Area: 196,840 sq. km. (76,000 sq. mi.), about the size of South
Capital--Dakar. Other cities--Diourbel, Kolda, Kaolack, Louga,
Terrain: Flat or rising to foothills.
Climate: Tropical/Sahelian--desert or grasslands in the north,
in the south and southeast.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Senegalese (sing. and pl.).
Population (est. 1995): 8.2 million.
Annual growth rate: 3%.
Ethnic groups: Wolof 43%; Fulani (Peulh) and Toucouleur 23%; Serer
Mandingo, and others 19%.
Religions: Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, traditional 1%.
Languages: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Serer, Diola,
Education: Attendance--primary 58%, secondary 16%. Literacy--38%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--67/1,000. Life expectancy--50 yrs.
Work force (4.0 million): Agriculture--70% (subsistence or cash
Wage earners (350,000): private sector 61%, government and
Independence: April 4, 1960.
Constitution: March 3, 1963, last amended in 1992.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state, commander in chief
forces). Legislative -- National Assembly (single chamber with 120
deputies). Judicial --
constitutional council (appointed by the president from senior
magistrates and eminent
academics and attorneys), Court of Final Appeals, Council of State .
Administrative subdivisions: 10 regions, 30 departments, 138
Political parties: 25 political parties are registered, the most
important of which
are the Socialist Party (PS), the Democratic Party of Senegal (PDS),
JEF/PADS", the Democratic League/Movement for a Labor Party
Independence and Labor Party (PIT), and the Democratic and Patriotic
Suffrage: Universal adult, over 18.
Central government budget (1996): $977 million.
Defense (1996): $81.5 million.
National holiday: April 4, Independence Day.
Flag: Three vertical bands--green, yellow, red, with a green star
centered in the
GDP (1995): $5.1 billion.
Real annual growth rate: 4.5%.
Per capita GDP (1995): $550.
Natural resources: Fish, peanuts, phosphate, iron ore, gold,
Agriculture (24% of GDP): Products--peanuts, millet, sorghum,
manioc, rice, cotton.
Industry (22% of GDP): Types--fishing; agricultural product
manufacturing, mining including energy, oil mining, and construction: (18
% of GDP).
Services: 54% of GDP; including government: 65 % GDP.
Trade (1995): Exports--$967 million (fish products, peanut
rock). Major markets--France, other European Community, West African CFA
Imports--$1.2 billion (food, consumer goods, petroleum, machinery,
petroleum products, computer equipment). Major suppliers--France,
Exchange rate: Fixed to French franc (FF)--African Financial
Community (CFA) franc
100=1 FF; 1995. Average 515 F CFA=US$1.
Economic aid received (1995): $146 million from all sources, $26
million from the
Senegal lies on the bulge of western Africa, bounded by the Atlantic
Mali, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. The Gambia penetrates more than 320
kilometers (200 mi.)
into Senegal. Well-defined dry and humid seasons result from northeast
winter winds and
southwest summer winds. Dakar's annual rainfall of about 61 centimeters
(24 in.) occurs
between June and October when maximum temperatures average 27oC (82oF);
February minimum temperatures are about 17oC (63oF). Interior
temperatures are higher than
along the coast, and rainfall increases substantially farther south,
centimeters (60 in.) annually in some areas.
About 70% of Senegal's population is rural. In rural areas, density
varies from about
77 per square kilometer (200 per sq. mi.) in the west-central region to 2
kilometer (5 per sq. mi.) in the arid eastern section. About 50,000
French) and Lebanese reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities. French is
language but is used regularly only by the literate minority. All
Senegalese speak an
indigenous language, of which Wolof has the largest usage.
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was
prehistoric times. Islam established itself in the Senegal River valley
in the 11th
century--95% of Senegalese today are Muslims. In the 13th and 14th
centuries, the area
came under the influence of the great Mandingo empires to the east; the
Jolof Empire of
Senegal also was founded during this time.
In January 1959, Senegal and the French Soudan merged to form the Mali
which became fully independent on June 20, 1960, as a result of the
independence and the
transfer of power agreement signed with France on April 4, 1960. Due to
difficulties, the Federation broke up on August 20, 1960. Senegal and
Soudan (renamed the
Republic of Mali) each proclaimed separate independence. Leopold Sedar
internationally renowned poet, politician, and statesman, was elected
president in August 1960.
After the breakup of the Mali Federation, President Senghor and Prime
Dia governed together under a parliamentary system. In December 1962,
rivalry led to an attempted coup by Prime Minister Dia. Although this was
put down without
bloodshed, Dia was arrested and imprisoned, and Senegal adopted a new
was released in 1974.
Since assuming the presidency in 1981, Abdou Diouf has encouraged
participation, reduced government involvement in the economy, and widened
diplomatic engagements, particularly with other developing nations.
economic problems, tempestuous domestic politics, which have on occasion
spilled over into
street violence, border tensions and a violent separatist movement in the
of the Casamance, Senegal's commitment to democracy and human rights
strong in its fourth decade of independence.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Senegal is a republic with a strong presidency, weak legislature,
independent judiciary, and multiple political parties. The president is
universal adult suffrage to a seven-year term. The unicameral National
Assembly has 120
members, elected separately from the president. The Court of Cessation
constitutional council, the justices of which are named by the president,
are the nation's
highest tribunals. Senegal is divided into 10 administrative regions,
each headed by a
governor appointed by and responsible to the president. The law on
devolving significant central government authorities to regional
assemblies came into
effect in January 1997 following local elections held in November 1996.
Senegal's principal political party is the Socialist Party (name
Senegalese Progressive Union in 1976 after having joined the Socialist
founded in 1949 by Leopold Senghor and now led by President Diouf. The
which has governed Senegal since independence in 1960, has advocated a
moderate form of
socialism based on traditional African concepts but increasingly has
sought to encourage
private enterprise, including foreign investment. Leopold Senghor was
first president in 1960 and served continuously until he stepped down in
mid-term in 1980.
In accordance with the constitution, Prime Minister Abdou Diouf succeeded
president. Diouf was elected to full five-year terms in his own right in
1983 and 1988.
The constitution, which previously restricted the number of political
parties to four, was
amended in 1981 to legitimize previously unrecognized parties. The number
of parties now
stands at 25 of which several participated in the November 1996 regional
elections. There are 120 seats in the National Assembly. The last
national elections were
held on February 21 and May 9, 1993. President Diouf was reelected for a
Principal Government Officials
President of the Republic--Abdou Diouf
President of the National Assembly--Cheikh Abdou Khadre Cissokho
President of the Constitutional Council--Youssoupha Ndiaye
Prime Minister--Habib Thiam
Minister of State Without Portfolio--Abdoulaye Wade
Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs--Moustapha Niasse
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs--Ousmane Tanor Dieng
Minister of State for Agriculture--Robert Sanga
Minister of Armed Forces--Cheikh Hamidou Kane
Minister of Interior-Lamine Cisse
Minister of Justice--Jacques Baudin
Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning-Lamine Loum
Minister of National Education--Andre Sonko
Minister of Equipment, Road transport, and Housing--Landing Sane
Minister of Industry and Mining--Magued Diouf
Minister of Health and Social Affairs--Ousmame Ngom
Minister of Commerce, Artisanry, and Industrialization--Idrissa Seck
Ambassador to the United States--General Mansour Seck
Ambassador to the United Nations--Ibra Deguene Ka
Senegal maintains an embassy in the United States at 2112 Wyoming
Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-234-0540), and a Mission to the United
Nations at 392 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10018 (tel.
The former capital of French West Africa, Senegal is a semi-arid
country located on the
westernmost point of Africa. Its economy is dominated by agriculture,
peanut production. The modern sector includes fishing, phosphates,
tourism, and chemical
industries. Senegal's economy is highly vulnerable to declining rainfall,
and changes in world commodity prices.
The January 1994 devaluation of the CFA franc was an explicit
condition set by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for resumption of
economic adjustment. Senegal's adjustment efforts were funded primarily
by a stand-by
agreement from the IMF, which was replaced, in August 1994, by a
structural adjustment facility for U.S. $192 million.
The World Bank also supported Senegal under an economic recovery
credit, a private
sector adjustment and competitiveness credit and an agricultural sector
Senegal also benefited from assistance from other multilateral and
including debt rescheduling from the Paris Club and other creditors. At
group meeting in Paris in July 1995--the first sponsored by the World
1987--Senegal received pledges of about U.S. $1.5 billion for program and
project aid for
the period of 1995-97, which completely covered the 1995 financing gap.
Macroeconomic indicators show that Senegal has turned in a respectable
meeting the targets set under the IMF's ESAF program: annual GDP growth
has improved from
2.3% in 1994 to reach 4.5% in 1995. Inflation has reported to be 8% in
1995 compared to
36% in 1994, and the fiscal deficit has held to 3.3% of GDP.
During 1995, Senegal made some encouraging progress in the
implementation of structural
adjustment policies aimed at creating a better regulatory framework for
development. Measures implemented to date include the:
--Elimination of barriers to free domestic trade (price liberalization
of soap, milk,
coffee, soft drinks, cement, tomato paste, and fresh tomatoes);
--Abolition of monopolistic agreements in major industries (cement,
flour, tomato paste, packing materials, and fertilizers.);
--Elimination of export subsidies;
--Liberalization of rice and sugar imports;
--Abolition of the requirement for prior government authorization to
lay off workers
during economic downturns; and
--Preparation of a list of 18 major public enterprises to be
privatized during the next
Senegal's economy is principally agricultural, with more than 70% of
the labor force
engaged in farming. Peanut production accounts for half of agricultural
output, and food
crops, especially millet, rice, corn, sorghum, and beans, currently
two-thirds of the country's food needs. Export earnings from peanut oil
and peanut cake
have increased slightly since the January 1994 CFA devaluation. The
invested heavily in the Senegal River basin with the aim of moving
Senegal closer to food
The fishing sector has replaced the groundnut sector as Senegal's
export leader. Its
export earnings reached $274 million in 1995. The industrial fishing
with high costs and Senegalese tuna is rapidly losing the French market
to more efficient
Phosphate production, the third major foreign exchange earner, has
been steady at about
$33 million. Receipts from tourism, the fourth major foreign exchange
earner, have picked
up since the January 1994 devaluation.
Senegal has met with limited success in attracting foreign investment
economic development. Under the provisions of the 1987 investment code,
process has been shortened. Currently, there are no restrictions on the
repatriation of capital and income earned, or investment financed with
exchange. Direct U.S. investment in Senegal remains about $38 million,
mainly in petroleum
marketing, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, chemicals, and banking.
about $350 million a year, comes largely from France, the IMF, the World
Bank, and the
United States. Assistance also is provided by Canada, Italy, Japan,
Germany, and others.
Senegal has relatively good infrastructure. It includes well-developed
port facilities, a major international airport serving 24 international
including scheduled service by U.S. firm world airways in its Newark,
route, and direct and expanding telecommunications links with major world
Senegal enjoys an excellent relationship with the United States. The
Senegal is known and respected for its able diplomats and has often
supported the U.S. in
the United Nations, including with troop contributions for peacekeeping
United States maintains friendly relations with Senegal and provides
and technical assistance. President Diouf paid his first official visit
D.C., in August 1983 and has traveled several times to the U.S. since
then. Senegal hosted
the Second African-African American Summit in 1995. First Lady Hillary
began her trip to Africa in March 1997 with a visit to Senegal.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) implements the
development assistance efforts, providing program assistance linked to
reforms in finance,
agriculture, and natural resource management. USAID provides project
assistance in the
fields of health and family planning, agriculture and natural resources
forestry), and market liberalization. The primary development goal of the
in Senegal is to help raise the per capita incomes of those people in
incomes depend on the sustainable exploitation of natural resources.
$23-million in program (including food aid) and project assistance to
Senegal in fiscal
year 1995. The Peace Corps program in Senegal involves 122 volunteers,
forestry, health, and small business development. The cultural exchange
of three Fulbright professors and about 20-30 international visitor
grants per year.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador Designate--Dane Smith
Deputy Chief of Mission--James Ledesma
USAID Director--Anne Williams
Public Affairs Officer (USIS)--Gerald Huchel
Peace Corps Director--Patrick Barry
Defense Attache--Lt. Col. Paul Cariker
Political Counselor-David G. Wagner
Economic Officer--Whitney Young-Baird
Consular Officer--Lili Ming
Administrative Counselor-Mark Stevens
The U.S. Embassy in Senegal is located on Ave. Jean XXIII at the
intersection of Ave.
Kleber, (P.O. Box 49), Dakar.
These materials were prepared and released by the U.S. Department of
State, Office of
Southern African Affairs. For more information, visit the State