Country report : Senegal Independence Day 2020
NDN Media Group (www.ndnnews.co.kr) & Seoulcity magazine sat down with Senegal Amb. H.E. Mamadou Gueye Faye to hear Senegal’s investment environment for Korean investors on the occasion of the 2020 Senegal Independence Day. With a population in full demographic growth, ambitious and well trained youth, an attractive living environment where modernity and tradition harmoniously coexist, and promising development prospects boosted by recent discoveries of gas and oil in large volumes, Senegal is today one of the most attractive countries for investment. - Ed.
First of all, please touch upon Senegal’s edge in terms of its geographic location as a hub of Western Africa to attract more many investors into its country or to activate businesses there for Korean enterpreneurs to advance into EU market.
With a population in full demographic growth, ambitious and well trained youth, an attractive living environment where modernity and tradition harmoniously coexist, and promising development prospects boosted by recent discoveries of gas and oil in large volumes, Senegal is one of the most attractive countries for investment today.
To these assets, is added its privileged geographical location which places its capital, Dakar, at the crossroads of several maritime routes, facilitating freight transport by sea.
Senegal is five hours away from Europe and seven hours away from the United States by plane, with regular flights to Asia and the rest of the world.
Located at the crossroads of high-speed intercontinental networks, with access to the most modern technologies connecting the country to the rest of the world via submarine fiber optic cables, Senegal has indisputable advantages in terms of connectivity and real development opportunities in information and communication technology(ICT).
Senegal is also a perfect investment destination for the Korean companies desiring to advance into the European Union, African Union, North and South American markets. For example, Dongwon Industries is producing tuna product in Senegal for the American and North African markets.
In that regard, how are the investment environment of Senegal or business conditions for Korean investors?
Senegal has always attached capital importance to the promotion of private investment through the establishment of a favorable regulatory framework and the construction of an incentive business environment.
The increased attractiveness of the plan ‘Destination Senegal’ has led to the adoption of the Law No. 2004-06 of February 06, 2004, related to the Investment Law.
This law offers tax advantages through the tax credit and the suspension of VAT.
The tax credit allows companies with an approved program to obtain a reduction in taxes by deducting from their taxable profit 40% of the sums invested, up to a limit of 50% of the profit for new businesses and 25% for project extension.
Companies operating in the eligible activity sectors, depending on the amount of their investment (165,000 USD) in general, 25,000 USD for SMEs and 411.5 million USD for large investments, and depending on the region of their establishment, can benefit from a tax reduction for investments (new and extension).
These companies benefit from a greater reduction for the investments made outside the region of Dakar. In addition, benefiting from a tax credit, they have the possibility of deducting the applicable charges between 5 years and 10 years.
Approved companies also benefit from a suspension of VAT on purchases made during the investment phase, which alleviates them and allows them to devote their cash to investment expenses only.
These advantages have been reinforced by the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The incentive system applicable to Senegal's SEZs, carried by law 2017-07 aligned with international best practices, specifies, in particular, the tax and customs advantages offered to the companies that have received an approval issued by the SEZ Administrator, in this case, the APIX (National Agency for Promotion of Investments and Major Projects)
Approved companies benefit from :
●the exemption from all duties and taxes collected at the customs, excluding Community levies on raw materials, equipment, other goods and the right to export duty free outside the national territory of the same goods;
● the exemption from the payment of all income taxes
● a 15% corporate tax rate
● the possibility of concluding fixed-term contracts over a period of 5 years
● the exemption from the flat-rate contribution payable by the employer
● the exemption from the flat-rate minimum corporate tax.
Specifically for foreign investors, the investment Law has also provided for certain guarantees, including:
- protection against nationalization, expropriation or requisition;
- availability of currency;
- capital transfer guarantee;
- access to raw materials;
- equal treatment between national and foreign investors;
- free economy and competition.
Which industrial sectors in Senegal would be attractive for Korean investors, according to Your Excellency’s opinions?
The priority sectors for industrial investment targeted by Senegal are :
- Agriculture and agribusiness
Senegal is able to develop a wide range of agricultural products thanks to its diverse agro-ecological zones.
The country benefits from almost 4 million hectares of arable land available and suitable for agricultural production, as well as an excellent environment for agricultural production. A diversity of natural environments, spread over regional poles with specific characteristics (soil, climate, types of crops), characterizes the territory.
- Seafood and aquaculture
Many opportunities exist in the production and industrial processing of various marine species.
Companies in this sector are still looking for foreign partners to modernize their practices and increase production, including by using more modern and more environmentally friendly vessels.
Sixteen Korean companies are currently operating in the Senegalese fishing sector and doing very good business.
- The mines
- The number of large companies investing in this sector is growing sharply due to its promising prospects.
The country is open to private investors for the development of traditional industries such as phosphate and cement, but also for the research and exploitation of gold, iron, marble in the region of eastern Senegal, as well as zircon and titanium in the region of Grande Cote
- Oil and gas
The explorations carried out in Senegal, since its independence in 1960, have led to significant discoveries in recent years in the oil and gas sector.
Thanks to its privileged geographical position and socio-political stability, mild climate and dynamism of diplomacy, Dakar has positioned itself in West Africa as the capital of business and congress tourism.
Thus, in terms of investment, real opportunities emerge, mainly, in the hotel and leisure sectors.
Besides these industrial sectors, Senegal also expects from the national and foreign private sector a significant participation in the investments in sectors such as infrastructure, housing, energy, education and ICT.
What is Senegal’s role & responsibility for the regional development and regional integration for the entire African continent?
Senegal has always made African integration one of the priority axes of its foreign policy and has always defended, if it is not the author, all the initiatives in this direction. This objective is also written into the preamble to its Constitution to mark its importance. That is why we strongly welcome the creation of a continental free trade zone which will certainly contribute to raise the level of development in Africa.
Please mention prominent Korean companies such as Dongwon which are outstanding in their business in the Senegal or vice versa in Korea.
The Korean private sector is well represented in Senegal : DONGWON with CAPSEN and SCASA, Grand Bleu, DARLING, SENECOR, etc. However, in view of the existing potential, much can still be done in this direction. This is the reason why the Embassy is planning to organize, during the year, if all the conditions are met, an economic forum for the purpose, on the one hand, of presenting all the investment opportunities of our country in order to attract the maximum of Korean companies and, on the other hand, of introducing the Senegalese companies to the Korean companies to allow the development of fruitful partnerships between the two private sectors.
In terms of bilateral cooperation, thanks to the excellent relations that our two countries maintain, Korea has supported Senegal in the financing of several projects such as the construction of fishing docks, passenger ferries, dredging vessels for the Casamance River, the Senegal River and the arm of the Sine Saloum, the purchase of a large number of refrigerated trucks, the construction and equipment of the International Oncology Center of Diamniadio, the construction of the Institute of Higher vocational education of Diamniadio(ISEP), construction of military equipment, etc.
Important projects are also on the horizon and will not be long in coming thanks to the reciprocal commitment of the two heads of state.
On the occasion of this year’s 2020 Senegal Independence Day, please touch upon Celebration of the Independence Day of Senegal.
The Independence Day of Senegal is celebrated on April 4 each year by a civil and military parade in which thousands of people, hundreds of motor vehicles and a few dozen horses.
This date refers to April 4, 1960, the anniversary of the signing of the agreements leading to the recognition of the independence of the Mali Federation. Indeed, it was on this date that Michel Debre, French Prime Minister of the time, Modibo Keita, President of the Mali Federation, and Mamadou Dia, Vice-President and Prime Minister of Senegal, have signed the agreements for the transfer of powers from the French Community to Senegal and the Sudanese Republic.
Thus, was born in 1959, the Mali Federation regrouping Senegal and the French Sudan (current Mali). But the agreement between the neighbors did not last because of internal differences. From this moment, the two newly independent countries separately choose a date to commemorate their independence.
Proclaimed on April 4, 1960, Independence Day is celebrated in the country's major cities. It is a public holiday for public and private administrations. School parties and some side events are also organized.
Senegal celebrated its independence for the first time on April 4, 1961. Since then, this tradition has been perpetuated by the presidents Leopold Sedar Senghor (1960-1980), Abdou Diouf (1981-2000), Abdoulaye Wade (2000-2012) and Macky SALL (since 2012).
In Dakar, the military and paramilitary parade is generally held on the boulevard of General De Gaulle. The parade is organized by the defense and security forces.
The event is often associated with a presentation of decorations in the national orders, a civil parade, a quadrille of bayonets, the projection of a film on the history of the Senegalese Armed Forces, a motorized parade and an air parade.
For this year, due to the covid-19 pandemic currently raging around the world, the sixtieth (60th) anniversary of Senegal’s accession to international sovereignty will be celebrated through a symbolic ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
Last but not least, how is tourism in Senegal for Korean travellers who wish to discover new destinations.
Senegal has a multitude of tourist, natural and historical attractions. Dakar, capital of the country, is a fun, colorful and cosmopolitan city, where you can get lost wandering in the best markets and bazaars in West Africa. You cannot miss the beaches on the coast of the city whith the best seafood restaurants and a lot of sun around the year. You can swim or go surfing on the rocking waves of the Almadies beach as Dakar is known for one of the best spot for surfing in Africa.
You could also spend a day on the Gorée Island, to learn about the history of slave-trade on the African continent by visiting the House of Slave, to stroll in the sunny and vivid car-free streets and to see the sand painting artists making live demonstration of their talent.
You could also make a one-day trip to the famous Retba Lake, most known as the Pink Lake, which is less than an hour away from Dakar. You will be amazed by the contrast among the mountains of salt packed up next to the lake’s shore, the pink color water of the lake due to the concentration of salt and the gold sand dunes on the other side of the Lake.
There is also the city of Saint-Louis, a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2000. Saint-Louis is a city deeply rooted in history by both Africans and Europeans. With its many ancient buildings, beaches, palm trees, and a sunny climate, Saint-Louis is one of the places to appreciate the Senegalese specialty, Thieboudiene, a national dish meaning rice with fish. Coming back from Saint-Louis to Dakar is a perfect excuse to spend a day or two in the desert of Lompoul for sand trekking, camel riding and having dinner under the stars.
We also have a lot to offer for those who loves the wildlife. We have the National Park of Djoudj in the north which is a bird sanctuary where 300 species have been recorded, including pink flamingos and pelicans. The National Park of Niokolo-Koba, Senegal’s largest national park is home for lions, warthogs, monkeys and hippos and elephants.
A good way to end the trip is to spend a couple of days in Mbour or Saly near Dakar, to enjoy a beach holiday soaking up the sun and drinking a cold glass of bissap, a Senegalese juice perfect for the hot temperatures.