Country Summary

Macroeconomic performance

Economic performance remained strong in 2018, with estimated real GDP growth of 7.0%, down slightly from 7.2% in 2017. The primary sector expanded by 7.8% in 2018, driven by agriculture and related activities. The secondary sector recorded 6.9% growth, driven mainly by mining subsectors, agrofood, and construction. The tertiary sector saw 6.7% growth, reflecting strong performance by the retail segment. On the demand side, real GDP growth was driven by 9.5% growth in gross fixed capital formation, 7.7% growth in intermediate consumption, and 6.7% growth in final consumption.

Fiscal management resulted in a deficit of 3.5% of GDP in 2018, up from 3% in 2017, financed mainly by issuing Eurobonds. The total external debt–to-GDP ratio was 62.9% in 2018, down from 64.2% in 2017, but the risk of debt overhang remains low. Inflation was 1.4% in 2018, up slightly from 2017, reflecting a favorable agricultural season and prudent monetary policy. The current account deficit improved from 7.3% of GDP in 2017 to 6.9% in 2018 due to increased agricultural and fisheries exports and lower imports. The terms of trade improved by 4.1%.

The growth momentum recorded since 2015 is expected to continue in 2019 and 2020 due to continued public investment under the Senegal Emergence Plan. Consolidation efforts could bring the fiscal deficit below 3% of GDP after 2020.

These projections are subject to numerous risks, notably rising oil prices. But Senegal may become an oiland gas-producing country by 2021. Other risks stem from the accumulation of internal arrears, which could slow construction activity, and the increase in current spending as a result of social demands characteristic of an election year. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Senegal enjoys a stable macroeconomic environment but may be vulnerable to deteriorating competitiveness due to its limited flexibility to adjust to external shocks.

Tailwinds and headwinds

As part of the Senegal Emergence Plan, authorities have implemented reforms from the Business Environment and Competitiveness Reform Program. In the agricultural sector, these reforms have focused on simplifying tax procedures and suspending or exempting some taxes. In the energy sector, various reforms and investments have doubled installed capacity in six years, to 1,250 MW in 2018. The energy mix plan has increased production and lowered the price of electricity by 10%. Operationalizing the economic zones and industrial projects has provided companies with facilities that are up to international standards. But to amplify the effects of these reforms, authorities should strengthen the land tenure regime and align the education system to the future needs of the workplace.

In terms of regional integration, Senegal was one of the first to adopt and implement the WAEMU Common External Tariff, it signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement, and it has implemented port facilitation reforms to make the port of Dakar more attractive and secure. In this regard, the country has ratified and is implementing relevant regional regulations. In the same vein, Senegal has constructed roads and bridges to connect to Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Mauritania. In 2017, Senegal’s exports to Economic Community of West African States members accounted for 39.5% of total exports, and exports to WAEMU members accounted for 30.3%. To further increase trade and reduce the transaction costs related to the movement of people and goods, authorities should develop transport infrastructure, in particular the Dakar–Bamako railway.

Source: African Economic Outlook 2019

Fixed Income

Issuance strategy 

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) comprises eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.. Bond issuance strategies vary from one state to another but most use the MTDS tool to develop their issuance strategy. Generally, most programs are focused on short-term tenor and characterized by securities with repayments by amortization and deferred coupon. Recently, with the advent of the AUT, the zone has progressed towards lengthening and standardizing securities. 

Benchmark issues 

For the moment, there is no benchmark maturity in the WAEMU. The region is in the assessment phase of developing a yield curve. WAEMU countries understand that issuance policies need to evolve towards considering the need for a yield curve. 

Yield curve 

Yield curve calculation models 

There is no benchmark yields curve in the WAEMU Zone. 

Interpolation methods 

As there is no yield curve in the WAEMU, no method for interpolation is in use. 

Yield curve managed by

Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for the yield curve. 

Display platform 

There is no yield curve in the WAEMU. 

Challenges in building an efficient yield curve 

  • Market fragmentation: fragmented securities market and non-standardized securities. 
  • Price discovery issue
  • Narrow investor base: comprising homogeneous investors such as banks. 
  • Limited and illiquid secondary market: nonexistent secondary market where the securities are acquired for "buy and hold”. 
  • Coexistence of two agencies for issuing bonds and bills: The “Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers” (CREMPF) is in charge of monitoring the syndication. The Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for auctions.

Guide to Buying Bonds

Procedures for market participation

The frequency of auctions is determined by the states, together with the Central Bank. Each state cannot hold T-Bills and Government bonds auction more than once a week.For Treasury Bills, a calendar program specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is published quarterly by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank, and in consideration mainly the foreseeable revenue and government spending. Whereas Treasury bonds, an indicative issuance calendar specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is set annually by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank.

Each issuance should be advertised at least 7 days before the auction by describing the issuance characteristics. 

Bidders submit to the Central Bank, sealed in a ballot box reserved for this purpose, a submission form specifying the amounts and the interest rates or the price offered. Submissions may also be made electronically in the conditions defined by the Central Bank.

Later than one hour after the deadline for bids submission, the National Directions of the BCEAO transmit electronically, by fax or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the Central Bank, the main submissions to the principal agency of the BCEAO, which is organizing the auction.

Treasury bills are eligible for refinancing by the Central Bank. Investors and the Central Bank may buy or sell Treasury bonds on the secondary market, awarded by private treaty. In this context, they are required to post the purchase price and sale, which they are willing to transact.

Treasury bonds can be traded on the secondary market. As such, they can be exchanged at the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM) or outside the BRVM.

Settlement cycle

The settlement date is T+1 for domestic operations and T+3 for operations between Members of the Union. This period can be modified by BCEAO. However, the contracting parties are free to agree on a minimum term above to unwind their operations. If the instructions given by the two parties are identical, the operation is definitely offset the value date agreed. In case of discrepancy between the evidences, the Central Bank suspends the transaction and notifies this decision to both parties for correction. Central Bank ensures the existence of adequate provisions before executing the compensation requested. Transmission to the Central Bank of notifications occurs in the selection of speakers, fax, telex, ordinary mail or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the BCEAO.


Treasury bills and Treasury bonds incomes are tax-free throughout the territory of the Member States of the WAEMU.But for non-members, the tax rates are different from one country to another. In Senegal, the tax rate one securities income is equal to 6%.


Rating Agency Current rating Outlook
Moody’s B+ Negative
Fitch B1 Stable
Standard and Poor’s No rating No outlook

Primary Dealers

There is no appropriate Primary Dealers System in the WAEMU zone.

Subscription of Treasury bills is reserved to banks, financial institutions as well as regional financial institutions with an ordinary current account in the books of the Central Bank. Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin can also purchase Treasury bills in the primary market through banks located in the territory of the Union.

The primary subscription of Treasury bonds is restricted to banks, financial institutions, regional organizations and financial management company and intermediation (IMS). Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin may also purchase Treasury bonds on the primary market through banks and brokerage firms (SGI) located on the territory of the Union.

Market restrictions

Openness to international investors

The members of the zone are actively encouraging foreign investment. Foreign companies are free to invest and list on the regional stock exchange (BRVM), which is based in Abidjan and is dominated by Ivorian and Senegalese firms. 

Capital controls

There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there generally differences in treatment of foreign and national investors, either in terms of the level of foreign ownership or sector of investment.

Restriction on FX and profit repatriation

WAEMU has unified foreign exchange regulations. Under these regulations, there are no restrictions for transfers within the community, and designated commercial banks are able to approve routine foreign exchange transactions inside the community. The transfer abroad of the proceeds of liquidation of foreign direct investments no longer requires prior governments approval.

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