Relocating to Senegal: What You Need to Know
Our latest Market Watch focuses on Senegal, which is located in the westernmost part of Africa. This informational piece discusses the potential challenges that international assignees may face when relocating to Senegal, as well as best practice solutions. Senegal is one of the continent’s more stable economies, with major industries including phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, and fishing.
Here are my top 10 tips for relocation to Senegal.
- Senegal’s public signage and official documents are written in French. English speakers can be found in major cities like Dakar, but it’s advisable to learn at least basic French words and phrases to make daily tasks like shopping or paying bills easier.
- Assignees should not be alarmed if they are asked by local police to present their identification documents. This is normal practice, but it does mean they need to carry their documents at all times.
- Organisations should consider paying for a property’s security costs in addition to the housing allowance allocated to the assignee.
- Utility bills are sometimes included in rental rates. Once a house has been found, be sure to establish whether utilities are included, before the lease is signed.
- Occasional power outages, whilst frustrating, should be met with patience and practicality, for instance by stocking up on candles and solar-powered lamps. In some areas, properties will have standalone generators, which should help to minimise disruption.
- Even if the assignee plans to drive whilst on assignment, organisations should consider providing a driver for at least the first few weeks. This allows the assignee to get used to their surroundings, the road layout, and local driving styles.
- Road conditions mean that 4x4 vehicles are the most appropriate mode of transport, although avoid getting one with blacked out windows, as it may attract unwanted attention.
- Senegal’s dry season (November to June) can produce strong winds and dust storms, known as the harmattan. This can impact people who have respiratory issues, such as asthma, so those assignees with known issues should bring sufficient medication or breathing apparatuses.
- The majority of the Senegalese population is Muslim. With this in mind, dress should be fairly conservative, with men and woman covering shoulders and upper arms. Public displays of affection should also be avoided.
- Even if you meet someone for a second time the same day, greeting them correctly is key to building relationships in Senegalese culture. Before starting a business discussion, enquire into the health and wellbeing of the other person and their family.