Morocco-Senegal: The digital economy, a very promising axis

The “Doing Business With Senegal” webinar was held on February 09, 2021, in partnership with Harvard Consulting. The meeting organized by the Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX), was moderated by Mrs. Saloua Karkri, Vice-president of ASMEX and President of the Africa commission, Mr. Saad Hamoumi, CEO of Harvard Consulting and Mr. Philippe Cordier , specialist in operational management, individual and collective performance and intercultural risk management. Senegal is the 2nd economy of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and is positioned as the gateway to West Africa. The country represents a market of 16.3 million inhabitants and a GDP of 28.1 billion USD in 2019. Senegalese GDP grew by 5.2% in 2019 and the flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have also increased from 588 million USD in 2017 to 983 million USD in 2019. From the outset, Mr. Philippe Cordier underlined that “the Moroccan-Senegalese friendship goes far beyond the economic aspects and the relations between the two countries are based on collaboration Sud-Sud ”before adding:“ in 2019, Senegal was Morocco’s 22nd export market and Morocco’s 83rd import market ”. This represents a value of 220.4 million USD for exports from Morocco to Senegal, or 0.8% of Moroccan exports. The main goods exported by Morocco to Senegal are fertilizers ($ 41.2M), steel and iron ($ 29.4M), electrical and electronic equipment ($ 22.9M), paper and cardboard ($ 17M ), soaps, lubricants and waxes ($ 11.5M) and aluminum ($ 10.6M). During this meeting, which aimed to identify new opportunities in the Senegalese market for Moroccan exporters, a particular focus was placed on the potential represented by the digital economy. This sector represents an important opportunity for Moroccan exporters in Senegal, a country where mobile payment methods are highly democratized and where the environment is conducive to the flourishing of economic activities linked to ICT. Different structures such as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), the Digital Technologies Park (PTN) and the Digital Business Centers (Digipoles) aim to develop this sector on Senegalese territory. More generally, the speakers noted that the country has put in place investment incentives, such as the Free Export Company, a regime that allows companies to benefit from tax and customs advantages, or the Code. of Investments, which ensures the transparency of economic processes. Finally, the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE), which is based on three main strategic axes, (i) structural transformation of the economy and growth, (ii) human capital, social protection and sustainable development and (iii) governance, institutions, peace and security, enabled greater involvement of the private sector. Remember that imports of goods and services represent 37.7% of Senegalese GDP while exports represent 22.8%. In terms of imports, the Senegalese market is more interested in acquiring goods than services and invested USD 8,143 million in imports of goods in 2019, compared to USD 1,948 million for imports of services. Imports of goods have also experienced strong growth in recent years, equivalent to an increase of USD 2,468 million between 2015 and 2019. Bilateral cooperation between the two countries is sustained by more than a hundred agreements, which cover around ten key sectors. One of the most recent initiatives was the creation of the Economic Impulse Group (GIE) which aims to ensure the coordination and sustainability of economic relations between Morocco and Senegal.