/sen'i gawl", -gahl"/, n.
1. a republic in W Africa: independent member of the French Community; formerly part of French West Africa. 9,403,546; 76,084 sq. mi. (197,057 sq. km). Cap.: Dakar.
2. a river in W Africa, flowing NW from E Mali to the Atlantic at St. Louis. ab. 1000 mi. (1600 km) long. French, Sénégal /say nay gannl"/.

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Introduction Senegal
Background: Independent from France in 1960, Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia 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. Geography Senegal -
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea- Bissau and Mauritania
Geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 14 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 196,190 sq km land: 192,000 sq km water: 4,190 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than South Dakota
Land boundaries: total: 2,640 km border countries: The Gambia 740 km, Guinea 330 km, Guinea-Bissau 338 km, Mali 419 km, Mauritania 813 km
Coastline: 531 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind
Terrain: generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point: unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha 581 m
Natural resources: fish, phosphates, iron ore
Land use: arable land: 11.58% permanent crops: 0.19% other: 88.23% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 710 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts Environment - current issues: wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
Geography - note: westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave of Senegal People Senegal
Population: 10,589,571 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.5% (male 2,321,789; female 2,290,105) 15-64 years: 53.4% (male 2,710,178; female 2,943,554) 65 years and over: 3.1% (male 159,445; female 164,500) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.91% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 36.99 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 8.14 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/ female total population: 0.96 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 55.41 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 62.93 years female: 64.61 years (2002 est.) male: 61.29 years
Total fertility rate: 5.03 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.4% (2001 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 95,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 10,000 (2001 est.)
Nationality: 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%
Religions: Muslim 94%, indigenous beliefs 1%, Christian 5% (mostly Roman Catholic)
Languages: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 39.1% male: 51.1% female: 28.9% (2001 est.) Government Senegal
Country name: 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
National holiday: Independence Day, 4 April (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
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Abdoulaye WADE (since 1 April 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Madior BOYE (since 3 March 2001) 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
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 29 April 2001 (next to be held NA 2006) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - SOPI Coalition 89, AFP 11, PS 10, other 10 note: the former National Assembly, dissolved in the spring of 2001, had 140 seats
Judicial branch: Constitutional 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 parties Political pressure groups and labor; Muslim brotherhoods;
leaders: students; teachers International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS,
participation: FAO, FZ, G-15, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, MIPONUH, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOVIC, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mamadou Mansour SECK FAX: [1] (202) 332-6315 consulate(s) general: New York telephone: [1] (202) 234-0540 chancery: 2112 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Harriet
US: L. ELAM-THOMAS embassy: Avenue Jean XXIII at the corner of Rue Kleber, Dakar mailing address: B. P. 49, Dakar telephone: [221] 823-4296, 823-7384 FAX: [221] 822-2991
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red with a small green five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia Economy Senegal -
Economy - overview: 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 is 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- 2001. Annual inflation had been pushed down to less than 1%, but rose to an estimated 3.3% in 2001. 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. On the negative side, Senegal faces deep- seated urban problems of chronic unemployment, trade union militancy, juvenile delinquency, and drug addiction.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $16.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.7% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,580 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 18.5% industry: 20.7% services: 60.8% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 54% (2001 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 1.4%
percentage share: highest 10%: 42.8% (1991) Distribution of family income - Gini 41.3 (1995)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.3% (2001 est.)
Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 70%
Unemployment rate: 48% (urban youth 40%) (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.373 billion expenditures: $1.373 billion, including capital expenditures of $357 million (2002 est.)
Industries: agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials Industrial production growth rate: 5.2% (2000 est.) Electricity - production: 1.32 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 1.228 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables; cattle, poultry, pigs; fish
Exports: $1 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Exports - commodities: fish, groundnuts (peanuts), petroleum products, phosphates, cotton
Exports - partners: France 19%, Italy 12%, Spain 6%, Cote d'Ivoire 2% (2000)
Imports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
Imports - commodities: foods and beverages, consumer goods, capital goods, petroleum products
Imports - partners: France 27%, Nigeria 19%, Germany 4%, US 4%, Italy 3% (2000)
Debt - external: $3.1 billion (2002 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $362.6 million (2002 est.)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code: XOF
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XOF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF per euro
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Senegal Telephones - main lines in use: 234,916 (2001) Telephones - mobile cellular: 373,965 (2001)
Telephone system: general assessment: good system domestic: above-average urban system; microwave radio relay, coaxial cable and fiber-optic cable in trunk system international: 4 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 10, FM 14, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 1.24 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)
Televisions: 361,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .sn Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (2002)
Internet users: 40,000 (2001) Transportation Senegal
Railways: total: 906 km narrow gauge: 906 km 1.000-meter gauge (70 km double-tracked) (2001)
Highways: total: 14,576 km paved: 4,271 km unpaved: 10,305 km (1996)
Waterways: 897 km note: 785 km on the Senegal river, and 112 km on the Saloum river
Ports and harbors: Dakar, Kaolack, Matam, Podor, Richard Toll, Saint-Louis, Ziguinchor
Airports: 20 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 9 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 11 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Senegal
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police (Surete Nationale) Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 2,406,337 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 1,257,423 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching males: 114,189 (2002 est.)
military age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $68.6 million (FY02)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1.4% (FY02)
GDP: Transnational Issues Senegal Disputes - international: Senegalese separatists disrupt legal border trade with smuggling, cattle rustling, and other illegal activities in Guinea-Bissau
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin moving to Europe and North America; illicit cultivator of cannabis

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officially Republic of Senegal

Country, western Africa.

Area: 75,951 sq mi (196,712 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 9,905,000. Capital: Dakar. There are seven major ethnic groups in Senegal
including the Wolof, Fulani, and Malinke, each speaking a separate language
and a number of smaller groups. Language: French (official). Religion: Islam (more than 90% of the population). Currency: CFA franc. The climate varies from dry desert to moist tropics. Forests cover about 31% of the total area, about 27% is arable, and approximately 30% is pasture or rangeland. Agriculture is the main industry; peanuts are the most important cash and export crop. Other important industries are fishing, mining, manufacturing, and tourism. Senegal has large reserves of phosphates and iron ore. It is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Links between the peoples of Senegal and North Africa were established in the 10th century AD. Islam was introduced in the 11th century, although animism retained a hold on the country into the 19th century. The Portuguese explored the coast in 1445, and in 1638 the French established a trading post at the mouth of the Sénégal River. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Europeans exported slaves, ivory, and gold from Senegal. The French gained control over the coast in the early 19th century and moved inland, checking the expansion of the Tukulor empire; in 1895 Senegal became part of French West Africa. Its inhabitants were made French citizens in 1946, and it became an overseas territory of France. It became an autonomous republic in 1958 and was federated with Mali (1959–60). It became an independent state in 1960. In 1982 it entered a confederation with Gambia, called Senegambia, which was dissolved in 1989. More recently uprisings in part of the country caused political disorder.

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▪ 2009

197,021 sq km (77,070 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 12,688,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Minister Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré

      Despite the assassination in 2007 of Samsidine Dino Némo Aïdara—Senegalese Pres. Abdoulaye Wade's peace envoy in Casamance—government officials in 2008 insisted that the peace process in that troubled region would not be stopped. Hard-liners of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) launched a raid in early May on villagers who were attempting to bring in the cashew harvest. The rebels chopped off the ears of at least 16 villagers. The army began new operations near the Guinea-Bissau border. On May 20 the MFDC ambushed a patrol in Djibidione, killing two soldiers; an unknown number of MFDC adherents also died.

      Poor rains and escalating global food prices resulted in high levels of malnutrition, particularly in the northeast. President Wade attacked the Food and Agriculture Organization policy of retaining 20% of the private donations that were destined for African countries facing a food crisis. He threatened to sue the FAO for having failed in its role of preventing famine. Approximately two million Senegalese were facing food shortages.

      The passage of a constitutional amendment during the year would allow Senegal to try Hissène Habré, Chad's former president, who had been living in exile in Dakar since 1990. On Aug. 15, 2008, Chad sentenced Habré to death in absentia, and shortly thereafter Senegalese Justice Minister Madické Niang argued for the trial in Senegal to be abandoned, as it would constitute double jeopardy.

      On July 29 the National Assembly voted to extend presidential terms from five to seven years, effective from 2012. Opposition parties severely criticized the move; the extension would not affect President Wade, however, who was due to stand down that year.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2008

197,021 sq km (77,071 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 12,522,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Ministers Macky Sall and, from June 19, Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré

      One of the major stories in Senegal in 2007 was the death in January of 78-year-old Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, the leader of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Although most members of the MFDC had accepted the 2004 peace accord signed by Senghor, some dissident factions remained active in the southern region, causing a new wave of refugees to flee into neighbouring Guinea-Bissau. Improved security around the beach resorts of Cap Skirring resulted, however, in a modest increase in tourism.

      In the February 25 presidential election, Abdoulaye Wade won his second term in office, trouncing 14 other candidates and taking 56% of the vote; his nearest rival, former prime minister Idrissa Seck, captured 15%. The voter turnout was 70%. Despite protests by opposition parties, the Constitutional Council certified the vote on March 11. In the June 3 legislative elections, the leading opposition parties boycotted the vote, which gave President Wade's coalition an easy victory; it took 131 of the 150 seats in the National Assembly. As a result of the boycott, only 35% of the electorate voted. On June 19 President Wade named Cheikh Hadjibou Soumaré prime minister; he replaced Macky Sall, who resigned to become president of the National Assembly.

      The government threatened to withdraw its 500 men from the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur after 5 of them were killed in April. On August 10, however, after a series of meetings with AU and UN authorities, the government committed Senegal to tripling the size of its contingent.

      Over the weekend of June 9–10, renowned Senegalese novelist and filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (Sembene, Ousmane ) died at the age of 84. He was a cofounder of the Pan-African film and television festival that was held biennially in Burkina Faso.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2007

196,722 sq km (75,955 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 10,961,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Minister Macky Sall

      On March 14, 2006, Senegalese border villages came under attack by Guinea-Bissau's army, which was seeking breakaway factions of the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) that refused to accept the 2004 peace agreement between the rebels and the Senegalese government. Members of the mainstream MFDC also clashed with the hard-liners. Further violence erupted in mid-August in northern Casamance after a series of raids by the Senegalese army designed to bring the rebels into the open. Thousands of Senegalese, uprooted by the latest round of fighting, took refuge in neighbouring The Gambia. On September 1 a land-mine explosion killed an International Committee of the Red Cross worker. Two men were later charged in the incident.

 The flow of illegal migrants from Senegal attempting to reach Europe through the Canary Islands increased dramatically after Morocco and Mauritania initiated stricter border and coastal patrols. On May 23 the Senegalese navy halted 1,500 would-be migrants trying to reach the Canaries in 19 wooden boats. The Spanish government halted the repatriation of Senegalese migrants on June 1 after protests against their treatment led Senegal's government to suspend cooperation with the program. After negotiations between the two governments, the deportations resumed in mid-September.

      Having served seven months in jail, former prime minister Idrissa Seck was released on February 7. A committee of the High Court of Senegal dropped all charges of corruption and endangering state security, but Seck still faced trial on some minor infractions.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2006

196,722 sq km (75,955 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 11,706,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Minister Macky Sall

      The year 2005 in Senegal opened on a hopeful note, the signing of a peace treaty on Dec. 30, 2004, that was expected finally to end the 22-year-long Casamance rebellion, in which at least 3,500 people died, 50,000 refugees fled into The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, and the region's once booming tourist economy virtually collapsed.

      The growing rift between Pres. Abdoulaye Wade and former prime minister Idrissa Seck threatened the unity of the ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS). In April, 12 PDS deputies considered loyal to Seck, long regarded as the likely successor to the 79-year-old head of state, walked out of the ruling coalition to establish their own party. On July 15 Seck was arrested and interrogated for alleged corruption. Eight days later he was charged with the far more serious crime of jeopardizing state security, and on August 3, the parliament voted to bring Seck before a special tribunal. Opposition parties, already angered by the May 30 arrest of Reform Party leader Abdourahim Agne on charges of inciting rebellion, called the parliamentary action unconstitutional.

      A cholera outbreak in central Senegal in January threatened to get out of control after an estimated million Muslims, members of the Murid brotherhood, made the annual pilgrimage to Touba, 200 km (125 mi) east of Dakar. Nearly 5,000 new cases were recorded between March 28 and April 6, with 64 deaths reported. The heavy rains that flooded much of Dakar in September gave the epidemic new strength.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2005

196,722 sq km (75,955 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 10,339,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Ministers Idrissa Seck and, from April 21, Macky Sall

      Citing the need to restore unity in the government, Pres. Abdoulaye Wade sacked Prime Minister Idrissa Seck on April 21, 2004, and replaced him with former interior minister Macky Sall. Seck had been increasingly portrayed in the media as a possible challenger to Wade's leadership. In June President Wade announced that, effective in 2005, he would introduce legislation to provide public funding of political parties. On July 9 Madiambal Diagne, editor of the newspaper Le Quotidien, was arrested after having published an article about government corruption. In protest, on July 12 all of Senegal's privately owned newspapers ceased publication, and private radio stations canceled their newscasts. They accused the government of trying to curtail freedom of the press. In July Senegal battled swarms of locusts that had invaded the country.

      On May 27 the cabinet unanimously approved the principle of granting amnesty to members of the secessionist Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Relevant legislation would be put before the National Assembly at its next session. The World Bank announced on September 9 that it would give Senegal a $20 million credit to assist in the reconstruction of the Casamance region and the demobilization and reintegration into society of an estimated 2,000 MFDC fighters and their families. On December 30 the government and the MFDC signed a peace deal, though several factions in the movement opposed the accord.

      President Wade attended ceremonies in Toulon, France, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Provence and called on the French government to give African combat veterans pensions equal to those of their French comrades. On August 13 Wade announced the establishment of an annual Day of the Senegalese Rifles to honour the generations of African soldiers whose history had been ignored or unknown to most of the people of France.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2004

196,722 sq km (75,955 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 10,095,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Minister Idrissa Seck

      After a six-month truce, fighting broke out in early January 2003 in Casamance between the Senegalese army and breakaway hard-line members of the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC); the MFDC was seeking independence for the region. At least 30 rebels and 4 soldiers died in clashes near Ziguinchor, the Casamance regional capital, and the resorts of Cap Skirring. On April 3 Pres. Abdoulaye Wade ordered the government to find means for the rebuilding of the southern province and the repatriation and resettlement of the more than 28,000 people who had fled the area during the 21-year rebellion. In an attack on May 7 in the village of Bofa, 23 km (14 mi) from Ziguinchor, one soldier was killed and another wounded. The mainstream and moderate faction of the MFDC, led by former priest Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, denied responsibility for the raid. On May 26 the MFDC announced the death of Sidi Badji, the 83-year-old leader of the militant faction. Following a rebel attack on another southern village, the army launched a new security operation on August 6.

      Amid continued inquiries into the cause of the sinking of the ferry Le Joola in September 2002, a Senegalese cargo ship sank off the coast of Mauritania on Jan. 20, 2003; 11 of the 19 crewmen were rescued. Wade laid the blame for the ferry disaster squarely on the military and the feeble and chaotic rescue operation that followed. After months of dispute over the level of compensation to be paid to families of the 1,863 victims, the amount was finally fixed at 5 million CFA francs (about $9,000) each, and payments began on September 29.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2003

196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 9,905,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Ministers Mame Madior Boye and, from November 4, Idrissa Seck

      More than 1,000 people drowned when the ferry Le Joola capsized in a violent storm off the coast of The Gambia on Sept. 26, 2002. (See Disasters.) The vessel, en route from Ziguinchor to Dakar, had become a main transport link since the ongoing rebellion in the Casamance area had made land travel dangerous. On October 2 the ministers of transport and the armed forces accepted responsibility for the tragedy and resigned. Pres. Abdoulaye Wade fired the commander of the navy, Ousseynou Combo, citing his failure to launch an organized rescue effort. Later, Prime Minister Mame Madior Boye and the entire cabinet were also fired, apparently in connection with the ferry accident.

      Despite a series of peace meetings between representatives of the government and leaders of the Movement of Democratic Forces of the Casamance, a solution to the rebellion remained elusive. A succession of armed clashes added to the death toll on both sides. Thousands had been killed in the 20-year-long conflict.

      Although heavy unseasonable rains and unusually cold weather brought serious flooding to northern Senegal in January, overall the two-year drought continued. On August 9 Pape Diouf, minister of agriculture, appealed for international aid to counter the threat of rural famine. After touring the areas most affected by the drought, however, President Wade claimed that his advisers had misled him by alleging that five million people were at risk of starvation. On August 29 he fired his communications adviser and apologized to international donors.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2002

196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 10,285,000
Chief of state:
President Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Ministers Moustapha Niasse and, from March 3, Mame Madior Boye

      On April 29, 2001, Sopi (“Change”)—a coalition of 40 parties, led by Pres. Abdoulaye Wade, won an overwhelming victory in the country's parliamentary elections, taking 89 of the National Assembly's 120 seats. The Alliance of Progressive Forces, led by former prime minister Moustapha Niasse, won 11 seats, while the former ruling Socialist Party managed to hold only 10. On May 12 the new prime minister, Mame Madior Boye, announced her 24-member cabinet, which was dominated by ministers from Wade's own Democratic Party. In January Wade also had won a referendum on constitutional reforms.

      Efforts to end 19 years of unrest in the Casamance region once again encountered setbacks. On February 16 rebels attacked a convoy of trucks north of Ziguinchor, killing at least 13 civilians. The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), the main separatist group, signed two peace agreements with the government on March 16 and 23, but several other rebel factions announced that they would continue the armed conflict. Despite this pact, the army renewed its efforts to crush the MFDC after April 6, when a second rebel attack on a convoy of cars near Ziguinchor took place. The government's offensive was suspended on May 25 in order to provide a more secure atmosphere for peace talks between the MFDC and hard-line rebel groups. After several postponements the three-day forum of the separatist groups was held in Banjul, Gambia, on August 7–9, but apparently no consensus was reached, and the scheduled closing ceremony was canceled. On August 10 Augustin Diamacoune, the MFDC's longtime leader, was replaced by Jean-Marie François Biagui.

      Léopold Sédar Senghor—the first president of Senegal, the first African to be elected to the French Academy, and the first head of state in postcolonial Africa to relinquish power voluntarily—died on December 20 in his retirement home in Normandy, France. (See Obituaries (Senghor, Leopold Sedar ).)

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2001

196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 9,987,000
Chief of state:
Presidents Abdou Diouf and, from April 1, Abdoulaye Wade, assisted by Prime Ministers Mamadou Lamine Loum and, from April 5, Moustapha Niasse

      Senegal's presidential campaign opened in January 2000 amid opposition charges that the government of Pres. Abdou Diouf was preparing to manipulate the elections to its own advantage, specifically by issuing a flood of false voter registration cards. Rumours of a military coup, similar to the one that had occurred in Côte d'Ivoire on Dec. 24, 1999, swept the capital. Despite charges and countercharges, and numerous warnings of possible violence, eight candidates ran for office. The election, on February 27, took place virtually without incident. Because no candidate won more than 50% of the vote, a runoff took place on March 19 between President Diouf, head of the ruling Socialist Party, and veteran opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade (see Biographies (Wade, Abdoulaye )), who was supported by a large coalition of opposition parties. To the general astonishment of the population, Wade easily defeated the incumbent. Confirming the strength of constitutional democracy in Senegal, Diouf telephoned Wade on March 20 to congratulate him on his victory and to wish him well. Wade appointed Moustapha Niasse prime minister in April. A new cabinet, which included members of seven political parties, was announced on April 3. A referendum for a new constitution was scheduled for Jan. 7, 2000.

      Following talks held with the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) in late January, the government lifted the bans on travel and public meetings that had been imposed upon that organization. In April the army clashed with MFDC forces near the Guinea-Bissau border; at least 18 people were killed, adding to the total of more than 1,200 deaths since the rebellion started in 1982. The border was closed for two weeks in late summer as a result of a blockade imposed by both countries.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2000

196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 10,052,000
Chief of state:
President Abdou Diouf, assisted by Prime Minister Mamadou Lamine Loum

      The elections on Jan. 24, 1999, for Senegal's new Senate were marred. Major opposition parties boycotted them and thus handed the ruling Socialist Party (PS) a sweeping victory; 45 of the elected 48 seats went to the PS, and of the 12 senators appointed by Pres. Abdou Diouf, 10 were PS members. On April 22 the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party withdrew from participation in the parliament in protest against the manner in which the government was organizing the February 2000 presidential elections. By October 8, however, more than 2.7 million Senegalese were registered on the country's electoral lists.

      Despite ongoing negotiations between President Diouf and Casamance separatist leader Abbe Augustin Diamacoune Senghor, violence erupted again in July. Clashes between rebels and the army on April 29 left 19 people dead. On June 9 Senghor called for a new cease-fire. Peace talks opened in the Gambian capital, Banjul, on June 22, with representatives of all major rebel groups attending. Although a second round of meetings was held a month later, no substantive agreement was reached. On August 12 rebels attacked shops in the Casamance city of Ziguinchor, taking 10 people hostage. A further attack on army positions around Ziguinchor took place on September 21.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 1999

      Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 9,723,000

      Capital: Dakar

      Chief of state: President Abdou Diouf

      Head of government: Prime Minister Habib Thiam and, from July 3, Mamadou Lamine Loum

      The 16-year-old conflict between the government of Senegal and the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) erupted in several violent clashes during 1998, despite a call on January 13 for peace by Father Diamacoune Senghor, secretary-general of the MFDC. Secessionists killed 6 civilians in February and another 7 on April 9, and they lost 10 men themselves in heavy fighting against the army on April 21.

      In February the president of Guinea-Bissau ordered the arrest of several army officers who were accused of supplying arms to the MFDC. Senegal in June sent some 1,500 troops to Guinea-Bissau to aid its president in putting down an attempted military coup. The Senegalese government charged the MFDC with fighting alongside the Guinea-Bissau rebels. After capturing an important Guinea-Bissau army camp on June 14, Senegalese forces bombarded the northern town of Ingore. According to observers, approximately 100 people died in the shelling.

      Claiming that the ruling Socialist Party (PS) was undemocratic, a dissident faction broke away on April 1 and vowed to join with the main opposition party, the Senegalese Democrats, in contesting the May 24 parliamentary elections. This had little effect, however, as the election gave the PS a comfortable majority of 93 of the 140 seats. Only in the Casamance, where 36 people were killed in the weeks preceding the elections, were there serious disturbances.


▪ 1998

      Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 9,404,000

      Capital: Dakar

      Chief of state: President Abdou Diouf

      Head of government: Prime Minister Habib Thiam

      After several months of relative calm in the troubled Casamance region, clashes between separatists belonging to the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance and the Senegalese army erupted in March 1997. Two soldiers were killed on March 23, and 25 were slain in a rebel ambush on August 19. In September 20 civilians were killed in two separate attacks, 11 of them in the village of Diogue, near the resort area of Cap Skirring. In response, 2,500 troops swept thought the region, destroying two rebel bases and killing 22 rebels. Thousands of villagers fled across the border to Guinea-Bissau to escape the violence. The government, fearing a drop in income from tourism, the country's second largest foreign-currency earner, dispatched additional troops to protect the resorts.

      Secondary-school teachers went on strike on March 27, demanding better living conditions. As the prospect of a lost school year loomed, students rioted in Dakar. A settlement was reached in July when the teachers were granted higher housing allowances.

      In March Senegal agreed to extend its fishing protocol with the European Union for an additional four years. Senegal would receive annual compensation of $10.4 million from the EU, an increase of 33% over the previous arrangement. The sale of a one-third interest in the state-owned telephone company to French Telecom was accomplished in the summer. Relations with Taiwan grew closer in 1997, with the Asian nation pledging financial and technical assistance to Senegal's program of achieving self-sufficiency in food production. Taiwan announced in October that Senegal would replace South Africa as its home port in Africa.


      This article updates Senegal, history of (Senegal).

▪ 1997

      The republic of Senegal is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean; it surrounds the country of The Gambia. Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 8,532,000. Cap.: Dakar. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 518.24 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 816.38 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Abdou Diouf; prime minister, Habib Thiam.

      At the last minute, the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) from the Casamance region refused to participate in peace negotiations with the government, scheduled to begin in Ziguinchor on April 8, 1996. Augustin Diamacoune, MFDC secretary-general, offered no explanation for the withdrawal but asked that the peace talks be held outside Senegal. Between 20,000 and 30,000 refugees from the Casamance remained in camps in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau. On May 17 Pres. Abdou Diouf appealed for peace and an end to reported violations of the cease-fire by MFDC rebels.

      Demands by opposition parties that an independent electoral commission be established were rejected by the ruling Socialist Party. Denying accusations that the government had manipulated the voting lists to its own advantage, Interior Minister Abdourahmane Sow nevertheless agreed to modify the existing code before the local elections scheduled for November 24.


      This article updates Senegal, history of (Senegal).

▪ 1996

      The republic of Senegal is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean; it surrounds the country of The Gambia. Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 8,312,000. Cap.: Dakar. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 501.49 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 792.78 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Abdou Diouf; prime minister, Habib Thiam.

      In February 1995 local elections were postponed owing to difficulties in achieving complete voter registration. They were rescheduled for early 1996 to coincide with regional elections. After months of negotiations Abdoulaye Wade, secretary-general of the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party, agreed to join the government of Pres. Abdou Diouf as a minister of state, and on March 15 he became a member of the new 33-member coalition Cabinet.

      Clashes between the Senegalese armed forces and separatists from the Casamance region escalated during the year. The Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) split in January when dissident elements rejected the July 1993 cease-fire, broke with the MFDC, and launched a series of attacks on government soldiers. In retaliation, government forces bombed several separatist strongholds in Guinea-Bissau. On July 25, ignoring an MFDC call for a new cease-fire, southern separatists ambushed a military convoy near Babonda, killing 23 soldiers and wounding 14. After fierce fighting the army recaptured the village on August 11, driving the rebels into the forest.

      The introduction of a new investment code designed to encourage foreign ventures, combined with President Diouf's decision to speed up privatization of state-owned industries, won favour with international donors. The World Bank and the International Development Association authorized a series of new loans and grants for economic and educational reform. One unexpected bright spot was a 15% rise in tourism over 1994, despite the increase in separatist violence. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Senegal, history of (Senegal).

▪ 1995

      The republic of Senegal is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean; it surrounds the country of The Gambia. Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 8,112,000. Cap.: Dakar. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 526.67 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 837.67 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Abdou Diouf; prime minister, Habib Thiam.

      Senegal's reputation for tolerance and democracy was badly shaken during 1994. Violence on an unprecedented scale broke out on February 16 during a protest rally organized by the opposition coalition Coordination of Democratic Forces, in conjunction with various other groups. Speakers condemned the government both for its attempts to stifle dissent and for its failure to alleviate hardships caused by the January devaluation of the CFA franc. Militant demonstrators attacked security forces. Six police officers were killed, and dozens of people were injured.

      Members of the opposition charged the government with provoking the violence. During the next week 179 persons, including opposition leaders Abdoulaye Wade and Landing Savané, were arrested for inciting the riot. Most were released on July 4. In September the courts found Wade and Savané innocent of involvement in the February riots. The government's handling of the situation brought condemnation from human rights organizations, the European Parliament, and the U.S. Congress.

      Diplomatic relations with Iran were suspended in May, reflecting the government's anger at reports that Islamic fundamentalists were being funded by that country. Weeks of peaceful protests over proposed reforms in the university system ended when approximately 100 students rioted on June 6. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Senegal, history of (Senegal).

▪ 1994

      The republic of Senegal is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean; it surrounds the country of The Gambia. Area: 196,712 sq km (75,951 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 7,899,000. Cap.: Dakar. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of CFAF 50 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 283.25 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 429.12 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Abdou Diouf; prime minister, Habib Thiam.

       Senegal withdrew its troops in January 1993 from the ECOMOG operation in Liberia in order to provide security for its own presidential elections on February 21. An absolute majority of all votes cast gave incumbent Abdou Diouf (see BIOGRAPHIES (Diouf, Abdou )) victory over seven opponents. On May 15, six days after Diouf's Socialist Party took 84 of the National Assembly's 120 seats in the legislative elections, gunmen assassinated Babacar Seye, vice president of the Constitutional Council. Abdoulaye Wade, leader of the opposition Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), and several associates including deputy Mody Sy were arrested in connection with the killing. A group calling itself the People's Army claimed responsibility; Wade was released two days later. The PDS charged that police had tortured Sy, and it organized a mass demonstration on July 27 demanding his release. On October 1, Wade and others were rearrested and charged with complicity in the murder.

      Separatists in southern Casamance province killed at least 40 people in the spring. As many as 300 rebels may have died in an army action near the Guinea-Bissau border on April 18 and another 20 near Ziguinchor in late June. Tourism in the area, once Senegal's main source of foreign exchange, had virtually ended.

      Talks between the government and the Confederation of Senegalese Workers broke down in October over the former's refusal to lower prices on basic foodstuffs, part of the new austerity program designed to reduce Senegal's projected CFAF 60 billion budget deficit. The union threatened more demonstrations as a result of the imposition of new taxes and the projected 15% reduction in civil service wages. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Senegal, history of (Senegal).

* * *

Senegal, flag of country of sub-Saharan West Africa. Located at the westernmost point of the continent and served by multiple air and maritime travel routes, Senegal is known as the “Gateway to Africa.” The country lies at an ecological boundary where semiarid grassland, oceanfront, and tropical rainforest converge; this diverse environment has endowed Senegal with a wide variety of plant and animal life. It is from this rich natural heritage that the country's national symbols were chosen: the baobab tree and the lion.

      The region today known as Senegal was long a part of the ancient Ghana and Djolof kingdoms and an important node on trans-Saharan caravan routes. It was also an early point of European contact and was contested by England, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands before ultimately coming under French control in the late 19th century. It remained a colony of France until 1960, when, under the leadership of the writer and statesman Léopold Senghor (Senghor, Léopold), it gained its independence—first as part of the short-lived Mali Federation and then as a wholly sovereign state.

      Although Senegal traditionally has been dependent on peanuts (groundnuts), the government has had some success with efforts to diversify the country's economy. Even so, the country suffered an economic decline in the 20th century, owing in some measure to external forces such as the fall in value of the African Financial Community (Communauté Financière Africaine; CFA) franc and the high cost of debt servicing, as well as to internal factors such as a rapidly growing population and widespread unemployment.

      Almost one-half of Senegal's people are Wolof, members of a highly stratified society whose traditional structure includes a hereditary nobility and a class of musicians and storytellers called griots. Contemporary Senegalese culture, especially its music and other arts, draws largely on Wolof sources, but the influences of other Senegalese groups (among them the Fulani, the Serer, the Diola, and the Malinke) are also evident. Wolof predominate in matters of state and commerce as well, and this dominance has fueled ethnic tension over time as less-powerful groups vie for parity with the Wolof majority.

      The most important city in Senegal is its capital, Dakar. This lively and attractive metropolis, located on Cape Verde Peninsula along the Atlantic shore, is a popular tourist destination. Although the government announced plans to eventually move the capital inland, Dakar will remain one of Africa's most important harbours and an economic and cultural centre for West Africa as a whole.

      Senegal is home to several internationally renowned musicians and artists. Other aspects of Senegalese culture have traveled into the larger world as well, most notably Senghor's espousal of Negritude—a literary movement that flourished in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s and that emphasized African values and heritage. Through events such as the World Festival of Negro Arts, first held in Senegal in 1966, and institutions such as the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire; IFAN) and the Gorée Island World Heritage site, Senegal honours Senghor's dictum "We must learn to absorb and influence others more than they absorb or influence us."

Land (Senegal)
 Senegal is bounded to the north and northeast by the Sénégal River, which separates it from Mauritania; to the east by Mali; to the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape Verde (Cap Vert) Peninsula is the westernmost point of the African continent. The Gambia (Gambia, The) consists of a narrow strip of territory that extends from the coast eastward into Senegal along the Gambia River and isolates the southern Senegalese area of Casamance.

       Senegal is a flat country that lies in the depression known as the Senegal-Mauritanian Basin. Elevations of more than about 330 feet (100 metres) are found only on the Cape Verde Peninsula and in the southeast of the country. The country as a whole falls into three structural divisions: the Cape Verde headland, which forms the western extremity and consists of a grouping of small plateaus made of hard rock of volcanic origin; the southeastern and the eastern parts of the country, which consist of the fringes of ancient massifs (mountain masses) contiguous with those buttressing the massif of Fouta Djallon on the Guinea frontier and which include the highest point in the country, reaching an elevation of 1,906 feet (581 metres) near Népen Diakha; and a large but shallow landmass lying between Cape Verde to the west and the edges of the massif to the east.

      Washed by the Canary Current, the Atlantic coast of Senegal is sandy and surf-beaten. Like the rest of the country, it is low except for the Cape Verde Peninsula, which shelters Dakar, one of the finest ports in Africa. The surf is less heavy on the coast south of the peninsula, whereas the coast south of the Saloum River consists of rias (drowned valleys) and is increasingly fringed with mangroves.

      The country is drained by the Sénégal, Saloum, Gambia (Gambie), and Casamance rivers, all of which are subjected to a monsoonal climatic regime—i.e., a dry season and a rainy season. Of these rivers, the Sénégal (Sénégal River)—which was long the main route to the interior—is the most important. The river rises in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea and, after traversing the old massifs, rapidly drops downward before reaching Senegalese territory. At Dagana it forms the so-called False Delta (or Oualo), which supplies Lake Guier on the south (left) bank. At the head of the delta is the town of Richard-Toll (the “Garden of Richard”), named for a 19th-century French nursery gardener. The slope of the land is so gentle on this stretch of the river that, at times of low water, salty seawater flows about 125 miles (200 km) upstream. The island on which the town of Saint-Louis stands, near the mouth of the river, is situated about 300 yards (270 metres) from the sea in the False Delta; the river's true mouth lies 10 miles (16 km) to the south. In the southern half of the country, estuaries are muddy and salty, with marshy saline depressions known as tannes occurring occasionally.

      Despite its apparent uniformity, Senegal contains a great diversity of soils. These fall generally into two types—the valley soils and those found elsewhere.

      The soils of the Sénégal and Saloum river valleys in their middle courses are alluvial and consist of sandy loams or clays. Near the river mouths the soils are salty and favourable for grazing. Similar conditions are associated with the Gambia and Casamance rivers, except near their mouths the banks are muddy, whereas their upper courses have sandy clay soils.

      Many types of soils are found throughout the country. In the northwest the soils are ochre-coloured and light, consisting of sands combined with iron oxide. These soils, called Dior soils, constitute the wealth of Senegal; the dunes they form are highly favourable to peanut cultivation, whereas the soils between the dunes are suitable for other food crops, such as sorghum. In the southwest the plateau soils are sandy clays, frequently laterized (leached into red, residual, iron-bearing soils). The centre and the south of the country are covered by a layer of laterite hidden under a thin covering of sand that affords only sparse grazing during the rainy season. In the Casamance area heavily leached clay soils with a high iron-oxide content predominate, suitable for cultivation regardless of their depth.

      Senegal's climate is conditioned by the tropical latitude of the country and by the seasonal migration of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ)—the line, or front, of low pressure at which hot, dry continental air meets moist oceanic air and produces heavy rainfall. The prevailing winds are also characterized by their origin: the dry winds that originate in the continental interior and the moist maritime winds that bring the rains.

      The dry winds, sometimes called the dry monsoon, consist of the northeast trade winds. In winter and spring, when they are strongest, they are known as the harmattan. (harmattan) They bring no precipitation apart from a very light rain, which the Wolof people of Senegal call the heug. The moist rain-bearing winds blow primarily from the west and northwest. Beginning in June with the northward passage of the ITCZ, these winds usher in the summer monsoon. As the ITCZ returns southward beginning in September, the rainy season draws to a close. The slow north-south migration of the ITCZ results in a longer, heavier rainy season in the southern part of the country.

      From the combination of these factors, three principal climate zones may be distinguished: coastal, Sahelian, and Sudanic. The coastal (Canarian) zone occurs along a strip of Atlantic coastline about 10 miles (16 km) wide running from Saint-Louis to Dakar. Its winters are cool, with minimum temperatures reaching about 63 °F (17 °C) in January; maximum temperatures in May do not exceed 81 °F (27 °C). The rains begin in June, reach their height in August, and cease in October. The average annual rainfall is about 20 inches (500 mm).

      The Sahelian climate occurs in an area bounded to the north by the Sénégal River and to the south by a line running from Thiès (a town on Cape Verde Peninsula) to Kayes in the neighbouring country of Mali. The weather there in January is also cool, especially in the mornings before sunrise, when the temperature drops to about 57 °F (14 °C); afternoon temperatures, however, may top 95 °F (35 °C). In May minimum temperatures are no lower than about 72 °F (22 °C), and maximums often rise above 104 °F (40 °C). The dry season is quite distinct and lasts from November to May. Certain places, such as Podor and Matam on the border of Mauritania, are particularly noted for their dryness and heat. Between July and October the rainfall averages about 14 inches (360 mm), moderating the temperature somewhat, while maximum temperatures reach about 95 °F (35 °C).

      The Sudanic zone in the southern half of the country is generally hot, humid, and uncomfortable. Annual precipitation varies from north to south. In the Kaolack-Tambacounda vicinity, rainfall averages between 29 inches (740 mm) and 39 inches (990 mm), occurring on about 60 days between June and October. Cultivation without irrigation is possible here. Annual rainfall in the Gambian area frequently amounts to 50 inches (1,270 mm), resulting in the growth of a continuous belt of light forest and patches of herbaceous undergrowth. In the southern Casamance area it exceeds 50 inches, falling on 90 days of the year. The forest there is dense, green, and continuous, without undergrowth, and oil palms, mangroves, and rice fields are characteristic.

Plant and animal life
 Plant life in Senegal varies among the climate zones and seasons. The northern half of the country consists of a mix of shrub and tree steppes and shrub and tree savannas. The herbaceous cover, green and lush during the rainy season, all but disappears during the dry season. When available, this cover is used for grazing by livestock. Thorn bushes and baobab and acacia trees, including gum arabic trees, are common to this area.

      Savanna woodlands and dry woodlands are typical in the southern half of Senegal; more than 80 woodland species are found in this area. Brisk vegetation growth is generated by the first precipitation of the rainy season. Annual bush fires contribute to maintaining open areas throughout the region. Acacia and baobab trees are also found here, as are mahogany trees. Much of the natural vegetation in the western area of this region has been modified through the clearing of land for agricultural use.

      In the extreme southwest area of Senegal, there are dense forests and mangrove swamps. Mangrove trees, oil palms, teak trees, and silk cotton trees are common here.

      Although large mammals have disappeared from the western part of the country, having been displaced by human settlement, such animals as elephants, antelopes, lions, panthers, cheetahs, and jackals may still be encountered in Niokolo Koba National Park in the eastern part of the country. Herds of warthogs abound in the marshes, especially those of the False Delta. Hares are ubiquitous, and monkeys of all types congregate in noisy bands, above all in the upper Gambia and upper Casamance river valleys. Among the great numbers of birds, the quelea, or “millet eater,” which destroys crops, is notable, as are the partridge and the guinea fowl. Reptiles are numerous and include pythons, as well as cobras and other venomous snakes. Crocodiles, hippopotamuses, and turtles are found in the rivers. The rivers and the coastal waters are rich in fish and crustaceans. Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, contains more than a million birds, including the African spoonbill, the purple heron, the white pelican, and the cormorant. Niokolo Koba National Park was also named a World Heritage site in 1981. Lower Casamance National Park, located in the southwestern portion of the country, is home to hippopotamuses, leopards, crocodiles, and water buffalo.

People (Senegal)

Ethnic groups
      The Wolof comprise almost one-half of the total population, and their language is the most widely used in the republic. Under the traditional Wolof social structure, similar to those of other groups in the region, people were divided into the categories of freeborn (including nobles, clerics, and peasants), caste (including artisans, griots, and blacksmiths), and slaves. The Serer, numbering slightly more than one-tenth of the population, are closely related to the Wolof. The Fulani and the Tukulor combined make up about one-fifth of the population. The Tukulor are often hard to distinguish from the Wolof and the Fulani, for they have often intermarried with both. The Diola and the Malinke constitute a small portion of the population. Other small groups consist of such peoples as the Soninke, rulers of the ancient state of Ghana; the Mauri, who live primarily in the north of the country; the Lebu of Cape Verde, who are fishermen and often wealthy landowners; and the Basari, an ancient people who are found in the rocky highlands of Fouta Djallon.

      Some 39 languages are spoken in Senegal, including French (the official language) and Arabic. Linguists divide the African languages spoken there into two families: Atlantic (Atlantic languages) and Mande (Mande languages). The Atlantic family, generally found in the western half of the country, contains the languages most widely spoken in Senegal—Wolof, Serer, Fula, and Diola. Mande languages are found in the eastern half and include Bambara, Malinke, and Soninke.

 Islam is the religion of the vast majority of the population, practiced through involvement in groups known as Muslim brotherhoods. In Senegal the three primary brotherhoods are the Qadiri (Qadiriyyah), the Tijani (Tijāniyyah (Tijānīyah)), and the Mourides (Murid, Murīdiyyah). Spiritual leaders known as marabouts (marabout) figure prominently in Muslim brotherhoods and are important in maintaining the social status quo. Touba, Senegal's most sacred city, is the birthplace of Amadou Bamba M'backe, the founder of the Mourides brotherhood. A small segment of the population follows traditional religions. The Diola have a priestly class that directs ancestor veneration. Christianity is practiced by a growing but still very small population. Christianity came to the region beginning in 1486, and the contact was renewed with the arrival in 1819 of nuns of the order of St. Joseph of Cluny. Most followers are Roman Catholic, and the small number of Protestants are largely immigrants from Europe.

Settlement patterns
Traditional geographic areas
      Senegal is divided into five geographic areas, which are inhabited by various ethnic groups. Ferlo, the north-central area of Senegal, is distinguished by its semidesert environment and by its poor soils. Vegetation appears only in the south, the north consisting of the Sahelian type of savanna parkland (an intermediate zone between the Sahara and the savanna proper); it affords light grazing for the flocks tended by nomadic Fulani pastoralists.

       Fouta is centred on the Sénégal River and extends approximately from Bakel in the east to Dagana in the north. It consists of a strip of territory that is relatively densely inhabited. Watered by the river and its tributaries in the dry season, this area is conducive to highly developed agricultural and pastoral use of the soils and vegetation. Fulani also inhabit this area, although Wolof occupy the False Delta, where they cultivate millet and raise livestock with the help of Fulani shepherds.

      The diverse area situated between Ferlo and the Atlantic and extending from the False Delta in the north to Cape Verde Peninsula in the south was once home to the historical Wolof states of Dianbour, Cayor, Djolof, and Baol. Here the soils are sandy and the winters cool; peanuts are the primary crop. The population is as diverse as the area itself and includes Wolof in the north, Serer in the Thiès region, and Lebu on Cape Verde.

      The Sudan area is bounded by Cape Verde to the northwest, Ferlo to the north, and the lower Casamance valley to the southwest. It is composed of the following parts—the “Little Coast,” Sine-Saloum, Rip, Yassine, Niani, Boundou, Fouladou, and the valleys of the Gambia and upper Casamance rivers. In general, the area benefits from ample rainfall, which becomes abundant toward the south. It is suitable for agriculture and, as a result, is relatively densely populated. The area as a whole is inhabited by a diverse population composed of all the ethnic groups living in Senegal; the majority, however, are Malinke.

      The lower Casamance area is covered by dense vegetation of the Guinean type. The predominant ethnic groups are the Diola and the Mandinka.

Rural settlement
      The majority of Senegalese live in the countryside, although people continue to migrate to the towns, especially the capital city, Dakar. Many of those migrating to urban environments still consider themselves farmers who go there to do odd jobs to make money to send to their families. There are numerous villages, each with an average population of a few hundred people. Usually each village has a shaded public gathering place, a mosque, and a water source (a well, a spring, or a small stream). The village is administered by a chief who is either traditionally nominated or appointed by the government. Religious life is directed by a Muslim marabout or other traditional religious leader. The villages differ on the basis of the ethnic characteristics of the inhabitants, but all are directed by traditional leaders of some form.

Urban settlement
      The towns of Saint-Louis (founded in 1659) and Dakar (1857) are the oldest in Senegal. Saint-Louis, originally the capital of French West Africa and noted for its colonial heritage, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Dakar replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. Other towns, founded more recently and of colonial origin, typically developed as collection points for the peanut trade and later evolved into urban centres. These towns were often stops along the railroad lines, as at Thiès, Tivaouane, Mékhé, and Louga (between Dakar and Saint-Louis) or at Khombole, Bambey, Diourbel, Gossas, Kaffrine, and Koungheul (between Thiès and Kayes, Mali). Certain ports also became towns; among these are Kaolack, Foundiougne, and Fatick (on the Sine-Saloum rivers) and Ziguinchor, Sédhiou, and Kolda (on the Casamance River). Many of these towns have remained rural in character. Furthermore, every town—including Saint-Louis, Rufisque, and Gorée, which had great importance in the past—is today dependent upon the Dakar metropolis, where some one-fifth of all Senegalese live.

Demographic trends
      The population of Senegal has been growing at a rate that is higher than the world average but is comparable to other countries in the region. Life expectancy figures for Senegal, averaging about 56 years for both men and women, are among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. The population is heavily weighted toward the young, as are most African populations, with more than two-fifths under 15 years of age. Population densities throughout Senegal are not great. There has been a major increase in permanent urban settlement, which is approaching half of the population. Urban unemployment and underemployment are high, however.

      The Senegalese economy has traditionally revolved around a single cash crop, the peanut. The government, however, has worked to diversify both cash crops and subsistence agriculture by expanding into commodities such as cotton, garden produce, and sugarcane as well as by promoting nonagricultural sectors. The government was successful in making fishing, phosphates, and tourism major sources of foreign exchange at the beginning of the 21st century, although the condition of the transportation and power infrastructure placed limits on the amount of expansion possible. Exploitation of mineral resources such as gold, petroleum, and natural gas also diversified the economy.

      Before Senegal's independence from France in 1960, the economy was largely in the hands of the private sector. Since economic activity depended primarily on the peanut trade, the large French companies that marketed the crop also controlled the importation of European manufactured goods. After independence the Senegalese government created a state agency responsible for virtually all aspects of the peanut trade. Although the private sector remained important, the state dominated the economy. The government also created an investment code, which consisted of various guarantees and long-term tax concessions and attracted capital investment from many quarters.

      The intervention of the state occurred during the colonial era but became more prevalent after independence with the creation of the National Organization of the Rural Sector. The organization, the backbone of President Léopold Senghor's policy of African socialism, bought and sold peanuts, rice, and millet and also sold fertilizer, seed, tools, and equipment.

      Under Abdou Diouf, president of Senegal from 1981 to 2000, the government began to move away from state intervention in the economy and to encourage the reintroduction of private initiatives. Privatization was pursued in agricultural marketing, some industries, and some public utilities, including telecommunications (Sonatel), textiles (Sotexka), electric utilities (Senelec), and peanut processing (Sonacos). The policy was encouraged and supported by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and was continued by Abdoulaye Wade when he became president in 2000. However, the large number of unionized workers and the problems associated with finding suitable buyers for large enterprises prevented complete implementation of the plan.

      Since the late 1970s a population explosion, uncontrolled migration to the city, and declining prices for primary materials have depressed the economy. Only substantial foreign aid has prevented a decline in the standard of living. Foreign assistance has also allowed the government to revitalize its deteriorating transportation infrastructure.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
 Agriculture occupies about two-thirds of the economically active population and provides the basis for industry as well. The most important crop has been the peanut, but, beginning in the 1980s, agriculture has been diversified. Extensive acreage is devoted to millet, sorghum, and plants from the Pennisetum genus of Old World grasses, grown for fodder. Rice is cultivated both in naturally wet areas and by irrigation, although its large-scale cultivation is restricted to the lower Casamance valley and the lower Sénégal River valley below Richard-Toll. In addition, corn (maize), cassava (manioc), beans, and sweet potatoes are grown in significant quantities. Periodic drought at the end of the 20th century limited agricultural production, but the Manantali dam in Mali has alleviated some of this problem by providing water for large areas of newly irrigated land. New drought-resistant strains of plants have also been developed.

      The climate and the savanna type of vegetation encourage the raising of livestock—including cattle, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, camels, and pigs—which is carried on in almost all geographic regions but is especially characteristic of the north. Stock raising is not a major source of income for the farmer, however; the meat is consumed locally, and only the hides and skins are exported.

      Senegal is well-forested, particularly in the south, and the country has conservation and reforestation programs in place. Sawn timber is produced for domestic consumption, and wood, particularly in the form of charcoal, is an important source of fuel in the country. Baobab trees provide fuel, and the fruit from the tree is also useful. Gum arabic, which is obtained from acacia trees, has been traded for centuries but is now of limited commercial value.

      Although many fish are obtained from the rivers, the greater part of the catch is obtained from the sea. Fishing products now lead all exports in terms of value, the result of many years of building up the industry. The waters off Senegal—particularly those at some distance from the shore—have an abundance of economically significant fish. Senegal's coastal waters are also known for their large variety of fish, unlike most other African countries on the Atlantic seaboard. However, overfishing by foreign fisheries threatens this very lucrative source of income.

Resources and power
      Senegal's known mineral deposits consist primarily of phosphates of lime, located at Taïba, near Tivaouane, about 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Dakar, and aluminum phosphates at Palo, near Thiès. Some mineral reserves include petroleum deposits discovered off the Casamance coast, high-grade iron-ore reserves located in the upper Falémé River valley, gold reserves in the southeastern part of the country at Sabodala, and natural gas reserves located both onshore and offshore. The saltworks of Kaolack have considerable production potential.

      Electric energy is produced and distributed by the Senegalese Electric Company (Société Sénégalaise d'Électricité [Senelec]). Before the 1980s all energy produced in Senegal was generated by thermal plants. Cheaper hydroelectric energy became available with the construction of hydroelectric projects on the Sénégal River undertaken with Mauritania and Mali, with dams at Diama in Senegal (completed in 1985) and Manantali in Mali (completed in 1988).

      Industrial production in Senegal is more developed than in most Western African countries. Both food-processing and handicraft industries are well established. Most of the former is located in the Cape Verde area, where many plants produce peanut oil. In good years Senegal is the leading producer of peanut oil in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. However, the world market for this product is decreasing, and the government's push for the greater privatization of markets has led to peanut cooperatives' selling directly to local oil producers. Developments in the chemicals industry, metalworking, mineral, and truck and bicycle assembly plants are aimed at processing the country's own raw materials and reducing reliance on imports. Senegal has fish canneries, a shoe factory, and a cement-manufacturing plant, the last two located in Rufisque. Other industrial establishments, all of which are located in Dakar, include flour mills, a textile plant, a sugar refinery, a tobacco factory, and a brewery, in addition to a naval shipyard, chemical plants, and an automobile assembly plant. Traditional handicrafts, such as wood carvings, glass paintings, jewelry, painted fabrics, drums, and masks, are produced mainly in Dakar and Saint-Louis, home to the most-skilled artisans.

Finance and trade
      Senegal's currency is the CFA franc, which has been officially pegged to the euro since 2002. Currency is issued by the Central Bank of West African States, an agency of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, consisting of eight countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) that were once French colonies in Africa. Other state and private banks exist, including Islamic ones. A stock exchange based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, also services Senegal.

      The value of imports is usually greater than that of exports, and Senegal generally has a significant balance-of-trade deficit. The principal imports are agricultural products, capital goods, and petroleum products, and exports include seafood, refined petroleum, chemical products, peanut oil, and phosphates. France is the primary trading partner.

      Tourism, one of the country's primary sources of foreign exchange, has made Senegal one of the most visited countries in West Africa. Although most of the tourists are Europeans, the government has tried to attract others, especially Americans. Gorée Island, site of a former slave warehouse, is a popular attraction, as are Senegal's national parks. Dakar is an important international conference centre. Tourism declined in 1993 because of instability in the Casamance area but had recovered by the mid-1990s. At the beginning of the 21st century, the country was accommodating about a half million tourists per year.

Labour and taxation
      The majority of Senegal's labour force are agricultural workers, although a sizable minority work as traders. The constitution guarantees workers the right to unionize, but the union can legally exist only after registering with the Ministry of the Interior. The constitution grants all people the right to work; however, until 1989 husbands were allowed to prevent their wives from working outside the home. Women, who represented some four-tenths of the labour force at the beginning of the 21st century, were employed mainly in the agricultural sector, although they were well represented in small trade. Women merchants often join the African Network for the Promotion of Working Women (Réseau Africain pour la Promotion de la Femme Travailleuse; RAFET), an organization that provides employment training and support to women.

      Most governmental revenue is obtained indirectly from local taxes on alcohol, gasoline, tobacco, firearms, automobiles, and commerce. Land, professional licenses, profits, and income are directly taxed.

Transportation and telecommunications
 The transport network has developed primarily in the western part of the country within the area bounded by Saint-Louis, Kaolack, and Dakar. About half of Senegal's extensive road network is passable year-round.

      The rail system, which is being rehabilitated and expanded, includes a line from Saint-Louis to Dakar, with a branch line running from Louga inland to Linguère, and a line from Dakar to the Niger River at Koulikoro, Mali. Locomotives are run entirely on diesel fuel. Phosphates represent the great bulk of freight carried by rail.

      Senegal's three seaports are Kaolack, Ziguinchor, and Dakar. Only Dakar is an international port; the others are limited to handling local traffic. Dakar is one of the busiest ports in Western Africa and accommodates ships up to 100,000 tons along 6 miles (10 km) of quay. The quays provide refrigerated facilities that serve 1,000 fishing boats each year.

      The international airport of Dakar-Yoff near Dakar is served by a number of airlines, including Air Sénégal. Its three runways can accommodate any kind of aircraft. Airports at Saint-Louis and several other cities provide domestic service.

      Historically, Senegal's rivers, especially the Sénégal (Sénégal River), were important transportation arteries, despite limited navigability. However, their significance has diminished since the end of the 19th century, with the construction of rail lines. Navigation of the Sénégal was facilitated by the completion of the Diama and Manantali dams in the late 20th century. Activity on the Saloum River centres on peanut shipping from Kaolack, and traffic on the Casamance (Casamance River) is to and from the port of Ziguinchor.

      Senegal has a strong, reliable telephone system, especially in urban areas. Sonatel, the national telecommunications company, provides telephone service. Senegal became wired for Internet use in 1996, providing the opportunity for many technology-based services to develop in the country. Internet and mobile phone services are provided by a small number of private companies, as well as Sonatel. Both services are growing in popularity in Senegal.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      The first constitution of Senegal was promulgated in 1963 and revised through March 1998. A new constitution, approved by voters in January 2001, proclaims fundamental human rights; respect for individual and collective property rights; political, trade-union, and religious freedoms; and a democratic and secular state.

      The constitution provides for a strongly centralized presidential regime elected by direct universal adult suffrage. The president, who can be elected to two five-year terms (changed in 2008 to two seven-year terms, scheduled to take effect in 2012), appoints the prime minister. Ministers are appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president. The legislature is bicameral, consisting of the National Assembly and the Senate (reinstated in 2007 after six years of dormancy). Three-fourths of the National Assembly is directly elected; the remaining one-fourth is indirectly elected. About one-third of the Senate is indirectly elected, but the majority is appointed by the president. All legislators serve five-year terms. Judicial, executive, and legislative powers are separated.

Local government and justice
      Senegal is divided into 11 régions, which in turn are divided into départements and arrondissements. Each région is administered by a governor whose role is coordinative and who is assisted by two deputy governors, one dealing with administration and the other with development. Regional assemblies, the powers of which were increased in 1996, are composed of general councillors responsible for local taxation. In each département the prefect represents the republic, as do the ministers. There are also autonomous urban communes. Dakar is governed by an elected municipal council.

      Judicial power in Senegal is exercised by the Constitutional Council, the Council of State, the Court of Cassation, the Court of Accounts, and the Courts and Tribunals. Senegal also has a High Court of Justice, whose members are elected by the National Assembly. The High Court tries government officials for crimes committed while in performance of their government duties.

Political process
      The Senegalese played a pioneering role in the development of a modern political system in the territories of French West Africa. At first, political life was of concern only to an elite consisting of intellectuals, traditional chiefs, and the inhabitants of the four communes—Saint-Louis, Dakar, Rufisque, and Gorée—who had been French citizens since 1916. After World War II universal suffrage was introduced in stages, and the electorate increased from 890,000 voters in 1958 to 3,164,827 in 1998. Senegalese citizens now participate in the elections of the president, members of the National Assembly, and regional and municipal councillors.

      Unlike most African states, which tend to pivot on a single political party, Senegal has a solidly entrenched multiparty system that is guaranteed by constitutional provision. Elections are contested by several parties representing a wide range of political views. In spite of this diversity, party politics since national independence was long dominated by the Socialist Party (until 1976 the Senegalese Progressive Union). Not until the 21st century did another party, the Senegalese Democratic Party, become dominant: party leader Abdoulaye Wade won the 2000 presidential elections, and the party won the majority of seats in legislative elections held the following year.

      In addition to political party and trade union activities, other institutions also permit participation in the political process. These include societies for mutual assistance, which are organized at the regional as well as the village level, youth associations, and religious groupings, which are most influential. Muslims, particularly Sunnis, are aware of their political power and have even called for the establishment of an Islamic state. The government remains committed to a secular state.

      Mame Madior Boye became Senegal's first female prime minister in 2001. There were several other women ministers in the government, and women accounted for almost one-fifth of members in the National Assembly. In 2007 women held two-fifths of the seats in the newly reinstated Senate.

      Senegal has a small military force consisting of army, navy, and air force contingents. Conscription is practiced, and conscripted recruits enter the military for two years. Senegalese troops have been involved in various United Nations-sponsored missions as well as peacekeeping functions sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The French also station some military troops in the country.

Health and welfare
      Although Senegal has a considerable range of medical facilities, most of them are concentrated in Dakar and are thus insufficient for the country's health needs. They include hospitals, clinics, maternity homes, and various services specializing in diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, and leprosy. The Senegalese Red Cross, the Research Institute for Development, and the World Health Organization are also active. Most of the population, however, continues to utilize traditional African and Islamic forms of healing because they are more accessible and affordable.

      Malaria is the leading cause of death by infectious disease in Senegal. There also has been a resurgence in tuberculosis, part of a worldwide trend, but polio, once a significant menace, has been nearly eliminated. In 1999 government legislation banned female genital cutting (also referred to as female genital mutilation or female circumcision). Cases of AIDS have been reported in Senegal, but the overall infection rate is not high compared with those of other sub-Saharan countries. This is due in large measure to a conscious effort on the part of the Senegalese government to educate its population about the disease when it began spreading throughout Africa. Pioneering work on the virus, particularly the strain most prevalent in West Africa, HIV-2, has been done at Senegalese universities by researchers such as Souleymane Mboup.

      The standard of living in the countryside is low compared with that of the cities. Many people aspire to live in Dakar, but once they arrive there, they find a great disparity between exclusive wealthy neighbourhoods and sprawling shantytowns that are growing at an increasing rate. Power outages are common, as are crimes of property.

      In rural areas dwellings are usually well constructed and roofed with straw, with walls made of either earth or straw. In more-prosperous villages roofs may be made of corrugated iron; the walls may be made of cement brick. Houses in towns are constructed of cement and have roofs either of tile or of corrugated iron; typically, many families are crowded together in these dwellings. Migration from the countryside has expanded the population of urban areas and resulted in the proliferation of shantytowns.

       Wolof villages, which are small, contain about a hundred households. Because the topography provides no natural obstacles, each village may easily be moved from place to place. The houses are built of locally obtained materials. Harvests are kept in straw granaries, located far from the housing compounds for fear of fire. In the area around the Saloum River, each Wolof village is surrounded by three concentric zones of vegetation. The first of these—the inner zone—consists of fields and vegetable gardens. The second circle consists of land that has been exhausted, except for peanut cultivation. The third, the farthest from the village, is where cereal crops are cultivated.

      The typical Malinke village has between 200 and 300 inhabitants living in enclosed compounds and crowded together in geometrically aligned rectangular huts. Agriculture and stock raising are the principal economic activities. Each village is usually headed by a chief or a Muslim marabout, who, like most traditional leaders, is conservative in outlook.

      Unlike Wolof and Malinke villages, Serer family compounds are more dispersed, and each one is autonomous. On the islands at the mouth of the Saloum River, each Nyiominka Serer compound contains solidly built houses and a granary.

      Diola villages contain 5,000 or more people. Like those of the Serer, the compounds are not grouped in any distinguishable hierarchy. These villages are characteristically built on the edge of a plateau or on ground overlooking the rice fields, which are associated with Diola life. Their houses are the best-built and most-permanent village dwellings in Senegal. On occasion they constitute veritable fortifications, as in Thionck-Essil and Oussouye. The villages near Essil also can be quite sophisticated, with many of them equipped with rainwater-catchment systems. Diola and Serer villages have no chiefs with authority or prestige comparable to those of Wolof or Malinke villages.

      Western education has existed in Senegal since the 19th century; its first goal was to train the Senegalese in French culture and to help with colonial administration. Since independence Senegal has made particular efforts to increase school enrollment in rural areas, although with limited success; the literacy rate remains one of the lowest in the world. Among the secondary schools, the Faidherbe Lycée at Saint-Louis and the Van Vollenhoven Lycée at Dakar are the oldest and most renowned. Technical education is expanding and is provided by institutions in Dakar, Saint-Louis, Diourbel, Kaolack, and Louga.

      Higher education developed from the School of Medicine of Dakar (1918). It achieved full status as a university in the French system in 1957 and became known as the University of Dakar. The name was changed in 1987 to University Cheikh Anta Diop to honour a Senegalese scholar and politician. Following disturbances in 1968, Senegal concluded an agreement with France that emphasized a more African-based curriculum. The College of Sciences and Veterinary Medicine for French-speaking Africa is also located in Dakar, and a polytechnic college opened at Thiès in 1973. The University of Saint-Louis, founded in 1990, was renamed University Gaston-Berger in 1996 for a Senegalese philosopher who was born in Saint-Louis. Approximately one-fifth of the students attending these schools are foreign, mostly from the French-speaking countries of Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

Cultural life

Daily life and social customs
      Collectivism is central to traditional Senegalese culture, which remains very much alive. Although written forms of languages spoken in Senegal have existed for some time, the country's cultural heritage is preserved through oral tradition, mainly by the oldest men of the community, who are at the summit of Senegal's hierarchical society. Rites and initiations are actively practiced in rural areas—for example, by the Basari of Kédougou. Among Muslims, youths must be circumcised before being accorded the responsibilities of manhood. Even though the constitution prohibits discrimination by sex, traditional religious beliefs in many parts of the country prohibit women from inheriting land, and society generally recognizes men as the heads of the households.

      A wide variety of foods are available in Senegal. Millet, couscous, and rice form the basis of many meals; peanuts and fresh seafood are common sources of protein; and chiles and palm oil are used for flavouring. Common dishes include thiéboudienne, rice served with a fish and vegetable sauce; yassa au poulet or yassa au poisson, grilled chicken or fish in an onion and lemon sauce; and mafé, a peanut-based stew. Meals are generally eaten communally from a single serving dish, as they are in many parts of West Africa, and a code of conduct called fayda ensures proper sharing. Senegalese beer is produced primarily by breweries in Dakar.

      Independence Day is celebrated on April 4th. The country also celebrates various Christian and Islamic holidays.

The arts
      Art, sculpture, music, and dance remain typically Senegalese in expression. Sculpture is characterized by abstraction and by the ideogram, through which the artist de-emphasizes the material aspect to give free rein to ideas and feelings; a sculptured gazelle, for example, may be represented solely by its horns and its neck, or an elephant may be depicted only by the immense fan formed by its ears and its trunk. Similarly, because traditional Senegalese music is not written down, the imagination of the musician is critical. This is especially true for griots. Once court artists, they are today a predominantly hereditary caste of traditional West African troubadour-historians who perform a variety of social and cultural functions—from genealogy and praise singing to acting as key celebrants of village ceremonies. Accompanying themselves, usually with a kora (a long-necked, multistringed instrument), griots recite poems or tell stories, often of warrior deeds, that contain a core of ideas around which they may improvise. Dance also owes much to improvisation, though professional troupes such as the Ballet National du Senegal, founded by Léopold Senghor (Senghor, Léopold) in 1960, have created highly choreographed presentations that draw on many ethnic traditions.

 Contemporary Senegalese music combines traditional styles, instruments, and rhythms with those of Western music. One of the first bands to blend these musical styles was the Star Band, established by Ibra Kassé in the early 1960s. Orchestra Baobab, founded in 1970, fuses Latin American elements—especially Cuban—with African languages and rhythms. Youssou N'Dour, one of Africa's most famous recording artists, achieved worldwide fame with his bands Étoile de Dakar and Super Étoile de Dakar. He is known for blending traditional mbalax (a type of drumming) and more-modern elements of such Western styles of music as rock and pop. Another internationally known recording artist is Baaba Maal, a Fulani musician who often uses traditional African instruments but also draws from several styles of Western music, notably pop and reggae.

      Senegalese literature is personified by Senghor, the former president who in 1983 became the first person from sub-Saharan Africa to be elected to the Académie Franƈaise. A poet and philosopher as well as a politician, he was associated with Negritude, a literary movement that celebrated the traditional culture of sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to Senghor, its practitioners include Ousmane Socé (Socé, Ousmane), David Diop (Diop, David), Sheikh Hamidou Kane (Kane, Sheikh Hamidou), and Abdoulaye Sadji (Sadji, Abdoulaye), all of whom are known for works that imaginatively reflect the flavour of Senegalese life. Mariama Bâ, one of Senegal's few women writers, is known for her novel Une si longue lettre (1980; So Long a Letter). Another noted Senegalese author, Ousmane Sembène (Sembène, Ousmane), wrote the classic Les Bouts de bois de Dieu (1960; God's Bits of Wood), a fictional account of a strike of African railroad workers that occurred in the late 1940s.

      About the time of that book's publication, Sembène, eager to reach a larger, nonliterate Senegalese audience, began making motion pictures, first in French and then in his native Wolof language. His films include La Noire de... (1966; Black Girl), depicting the virtual enslavement of a Senegalese servant by a French family; Ceddo (1977; Outsiders), portraying the clash between traditional African and Islamist beliefs; Guelwaar (1992), a political thriller that examines Christian-Muslim conflict; and Moolaadé (2004; Protection), about the controversial practice of female genital cutting (also referred to as female genital mutilation or female circumcision). Other prominent Senegalese filmmakers include Djibril Diop Mambéty, Abacabar Samb-Makharam, and Safi Faye, the first sub-Saharan African woman to direct a feature film, Kaddu beykat (1975; Letters from My Village).

Cultural institutions
      After the first World Festival of Negro Arts was organized at Dakar in 1966, a number of existing institutions were reoriented toward African traditions, and others were created, such as the Dynamique Museum, the Daniel Sorano Theatre, and the Tapestry Factory of Thiès. The craft village of Soumbédioune in Dakar has become a popular marketplace and a centre for Senegalese artisans. The Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire; IFAN) Museum in Dakar explores the anthropology of Africa and has a collection of African art, while the IFAN Museum in Saint-Louis focuses on the history of the Senegambian region. Gorée Island, with its remnants of the Atlantic slave trade, is a popular tourist attraction and was designated a World Heritage site in 1978.

Sports and recreation
      Senegal has one of the most active national sports scenes in West Africa. Dakar has hosted the All Africa Games and several Africa Cup football (soccer) championships. A national holiday was declared after Senegal beat France in first-round play at the 2002 football World Cup, in Senegal's first appearance in the competition. The country has national men's and women's football and basketball teams that rank among the best in Africa. Traditional African wrestling is also extremely popular throughout the country, and Senegalese wrestlers are among the best-known national sports figures. They wrestle in a sandy arena and attempt to win by making their opponent's knees, shoulder, or back touch the sand. Matches are festive and lively occasions, with music, dancing, and praise singing for the athletes; the actual wrestling bouts, however, are often over within a few seconds.

Media and publishing
      Senegal was the first of the former French West African territories to have a press. Daily newspapers include Le Soleil and several others. Radio Sénégal broadcasts are in French and English and in several African languages; the French-language station Africa No. 1, from Gabon, and Radio France Internationale are also available. Television is prevalent, with stations broadcasting in Arabic, French, and English as well as Wolof and other African languages. Phone booths and phone stores with fax machines can be found in rural and urban areas. Internet services are also available, and some Senegalese newspapers and magazines are published online.

Camille Camara Andrew Clark Ed.

      This discussion focuses on the history of Senegal since European contact. For a more complete treatment of the country in its regional context, see western Africa, history of.

      Senegal has been inhabited since ancient times. Paleolithic and Neolithic axes and arrows have been found near Dakar, and stone circles, as well as copper and iron objects, have been found in central Senegal. The stone circles, thought to date from the 3rd century BC to the 16th century AD, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.

      The Fulani and Tukulor occupied the lower Sénégal River valley in the 11th century. The name Senegal appears to be derived from that of the Zenaga Berbers of Mauritania and northern Senegal. About 1040, Zenaga Berbers established a Muslim ribāṭ (fortified religious retreat), perhaps on an island in the river; this became the base for the Almoravids, who converted the Tukulor, conquered Morocco, and crossed into Spain. The Almoravid attacks on the Soninke empire of Ghana contributed to the empire's eventual decline. Between 1150 and 1350 the legendary leader Njajan Njay founded the Jolof kingdom, which in the 16th century split into the competing Wolof states of Walo, Kajor, Baol, Sine, and Salum. Islamic influence spread throughout the region in variable strength; it gained new impetus in the late 17th century, and after 1776 Tukulor Muslims established a theocratic confederacy in Fouta.

      Portuguese navigators reached Cape Verde about 1444; they established trading factories at the mouth of the Sénégal, on Gorée Island, at Rufisque, and along the coast to the south. In the 17th century their power was superseded by that of the Dutch and then the French.

The French period
 A French factory at the mouth of the Sénégal River was rebuilt in 1659 at N'Dar, an island in the river that became the town of Saint-Louis, and in 1677 France took over Gorée from the Dutch. These two communities became bases for French trading companies that bought slaves, gold, and gum arabic in the region and became homes for free Christian Africans and Eurafricans.

      After two periods of British occupation, Saint-Louis and Gorée were returned to France in 1816. When attempts to grow cotton near Saint-Louis proved unprofitable, trade for gum in the Sénégal valley was substituted. In 1848 the marginal colonial economy was further disrupted when the Second Republic outlawed slavery on French soil.

      In 1854 Napoleon III granted the request of local merchants for a greater French military presence and appointed Commandant Louis-Léon-César Faidherbe (Faidherbe, Louis) governor. At the same time, al-Ḥājj Umar Talʿ, a Tukulor, conquered the Bambara kingdom of Kaarta as well as the states of Segu and Macina, but he was unable to control his home territory of Fouta because the French occupied the land. A military stalemate after 1857 led to a truce of coexistence between the two powers, although the French exploited the internal conflicts in the region after ʿUmar Tal's death in 1864. When Faidherbe retired in 1865, French power was paramount over most of the territory of modern Senegal, with peanut cultivation and export reaping great economic benefits for the colonists.

      In 1879 the French government approved a large program of railway construction (built 1882–86). One line linked Saint-Louis with Dakar through the main peanut area in Kajor. Another rail line, the Dakar-Niger line, was not completed until 1923 and facilitated access to the territory formerly controlled by ʿUmar Tal. Meanwhile, France was consolidating direct control over the rest of Senegal and its other African colonies. In 1895 Jean-Baptiste Chaudié became first governor-general of French West Africa, and in 1902 its capital moved from Saint-Louis to Dakar.

      Before this new autocratic empire established its rigid administrative control over such traditional chiefs as it still tolerated, the Third Republic had recognized the inhabitants of Saint-Louis, Gorée, Dakar, and Rufisque, regardless of ethnicity, as French citizens. In 1914 the African electors succeeded in sending Blaise Diagne, an African former colonial official, as their deputy to the National Assembly in Paris. In return for assistance in recruiting African soldiers in World War I (some 200,000 in all from French West Africa), Diagne obtained confirmation of full French citizenship rights for this urban minority, even if they chose to retain their status under Muslim law. These privileges were lost between 1940 and 1942, when French West Africa passed under control of the wartime Vichy government, but were restored under the Fourth Republic (1947–58).

      Two socialist deputies elected in 1946, Lamine Guèye and Léopold Senghor (Senghor, Léopold), at first concentrated on restoring the original French citizenship rights and then extending them to the whole Senegalese population. But political life was increasingly influenced by nationalist movements elsewhere in Africa and Asia, as well as by strong internal tensions, notably those revealed by a sustained railway strike in 1947–48. Senghor, a poet and philosopher who sought some synthesis between an authentic African identity and French civilization, built a strong political position on partnership with the leaders of the Mourides (Murīdiyyah) and other socially conservative Muslim orders, but he was increasingly driven toward claiming political independence. In 1958 the Senegalese electorate accepted his advice to vote in favour of membership in Charles de Gaulle's proposed French Community, but two years later Senegal claimed and received independence (initially within the short-lived Mali Federation).

Independent Senegal
      As president, Senghor maintained collaboration internally with Muslim religious leaders and externally with France, which continued to provide economic, technical, and military support. The economy, however, remained vulnerable both to fluctuations in world prices for peanuts and phosphates and to the Sahelian droughts, and the government found it increasingly difficult to satisfy the expectations of the working class and of a rapidly growing student body. Although Senegal remained more tolerant and pluralist than many African states, there were encroachments on political freedoms. In 1976, however, Senghor authorized the formation of two opposition parties; Abdou Diouf (Diouf, Abdou), to whom he transmitted presidential power in January 1981, tentatively extended these freedoms.

      Under Diouf the Socialist Party (PS) maintained Senghor's alliance with the Muslim hierarchies. When the PS secured more than 80 percent of the votes in the 1983 elections, there were complaints of unfair practice, and the eight deputies returned by the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) of Abdoulaye Wade initially refused to take their seats. Nevertheless, the framework of parliamentary democracy survived the continuing economic stringency of the 1980s. In 1988 Diouf's presidential majority dropped to 73 percent, and the PDS won 17 of the 120 parliamentary seats. Charges of inequity and fraud, and considerable violence, were followed by the declaration of a state of emergency. Wade was imprisoned but was subsequently pardoned.

      Diouf found it increasingly difficult to meet prescriptions for economic adjustment while trying to contain social and ethnic pressures caused by falling export values, rising costs of living, and mounting unemployment. The proclamation in 1981 of the Senegambian confederation, established after Senegalese troops marched into The Gambia (Gambia, The) to crush a military coup, was abrogated in 1989. That same year a long-standing border dispute between Senegal and Mauritania erupted into serious ethnic violence; several hundred Senegalese were massacred in Mauritania, and both countries expelled tens of thousands of expatriates. Senegalese merchants took over many of the businesses previously owned and operated by Mauritanians in Senegal. Tensions have remained high ever since, despite an agreement in April 1992 between the two countries to restore diplomatic relations. In 2000 tensions were further heightened over the issue of Sénégal River usage rights; violence was averted when the Senegalese government abandoned a controversial irrigation plan.

      Generally peaceful elections in 1993 resulted in victory for Diouf and the PS. The French decision in 1994 to devalue the African franc by 50 percent negatively affected the Senegalese economy and sparked the most-serious uprisings in the country in years, led by dissatisfied urban youths. The government quickly crushed the demonstrations and arrested hundreds. The difficult economic conditions continued, exacerbated by periodic droughts and inflation. Despite the economic problems, however, the Diouf regime retained the support of the powerful Muslim leadership in the country, and the PS won legislative elections again in 1998, although opposition parties did make some gains, especially in the urban Dakar region. Wade finally won the presidency in March 2000, marking the first time since the country's independence that a presidential candidate was elected from a party other than the PS. Wade's victory also ushered in a peaceful and democratic transfer of power, a significant event on the African continent. He was reelected in 2007.

      The greatest challenge still facing the Senegalese government was the long-standing conflict in Casamance, the southern area physically isolated from the rest of the country by The Gambia. Since 1982 a rebel group, primarily based in the Diola areas, has been fighting for independence, and many people have died as a result of the fighting. The Senegalese government refused to negotiate with the rebels, and a 1998 attempted military coup in neighbouring Guinea-Bissau, which involved guerrillas from Casamance, was repressed by government troops and led to renewed violence in the area. The leader of the main rebel forces declared the war over in 2003, and a peace agreement was signed in 2004, but some rebel factions continued to fight.

Camille Camara John D. Hargreaves Andrew Clark Ed.

Additional Reading
Atlas national du Sénégal (1977); and Paul Pélissier (ed.), Atlas du Sénégal (1980), provide geographic information. A useful historical reference work is Andrew F. Clark and Lucie C. Phillips, Historical Dictionary of Senegal, 2nd ed. (1994).Sociological works include Gilles Blanchet, Elites et changements en Afrique et au Sénégal (1983); and Abdoulaye-Bara Diop, La Famille wolof (1985). Religion and politics are discussed in Donal B. Cruise O'Brien, The Mourides of Senegal (1971); Christian Coulon, Le Marabout et le prince: Islam et pouvoir au Sénégal (1981); and Leonardo Villalon, Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal (1995). Boubacar Barry, Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (1998); and Philip D. Curtin, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa (1975), discuss slavery.Information on politics in earlier periods is provided in Eric Makédonsky, Le Sénégal: la Sénégambie, 2 vol. (1987); Sheldon Gellar, Senegal: An African Nation Between Islam and the West, 2nd ed. (1995); and G. Wesley Johnson, Jr., The Emergence of Black Politics in Senegal: The Struggle for Power in the Four Communes, 1900–1920 (1971). Discussions of more-recent politics are found in Momar Couma Diop (ed.), Senegal: Essays in Statecraft (1993); Richard Vengroff and Lucy Creevey, “Senegal: The Evolution of a Quasi-Democracy,” in John Clark and David Gardiner (eds.), Political Reform in Francophone Africa (1997); and Leonard Villalon and Ousmane Kane, “Senegal: The Crisis of Democracy and the Emergence of an Islamic Opposition,” in Leonardo Villalon and Philip Huxtable (eds.), The African State at a Critical Juncture (1998).Andrew Clark

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Universalium. 2010.

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