Snapshot of Senegal


Senegal wraps around its smaller neighbor, The Gambia, to form the western bulge of Africa. It has a 330 mile coastline on the Atlantic. Mauritania and Mali are north and east and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau border on the south.

Land Area:

Senegal covers approximately 76,000 square miles, roughly equivalent in size to South Dakota.


The flat rolling plains in the northern region of the country are part of the Sahel desert. In the southeast plateaus rise from the foothills of the Gouta Djallon Mountains. Marshy swamps and tropical forests are found in southwest Senegal. The country's four main rivers are the Senegal, Saloum, Casamance and Gambia.


The climate is as varied as the terrain. There are two seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season lasts from June through October. Along the coast the weather tends to be breezy and cooler while further inland it is drier in the north and more tropical in the south. Temperatures range from 64 to 86 degrees.


There are around 7 million people. The population is made up of numerous ethnic groups that include Wolof 36%, Fulani 17%, Serer 17%, Toucouleur 9%, Diola 9%, Mandingo 9%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 2%


French is the official language. Other languages spoken are Wolof, Pulaar, Serer, Diola and Mandingo.


Muslim 92%, indigenous beliefs 6%, Christian 2%

Major Cities:

Dakar is the nation's capital and its largest city. Other major cities are Saint Louis, which served as the colonialist capital, and Thiés, Kaolack and Ziguinchor.


After achieving independence from France in 1960, Senegal was established as a republic. Its constitution was adopted in 1963. The president, elected every five years, is head of state and appoints a council of ministers as well as Supreme Court judges. The legislature, the National Assembly, is a unicameral body with 120 elected members. President Abdou Diouf is leader of the Socialist Party, which has been the party in power since 1960.


The economy of Senegal is relatively diversified. The main agricultural crop is groundnuts. Other crops are maize, millet, beans, rice, sugar and cotton. Industries include textile manufacturing and food processing as well as petroleum and phosphate production. Fishing industries have become the largest export earner. Tourism is also a growing sector of the economy.


The national banner consists of three vertical bands of green, yellow and red. A green star is centered in the yellow band.

Follow the President | Today | Itinerary | Photos
Speeches | Briefings | Countries | Issues | Partnerships | Links

[Footer icon]

[White House icon] [Help Desk icon]

To comment on this service,
send feedback to the Web Development Team.