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Info Africa - SENEGAL

Senegal, in western Africa, borders the North Atlantic Ocean, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and the Gambia. This former French colony gained independence in 1960. Prior to independence, Senegal was the centre of the French West African Empire and had the strongest French presence. Senegal joined Gambia to form Senegambia in 1982 but this union ended in 1989. It remains a politically stable democratic state and is known for its positive role in international peacekeeping. Senegal has six national parks and four reserves, such as the Parc National des Oiseau de Djoudj, which is home to one of the most significant bird sanctuaries on earth. The current capital city of Dakar was the

capital of French West Africa during the colonialism era. Dakar has many markets, such as Kermel and Sandaga, which sell everything from fruits to fabrics. The main museum is the Institut Fondemental d’Afrique Noir (IFAN) houses a collection of statues, masks and musical instruments from West Africa. Recently, Dakar built a monument, La Porte du 3ème Millénaire (The Third Millennium Gate), which represents Senegal’s inclusion into the third millennium. Dakar is also home to some beautiful beaches. Senegal is known for its incredible African artists and writers, such as Leopold Sedar Senghor and Mariame Ba. Senegal’s music, especially the Mbalax, is known across Africa and the world. Senegal is also known for the Île de Gorée (Gorée Island), which is a former slaving station.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Senegal's Flag

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

Nationality: Senegalese

Capital: Dakar

Population: 11,987,121 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 40.8%
  • 15-64 years: 56.1%
  • 65 years and over: 3.1% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.34% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 40.2% of the population is literate (male: 50%, female: 30.7%) (2003 est.)

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

Languages: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

Quick Facts
  • total: 196,190 sq km
  • land: 192,000 sq km
  • water: 4,190 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: double the size of New Brunswick

Natural resources: fish, phosphates, iron ore

Environmental Issues: wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing


Senegal implemented an economic reform program with the help of the international donor community in 1994. This started with a 50% devaluation of Senegal’s currency, which was linked at a fixed rate at the French franc in the past. This reform program contributed to real growth in GDP averaging over 5% annually during 1995-2004. Senegal is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). As a member, Senegal is working towards increased regional integration with a unified external tariff and a more stable monetary policy. Senegal however, remains highly reliant upon outside donor assistance. As a result of IMF’s Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief program, Senegal will benefit from the eradication of two-thirds of its bilateral, multilateral and private-sector debt.

Major industries:

  • agricultural and fish processing
  • phosphate mining
  • fertilizer production
  • petroleum refining
  • construction materials
  • ship construction and repair

Agricultural products:

  • peanuts
  • millet
  • corn
  • sorghum
  • rice
  • cotton
  • tomatoes
  • green vegetables
  • cattle
  • poultry
  • pigs
  • fish

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: 906 km

Road map: 13,576 km (paved: 3,972 km, unpaved: 9,604 km)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc


Telephone lines in use: 244,900 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 1,121,300 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (1997)

Radio Stations: AM 8, FM 20, shortwave 1 (2001)

Internet users: 482,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 0.8% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 44,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

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