Working in Dakar

Work in Dakar
Updated 2020-02-25 14:19

Dakar is the westernmost city of mainland Africa and has been Senegal’s capital since 1960. The wider Dakar metropolitan area is home to an estimated 3.7 million people, accounting for more than one-fifth of the population, while the city of Dakar is made of 19 districts with downtown Plateau the heart and soul of Dakar’s economic activities.

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Having emerged as a major port and industrial hub during the 19th century, Dakar was named the capital of French West Africa in 1902. As a result of decades of French influence, Dakar is a real mixture of African and European cultures.

The economy of Dakar

Dakar is known as the ‘Gateway to West Africa’ and is one of the region’s main trade hubs. Dakar’s port welcomes an average of 300,000 containers each year, whilst the newly-built Blaise Diagne airport, 27 miles southeast of Dakar, has the largest air passenger capacity in West Africa, accommodating up to three million passengers per year.

However, Dakar’s burgeoning economy is not solely based on its strategic location. It is also home to a large array of industries from fishing and financial services (the West African Central Bank is based here) to tourism and telecommunications. Besides, the greater Dakar area hosts many of the country's chemical plants, such as Industries Chimiques du Senegal, textiles, food and refining industries.

What’s more, a new city, Diamniadio, is being built near the new airport to serve as a base for the overflowing industries trying to occupy Dakar’s peninsula base.

The labour market in Dakar

Dakar is a fast-developing city and is embracing the future with open arms. Technology, telecommunications and financial services are all major employers in the capital, while traditional industries, such as shipbuilding, refineries and chemical plants occupy the outer reaches of the metropolitan area.

Given such development, there is always a demand for specialist engineering and construction skills, as well as tech-adept personnel to help drive new companies forward. Many large service providers - such as banks, telecoms and airline companies - have either main offices or regional hubs in the city. In addition, most NGOs, UN organisations and charities that have operations in West Africa, have a base here.

The capital is also the country’s cultural hub, hosting the largest African contemporary art fair, the Dakar Biennale, every two years. As the home to a wide range of galleries and museums - including the recently opened Museum of Black Civilisations, the largest in West Africa - as well as an omnipresent music scene, Dakar also offers a number of creative opportunities.

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Remember that there is fierce competition between locals and foreigners in the local labour market. As a result, you are more likely to be hired if you have specialist skills and experience required by particular fields. Moreover, some jobs are restricted to locals only.

Job hunting in Dakar

Unless you have been transferred to Dakar by your company to its Senegalese branch, there are various ways to search for a job there. Using the internet will undeniably be your best tool, but you should also start networking and searching for job offers on specialised websites, professional social networks such as LinkedIn and on Dakar-based Facebook groups, such as Dakarium.

If you are already in Dakar, you can also view job offers in local newspapers or consider registering with a recruitment agency to help you find a job according to your profile.

 Useful links:

Dakarium: Jobs and Internships
My UN Jobs
Emploi Senegal 
Jumia Jobs 

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.