OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Senegal
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 196,840 Sq Km (76,000 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 9,398,500
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Senegal is located on the west coast
of Africa. It is bound by the Atlantic Ocean to the west,
Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau
to the south, and it encloses the enclave of Gambia in the
southwest. The country can be divided into six geographical
regions. (1.) The Senegal River Valley. (2.) The coastal
belt which contains small swamps, oases, creeks, channels
and mud flats. (3.) The western plains which consist of
dry and barren land. (4.) The Ferlo which is an inland continuation
of the western plains and is semidesert. (5.) Casamance
which is separated by Gambia and has better vegetation.
(6.) The eastern plains which consists of poor pastureland.
The principal rivers are the Senegal, Casamance, Sine and
Saloum. Major Cities (pop. est.); Dakar 1,729,800, Thies
201,400, Kaolack 179,900, Ziguinchor 143,800, St. Louis
125,700 (1992). Land Use; forested 54%, pastures 16%, agricultural-cultivated
12%, other 18% (1993).
CLIMATE: Senegal has a tropical climate with a wet season from
June to September and high humidity along the coast. Rainfall decreases
from the south with the wet season extending to October and an average
precipitation varying from 1,500 mm (60 inches) to 1,000 mm (40 inches)
in the north, to 510 mm (20 inches) in the east. The prevailing winds are
the Harmattan in the dry season, which is a dust-laden wind from the Sahara
Desert while gale force squalls or tornadoes occur at the beginning and
end of the rainy season. Average temperature ranges in Dakar are from 18
to 26 degrees Celsius (64 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 24 to
32 degrees Celsius (75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) in September.
PEOPLE: The ethnic composition of Senegal is diverse with the
principal ethnic group the Wolof who account for 44% of the population.
Others include the Fulani who account for 17.5% of the population while
the Serer account for 14.8%, the Toucouleur for 9%, the Diola for 9%, the
Mandingo for 6.5%, and other Africans for 4.5%. The White minority accounts
for 1% of the population and consists of French and Lebanese.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 38.2 persons per sq km
(99.0 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 38.6% urban, 61.4% rural
(1988). Sex Distribution; 48.7% male, 51.3% female (1988). Life Expectancy
at Birth; 46.3 years male, 48.3 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 47%
under 15, 26% 15 to 29, 14% 30 to 44, 8% 45 to 59, 5% 60 and over (1988).
Birth Rate; 45.5 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 17.7 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 27.8 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 110.0 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Around 94% of the population are Sunni Muslims while
5% are Christians predominantly Roman Catholic and around 1% follow local
native tribal beliefs.
LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although only about
12% of the population can speak it. Other minority languages include Serer,
Pulaar, Diola, Manding and Sarakole while Wolof is the national language.
EDUCATION: Aged 6 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
95.3%, primary 3.9%, secondary 0.7%, higher 0.1% (1970). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 38.3% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1956 Senegal gained internal
self-government from France and in 1959 the country joined the Federation
of Mali which also included Mali, Upper Volta and Dahomey (Benin). On Aug.
20, 1960 Senegal withdrew from the federation and became the independent
Republic of Senegal with Leopold Senghor as President. In Mar. 1963 Senegal
adopted a new constitution that eliminated the office of Prime Minister
Mamadou Dia, who was ousted in 1962. By 1966 no opposition parties were
legally recognized while severe droughts during the late 1960's and 1970's
seriously damaged the economy and caused widespread famine. In 1970 Pres.
Senghor appointed Abdou Diouf as Prime Minister and in 1976 a new constitution
was introduced which committed the country to a multiparty system of government
but also limited the number of parties to three. In Jan. 1981 Senghor retired
and Diouf was appointed President. In 1981 troops from Senegal helped put
down a coup attempt in Gambia and in 1982 Senegal and Gambia formed the
Confederation of Senegambia. The Confederation strengthened the economic
ties between the two countries and united their armed forces. In 1983 Diouf
was re-elected President and abolished the office of Prime Minister again.
In 1988 Diouf was again re-elected, although a dispute broke out which
led to the imposition of a State of Emergency for 3 months. In Sept. 1989
the Senegambia confederation collapsed when Gambia sought greater powers
within the confederation. In May 1990 a dispute with Guinea-Bissau erupted
over territorial fishing rights which resulted in Senegalese troops crossing
the border and exchanging fire before both sides agreed to a withdrawal.
In 1991 the government and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance
(MFDC) separatists signed a cease-fire agreement following negotiations
which also resulted in a general amnesty for the movement's members. On
Jan. 8, 1991 Gambia and Senegal signed a Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation
which replaced the confederation agreement. In Apr. 1991 Habib Thiam was
appointed Prime Minister and Pres. Diouf enlarged the Cabinet. On Sept.
20, 1991 a new constitution law was passed by the National Assembly that
limited the President's office to two consecutive seven-year terms and
lower the voting age to 18. Also during the same year relations with Guinea-Bissau
and Gambia improved, and Senegal signed an accord with Mauritania that
anticipated the re-opening of their common border and repatriation of refugees.
In 1992 Senegal hosted meetings of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)
and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In Jan. 1992
the government and MFDC established a peace conference, although numerous
clashes occurred throughout the year between security forces and the separatists.
In April 1992 Senegal resumed full diplomatic relations with Mauritania.
In Aug. 1992 Pres. Diouf together with the President's of Gabon, Ivory
Coast and Burkina Faso visited Pres. Mitterand of France in an attempt
to dispel fears that the CFA Franc would be devalued and to re-attract
fleeing capital. On Sept. 1, 1992 the army attacked rebels in the village
of Kaguitt killing some 50 separatists. Also in 1992 Senegal sent some
3,000 peacekeeping troops to Liberia to serve with an ECOWAS monitoring
group. In Jan. 1993 Senegal withdrew its troops from the ECOWAS peacekeeping
operation in Liberia in preparation for its planned Presidential elections.
In Feb. 1993 Pres. Diouf was reelected President. On April 18, 1993 some
300 MFDC rebels were killed in army operations near the Guinea-Bissau border.
In May 1993 legislative elections were won by Pres. Diouf's Socialist Party
and on May 15, 1993 the vice president of the Constitutional Council, Babacar
Seye was assassinated by six gunmen. Following the incident the leader
of the Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS), Abdoulaye Wade and several associates
were arrested, although Wade was released soon after. In June 1993 another
20 MFDC separatists were killed as a result of further army operations.
On July 27, 1993 the PDS led a mass demonstration calling for the release
of the other detainees alleging that police were torturing them. On Oct.
1, 1993 Wade and other were rearrested for complicity in the murder of
Seye. Also in the same month negotiations between the government and Confederation
of Senegalese Workers broke down following the government's refusal to
lower basic food items. Also in 1993 the government introduce an austerity
program that included new taxes and a 15% reduction in civil servant's
CURRENCY: The official currency is the CFA Franc (Communaute
Financiere Africaine-CFAF) divided into 100 Centimes.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $5,867,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $3,011,000,000 (1993). Imports; CFAF 330,900,000,000 (1992).
Exports; CFAF 178,100,000,000 (1992). Tourism Receipts; USD $173,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; CFAF -152,800,000,000 (1992). Economically Active
Population; 2,620,000 or 34.0% of total population (1992). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Nigeria.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Fish, Ground Nuts, Maize, Millet, Phosphates,
Rice, Sorghum, Timber.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Beverages, Cement, Fertilizer Production,
Fishing, Food Processing, Forestry, Mining, Petroleum Products, Phosphates,
MAIN EXPORTS: Cotton, Fabrics, Fish, Fertilizers, Ground Nuts, Oil,
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 1,147 km (713 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 40,043,000 (24,882,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km
403,289,000 (276,213,000 short ton-mi) (1988). Roads; length 14,117 km
(8,772 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 90,000 (1989), trucks and buses 37,000
(1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 162 (1990), deadweight tonnage 37,811
(1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 208,567,000 (129,597,000 passenger-mi)
(1988), cargo ton-km 35,223,000 (24,124,000 short ton-mi) (1988).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a circulation
of 50,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 850,000 (1994). Television; receivers
61,000 (1994). Telephones; units 64,100 (1993).
MILITARY: 13,350 (1995) total active duty personnel with 89.9%
army, 5.2% navy and 4.9% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 2.4% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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