Mouhamed Kebe of Geni & Kebe in Dakar looks at the broadening horizons of Senegal’s business environment
Senegal belongs to two major regional entities: ECOWAS and WAEMU.
ECOWAS is an association of 16 West African entities aiming at having one economic and monetary zone with a uniform legislation on the main sectors regarding economy, trade, natural resources, diplomacy, to mention a few.
WAEMU is an entity of eight West African countries, having the same currency, the same reserve bank and the same business law.
So, the advantage when doing business with Senegal is that the environment is not just local, it is regional.
Starting a business
The main framework regarding the starting of a business derives from the OHADA Company Act and the Senegalese Investment Code.
On the local level, the Investment Code provides several incentives aimed at making business more profitable and attractive. To be eligible for such incentives, the investment should be in one of the following sectors: Agriculture, mining, port, airport, railways, infrastructure, fishing, health or tourism.
The following conditions are required:
Regarding the advantages granted, two steps should be mentioned:
The second step deals mainly with tax issues.
There are two tax regimes
The regime for new enterprises:
The regime for projects of extensions
On the global level, The OHADA Company Act provides the main legislation dealing with starting a business.
OHADA is a Statute shared by 17 African countries. The OHADA Acts includes the following areas:
Under the Company Act 7 types of company can be registered in Senegal and the OHADA region
According to data collected by Doing Business 2013, starting a business in Senegal takes five days. This performance is essentially the result of several reforms that have simplified the process. For example the ''Investment Council'' has been set up under the auspices of the President of the Republic Cabinet in order to assess the obstacles that block the investment environment and find out adequate solutions.
One of the solutions was to enlarge the competence of APIX, the national investment Agency, making it a one-stop shop for investors wishing to start a business in Senegal.
The 2013 Doing Business Report ranks Senegal 93rd out of 183 economies with regard to the facilitation of business start up, ahead of most countries of the sub-region.
Globally, the Report ranked Senegal the 5th placed world reformer and listed it among the top 17 reformers for the past five years.
New reforms making the justice sector more secure and more efficient
The efficiency of a judicial system provides a suitable dispute resolution is amongst the top priorities of Senegal.
Indicators of the Doing Business had emphasised the slow process of the Senegalese judicial system; which makes it a very hard and long process to enforce contracts. To address this problem, several measures have been implemented.
New commercial divisions have been set up in courts, these new divisions will be dealing only with commercial matters. The aim is to improve efficiency and get faster and less costly contract enforcement, particularly where the commercial case load is large.
The other important reform is the amendment of the Civil Procedure Code, in August 2013, further to recommendations made by three advisory firms including Geni & Kebe. New provisions aimed at making the process of enforcing contracts easier have been enacted.
The new provisions impose new individual deadlines on the parties at different stages of the proceedings. They have also set up new rules dealing with case management, allowing a more efficient monitoring of the cases in the court docket from the filing of the claim until the judgment is issued.
Geni & Kebe