Dakar is not only the capital and largest city of Senegal but also the nation's largest consumer market and a major commercial and industrial center of West Africa. Many large trading firms have headquarters in France. Lebanese residents also play an important role in trade, however, many of their businesses are gradually being replaced by Senegalese merchants. A small number of supermarkets and larger retail stores deal primarily in imported goods. A few foreign franchise firms have made their way into the country.
Smuggling of goods from The Gambia is a serious problem, since such illicit imports undercut Senegalese products in price. A large informal domestic trade takes place in the Dakkar marketplace known as Sandaga. Here, street vendors sell a wide variety of goods from cosmetics and shoes to stereo equipment.
Since Senegal ratified the WTO agreement in 1995, the government's role in domestic trade has been reduced. Subsidies for rice, sugar, wheat, and flour have been eliminated.
Normal business hours are from 8 or 9 AM to noon and 3 to 6 PM , Monday–Friday, and 8 or 9 AM to noon on Saturday. Banks are usually open 7:45 to 12:15 AM and 1:30 to 3:45 PM , Monday–Friday.