Coordinates: 14°N 14°W / 14°N 14°W / 14; -14
Republic of Senegal
République du Sénégal (French)
Coat of arms
Motto: "Un Peuple, Un But, Une Foi" (French)
"One People, One Goal, One Faith"
Pincez Tous vos Koras, Frappez les Balafons
Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons
Location of Senegal (dark blue)
in the African Union (light blue)
and largest city
14°40′N 17°25′W / 14.667°N 17.417°W / 14.667; -17.417
Ethnic groups ()
1.0% European / Lebanese
Unitary semi-presidential republic
• Prime Minister
• from Francea
4 April 1960
• Withdrawal from
20 August 1960
196,712 km2 (75,951 sq mi) (86th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2016 census
68.7/km2 (177.9/sq mi) (134th)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 162nd
CFA franc (XOF)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
With French Sudan, as the
Senegal (/ˌsɛnɪˈɡɔːl, -ˈɡɑːl/ ( listen);
French: Sénégal), officially the
République du Sénégal [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country in
Senegal is bordered by
Mauritania in the north,
Guinea to the southeast, and
Guinea-Bissau to the southwest.
Senegal also borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver
of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's
southern region of
Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal
also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and
political capital is Dakar. It is the westernmost country in the
mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, and owes its name to
Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. The name
"Senegal" comes from the Wolof "Sunuu Gaal", which means "Our Boat".
Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres
(76,000 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about 15
million. The climate is Sahelian, but there is a rainy season.
1 Cultures and influences
3.1 Early and pre-colonial eras
3.2 Colonial era
3.3 Independence (1960)
4.1 Political culture
4.2 Administrative divisions
4.3 Foreign relations
8.1 Ethnic groups
8.3 Largest cities
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Cultures and influences
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The territory of modern
Senegal has been inhabited by various ethnic
groups since prehistory. Organized kingdoms emerged around the seventh
century, and parts of the country were ruled by prominent regional
empires such as the Jolof Empire. The present state of
Senegal has its
roots in European colonialism, which began during the mid-15th
century, when various European powers began competing for trade in the
area. The establishment of coastal trading posts gradually led to
control of the mainland, culminating in French rule of the area by the
19th century, albeit amid much local resistance.
attained independence from
France in 1960, and has since been among
the more politically stable countries in Africa.
Senegal's economy is centered mostly on commodities and natural
resources. Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining,
fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, and
ship construction and repair. As in most African nations, agriculture
is a major sector, with
Senegal producing several important cash
crops, including peanuts, sugarcane, cotton, green beans, tomatoes,
melons, and mangoes. Owing to its relative stability, tourism and
hospitality are also burgeoning sectors.
A multiethnic and secular nation,
Senegal is predominantly Sunni
Sufi and animist influences. French is the official
language, although many native languages are spoken and recognized.
Since April 2012, Senegal's president has been Macky Sall.
been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie
Senegal is named after the
Senegal River, the etymology of which is
contested. One popular theory (proposed by David Boilat in 1853) is
that it stems from the Wolof phrase sunu gaal, which means "our canoe"
(or pirogue), resulting from a miscommunication between 15th-century
Portuguese sailors and Wolof fishermen. The "our canoe" theory has
been popularly embraced in modern
Senegal for its charm. It is
frequently used in appeals to national solidarity (e.g. "we're all in
the same canoe"), frequently heard in the media.
Modern historians believe the name probably refers to the Sanhaja,
Berbers who lived on the northern side of the river. A competing
theory is that it derives from the medieval town of "Sanghana" (also
spelled as Isenghan, Asengan, Singhanah), described by the Arab
geographer al-Bakri in 1068 as located by the mouth of the river. Some
Serer people from the south believe the river's name is derived from
the compound of the Serer term Sene (from Roge Sene, Supreme Deity in
Serer religion) and O Gal (meaning "body of water").
Main article: History of Senegal
Early and pre-colonial eras
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that
inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by
various ethnic groups. Some kingdoms were created around the 7th
Takrur in the 9th century, Namandiru (wo) and the Jolof
Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern
Senegal was once
part of the
Islam was introduced through Toucouleur and Soninke contact with the
Almoravid dynasty of the Maghreb, who in turn propagated it with the
help of the Almoravids, and Toucouleur allies. This movement faced
resistance from ethnicities of traditional religions, the Serers in
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of
the empires to the east; the
Jolof Empire of
Senegal was also founded
during this time. In the
Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900,
close to one-third of the population was enslaved, typically as a
result of captives taken in warfare.
In the 14th century the
Jolof Empire grew powerful, having united
Cayor and the kingdoms of Baol, Sine, Saloum, Waalo,
Futa Tooro and
Bambouk. The empire was a voluntary confederacy of various states
rather than an empire built on military conquest. The empire
was founded by Ndiadiane Ndiaye, a part Serer and part
Toucouleur, who was able to form a coalition with many ethnicities,
but collapsed around 1549 with the defeat and killing of Lele Fouli
Fak by Amari Ngone Sobel Fall (fr).
In the mid-15th century, the Portuguese landed on the Senegal
coastline, followed by traders representing other countries, including
the French. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands,
and Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th
century onward. In 1677,
France gained control of what had become a
minor departure point in the Atlantic slave trade—the island of
Gorée next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from
the warring chiefdoms on the mainland.
Slave traders in Gorée, 18th century
European missionaries introduced
Senegal and the
Casamance in the 19th century. It was only in the 1850s that the
French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland after they
abolished slavery and began promoting an abolitionist doctrine,
adding native kingdoms like the Waalo, Cayor, Baol, and Jolof Empire.
French colonists progressively invaded and took over all the kingdoms
except Sine and
Saloum under Governor Louis Faidherbe.
Senegalese resistance to the French expansion and curtailing of their
lucrative slave trade was led in part by Lat-Dior,
Damel of Cayor, and
Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, the
Maad a Sinig
Maad a Sinig of Sine,
resulting in the Battle of Logandème.
On April 4, 1959
Senegal and the
French Sudan merged to form the Mali
Federation, which became fully independent on 20 June 1960, as a
result of a transfer of power agreement signed with
France on 4 April
1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up
on 20 August, when
French Sudan (renamed the
Mali) each proclaimed independence.
Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor was proclaimed Senegal's first president in
September 1960. Senghor was a very well-read man, educated in France.
He was a poet and philosopher who personally drafted the Senegalese
national anthem, "Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons".
Pro-African, he advocated a brand of African socialism.
Colonial Saint Louis c. 1900. Europeans and Africans on the Rue Lebon.
In 1980, President Senghor decided to retire from politics. The next
year, he transferred power in 1981 to his hand-picked successor, Abdou
Diouf. Former prime minister Mamadou Dia, who was Senghor's rival, ran
for election in 1983 against Diouf, but lost. Senghor moved to France,
where he died at the age of 96.
Senegal joined with the Gambia to form the nominal Senegambia
Confederation on 1 February 1982. However, the union was dissolved in
1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group (Movement of
Democratic Forces of
Casamance or MFDC) in the
Casamance region has
clashed sporadically with government forces since 1982 in the
Casamance conflict. In the early 21st century, violence has subsided
Macky Sall held talks with rebels in Rome in December
Abdou Diouf was president between 1981 and 2000. He encouraged broader
political participation, reduced government involvement in the
economy, and widened Senegal's diplomatic engagements, particularly
with other developing nations. Domestic politics on occasion spilled
over into street violence, border tensions, and a violent separatist
movement in the southern region of the Casamance. Nevertheless,
Senegal's commitment to democracy and human rights strengthened. Abdou
Diouf served four terms as president.
In the presidential election of 1999, opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade
defeated Diouf in an election deemed free and fair by international
Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of
power, and its first from one political party to another. On 30
December 2004 President Wade announced that he would sign a peace
treaty with the separatist group in the
Casamance region. This,
however, has yet to be implemented. There was a round of talks in
2005, but the results have not yet yielded a resolution.
Main article: Politics of Senegal
Macky Sall, President of
Abdoulaye Wade, President of
Senegal is a republic with a presidency; the president is elected
every five years as of 2001, previously being seven years, by adult
voters. The first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was a poet and
writer, and was the first African elected to the Académie française.
Senegal's second president, Abdou Diouf, later served as general
secretary of the Organisation de la Francophonie. The third president
was Abdoulaye Wade, a lawyer. The current president is Macky Sall,
elected in March 2012.
Senegal has more than 80 political parties. The unicameral parliament
consists of the National Assembly, which has 150 seats (a Senate
was in place from 1999 to 2001 and 2007 to 2012). An independent
judiciary also exists in Senegal. The nation's highest courts that
deal with business issues are the constitutional council and the court
of justice, members of which are named by the president.
Senegal has a quasi-democratic political culture, one of
the more successful post-colonial democratic transitions in Africa.
Local administrators are appointed and held accountable by the
president. Marabouts, religious leaders of the various Muslim
brotherhoods of Senegal, have also exercised a strong political
influence in the country especially during Wade's presidency. In 2009,
Freedom House downgraded Senegal's status from "Free" to "Partially
Free", based on increased centralisation of power in the executive.
However, it has since recovered its Free status by 2014.
Senegal finished in 12th position on the Ibrahim Index of
African Governance. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure
of African governance (limited to sub-Saharan
Africa until 2008),
based on a number of different variables which reflect the success
with which governments deliver essential political goods to their
citizens. When the Northern African countries were added to the index
in 2009, Senegal's 2008 position was retroactively downgraded to 15th
place (with Tunisia,
Morocco placing themselves ahead of
Senegal). As of 2012[update], Senegal's rank in the Ibrahim Index has
decreased another point to 16 out of 52 African countries.
On 22 February 2011,
Senegal reportedly severed diplomatic ties with
Iran, saying it supplied rebels with weapons which killed Senegalese
troops in the
The 2012 presidential election was controversial due to President
Wade's candidacy, as the opposition argued he should not be considered
eligible to run again. Several youth opposition movements, including
M23 and Y'en a Marre, emerged in June 2011. In the end,
Macky Sall of
the Alliance for the
Republic won, and Wade conceded the election to
Sall. This peaceful and democratic transition was hailed by many
foreign observers, such as the EU as a show of "maturity".
On 19 September 2012, lawmakers voted to do away with the Senate to
save an estimated $15 million.
Regions of Senegal
Main articles: Regions of Senegal, Departments of Senegal,
Arrondissements of Senegal, and Communes of Senegal
Senegal is subdivided into 14 regions, each administered by a
Conseil Régional (Regional Council) elected by population weight at
the Arrondissement level. The country is further subdivided by 45
Départements, 113 Arrondissements (neither of which have
administrative function) and by Collectivités Locales, which elect
Regional capitals have the same name as their respective regions:
Further information: Foreign relations of Senegal
Senegal has a high profile in many international organizations and was
a member of the
UN Security Council
UN Security Council in 1988–89 and 2015–2016. It
was elected to the
UN Commission on Human Rights
UN Commission on Human Rights in 1997. Friendly to
the West, especially to
France and to the United States,
is a vigorous proponent of more assistance from developed countries to
the Third World.
Senegal enjoys mostly cordial relations with its neighbors. In spite
of clear progress on other fronts with
Mauritania (border security,
resource management, economic integration, etc.), there remains the
problem of an estimated 30,000 Afro-Mauritanian refugees living in
Senegal is part of the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS). Integrated with the main bodies of the international
Senegal is also a member of the
African Union (AU) and the
Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
Further information: Military of Senegal
Land mines were widely used in the
Casamance conflict between
separatist rebels and the central government.
The Senegalese armed forces consist of about 19,000 personnel in the
army, air force, navy, and gendarmerie. The Senegalese military force
receives most of its training, equipment, and support from
the United States. Germany also provides support but on a smaller
Military noninterference in political affairs has contributed to
Senegal's stability since independence.
Senegal has participated in
many international and regional peacekeeping missions. Most recently,
Senegal sent a battalion to the Democratic
Republic of Congo
to participate in MONUC, the
United Nations peacekeeping mission, and
agreed to deploy a United States-trained battalion to
Sierra Leone to
participate in UNAMSIL, another UN peacekeeping mission.
Senegal participated in the Saudi Arabian-led military
Yemen against the Shia Houthis.
Senegal is a secular state, as defined in its Constitution.
To fight corruption, the government has created the National
Anti-Corruption Office (OFNAC) and the Commission of Restitution and
Recovery of Illegally Acquired Assets. According to Business
Anti-Corruption Portal, President Sall created the OFNAC to replace
the Commission Nationale de Lutte Contre la non Transparence, la
Corruption et la Concussion (CNLCC). It is said that the OFNAC
represents a more effective tool for fighting corruption than the
CNLCC established under former President Wade. The mission of
OFNAC is to fight corruption, embezzlement of public funds and fraud.
OFNAC has the power of self-referral (own initiative investigation).
OFNAC is composed of twelve members appointed by decree.
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal. According to 2013 survey by
the Pew Research Center, 96% of Senegalese believe that homosexuality
should not be accepted by society.
Main article: Geography of Senegal
Senegal map of Köppen climate classification
Landscape of Casamance
Senegal is located on the west of the African continent. It lies
between latitudes 12° and 17°N, and longitudes 11° and 18°W.
Senegal is externally bounded by the
Atlantic Ocean to the west,
Mauritania to the north,
Mali to the east, and
Guinea-Bissau to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds
The Gambia, namely on the north, east and south, except for Gambia's
short Atlantic coastline.
The Senegalese landscape consists mainly of the rolling sandy plains
of the western
Sahel which rise to foothills in the southeast. Here is
also found Senegal's highest point, an otherwise unnamed feature
2.7 km southeast of
Nepen Diakha at 648 m
(2,126 ft). The northern border is formed by the Senegal
River; other rivers include the Gambia and
Casamance Rivers. The
Dakar lies on the
Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of
Cape Verde islands lie some 560 kilometres (350 mi) off the
Senegalese coast, but
Cap-Vert ("Cape Green") is a maritime placemark,
set at the foot of "Les Mammelles", a 105-metre (344 ft) cliff
resting at one end of the
Cap-Vert peninsula onto which is settled
Senegal's capital Dakar, and 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) south of the
"Pointe des Almadies", the westernmost point in Africa.
Main article: Climate of Senegal
Beach at N'Gor
Senegal has a tropical climate with pleasant heat throughout the year
with well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast
winter winds and southwest summer winds. The dry season (December to
April) is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind. Dakar's annual
rainfall of about 600 mm (24 in) occurs between June and
October when maximum temperatures average 30 °C (86.0 °F)
and minimums 24.2 °C (75.6 °F); December to February
maximum temperatures average 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) and
minimums 18 °C (64.4 °F).
Interior temperatures are higher than along the coast (for example,
average daily temperatures in
Tambacounda for May are
30 °C (86.0 °F) and 32.7 °C (90.9 °F)
respectively, compared to Dakar's 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) ),
and rainfall increases substantially farther south, exceeding
1,500 mm (59.1 in) annually in some areas.
Tambacounda in the far interior, particularly on the border of Mali
where desert begins, temperatures can reach as high as 54 °C
(129.2 °F). The northernmost part of the country has a near hot
desert climate, the central part has a hot semi-arid climate and the
southernmost part has a tropical wet and dry climate.
mainly a sunny and dry country.
Main article: environmental issues in Senegal
Main article: Economy of Senegal
A proportional representation of Senegal's exports
After its economy contracted by 2.1% in 1993,
Senegal instituted a
major economic reform program with the support of international
donors. This reform began with a 50 percent devaluation of the
country's currency (the CFA franc). Government price controls and
subsidies were also dismantled. As a result, Senegal's inflation went
down, investment went up, and the gross domestic product rose
approximately 5% a year between 1995 and 2001.
The main industries include food processing, mining, cement,
artificial fertilizer, chemicals, textiles, refining imported
petroleum, and tourism. Exports include fish, chemicals, cotton,
fabrics, groundnuts, and calcium phosphate. The principal foreign
India with 26.7% of exports (as of 1998). Other foreign
markets include the United States,
Italy and the United Kingdom.
Fishing boats in Dakar
Senegal has a 12-nautical-mile (22 km; 14 mi) exclusive
fishing zone that has been regularly breached in recent years (as of
2014[update]). It has been estimated that the country's fishermen lose
300,000 tonnes of fish each year to illegal fishing. The Senegalese
government have tried to control the illegal fishing which is
conducted by fishing trawlers, some of which are registered in Russia,
Belize and Ukraine. In January 2014, a Russian trawler,
Oleg Naydenov, was seized by Senegalese authorities close to the
maritime border with Guinea-Bissau.
As a member of the
West African Economic and Monetary Union
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU),
Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified
Senegal is also a member of the Organization for the
Harmonization of Business Law in Africa.
Senegal achieved full Internet connectivity in 1996, creating a
mini-boom in information technology-based services. Private activity
now accounts for 82 percent of its GDP. On the negative side, Senegal
faces deep-seated urban problems of chronic high unemployment,
socioeconomic disparity, juvenile delinquency, and drug addiction.
Senegal is a major recipient of international development assistance.
Donors include the
United States Agency for International Development
France and China. Over 3,000
Peace Corps Volunteers
have served in
Senegal since 1963.
Senegal's population from 1962 to 2004
Main article: Demographics of Senegal
Senegal has a population of around 15.4 million, about 42
percent of whom live in rural areas. Density in these areas varies
from about 77 inhabitants per square kilometre (200/sq mi) in the
west-central region to 2 per square kilometre (5.2/sq mi) in the
arid eastern section.
Ethnic groups in Senegal
Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups and, as in most West
African countries, several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof are
the largest single ethnic group in
Senegal at 43 percent; the Fula
and Toucouleur (also known as Halpulaar'en, literally
"Pulaar-speakers") (24%) are the second biggest group, followed by the
Serer (14.7%), then others such as Jola (4%), Mandinka (3%),
Maures or (Naarkajors), Soninke, Bassari and many smaller communities
(9%). (See also the
Bedick ethnic group.)
About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French) and Lebanese as well as
smaller numbers of Mauritanians and Moroccans reside
in Senegal, mainly in the cities and some retirees who reside in the
resort towns around Mbour. The majority of Lebanese work in
commerce. The country experienced a wave of immigration from
France in the decades between World War II and Senegalese
independence; most of these French people purchased homes in
other major urban centers. Also located primarily in urban
settings are small Vietnamese communities as well as a growing number
of Chinese immigrant traders, each numbering perhaps a few hundred
people. There are also tens of thousands of Mauritanian
refugees in Senegal, primarily in the country's north.
According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S.
Refugees and Immigrants,
Senegal has a population of
refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 23,800 in 2007.
The majority of this population (20,200) is from Mauritania. Refugees
live in N'dioum, Dodel, and small settlements along the
Main article: Languages of Senegal
A street market in Malem-Hodar
French is the official language, spoken at least by all those who
enjoyed several years in the educational system that is of French
origin (Koranic schools are even more popular, but Arabic is not
widely spoken outside of the context of recitation). Most people also
speak their own ethnic language while, especially in Dakar, Wolof is
the lingua franca.
Pulaar is spoken by the Fulas and Toucouleur.
Serer language is widely spoken by both Serers and non-Serers
(including President Sall, whose wife is Serer); so are the Cangin
languages, whose speakers are ethnically Serers.
Jola languages are
widely spoken in the Casamance.
Several of the Senegalese languages have the legal status of "national
languages": Balanta-Ganja, Hassaniya Arabic, Jola-Fonyi, Mandinka,
Mandjak, Mankanya, Noon (Serer-Noon), Pulaar, Serer, Soninke, and
Portuguese Creole, locally known as Portuguese, is a prominent
minority language in Ziguinchor, regional capital of the Casamance,
spoken by local Portuguese creoles and immigrants from Guinea-Bissau.
The local Cape Verdean community speak a similar Portuguese creole,
Cape Verdean Creole, and standard Portuguese. Portuguese was
introduced in Senegal's secondary education in 1961 in
Dakar by the
country's first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor. It is currently
available in most of
Senegal and in higher education. It is especially
Casamance as it relates with the local cultural
Aerial view of Yoff Commune, Dakar
French is the only official language in the country, but a backlash in
the form of a rising Senegalese linguistic nationalist movement
supports the integration of Wolof, the common vernacular language of
the country, into the national constitution.
Senegalese regions of Dakar, Diourbel, Fatick, Kaffrine, Kaolack,
Kedougou, Kolda, Louga, Matam, Saint-Louis, Sedhiou, Tambacounda,
Ziguinchor are members of the International Association of
See also: List of cities in Senegal
Senegal's capital of
Dakar is by far the largest city in Senegal, with
over two million residents. The second most populous city is
Touba, a de jure communaute rurale (rural community), with half a
million.[better source needed]
Largest cities or towns in Senegal
Senegal - Largest Cities
2 476 400
2 352 057
Religion in Senegal
Religion in Senegal (2013)
Christianity (mostly Roman Catholicism) (7%)
Traditional African religion
Traditional African religion and others (1%)
Main article: Religion in Senegal
Senegal is a secular state.
Islam is the predominant religion in
the country, practiced by approximately 94% of the country's
population; the Christian community, at 5% of the population, are
mostly Roman Catholics but there are still diverse Protestant
denominations. One percent have animist beliefs, particularly in the
southeastern region of the country. Some
Serer people follow the
The Great Mosque of Touba; home of the
Sufi brotherhood, it is
also one of the finest examples of
Islamic architecture in Africa.
A majority of the Muslims in
Senegal are Sunni with
Islamic communities in
Senegal are generally organized around one of
Sufi orders or brotherhoods, headed by a khalif
(xaliifa in Wolof, from Arabic khalīfa), who is usually a direct
descendant of the group's founder. The two largest and most prominent
Sufi orders in
Senegal are the Tijaniyya, whose largest sub-groups are
based in the cities of
Tivaouane and Kaolack, and the Murīdiyya
(Murid), based in the city of Touba. 27% are nondenominational
Halpulaar (Pulaar-speakers), composed of Fula people, a widespread
group found along the
Chad to Senegal, and Toucouleurs,
represent 23.8 percent of the population. Historically, they were
the first to become Muslim. Many of the Toucouleurs, or sedentary
Halpulaar of the
Senegal River Valley in the north, converted to Islam
around a millennium ago and later contributed to Islam's propagation
throughout Senegal. Success was gained among the Wolofs, but repulsed
by the Serers.
Most communities south of the
Senegal River Valley, however, were not
thoroughly Islamized. The
Serer people stood out as one of this group,
who spent over one thousand years resisting
Islamization (see Serer
history). Although many Serers are Christians or Muslim, their
Islam in particular is very recent, who converted on
their own free will rather than by force, although force had been
tried centuries earlier unsuccessfully (see the Battle of
The spread of formal Quranic school (called daara in Wolof) during the
colonial period increased largely through the effort of the
Tidjâniyya. In Murid communities, which place more emphasis on the
work ethic than on literary Quranic studies, the term daara often
applies to work groups devoted to working for a religious leader.
Other Islamic groups include the much older Qādiriyya order and the
Senegalese Laayeen order, which is prominent among the coastal Lebu.
Today, most Senegalese children study at daaras for several years,
memorizing as much of the Qur'an as they can. Some of them continue
their religious studies at councils (majlis) or at the growing number
of private Arabic schools and publicly funded Franco-Arabic schools. A
modern messianic sect in Islam, the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is also
present in the country which represents approximately 1% of the Muslim
Roman Catholic communities are mainly found in coastal Serer,
Jola, Mankanya and Balant populations, and in eastern
the Bassari and Coniagui. The
Protestant churches are mainly attended
by immigrants but during the second half of the 20th century
Protestant churches led by Senegalese leaders from different ethnic
groups have evolved. In
Dakar Catholic and
Protestant rites are
practiced by the Lebanese, Cape Verdean, European, and American
immigrant populations, and among certain Africans of other countries
as well as by the Senegalese themselves. Although
Islam is Senegal's
majority religion, Senegal's first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor,
was a Catholic Serer.
Boys studying Quran, Touba
Serer religion encompasses a belief in a supreme deity called Roog
Koox among the Cangin), Serer cosmogony, cosmology and divination
ceremonies such as the annual Xoy (or Khoye) ceremony precided over by
the Serer Saltigues (high priests and priestesses). Senegambian (both
Senegal and the Gambia)
Muslim festivals such as Tobaski, Gamo,
Koriteh, Weri Kor, etc., are all borrowed words from the Serer
religion. They were ancient Serer festivals rooted in Serer
religion, not Islam.
Boukout is one of the Jola's religious ceremonies.
There are small numbers of adherents of
Judaism and Buddhism. Judaism
is followed by members of several ethnic groups,[who?] while Buddhism
is followed by a number of Vietnamese. The Bahá'í
Senegal was established after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the
founder of the religion, mentioned
Africa as a place that should be
more broadly visited by Bahá'ís. The first Bahá'is to set foot
in the territory of French
West Africa that would become Senegal
arrived in 1953. The first Bahá'í
Local Spiritual Assembly
Local Spiritual Assembly of
Senegal was elected in 1966 in Dakar. In 1975 the Bahá'í
community elected the first
National Spiritual Assembly
National Spiritual Assembly of Senegal.
The most recent estimate, by the Association of Religion Data Archives
in a 2005 report details the population of Senegalese Bahá'ís at
Main article: Health in Senegal
Life expectancy by birth is estimated to 57.5 years. Public
expenditure on health was at 2.4 percent of the GDP in 2004, whereas
private expenditure was at 3.5 percent. Health expenditure was at
US$72 (PPP) per capita in 2004. The fertility rate ranged 5 to 5.3
between 2005 and 2013, with 4.1 in urban areas and 6.3 in rural areas,
as official survey (6.4 in 1986 and 5.7 in 1997) point out. There
were six physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s
Infant mortality was at 77 per 1,000 live births in
2005, but in 2013 this figure had dropped to 47 within the first
12 months after birth. In the past 5 years infant mortality rates
of malaria have dropped. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, 26% of
Senegal have undergone female genital mutilation.
Students in Senegal
Main article: Education in Senegal
Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution adopted in January 2001
guarantee access to education for all children. Education is
compulsory and free up to the age of 16. The Ministry of Labor has
indicated that the public school system is unable to cope with the
number of children that must enroll each year.
Illiteracy is high, particularly among women. The net primary
enrollment rate was 69 percent in 2005. Public expenditure on
education was 5.4 percent of the 2002–2005 GDP.
The African Renaissance Monument, built in 2010 in Dakar, is the
tallest statue in Africa.
Senegal is well known for the West African tradition of storytelling,
which is done by griots, who have kept West African history alive for
thousands of years through words and music. The griot profession is
passed down generation to generation and requires years of training
and apprenticeship in genealogy, history and music. Griots give voice
to generations of West African society.
African Renaissance Monument
African Renaissance Monument built in 2010 in
Dakar is the tallest
statue in Africa.
Dakar also hosts a film festival, Recidak.
Further information: Senegalese cuisine
Senegal borders the Atlantic Ocean, fish is very important.
Chicken, lamb, peas, eggs, and beef are also used in Senegalese
cooking, but not pork, due to the nation's largely
Peanuts, the primary crop of Senegal, as well as couscous, white rice,
sweet potatoes, lentils, black-eyed peas and various vegetables, are
also incorporated into many recipes. Meats and vegetables are
typically stewed or marinated in herbs and spices, and then poured
over rice or couscous, or eaten with bread.
Popular fresh juices are made from bissap, ginger, buy (pronounced
'buoy', which is the fruit of the baobab tree, also known as "monkey
bread fruit"), mango, or other fruit or wild trees (most famously
soursop, which is called corossol in French). Desserts are very rich
and sweet, combining native ingredients with the extravagance and
style characteristic of the French impact on Senegal's culinary
methods. They are often served with fresh fruit and are traditionally
followed by coffee or tea.
Further information: Music of Senegal
Kora player from Senegal
Senegal is known across
Africa for its musical heritage, due to the
popularity of mbalax, which originated from the Serer percussive
tradition especially the Njuup, it has been popularized by Youssou
Omar Pene and others.
Sabar drumming is especially popular.
The sabar is mostly used in special celebrations like weddings.
Another instrument, the tama, is used in more ethnic groups. Other
popular international renowned Senegalese musicians are Ismael Lô,
Cheikh Lô, Orchestra Baobab, Baaba Maal,
Akon Thione Seck, Viviane,
Titi and Pape Diouf.
Main article: Cinema of Senegal
Main article: Media of Senegal
Hospitality, in theory, is given such importance in Senegalese culture
that it is widely considered to be part of the national identity. The
Wolof word for hospitality is "teranga" and it is so identified
with the pride of
Senegal that the national football team is known as
the Lions of Teranga.[original research?]
Senegalese play many sports.
Wrestling and football are the most
popular sports in the country.
See also: Senegalese wrestling
Wrestling is Senegal's most popular sport and has become a
national obsession. It traditionally serves many young men to
escape poverty and it is the only sport recognized as developed
independently of Western culture.
Painting of footballer
El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf in Dakar
Football is a popular sport in Senegal. In 2002, the team finished as
runners-up at the
Africa Cup of Nations
Africa Cup of Nations and became one of only three
African teams to ever reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup,
France in their first game. Popular players of this
team included El Hadji Diouf, Khalilou Fadiga, Henri Camara, Papa
Salif Diao and
Ferdinand Coly all of whom played in
Basketball is also a popular sport in Senegal. The country has
traditionally been one of Africa's dominant basketball powers. The
men's team performed better than that of any other African nation at
the 2014 FIBA World Cup, where they reached the playoffs for the first
time. The women's team won 19 medals at 20 African Championships, more
than twice as many medals as any competitor.
In 2016, the NBA announced the launch of an Elite's Academy in Africa,
and more precisely in Senegal.
The country hosted the Paris–
Dakar rally from 1979 until 2007. The
Dakar Rally was an off-road endurance motorsport race which followed a
course from Paris,
France to Dakar, Senegal. The competitors used
off-road vehicles to cross the difficult geography. The last race was
held in 2007, before the 2008 rally was canceled a day before the
event due to security concerns in Mauritania.
Outline of Senegal
Index of Senegal-related articles
List of Senegalese
List of Senegalese people
Agriculture in Senegal
Telecommunications in Senegal
Transport in Senegal
Water supply and sanitation in Senegal
^ a b c d e f
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Central Intelligence Agency (2009). "Senegal". The World
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Islam and Imperialism in Senegal: Sine-Saloum,
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Casamance region". Al Jazeera. February 23, 2011.
Senegal election win 'example for Africa' Africa".
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^ "SENEGAL VOTES TO DO AWAY WITH SENATE TO SAVE MONEY". Associated
Press. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
^ Statoids page on
Senegal (noting that three new regions were split
off on 10 September 2008).
^ List of current local elected officials Archived 19 August 2007 at
the Wayback Machine. from Union des Associations d' Elus Locaux (UAEL)
du Sénégal. See also the law creating current local government
structures: (in French) Code des collectivités locales, Loi n° 96-06
du 22 mars 1996.
Senegal to send 2,100 troops to join Saudi-led alliance". Reuters.
4 May 2015.
^ a b "
Constitution of Senegal
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^ "Public Anti-Corruption Initiatives". Business Anti-Corruption
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^ Bearak, Max; Cameron, Darla (June 16, 2016). "Here are the 10
countries where homosexuality may be punished by death". The
^ "The Global Divide on Homosexuality." pewglobal. 4 June 2013. 4 June
Senegal High Point". SRTM.
Senegal Climate Information – ClimateTemp.info,
Making Sense of Average Monthly Weather & Temperature Data with
Detailed Climate Graphs That Portray Average Rainfall & Sunshine
Hours". ClimaTemps.com. 22 July 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
^ "Weather rainfall and temperature data". World Climate.
Russia says factory ship was seized on Greenpeace's orders; Trawler
Senegal over alleged illegal fishing' by John Vidal The
Guardian (UK newspaper) 10 January 2014 page 23
^ "OHADA.com: The business law portal in Africa". Retrieved 22 March
^ "Economy of Senegal". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 23 August
Peace Corps Senegal". Pcsenegal.org. Retrieved 20 June 2010.
^ French: Peul; Fula: Fulɓe
^ Gambia. CIA. The World Factbook
Senegal (09/08), U. S. Department of State, archived
Immigrants Boost West African Commerce, By Naomi Schwarz,
voanews.com, 10 July 2007
^ Mercier, Paul (1965). Van den Berghe, Pierre, ed. Africa: Social
Problems of Change and Conflict. San Francisco: Chandler Publishing
Company. pp. 285–296. ASIN B000Q5VP8U.
^ Phuong, Tran (9 July 2007). "Vietnamese Continue Traditions in
Senegal". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 11 July
2007. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
^ Fitzsimmons, Caitlin (17 January 2008). "A troubled frontier:
Chinese migrants in Senegal" (PDF). South China Morning Post. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
^ "Boost for the reintegration of Mauritanian returnees". UNHCR News.
26 November 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
^ "World Refugee Survey 2008". U.S. Committee for
Immigrants. 19 June 2008. Archived from the original on 28 May
^ National African Language Research Center. "Wolof". Madison:
University of Wisconsin. Missing or empty url= (help)
^ José Horta (12–25 April 2006). "A Língua Portuguesa no Senegal".
Instituto Camões. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
Retrieved 10 December 2014.
^ Pierre Cherruau (19 August 2012). "Le Sénégal est-il encore un
pays francophone?". Retrieved 19 August 2012.
^ a b Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (2005).
"Situation économique et sociale du Sénégal" (PDF) (in French).
Government of Senegal. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June
2008. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
^ Forsberg, Jan. "Cities in Senegal". Retrieved 18 November
The World Factbook
The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". www.cia.gov.
Retrieved 23 August 2017.
^ Conklin, Alice L. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of
France and West Africa, 1895–1930. Stanford University
Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8047-2999-9. p. 27.
^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World,
Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International
^ "Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation". Pewforum.org. 9 August 2012.
Retrieved 23 August 2017.
^ Hans Bressers; Walter A. Rosenbaum (2003). Achieving Sustainable
Development: The Challenge of Governance Across Social Scales.
Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 151–.
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Religious & Public life. August 9, 2012. Retrieved April 7,
^ a b Diouf, Niokhobaye, « Chronique du royaume du Sine, suivie
de Notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant
le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin (1972)», .
(1972). Bulletin de l'IFAN, tome 34, série B, no 4, 1972, pp. 706–7
(pp. 4–5), pp. 713–14 (pp. 9–10)
'Abdu'l-Bahá (1991) [1916–17]. Tablets of the Divine Plan
(Paperback ed.). Wilmette, IL: Bahá'í Publishing Trust.
pp. 47–59. ISBN 0-87743-233-3.
^ Hassall, Graham (c. 2000). "Egypt: Baha'i history". Asia Pacific
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communities celebrate together". Bahá'í International News Service.
Archived from the original on 12 January 2013.
^ "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". QuickLists > Compare Nations >
Religions >. The Association of Religion Data Archives. 2005.
Retrieved 4 July 2009.
^ a b (in French) ANSD Archived 17 January 2012 at the Wayback
Machine. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
^ a b c d e "Human Development Report 2009 – Senegal".
Hdrstats.undp.org. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010.
Retrieved 20 June 2010.
^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13
November 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
^ UNICEF 2013, p. 27.
^ a b c "Senegal". 2005 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor
(2006). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in
the public domain. Archived 9 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Baba Diop. "Après dix années d'interruption : Les RECIDAK
nouvelles arrivent en 2014" (in French). Africatime.
^ The word taranga (hospitality), jom (honour), etc., are all Serer
from the Serer language, rooted in Serer values and serer religion,
not Wolof. See: (in French) Gravrand, Henry, "L'HERITAGE SPIRITUEL
SEREER: VALEUR TRADITIONNELLE D'HIER, D'AUJOURD'HUI ET DE DEMAIN" [in]
Ethiopiques, numéro 31, révue socialiste de culture
négro-africaine, 3e trimestre 1982 
^ "Sports in Africa: Communication and Media". Ohio University.
Retrieved April 3, 2015.
^ Skelton, Rose; Werman, Marco (9 June 2011). "
Wrestling As a Solution
to Poverty in Senegal". PRI. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
^ "NBA to open academy in
Africa in 2017 - NBA.com". www.nba.com.
^ Hamilos, Paul (4 January 2008). "
Dakar rally cancelled at last
minute over terrorist threat". The Guardian. Retrieved
Babou, Cheikh Anta, Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the
Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853–1913, (Ohio University
Behrman, Lucy C,
Muslim Brotherhood and Politics in Senegal,
Buggenhage, Beth A,
Muslim Families in Global Senegal: Money Takes
Care of Shame, (Indiana University Press, 2012)
Bugul, Ken, The Abandoned Baobab: The Autobiography of a Senegalese
Woman, (University of Virginia Press, 2008)
Foley, Ellen E, Your Pocket is What Cures You: The Politics of Health
in Senegal, (Rutgers University Press, 2010)
Gellar, Sheldon, Democracy in Senegal: Tocquevillian Analytics in
Africa, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal: The Murid Order,
(University of Rochester Press, 2007)
Kane, Katharina, Lonely Planet Guide:
The Gambia and Senegal, (Lonely
Planet Publications, 2009)
Kueniza, Michelle, Education and Democracy in Senegal, (Palgrave
Sufism and Religious Brotherhoods in Senegal, (Markus
Wiener Publishing Inc., 2005)
Senegal in Pictures, (Twentyfirst Century Books,
Various, Insight Guide: Gambia and Senegal, (APA Publications Pte
Various, New Perspectives on
Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration,
Wealth, Power, and Femininity, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
Various, Senegal: Essays in Statecraft, (Codesria, 2003)
Various, Street Children in Senegal, (GYAN France, 2006)
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