Senegal: five things to know

2017-07-28 20:28

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dakar  - Senegal, known for its stability and strong civil society, is one of the few African nations not to have suffered a coup since independence in 1960.

The former French colony has been headed since 2012 by President Macky Sall, and holds legislative elections on Sunday.

Here are five things to know about the west African, Muslim-majority nation of 15.4 million people.

Political stability 

Senegal gained independence on April 4, 1960, when Leopold Sedar Senghor became president.

Senghor resigned voluntarily in 1980 to be replaced by his Prime Minister Abdou Diouf, who was confirmed president in 1983, and re-elected in 1988 and 1993.

In 2000, Diouf was defeated by Abdoulaye Wade of the liberal Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS. The first time in 40 years the socialists had lost power, the transition was hailed as a model of democracy in Africa.

Wade was re-elected in February 2007, but beaten five years later by his former prime minister Sall following an electoral campaign tainted by violence.

Sall opened a probe into the previous administration and several leading figures, including Wade's son Karim, were put on trial.

Karim, sentenced to six years in prison in 2015 for corruption but pardoned in 2016, accused Sall of trying to eliminate him from the 2019 presidential race.

Another opposition leader, Dakar's popular mayor Khalifa Sall, was arrested more than four months ago on corruption charges and is campaigning for the legislative elections from jail.

Wade has returned from France to campaign for the elections, in which he is also standing on a different opposition list.

 Mainly agricultural 

Fishing is Senegal's largest source of income, followed by tourism. Agriculture includes peanut production - in decline over the past few years - millet, sorghum and cotton.

Major oil and gas finds off the coast are yet to be extracted but could in the future offer a new revenue stream to the state.

Most of the population lives below the poverty threshold and there is a high unemployment rate among young people.

Remittances from the large diaspora in Europe, notably France, Italy and Spain, contribute to purchasing power.

Income per capita came to $980 in 2015 according to the World Bank.

 Religious tolerance 

Senegal is 95% Muslim and dominated by moderate Sufi brotherhoods. It is known for its religious tolerance.

Spared by the jihadist attacks that have hit neighbours such as Mali, the authorities have stepped up security at hotels and administrative buildings since January 2016.

Senegal, on the west coast of Africa, is bordered by Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Gambia forms a narrow enclave extending inland along the river of the same name.

 Goree: slave memorial 

Goree Island, four kilometres off Dakar, was one of the earliest European settlements in western Africa. For two and a half centuries it served as an outpost for slave and other trading serving the American continent.

Severa buildings from this period, including the House of Slaves, have been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1978.

The island is visited every year by thousands of tourists, especially African-Americans.

 Conflict in Casamance 

In Casamance, a southern region dependent on agriculture and tourism, the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) has been fighting for independence since 1982.

The region, separated from the rest of Senegal by The Gambia, is the site of west Africa's longest-running conflict, though violence is rare today despite the absence of a definitive peace deal.


Read more on:    unesco  |  macky sall  |  senegal  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World
 

Makeover saves dog’s life

Lucky Charlie got a complete make-over that helped him get adopted.

 
 

Paws

For the love of Corgis!
Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.