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The South African Mission in Dakar is accredited to Senegal, The Gambia and Cabo Verde. Partnerships with these countries present an opportunity for South Africa to expand its influence on the continent and in multilateral institutions; greater economic cooperation; and maintaining a robust presence in the upper-West African region.

Senegal, in particular, holds a strong influence within the region especially amongst the francophone states. It has shown a strong solidarity with South Africa and a willingness to promote South African investment in the country. The Gambia and Cabo Verde, whilst much smaller in size and economy, provide South Africa with an opportunity to invest in developing markets; and cooperation at the multilateral level. South Africa already holds strong political relations with all the three countries.


The Senegalese capital, Dakar, having once been the capital of a vast colonial union, became a foremost source of calls for freedom in Africa, propagating African unity and a reappraisal of African cultural values. It was Senegal that facilitated the historical meeting of the group of South Africans with exiled members of the ANC on Gorée Island in 1987 which paved a way for future diplomatic relations between the two countries. Representative offices were established in November 1993 in Pretoria and Dakar, followed by full diplomatic relations on 6 May 1994.

Relations between the two countries have strengthened considerably in the period of time since President Sall has been in power.  President CM Ramaphosa visited Senegal on 05 – 07 December 2021. He was accompanied by Minister Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and other South African government Ministers.

The formal structure for the diplomatic relations between South Africa and Senegal is the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), at Ministerial level, which was signed on 07 December 2021, in Dakar, Senegal.

Trade/Economic Relations

The trade relations between SA and Senegal have been growing steadily with SA exports to Senegal valued at R 1.5 billion in 2020. South Africa’s main exports to Senegal are very diverse consisting of agricultural products and industrial goods such as (Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons, Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television, Explosives; pyrotechnic products; matches; pyrophoric alloys; certain combustible preparations, Optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical).  Similarly, the value of Senegal’s exports to SA are valued at R32 Million in 2020 and its exports consists of tools, implements, cutlery, spoons and forks, of base metal; saddlery and harness; travel goods, handbags and similar containers; articles). 

Both countries are working hard to balance their trade relations and are considering using the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as another layer in bridging the gap in trade between them.


Ambassador HE Ms Bongiwe Qwabe

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