The Senegal



  • Population : 13 millions inhabitants (2009)
  • Surface area : 196 200 km²
  • Capital : Dakar (5 millions inhabitants)
  • Language : French (official), Wolof (spoken by 80 % of the population), Peuhl, Serere
  • Currency : Franc CFA (100F = 0.5 Euros)


Several ethnic groups live in Senegal: the Wolofs (40 %), Sérères (16 %), Peuhls (13 %, a once nomadic people, breeders of zebus), Toucouleurs (10%), Diolas (10 %), Mandingues, Bassaris. 55% of the population is under 20 years old. 58 % of the population of Senegal live in rural areas. 46 % of the children don’t go to school.


Senegal is located in an inter tropical zone with a warm and sunny climate. The dry season lasts from October to June, and the rain season from July to September. From North to South, the climate varies from Sahelian (up to 30 cm water per year) to Sudanese (more than 1 m water per year).


  • 1100-1650 : a prosperous Empire of Mali.
  • 1518 : beginning of slave trade first by the Portuguese, then by the French and the British (1600)
  • 1840 : the invasion of Senegal by France.
  • 1848 : the complete abolition of slavery in France.
  • 1960 : Senegal becomes independent. Leopold Sedar Sengor becomes the president.
  • Senegal is a democratic republic. The president is elected by universal suffrage for 7 years (since March 2000 : Abdoulaye Wade)


The gross national product is divided up as follows : 20 % for the primary and secondary sectors, 60% for the tertiary sector. Agriculture / cattle rearing contributes to 15 % of the GNP and employs 75 % of the working population. The main resources of Senegal are fishing, peanuts and phosphate. The local population does not benefit a great deal financially from tourism. Senegal does not produce enough food and must import two thirds of its rice consumption. The main commercial partner is France and the countries of the European Union. The debt of Senegal is worth 4 billion Euros. The annual growth is about 5% but this is of no real benefit to the Senegalese, among whom poverty is still on the increase.


Most of the population is Islamic (90 %), the rest being Catholic or animist. Religion is very important in Senegal. Some people even practise several religions simultaneously.