Entrepreneurs du Monde's programs in Senegal

Senegal's geographical, historical and economic setting

14 M inhabitants

170th HDI ranking

60 years old life expectancy

Senegal is a sub-Saharan country located in the far west of the African continent. It covers an area of 196,712 km2 and is bordered by Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, the Republic of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south and by 700 km of Atlantic coastline to the west. The climate is Sudano-Sahelian, which is characterized by the alternation of a dry season from November to May with a rainy season from June to October.

The average age of the population is 22.7, and half of the population is 18 years old, the median age. This undoubtedly reflects the rural exodus of mainly young adults. The majority of the population live in rural areas: 54.8% of them, compared to 45.2% in towns and cities.

An important part of the Senegalese population is inactive. Most of the inactive are women, especially housewives (43,8%) and students (30,4%).

In 2015, Senegal recorded strong macro-economic results, with a 6.5% growth rate (the highest since 2003). This lifted it to second in the list of most dynamic countries in West Africa, behind Ivory Coast.

Nevertheless, it is still a country where the poverty rate (which has reached 46.7% according to latest estimates) remains high. The level of inequality is still moderate and below the average recorded for sub-Saharan Africa, but geographical disparities are very pronounced: two in three of the rural population are living in poverty, particularly in the south of the country, whereas in Dakar it is one in four.

Senegal possesses a significant number of social microfinance institutions, but the needs of the population in terms of access to financial and non-financial services are far from being satisfied. This is due to:

  • The credit conditions, which exclude deprived people, who form a significant proportion of the population
  • The microfinance institutions’ lack of innovation: always offering the same services without taking into account the differing needs of their target beneficiaries.
  • The near absence of socio-economic services (training, follow-up and support of beneficiaries) before or after loans are granted.

Entrepreneurs du Monde in Senegal

In 2015, Entrepreneurs du Monde launched a market study before implementing a new social microfinance project, FANSOTO in Senegal, whose first general assembly was held on 18th June 2016. The request for accreditation was submitted to the local authorities, and activities began quickly: thirty groups have already been created and their 750 members (98% of whom are women) have started the training that is compulsory prior to any loans being granted. A partnership with Handicap International provides support for disabled people too.