General Information about Senegal

The official name is the Republic of Senegal (Republique du Senegal, Republic of Senegal).

Located in West Africa, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The area is 196.7 thousand km2, the population is 10.3 million people. (2002). The official language is French. The capital is Dakar (1.7 million people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day April 4 (since 1960). The monetary unit is the African franc (equal to 100 centimes).

Member of the UN (since 1960), AU (since 1963), associate member of the EU, etc.

Geography of Senegal

It is located between 10°55′ and 16°22′ West longitude and 12°40′ and 17°40′ North latitude. It borders in the north with Mauritania, in the east with Mali, in the south with Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The territory of the country occupies flat areas in the savannah zone and light forests of the subequatorial belt. The surface in the southeast rises to 500 m, in the west it drops to the Atlantic Ocean. Deposits of calcium phosphates (100 million tons), aluminum phosphates (50–70 million tons), iron ore (330 million tons), gold (30 tons), titanium (10 million tons), oil (offshore deposit 52–58 million tons) ), natural gas, diamonds, peat. Reddish-brown, slightly leached red-brown and red ferruginous soils predominate. The climate is subequatorial with two pronounced seasons: wet (May-November in the south and July-September in the north) and dry, lasting 6-7 months. Average monthly temperatures +25-28°С, precipitation falls from 250 to 1500 mm per year. The Senegal, Gambia and Casamance rivers flow from east to west. Most of the territory is characterized by savannah vegetation; in the southwest, mixed deciduous-evergreen forests have been preserved. There are antelopes, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals. Lots of birds and reptiles.

Population of Senegal

According to Countryaah, the average annual growth rate in 2000–02 was 2.6%. Population density 52 people. per 1 km2. Birth rate 40%, mortality 8.1%, infant mortality 55 people. per 1000 newborns. Life expectancy – 63 years (men – 61; women – 65). Sex and age structure: 0-14 years – 44% (ratio of men and women 1.01), 15-64 years – 53% (0.92), 65 years and older – 3% (0.97). The ratio of men and women in the entire population is 0.96. Among the adult population, 60% are illiterate (men 49%, women 71%).

Ethnic composition: Wolof (43.3%), Pular (23.8%), Serer (14.7%), Diola (3.7%), Malinke (3%), Soninke (1.1%), Fulbe, tukulery. French is spoken by 12% of the population, Wolof, Fulbe, Serer, Diola, Malinke and Soninke are widely spoken.

The majority of the population – up to 92% – are Muslims, Christians make up 2% (mostly Catholics), the rest adhere to traditional beliefs.

History of Senegal

The penetration of the first Europeans (Portuguese) into the territory of modern Senegal refers to the middle. 15th c. In the 16th century French, English and Dutch merchants appeared here. In the 17th century – 1st floor. 18th century Senegal was the center of the slave trade. From Ser. 17th century to con. 19th century French colonization of West Africa took place. In 1895 Senegal became part of French West Africa with its administrative center in Dakar. On April 4, 1960, an independent Senegal was proclaimed within the Federation of Mali, and in August 1960 an independent republic within the French Community. In 1962, Senegal and the Gambia formed a confederation – Senegambia, which existed for 7 years and collapsed in 1989.

In a referendum on March 3, 1963, the Constitution was approved, declaring Senegal a republic. L.S. Senghor, who supported the idea of ​​”African socialism” and was in power until the end, became the president of the country. 1980. Since 1981, Senghor was replaced by A. Diouf, who was elected to this post in 1983, 1988 and 1993. In February-March 2000, after the 40-year rule of the Socialist Party of Senegal (SPS), a representative of the opposition, A. Wad, Secretary of the Democratic Party of Senegal (DPS), who received 58.5% of the vote in the second round of the presidential election.

For nearly three decades, Senegal’s development has been characterized by stability and resilience, made possible in large part by the prudent policies of the PCA. However, in con. 1990s there was an increase in socio-political tension in the country, associated with the negative consequences of unpopular measures, programs for the structural restructuring of the economy. The dissatisfaction of the broad masses with the actions of the Union of Right Forces grew. At the same time, contradictions within the ruling party began to appear, in particular with the so-called. Renovationists, who advocated the creation of a faction within the Union of Right Forces and declared their independent participation in the elections. The intensified opposition, in turn, demanded guarantees for clean and transparent elections. Under these conditions, the chances of the opposition to win the elections were quite real.

The presidential elections in February-March 2000 were followed by a national referendum on the Constitution (January 7, 2001), elections to the National Assembly (April 29) and local government elections (May). The A.Wada bloc won 89 out of 120 seats in the National Assembly.

After the convincing victory of the opposition at all levels, internal political stability continued to be maintained in the country. One of the primary tasks of the new administration was the settlement of the Casamance crisis, which dates back to 1982: since then, separatist detachments have been fighting for the secession of the southern province of Casamance. Here, unlike the surrounding areas, where representatives of the Wolof ethnic group who profess Islam predominate, Catholics live – representatives of the Diola people. In December 1999, another ceasefire agreement was signed with the separatist Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (DDKS), which somewhat stabilized the situation in the region, but the government of Senegal refuses to satisfy the main demand of the separatists and withdraw army units from the province. The situation is aggravated by the growing flow of refugees from Casamance to neighboring countries – Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia. Attempts to overcome regional separatism through the decentralization of power (in 1996, a law on regionalization was adopted, providing for the expansion of the powers of local authorities) has not yet yielded real results.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the role and influence of Islamic movements in the political life of Senegal, and their support from the Senegalese authorities is obvious.

People of Senegal