By Tatenda Machirori & William Gaviyau
ZimTrade recently concluded a market scan of Senegal, to ascertain the depth of potential for Zimbabwean products and services in the market.
This is the first time ZimTrade has conducted a market scan of Senegal.
Market scans and surveys are one pillar of ZimTrade’s value added services to Zimbabwean business, and provides an overview of opportunities in existing, emerging, and new markets.
With the support of Zimbabwe’s Embassy in Senegal, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the scan of the potentially new market for Zimbabwean products was guided by the current thrust to unlock markets that previously had little of no trade with local companies.
During a meeting with the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Senegal, James Maridadi, he spoke of the diverse market opportunities found in Senegal.
“The Senegalese market is a great opportunity for business for Zimbabwean manufacturers and service providers”, he said.
This unlocking of new markets is part of the new strategy by ZimTrade, which is looking to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area and increase the visibility of Zimbabwean products to all corners of Africa.
The market scan conducted from 15-19 August focused on key sectors that Zimbabwe enjoys competitive advantage.
These include processed foods, household appliances and electricals and furniture.
About Senegal as a market
Bienvenue! Is the greeting one gets as they enter Senegal.
The French-speaking nation has a hot and humid climate, which comes as an after greeting as one’s sole touches the ground.
Senegal is ideally located on the western part of Africa and with its water port has access for supply into the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region which comprises of markets such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, and Guinea.
Other markets in ECOWAS are Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The capital city is Dakar which is the hub for shipping and transport in the region.
The economy of Senegal is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fishing and agriculture. Senegal’s economy gains most of its foreign exchange from fish, phosphates, groundnuts, tourism, and services.
Senegal’s GDP stood at USD27.63 billion in 2021 with per capita Gross National Income (GNI) at $1,430, which makes it a lower-middle-income country (LMIC).
While the annual inflation rate in Senegal shot up to 8.9 percent in June of 2022, a record high rate since at least 2006, from 7.4 percent in the previous month.
Senegal import structure and potential
Senegal is a net importer with imports of products from different parts of the world for different products.
According to TradeMap, in 2021 imports into Senegal were valued at 8.2 billion with top imports from France, China, India, Russia and Nigeria.
Infrastructure development in the capital Dakar is rampant with a new city in the works as well as an internationally accredited stadium recently opened earlier this year.
New office buildings as well as houses are being built.
The two biggest retailers, Carre Four and Auchan, are French-owned entities.
It is evident that most imports in these stores are coming from France, Turkey, Poland, Ivory Coast as well as Morocco, India, Thailand, and Germany for select products.
There is an opportunity for value added indigenous products such as baobab, tamarind, hibiscus and ginger.
The key is to add sugar as the Senegalese pallet is for sweetness.
Other products with potential include biscuits, sweets, chips, cereal and juice and snacks in general.
Senegal’s hot weather warrants for people to continuously drink hot beverages in order to regulate body temperatures.
Every street corner has a coffee/tea salesperson.
This is a sure cause for coffee and tea lovers to enjoy the beverage any time of the day.
The sector for household appliances and electricals is dominated by smaller retailers and products are sourced from China, Turkey and Hong Kong.
The distributors are interested in products that are durable and can be re-branded to penetrate deeper in the different markets.
The prices need to represent good quality.
Products of interest include gas stoves, fridges, microwaves, solar geysers and solar fridges, aircons.
Kettles, irons, coffee makers, are also of interest for offices as a huge amount of liquids are consumed because of the weather.
The market leans towards more energy saving products therefore solar and gas products are ideal.
Furniture sector is dominated by the Lebanese that are sourcing from Italy and China. This includes office and household furniture.
These distributors are keen on sourcing good, quality products from Southern Africa.
Freight forwarding companies highlighted that they have the capacity to double up as product distributors, therefore tackling two birds with one stone.
The Sengalese market has much potential for Zimbabwean products.
There is need for Zimbabwean businesses to create relationships with Senegalese businesses.
Businesses can take advantage of the opportunities available in Senegal such as setting up operations to produce, supply of inputs for processing as well as distributor arrangements.
Products into this market need to be customized to suit the Senegalese taste and market requirements such as packaging in French.
The AfCFTA is a tool that can be utilized to create these trade relationships.
Annual events that occur in Senegal, such as Ramadan and Dakar international Trade Fair, can be a foot into this vast market.
This international platform has visitors from all of ECOWAS and others.