Living in Senegal guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Senegal.

Our selection of articles for expatriation in Senegal

Opening a bank account in Senegal

Despite recent technological advances, Senegal remains a mostly cash-based society. The advent of money transfer services such as ...

Healthcare in Senegal

As the saying goes, ‘without your health, everything else is worth nothing' and so finding out about healthcare in ...

Childcare in Senegal

Known for its welcoming people, year-round sun and natural landscapes, Senegal is a great place to move with your family ...

Accommodation in Senegal

No matter what you are doing in Senegal or how long you are staying, finding the right accommodation will be at the top of your ...

Buying a property in Senegal

Senegal has captured the hearts and minds of many travellers who visit its golden sandy beaches, bustling cities and jaw-dropping ...

Accommodation in Dakar

As Senegal's thriving capital city, Dakar is one of the most developed places to live in the country, offering many of the ...

Accommodation in Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis, known as Ndar in Wolof, was the Senegalese capital city until 1957. Having been founded by the French in 1659, its ...

Accommodation in Thiès

Located 70 km from Dakar, Thiès is Senegal's third-largest urban centre with an estimated 765,000 people. Known as the ...

Accommodation in Ziguinchor

Sprawled across the southern banks of the Casamance river, life flows in Ziguinchor much like the water that gently ambles ...

Working in Senegal

Senegal has long been a West African destination of choice for expats looking to live and work. Foreign professionals from around ...

Working in Dakar

Dakar is the westernmost city of mainland Africa and has been Senegal's capital since 1960. The wider Dakar metropolitan area is ...

Working in Saint-Louis

The former capital of Senegal and French West Africa, Saint-Louis was founded by the French in 1659. Located on an island in the ...

Working in Thiès

Thiès is the name of the region outside of Dakar with its largest city, also called Thiès, the third-largest urban ...

Working in Kaolack

With 570,000 people, Kaolack is the fifth largest city in Senegal. Bustling and vibrant, Kaolack is situated on the main route ...

Working in Ziguinchor

Ziguinchor is the capital of Casamance, the southern Senegalese region wedged between The Gambia to the north and Guinea-Bissau ...

About Senegal

The former capital of French West Africa, Senegal achieved independence from France peaceably in 1960, but decades of French influence is still clear to see. From its political system and currency (the Franc CFA - African Communities Financial Franc) to its sectarian state and education system. In addition, French is the country's official language, but most Senegalese will speak to each other in one of the many local dialects, with Wolof (the de facto national language) the most widely spoken, as well as Diola, Pular, Malinke and Serer.

Thanks to its geographical location, stable political system and modern infrastructure, Senegal is a popular destination for Western companies and foreign professionals. From UN agencies and charities to NGOs and corporate firms, many organisations that operate in West Africa are based in Senegal, especially in Dakar, which is also home to over 80 embassies.

Of the 15.4 million population, an estimated 200,000 are foreigners.

The economy of Senegal

Senegal is the fourth largest economy in West Africa and is one of 15 members of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States). Senegal aspires to be a middle-income country by 2035, and since 2016 its economy has grown by an average of 6% year-on-year, while unemployment has fallen to 6.46% of the population.

From renewable energy and tourism to agriculture and fishing, Senegal’s economy is built on a number of diverse sectors, with recent oil and gas discoveries off the Senegalese coast set to shake up the economy once more. Turkey, India, France and China are among the country's main economic partners.

Senegal is also one of the region's most highly-educated countries, with a literacy rate of almost 60%. Its education system is based on the French equivalent, while there are five public universities in the country and a large number of private ones, mainly in Dakar. Meanwhile, international and North American schools, such as the International School of Dakar (ISD), provide quality English-language education for foreigners.

Politics in Senegal

Senegal is seen as a beacon of stability in an unstable region. A multi-party democracy, Senegal has never suffered a political coup and has elected its presidents freely and fairly through universal suffrage since independence. Current President, Macky Sall, was elected for a second term in 2019 and will serve until 2024, with term limits reduced from seven to five years in 2017.

 Good to know:

The French first came to Senegal in 1659 when they established the city of Saint-Louis on the Senegal river. In 1857, the French founded Dakar, which would later become the capital of French West Africa. To this day, many Senegalese regions, including Dakar, Saint-Louis, Thiès and Kaolack, are members of the International Francophone Regions Association.

The climate in Senegal

In general, Senegal experiences two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. For the north of the country (north of The Gambia), the dry season lasts from October to June with daytime temperatures peaking at around 34°C in October/November and dipping as low as 20°C in February. The rainy season takes place between July-September. However, in the southern Casamance region (south of The Gambia), the rainy season is more prolonged, lasting from June-October. In addition, interior temperatures are often much hotter than on the coast.

Expatriation in Senegal

Senegal has embraced development with open arms and is one of the fastest-developing nations in West Africa. Dakar is a modern, dynamic city that is gaining an increasingly positive reputation among businesses and tourists alike, while the country is world-famous for its hospitality, known in the Wolof language as 'teranga'.

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in Senegal and the virtues that entice tourists - year-round sun, golden beaches, friendly population and low security-risks - are the same reasons why many expats call Senegal home. Great for children and adults alike, living in Senegal can be a professionally and personally rewarding experience.

 Useful link:

Government of Senegal

Quick Information

Capital : Dakar
Official Languages : French , Wolof
Currency : Franc
Area : 196190 Km2
Population : 12323252
Calling Code : +221
Timezone : Africa/Dakar

Senegal city guide

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