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  • 9/27/2003


Independent from France in 1960, Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation ofSenegambia in 1982. However, the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group sporadically has clashed with government forces since 1982.Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.


Location:Middle East, peninsula bordering thePersian Gulf and Saudi Arabia

Geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 14 00 W

Area: total: 196,190 sq km
land: 192,000 sq km
water: 4,190 sq km

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind

Coastline: 531 km


Population: 10,580,307 (July 2003 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.56% (2003 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
noun: Senegalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Senegalese

Ethnic groups: Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 9.4%
French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka


In January 1994, Senegal undertook a bold and ambitious economic reform program with the support of the international donor community. This reform began with a 50% devaluation of Senegal's currency, the CFA franc, which was linked at a fixed rate to the French franc. Government price controls and subsidies have been steadily dismantled. After seeing its economy contract by 2.1% in 1993,Senegal made an important turnaround, thanks to the reform program, with real growth in GDP averaging 5% annually during 1995-2002. Annual inflation had been pushed down to less than 1%, but rose to an estimated 3.3% in 2001 and 3.0% in 2002. Investment rose steadily from 13.8% of GDP in 1993 to 16.5% in 1997. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified external tariff. Senegal also realized full Internet connectivity in 1996, creating a miniboom in information technology-based services. Private activity now accounts for 82% of GDP. In 2003, GDP will probably again grow at about 5%. On the negative side, Senegal faces deep-seated urban problems of chronic unemployment, trade union militancy, juvenile delinquency, and drug addiction

Industries agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials

Agriculture products: peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables; cattle, poultry, pigs; fish


Telephones main lines in use: 234,916 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 373,965 (2001)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2002)

Internet users: 100,000 (2002)


Aerial View of Fishing Boats (CORBIS.com)

Railways: total: 906 km
narrow gauge: 906 km 1.000-meter gauge (2002)

Highways: total: 14,576 km
paved: 4,271 km
unpaved: 10,305 km (1996)

Waterways: 897 km
note: 785 km on theSenegal River, and 112 km on theSaloum River

Airports: 20 (2002)


Conventional long form: Republic of Senegal
conventional short form: Senegal
local short form: Senegal
local long form: Republique du Senegal

Government type: republic under multiparty democratic rule

Capital: Dakar

Administrative divisions:10 regions (regions, singular - region); Dakar, Diourbel, Fatick, Kaolack, Kolda, Louga,Saint-Louis, Tambacounda, Thies, Ziguinchor
note: there may be another region called Matam

Independence: 4 April 1960 (from France); complete independence was achieved upon dissolution of federation with Mali on 20 August 1960

Constitution: a new constitution was adopted 7 January 2001

Legal system:based on French civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Court; the Council of State audits the government's accounting office; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Abdoulaye WADE (since 1 April 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Idrissa SECK (since 4 November 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
election results: Abdoulaye WADE elected president; percent of vote in the second round of voting - Abdoulaye WADE (PDS) 58.49%, Abdou DIOUF (PS) 41.51%
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term under new constitution; election last held 27 February and 19 March 2000 (next to be held 27 February 2005); prime minister appointed by the president

Judicial branchConstitutional Court; Council of State; Court of Final Appeals or Cour de Cassation; Court of Appeals; note - the judicial system was reformed in 1992

Political parties and leaders: African Party for Democracy and Socialism or And Jef (also known as PADS/AJ) [Landing SAVANE, secretary general]; African Party of Independence [Majhemout DIOP]; Alliance of Forces of Progress or AFP [Moustapha NIASSE]; Democratic and Patriotic Convention or CDP (also known as Garab-Gi) [Dr. Iba Der THIAM]; Democratic League-Labor Party Movement or LD-MPT [Dr. Abdoulaye BATHILY]; Front for Socialism and Democracy or FSD [Cheikh Abdoulaye DIEYE]; Gainde Centrist Bloc or BGC [Jean-Paul DIAS]; Independence and Labor Party or PIT [Amath DANSOKHO]; National Democratic Rally or RND [Madier DIOUF]; Senegalese Democratic Party or PDS [Abdoulaye WADE]; Socialist Party or PS [Ousmane Tanor DIENG]; SOPI Coalition (a coalition led by the PDS) [Abdoulaye WADE]; Union for Democratic Renewal or URD [Djibo Leyti KA]; other small


Muslim 94%, indigenous beliefs 1%, Christian 5% (mostly Roman Catholic)


Senegal's recorded history dates from the 8th century, when it was part of the empire of Ghana. As this empire waned, the Djolof kingdom arose and flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries, in the area between the Senegal River and modern-dayDakar.

By the end of the 19th century,France controlled all of Senegal, and Dakar was built as the administrative centre.Senegal sent a deputy to the French parliament as early as 1848, but it wasn't until 1914 that the first African deputy, Blaise Diagne, was elected. He was followed by a new generation of black politicians led by Lamine Gueye and Léopold Senghor.

At the end of 1980, Senghor stepped down as president. His place was taken by Abdou Diouf, whose first major crisis occurred in 1984 when it was discovered that an estimated 700,000 tones of groundnuts (about three times the official exported amount) had been smuggled into neighbouring countries by peasants unhappy with the fixed payments they received from the government.

In 1989, a minor incident on the Senegal-Mauritania border led to serious riots in both countries in which many people died. Both countries deported thousands of the other's nationals (killing hundreds in the process), the border was closed and diplomatic relations were broken off until April 1992.

In the early 1990s, there were serious clashes in the Casamance region between the army and separatist rebels. Quite apart from the suffering caused to the local people, the fighting severely affectedSenegal's tourist industry. This compoundedSenegal's already desperate financial situation.

More violence occurred in Casamance and elsewhere in early 1993, following elections in which Diouf was elected president for a third term. After long negotiations, a cease-fire was declared in July that year, and in the following months peace returned to Casamance. By early 1994, the first tourists had also begun to return.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the country, things were still far from peaceful. The government introduced a number of austerity measures, leading to a one-day general strike in early September and sporadic outbreaks of unrest inDakar and other cities during the following months. The devaluation of the CFA in January 1994 also resulted in angry demonstrations. In February 1994, hundreds of people marched on Dakar's presidential palace and six policemen on guard were reportedly hacked to death. The government responded to this by ordering high-profile army patrols onto the streets of the capital. The popular opposition leader Abdou-laye Wade was arrested and accused of conspiracy.

Dakar remained tense but peaceful in the following months, and Wade was released in May 1994. The March 2000 presidential elections were a close contest between President Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade. After a tense second round of voting, Wade emerged victorious and is nowSenegal's new president. International observers declared the elections free and fair and it was refreshing to see a long-time African leader (Diouf) peacefully relinquish power at the will of the people. President Wade has promised an open, transparent government and hopes are high that he will tackle Senegal's many problems with a renewed vigour. On the down side there was more violence in the Casamance region during this time, with clashes between government troops and a faction of the separatist rebels from the Movement for Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). The government is maintaining a large army presence in the region.

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