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Tenure Insecurity

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Situated in West Africa, with a population of nearly 16 million, Senegal is a low-income country with a GDP per capita of US$2,712 (2017). Fifty four percent of the population is rural and the majority of people living in rural areas are poor. Informal settlements make up 25% of urban land in Senegal. Although 60% of the population work on the land, agriculture accounts for only 15% of the total GDP of the country. The poverty rate was 47% in 2011 but has fallen in recent years due to dynamic growth.

Senegal’s legal framework for land includes multiple civil laws, religious law, evolving principles of customary law and a decentralised model of governance. People access land mainly through inheritance, leasing, borrowing, land purchase, and allocations from rural councils but customary law continues to govern land rights and the transfer of land in much of the country. In Senegal’s highly-stratified society, customary practices tend to favour elites (elders, and religious and political figures). Although formal law supports equitable access to land for men and women, most women gain and maintain access land through their husbands.

Statistical Analysis

Prindex’s results show that 21% of respondents felt insecure about their tenure rights in 2018 – an equivalent of 1.7 million people aged 18 or over, and slightly lower than the average of the first 15 countries. Seventy seven percent of the sample interviewed felt secure about their property rights and the remaining 2% refused or did not know how to answer the question. Women felt more worried than men about losing their property in the case of divorce - a difference of 21 percentage points.

The tables and diagrams below show key Prindex results for Senegal or you can download an infographic.


All respondents

All respondents

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Analysing Tenure Insecurity by category

Tenure type
Employment type
Income adequacy


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