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World Mission

Senegal

Basic info

  • Area: 196,722 sq km
  • Population: 14,668,522
  • Infant mortality: 49.1 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Life expectancy: 62.1 years
  • Urbanisation: 47.2% of total population
  • Literacy: 57.7%

History

The French colonies of Senegal and French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982. The envisaged integration of the two countries was never implemented, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s. Several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict, but an unofficial cease-fire has remained largely in effect since 2012. Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until Abdoulaye WADE was elected president in 2000. He was reelected in 2007 and during his two terms amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition. His decision to run for a third presidential term sparked a large public backlash that led to his defeat in a March 2012 runoff with Macky SALL, whose term runs until 2019. A 2016 constitutional referendum reduced the term to five years with a maximum of two consecutive terms for future presidents.

Environment

The climate is tropical; hot and humid; the rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds and the dry season (December to April) is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind. The terrain is generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast.

Economy

Senegal’s economy is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture, which are the primary sources of employment in rural areas. The country's key export industries include phosphate mining, fertilizer production, agricultural products and commercial fishing and Senegal is also working on oil exploration projects. It relies heavily on donor assistance, remittances and foreign direct investment. Senegal reached a growth rate of 7% in 2017, due in part to strong performance in agriculture despite erratic rainfall. President Macky SALL, who was elected in March 2012 under a reformist policy agenda, inherited an economy with high energy costs, a challenging business environment, and a culture of overspending. President SALL unveiled an ambitious economic plan, the Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP), which aims to implement priority economic reforms and investment projects to increase economic growth while preserving macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. Bureaucratic bottlenecks and a challenging business climate are among the perennial challenges that may slow the implementation of this plan. Senegal receives technical support from the IMF under a Policy Support Instrument (PSI) to assist with implementation of the ESP. The PSI implementation continues to be satisfactory as concluded by the IMF’s fifth review in December 2017. Financial markets have signaled confidence in Senegal through successful Eurobond issuances in 2014, 2017, and 2018. The government is focusing on 19 projects under the ESP to continue The government’s goal under the ESP is structural transformation of the economy. Key projects include the Thi�s-Touba Highway, the new international airport opened in December 2017, and upgrades to energy infrastructure. The cost of electricity is a chief constraint for Senegal’s development. Electricity prices in Senegal are among the highest in the world. Power Africa, a US presidential initiative led by USAID, supports Senegal’s plans to improve reliability and increase generating capacity.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic Groups(%)

Wolof

41.6

Pular

28.1

Serer

15.3

Mandinka

5.4

Other (includes Europeans and persons of Lebanese descent)

5.4

Jola

3.4

Soninke

0.8

Religion

Religion(%)

Muslim (most adhere to one of the four main Sufi brotherhoods)

96.1

Christian (mostly Roman Catholic)

3.6

Animist

0.3

Languages

  • 80%

    Wolof