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Rang: Administrateur

Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005


Country Profile

A Hospitable Land

Cuddled by a dry tropical climate, Senegal has just two seasons- the dry season, extending from November to May and marked by heat, which intensifies as one travels from west to east, and the rainy season, which runs from June to October.

The freshest season extends from November through May, when the Cap-Vert Peninsula is constantly swept by trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. This softens the effect of the "harmattan", a hot and dry wind coming from the northeast.

Average temperatures vary from 24° to 30° Celsius

Dakar: Max. is 30° C in September, 17°C min. In January;
Saint-Louis: Max. is 30.8°C in September, 17°C min. in January;
Ziguinchor: Max. is 30°C in April, 19°C min. in January;
Tambacounda: Max. is 40,6°C in April; 17°C min. in January.

Senegal has three types of vegetation: Forest in the south, savanna in the central region and steppe in the north. The northeastern and central region of Senegal have a sahelian-type vegetation characterized by steppe and savanna, largely influenced by a relatively abundant rainfall. The southern region contrasts greatly with the rest of the country, as it enjoys a more intense rainy season and offers vegetation where the savanna turns into forest.

Three rivers cross the country: the Senegal River (1 700 km long), which flows from south-east to north-west, the Gambia River (750 km); and the Casamance River (300 km). The two latter traverse the southeastern zone.

A Warm and Hospitable People

"Senegalese teranga" is often translated as "hospitality", but its true sense is expressed by the Senegalese people’s way of welcoming guests that conveys their pleasure in receiving at home.

Senegal’s last census was taken in 1996 when the population was estimated at 8,572,004 inhabitants. Senegal population was estimated at 9,280,783 in 1999, presently in the year 2001, it is estimated approximately at 10,500,000 inhabitants.

The Senegalese population is characterized in particular by:

A very high growth rate of about 2.7% per year;

A very young population: about 58% of the population is less than 20 years old;

Still weak urbanization trend: 42% of Senegalese live in towns. The City of Dakar and its suburbs are home to some 3,000,000 beings (2,244,682 in 1999).

Population density: approx. 44 hab/km²

Great ethnic diversity.


























Source: Situation Economique et Sociale du sénégal (Direction de la Prévision et de la Statistique)

Ethnic Groups

The Senegalese population consists of several ethnic groups. The Wolof, located chiefly in the Cap-Vert and Diourbel Regions, are the largest group.

Senegal is home to a large foreign community, which is chiefly concentrated in the big towns. This includes people from neighbouring countries (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, etc….).

A strong Syrian-Lebanese community has been present for several generations, consisting mainly of merchants. The lion’s share of the European community consists of the French and of diplomats from other nations, almost all who reside in Dakar.


French is the official language used in business and teaching establishments. Wolof is the traditional language spoken by the majority of Senegalese. Conveniently, it is the lingua franca, heard even into the Gambia. Five other national languages are often heard as well: Diola, Mandingo, Serere, Pulaar and Sarakhole (Soninke). Additionally, the teaching of Arabic is developing steadily through Koran schools, but also due to the strong presence of Islamic countries’representational offices. English is widely spoken by educated people both in the administration and for business


Senegal is a secular country embracing all religions. Islam is the predominant religion, practiced by 90% of Senegalese. Most of the Moslem population belong to five brotherhoods: Mouride, Tidjane, Khadir, Layenne and Niasséne. They cohabit freely with Christians (mainly Catholic and Protestant) and those practicing the traditional religions. More often than not, one can find blood-related persons in different religious affiliations.

Political Organization

Senegal is a secular state, independent since 1960. Its constitution was institutionalized on 7 March 1963. The President of the Republic is elected by universal suffrage for a mandate that can be renewed once and which was brought from 7 to 5 years in 2001.

Senegal’s first president was Mr. Leopold Sedar Senghor, who exercised his power until 31 December 1981, at which time he voluntarily stepped down on behalf of his successor, Mr. Abdou Diouf, who was his Prime Minister at the time. Mr. Diouf was reelected in 1983 and 1988 and after his third mandate, which began in 1993, he was defeated by the current President, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade in March 2000.

For the past 40 years, Senegal has experienced a political stability to be envied. In fact, it is the first African country over 22 years ago to set up a multiparty system backed by a free increasingly diversified press.

At the last legislative elections held in April 2001, 25 political parties were represented.

The political climate of national and social unity has remained calm, except perhaps in the Casamance region, where there is some disturbance due to activities of the separatist movement, the MFDC (Movement of the Democratic Forces of the Casamance). Recently a cease-fire has been signed between the Senegalese government and MFDC.

Administrative Organization

The President of the Republic is head of the Executive Branch. He directs and guides the Administration. He designates the Prime Minister and sets government policy.

The National Assembly or Parliament is comprised of 120 Deputies who are elected for 5 years.

Senegal has inherited a great deal from French administrative structures. Today it is the only country in West Africa to possess a strong diversified administrative culture. The following administrative levels have been established here:


In terms of administrative organization, Senegal is divided into 10 regions, 30 departments and 320 arrondissements. Regions are headed by governors, Departments by prefects and Arrondissements (districts) by sub prefects.

Since its rise to international sovereignty, Senegal has opted for a gradual, cautious decentralization policy. This political policy, aimed to meet the country’s economic development demands, has resulted in the creation of regions composed of community- based groups. The three levels of local organization are the region, the commune and the community. Thus, Senegal is divided into 10 regions, 48 communes and 320 communities (the first division pertains to administration where are discharged by appointed civil servants (fonctionnaires) whereas the second division concerns local elects).

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SENEGAL :: Commentaires

Message le Ven 30 Mar - 9:09 par mihou
An Open-Minded Country

Senegal is a member of many regional and international organizations:

It is a member of the OAU-Organization of African Unity and the various agencies dependent upon this organization;

It is associated with Mali and Mauritania in the OMVS (The Organization for the Development of the Senegal River), and with the Gambia within the OMVG (the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River);

Senegal is also a member of UEMOA- the West African Monetary Union, as are the Ivory-Cost, Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Togo, Burkina-Faso and Mali. Senegal belongs to a common Monetary zone, known as the CFA zone. BCEAO, the zone’s central bank, is headquartered in Dakar. Senegal is also member of ECOWAS, (the Economic Community of West African States);

It is a member of the United Nations and several international agencies including the IMF, IBRD, IDA, GATT, etc. – It is also associated with the European Union through the Lomé Agreements which organize aid to the ACP countries (Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific);

It maintains excellent relations with Europe and America, with France, Italy, the United States of America and Canada as privileged partners;

Senegal maintains very close relations with the principal Arab nations-Marocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, etc…-and most especially with all the Moslem countries;

Finally, Senegal has a long standing tradition of cooperation with Asian countries, namely Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Pakistan, China, Philippines, etc…. Strong commercial ties have been developed with these countries who, with Senegal, are members of the G15.

Investment Infrastructures

First and foremost, the geographical location of Dakar, the capital, makes it an international crossroads, a place for international exchange and meetings, shipping and major commercial transactions. Added to that are its availability for receiving infrastructures and its effective maintenance facilities : a deep sea port with secondary ports, a container terminal, an operational naval yard and one of the best road networks in all Africa.

The State’s political and financial stability, its iron hand on inflation and properly performing public administration coupled with an effective partnership with the private sector, all afford the country with the legal, judicial and fiscal bases, capable of satisfying the most demanding investor. Furthermore, there is enough highly skilled labor force which has in fact imposed the stamp of Senegalese quality in the sub-region and beyond.

Various bodies seated by experts have been set up to promote investment and private sector development. Among them is: APIX the Agency for Investment Promotion.

Senegal now has major infrastructure- construction projects underway which will be able to support regional development. Among those projects are: the Human Resources Development Project (PDRH-Projet de Développement des Ressources Humaines), the Left Bank Development Plan (Plan de développement de la Rive Gauche- PDRG), The Anambe Basin Development Project (Projet d’Aménagement du Bassin de l’Anambé), OMVG (the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River), the Cayor Canal Development Project, MIFERSO (Iron Mines of Eastern Senegal Company) the Ferlo Valley Water Supply Project, etc…

Modern Infrastructures

Senegal disposes of modern infrastructures, which make it a propitious place for investments and confers it a good position at the sub-regional level.


Senegal’s transportation network functions quite well, making it possible to reach and serve the various points in the country at low cost. However, this infrastructure remains dominated by a very dense road network which manages to compensate for the weak railway network.


Senegal’s road system covers 15 000 km including 5 000 km blacktopped roads which make it easy to reach the main towns in the regions from Dakar, as well as the tourist and the main mining, farming and, fishery centers. The roads are classified as follows:

The national routes, which link up many administrative regions and neighboring countries;

The rest of the network consists of unclassified routes.

This network was recently expanded and repaired in the framework of PAST (Transportation Sector Adjustment Program), a multi-billion CFA program. Thanks to these new roads, many of the most isolated zones are now accessible. Most goods and travelers are transported by road ; indeed, more than 90% of the population uses road transport and about 70% of goods are conveyed by road. There is also a plethora of private-owned taxis and mini-vans known as "cars rapides".


The railroad network consists of lines carrying merchandise and travelers. It serves most of the country and is a liaison between Senegal and Mali.

It is managed by SNCS, (National Railway Company). SEFICS (Railway Company of Chemical Industries of Senegal), which has the task of transporting I.C.S products (Sulfuric, fertilizers), is tied to SNCS by an agreement allowing its trains to use the national railways. The railroad network is 1,220 km, and consists of several lines:

The Dakar-Kidira trunk (6446 km) : it crosses the country from east to west, reaching its terminal in Mali, near Bamako and Koulikoro. This trunk includes the following secondary lines : Diourbel – Touba trunk (471 km) et Guinguinéo-Kaolack (213 km);

The Thies-Saint-Louis trunk (192,5 km) : serves the river capital and Mauritania;

The Tivaouane -Taïba secondary line, and the Dakar-Thies two-way line.

The "Little Blue Train" serves Dakar and its outer suburbs.

The railroad transports the majority of mining products and fuel oils, and some of the farm products.

The phosphate firms have their own rail network. A plan is now in progress to modernize equipment and extend the network. This will make it possible to meet the demands created by gold mining in the southern region.


The Dakar Port Authority (PAD) is in a privileged position for sea transport in West Africa; as it is a crossroads linking Europe, South America and Africa. In addition to Senegal, it also serves Mali by special Dakar –Bamako railway connection. The Dakar Port Authority has gradually over the years served as the main feeder-port in the sub-region.

PAD offers modern traffic and supply installations for ships and has exceptional nautical conditions, with a 195-meter wide channel that allows any ship to reach it at any time of the year. Its exceptional water table is large enough to allow for most operations without towing.

Thanks to these modern facilities, the Port can dock ships weighing up to 30 000 TDW. Zone 1 of this sprawling port covers more than 30 hectares. With 60 000 m² of sheds, it has a storage capacity of 150 000 cubic meters.

Ten kilometers of wharfs skirt the port, in addition to 40 berths. The port of Dakar can receive more than 1 000 fishing boats a year. They take advantage of the proximity of fish processing plants with all the necessary specialized facilities : cold storage rooms etc….

In 1996 PAD goods traffic recorded a 12,8% rise compared to 1995. 6,412,800 tons were processed of which 241 900 representing Mali’s total transit traffic at this port. Indeed, the Dakar Port Authority disposes of a zone specially allocated to Mali traffic Warehouses in this zone are linked to the international Mali-Senegal railway network.

The Port of Ziguinchor: is active in passenger transport with over 34,818 passengers booked in 1996. This activity is expected to increase when the two ferries planned are fully operational.

The Port of Kaolack: with its two annexes, Lydiane and Diohrane essentially dedicated to the activities of two companies : Salins du Sine –Saloum (Salt manufacturing) and SONACOS (Peanut expellers).


Senegal has three international airports:

Léopold Sédar Senghor Airport, the oldest, enjoys a most privileged position in international airline connections. It has direct and regular flights to other African destinations and to Europe and America. Its facilities are suitable for all types of airplanes;

The Saint-Louis Airport : it was recently renovated. It concentrates mainly on exporting fishing products and produce;

The Cap-Skiring Airport, which is essentially tourist oriented.

The main cities in the country are likewise equipped with secondary airports for internal lines. This service is operated by Air Senegal, which was recently privatized.

Senegal is one of the 11 countries that detain shares of the multinational Air-Afrique airline.


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