension of sectoral cover to telecommunications services and removal of the requirement of establishment in a specific geographical area.42 The two main criteria for admission to free export enterprise status are that the enterprise must engage in an eligible activity43 and that its export potential must be at least 80 per cent of its turnover (the remaining 20 per cent being marketable on the national market as consumer imports). The main advantages offered to free export enterprises are exemption from duties and taxes on the import of equipment and materials needed to set up a production unit, and on any inputs, as well as a reduction in corporation tax to 15 per cent instead of the standard 25 per cent. FEE status is valid for 25 years and may be renewed. It should be noted that it is planned to allow exports by FEEs to other WAEMU countries to enjoy Community origin status on condition that the duties and taxes on imported inputs used in manufacturing the product are paid (Chapter III(3)(v)); approval must be obtained (Chapter III(3)(i)). Table II.3 presents an overview of the incentives offered to investors under these different regimes.
Overview of the Investment Code and free export enterprise status, July 2009
CFAF 15 million ≤ Investment < CFAF 100 million:
Agriculture, fishing, livestock raising, storage, packaging and processing of local products of plant, animal or fish origin, agro‑food industry; social sector (health, education‑training); and services (assembly, maintenance of industrial equipment and teleservices)
Investment CFAF ≥ 100 million:
Manufacturing activities; extraction or processing of minerals; tourism, tourist facilities and industries, other hotel‑related activities; cultural industries; port, airport and railway infrastructures; construction of commercial complexes, industrial complexes, tourist areas, cybervillages and craft centres
Customs exemption (three years) on import of equipment and materials which are neither produced nor manufactured in Senegal and which are specifically intended for production or use in the framework of the approved programme
Suspension of VAT (three years) payable on entry or charged by local suppliers
Reduction of 30% of taxable profit for five years and up to 40% for approved investment
Exemption from the standing contribution paid by employers (CFCE) for five/eight years if at least 200 jobs are created or if 90% of the jobs are created outside the Dakar region
Possibility of concluding fixed‑term contracts for five years
Customs exemptions (three years)
Suspension of VAT (three years)
25% reduction of taxable profit for five years and up to 40% of approved investments
Exemption from CFCE for five/eight years if at least 200 jobs are created or if 90% of the jobs are created outside the Dakar region
Possibility of concluding fixed‑term contracts for five years
Exemption from customs duties and customs stamps on vehicles to be used in connection with production
Duty‑free export or import of capital goods, equipment, raw materials, finished and semi‑finished products
Local purchases free of VAT
a Status granted for 25 years.
Source: Law No. 2004‑06 of 6 February 2004 (Investment Code); and Law No. 95‑34 of 29 December 1995 (Free export enterprise regime).
The National Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Major Public Works (APIX SA)44 is responsible for receiving investors, handling applications for approval under the Code or for FEE status, examining them and monitoring projects. It has offices in Dakar, Saint‑Louis and Ziguinchor. The administrative procedures applicable to investment have been simplified and streamlined since 200545, and are in the hands of the Administrative Procedures Facilitation Centre (APFC), which was set up inside APIX in July 2006. According to the authorities, investors' applications are processed within a maximum time of 45 calendar days. Approval is notified by letter from the Minister of Finance, after the APIX approval committee has given a favourable opinion. The APFC also houses the Enterprise Creation Support Office (BCE), a cost‑free assistance service for investors, having the documents required for completing the enterprise creation formalities within 48 hours; such services are also available at the Chamber of Commerce, but are charged for. The APIX also promotes projects identified for the five growth‑inducing clusters (Section 2 above) and of the "major works".46 Furthermore, APIX provides the secretariat for the process of establishing a world‑class business environment piloted by the PCI, and for the implementation of the related reforms that fall with its sphere of competence (Section 2).
Investment projects approved under the Code or for FEE status between 2003 and 2008 totalled CFAF 4,059 billion. All eligible sectors of activity are concerned; Senegalese enterprises are the first to benefit from the scheme, and represented up to 79 per cent of approved investments in 2006. The other principal sources of investment are various (Malaysia, Italy, Sweden, United States, Kuwait, Virgin Islands, Spain, Germany and Mauritius).