City / Country Information

Important information about Senegal and Africa

Background

The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982. The envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict.

Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007 and has amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and to weaken the opposition, part of the president's increasingly autocratic governing style. His attempt to change the constitution in June 2011 prompted large public protests and there is speculation that he is planning to run for a third term, despite the constitutional limit of two terms.

Location

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania. Click here for Map Reference.

CAPITAL & PORT CITY

DAKAR. Foreigners constitute about 5% of the population. They are particularly present in the capital, Dakar, where they are involved in trade, industry and service sectors as well as in international organizations

POPULATION

12.5 millions

GDP

(Gross Development Product as on 2008): In 2000, Senegal's nominal GDP is estimated at more than 3,000 billion CFA F, i.e. an increase of over 7% in relation to the level attained in 1999. Since 1994 economic activity has remarkably improved. The average growth rate of the real GDP is still above 7%.