Identify common practices a company needs to be aware of when selling in your market.
Most local distributors of imported merchandise expect their suppliers to provide advertising and promotional support, particularly when introducing a new product or brand name. Sales promotion material and technical documentation should be in French.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
Although advertising has not yet achieved the sophistication typical of European and North American markets, Senegal offers a variety of advertising channels, including numerous television channels, large billboards, and to a lesser extent radio. As internet penetration rate increases, digital marketing is eating into traditional corporate marketing budgets. Advertising is in either French or Wolof. Many leading international advertising agencies have local affiliates.
Television accounts for 57 percent of advertising spending, with newspapers and radio taking up 16 percent each. Local production of TV commercials is far cheaper than in the US. The major agencies in Dakar work with multinational companies such as Nestle, Maggi, and Coca-Cola tend to take ads filmed in Europe and the US and adapt them slightly to the local market.
Senegal has a lively and diverse press, but newspaper circulation is for the most part limited to greater Dakar. National newspapers are in French.
Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS), the government television station, remains the country’s only public station, with fourteen other private television stations.
There are several specialized trade exhibitions in Dakar in agriculture and food processing, housing and construction, IT, medical equipment, and lately oil and gas. The American Chamber of Commerce, along with the U.S. Embassy, organizes “USA Week” to showcase U.S. products and services. The U.S. Economic and Commercial Service can assist U.S. companies in organizing product launches or technical seminars through the Single Company Promotion service.
U.S. exporters will find that pricing in CFA Francs (CFA), especially for repeat sales of deliveries over a six-to-twelve-month period, provides a substantial commercial advantage over quoting prices in U.S. dollars. When calculating selling prices, U.S. businesses should compare their prices to competitors and build into their cost structure an allowance for additional costs that often arise when selling into a developing market.
Foreign competition often grants credit of 60 to 90 days for consumer goods and 24 months for machinery and equipment. European banks often quote liberal terms and may discount paper for their exporters who are pursuing long-term credits. Pricing is liberal and directed by the market (supply and demand), except for a few sectors such as petroleum and gas, power, and water. In these exceptions, the government oversees or regulates pricing.
Payment via confirmed irrevocable letter of credit is often preferred by U.S. exporters, particularly at the beginning of a commercial relationship. However, insistence on L/C payment terms may limit a U.S. exporters’ rate of market penetration. European suppliers often offer liberal credit terms and a range of financing packages such as supplier credit. Competitive credit terms are an important factor in purchasing decisions and may be part of an effective marketing strategy in Senegal.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Senegalese consumers consider U.S. products to be good quality. U.S. businesses should consider having a plan for technology transfer, capacity building, and training of personnel. French-language user manuals, personnel training, and a large inventory of spare parts are crucial components for successful after-sales services in Senegal. Product recalls are virtually unknown in Senegal.
Local Professional Services
The Economic/Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Dakar maintains a list of attorneys, notaries, and tax accountants available upon request at DakarEcon-Com@state.gov.
Senegal has a few business associations representing the interests of their mainly private sector members who voice and advocate the concerns of their members during national consultations with the government. The Presidential Investors Council is an example of a forum where local business associations and foreign investors hold investment climate-related open discussions with the President of Senegal and his ministers.
American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM)
Mr. Mahi Kane, President
Conseil National du Patronat du Sénégal (CNP)
CNP is the leading business association
Mr. Baidy Agne, President
Tel: +221-33 869 6569
Conseil National des Entreprises du Senegal (CNES)
Mr. Mor Talla Kane, Permanent Secretary
Tel: +221 33 823 09 74
CNES is the second largest business association. While CNP regroups companies in the formal sector, CNES members include companies in the informal sector.
Conseil National des Investisseurs du Senegal (CNIS)
Mr. Abdourahmane Diouf, Executive Director
Ngor Immeuble SCI Mane derriere Shell route de l’aéroport
BP 29526 Dakar Yoff
Presidential Investors Council
Mr. Moustapha Cissé, Permanent Secretary
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
Senegal has imposed a ban on poultry imports from several countries including the United States. Despite numerous advocacy calls from the U.S. government, the GOS maintains the ban on health grounds, though another motivation is to support their nascent poultry industry.