This working paper explores the current development pattern of Senegal from geographical and economic perspectives, and its impact on climate vulnerability. It focuses on analysing tourism as a representative sector of economic tertiarisation, and examines new issues related to urbanisation and coastal area land use that have been raised as a result of Senegal’s development.
The report, produced as part of the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE) research programme, assesses how current economic development has resulted in inequalities in terms of exposure and sensitivity to climate, largely as a result of unbalanced economic development. It argues that sectoral diversification of the tourism sector can strengthen economic resilience, but only if combined with the diversification of products, services and markets is it likely to be effective and sustainable.
Key Messages include:
- In Senegal, socioeconomic development is characterised by growth that is diversified but unevenly distributed geographically.
- The concentration of activities in urban centres and along the coast has reduced the country’s vulnerability to droughts but has also contributed to increased exposure to new climate risks.
- Economic diversification in Senegal reduces vulnerability to climate change, especially by decreasing the sensitivity of agriculture to drought, and leads to a general reinforcement of adaptive capacity.
- The tourism sector, historically presented as an opportunity to reduce economic exposure to drought, has in fact contributed to new forms of vulnerability given the geographical and economic concentration of the sector.
- Diversified economic growth combined with geographical decentralisation of socioeconomic activities can provide the conditions for resilient economic development in Senegal.