After achieving independence in 1960, Senegal experienced several years of economic growth, mostly based on agricultural resources and increases in productivity. Senegal has a population of about 12 million people; 58% of the population is rural, but the majority of people living in rural areas are poor. Although 60% of the population works in the agricultural sector, agriculture accounts for only 15% of the total GDP of the country.

The Constitution of 2001 recognizes economic and social rights, including the right to own property for every citizen. The National Domain Law was intended to limit the influence of ethnic and religious hierarchies; it encourages a more productive use of land and the creation of better condition for agricultural exports, while also giving control over land to decentralized government bodies. The Rural Community Law of 1972 established the structure for rural councils, which have the authority to allocate use rights to land and the criteria for the improvement of production-based on local development plans. Despite several other land laws that have been passed, land access and use is primarily regulated by customary law that generally tends to favor elites.

Consequently, land disputes are increasingly common in Senegal. Additionally, open access rules and practices on public land lead to a situation in which everyone is entitled to use land without any consideration of the damages that may result. Mechanisms for dispute resolution include formal and customary procedures as well as alternative systems, such as arbitration boards and municipal councils. 

Source of the narrative

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Indicators Year Value Unit Dataset Source Remove

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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen, with support from Daniel Babare and Myat Noe (LLB Students, University of Groningen). The indicators assess national laws in 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America against international standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement as established by Section 16 of the VGGTs.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in section 16 of the VGGTs. Hold the mouse against the small "i" button above for a more detailed explanation of the indicator.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


    Latest News

    2 February 2017

    By: Nellie Peyton

    Date: 1 February 2017

    Source: Manitoba Co-Operator

    Female-led work is vital to rural communities in Senegal — now women are organizing 
to lead the fight against multinational agribusiness.

    The women of Thiamene, a tiny straw hut village in northern Senegal, used to scrape together a living by collecting wild baobab fruit and selling milk from their cows.

    PROCASUR and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are pleased to announce a Learning Route initiative on inclusive agricultural value chains which will take place in West and Central Africa, as part of the "Strengthening capacities and tools for scaling and disseminating innovations", implemented by PROCASUR and financed by IFAD.

    The piles of concrete and twisted metal in the Tobago neighbourhood beside Dakar's international airport were home to Senegalese families until bulldozers arrived last month without warning.

    A line of six homes remain, given a reprieve until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Looking at the rubble of their former homes, the head of the residents' association says he does not believe the government's explanation that the houses were a security risk.

    After all, said Daouda Mbengue, the airport was due to move to a new site outside Dakar next year.

    Latest Events


    Displaying 1 - 6 of 52
    Journal Articles & Books
    June 2011

    En réponse à la crise alimentaire de 2008, le Sénégal a préparé un ambitieux programme d’autosuffisance alimentaire visant à assurer l’intégralité de la consommation nationale de riz avec du riz local d’ici à 2015, essentiellement grâce à des investissements massifs dans les périmètres existants et nouveaux de production de riz dans la Vallée du fleuve Sénégal.

    Journal Articles & Books
    June 2011

    Une équipe internationale de chercheurs a identifié deux gènes qui ont un rapport avec les résistances contre la trypanosomiase. La maladie est provoquée par des parasites unicellulaires du groupe des trypanosomes, qui sont transmis par la mouche tsé-tsé, et elle occasionne des dommages estimés à 4–5 milliards de dollars US par an. Ce sont particulièrement les éleveurs de bovins vivant dans ce qui est appelé la «ceinture tsé-tsé» de l’Afrique, qui va du Sénégal à la Tanzanie et du Tchad au Zimbabwe, qui sont particulièrement touchés.

    Reports & Research
    February 2017

    This synthesis of our findings from an investigation of tenure risk in East, West, and Southern Africa, shows that a majority of tenure disputes are caused by the displacement of local peoples, indicating that companies and investors are not doing enough to understand competing claims to the land they acquire or lease. This failure in diligence is particularly noteworthy given that a majority of the disputes analyzed had materially significant impacts: indeed, a higher proportion of projects in Africa are financially impacted by tenure dispute than any other region in the world. 

    Journal Articles & Books
    January 2011

    In response to the 2008 food crisis, Senegal developed an ambitious food self-sufficiency programme which aims to entirely cover national rice consumption needs with local rice by 2015, mainly through massive investments in existing and new rice perimeters in the Senegal River Valley (SRV). It has yet to be seen, however, how the projected rice production boom will reach urban markets, where the product is often unknown or misconstrued.

    Reports & Research
    February 2017

    Amid the realities of major political turbulence, there was growing recognition in 2016 that the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are key to ensuring peace and prosperity, economic development, sound investment, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Despite equivocation by governments, a critical mass of influential investors and companies now recognize the market rationale for respecting community land rights.