|R®¶publique du S®¶n®¶gal
|Form of government
||CFA Franc BCEAO
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Senegal is located in the far west of
Africa and, with an area of 196 722 km², is about half
the size of Germany. The Senegal River, which marks much
of the north and northeast border, gave the country its
name. Senegal borders Mauritania to the north, Mali to
the east, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south, and the
Atlantic Ocean to the west . Along the lower reaches of
the Gambia River, the Republic of The Gambia extends
approximately 350 km as an enclave into the state
territory of Senegal.
Most of the country consists of coastal lowlands,
which only gradually increase in the east towards the
Guinean highlands Fouta-Djalon, whose foothills reach
heights of 300 m to a maximum of 581 m in the extreme
southeast of the Senegalese territory. The rivers
Senegal, Saloum, Gambia and Casamance flow through the
coastal plain in an east-west direction. Around 700 km
of the 1 430 km long Senegal flow through the country of
the same name. The main source river of Senegal
originates in the highlands of Guinea and is called
Bafing there.The Atlantic coast is mostly flat and not
very structured, except for the Cape Verde peninsula
(Cap Vert), which is made up of former volcanic islands
and which forms the westernmost promontory in Africa
(not to be confused with the island state of the same
name, Cape Verde, whose islands are around 700 km off
Senegal has a dry (north) to rantropical (south)
climate. There is a short rainy season in the north from
the end of July to October, with about 300 mm of
precipitation annually. The northern part of the country
(Sahel region) is repeatedly affected by droughts. Up to
1,500 mm of precipitation falls in the south from April
to November. Temperatures are high all year round, in
the capital Dakar on the Atlantic coast average values
of 21 °„ C are measured in January and 28 °„ C in July.
Inland temperatures are on average 3 to 4 °„ C higher
than on the coast.
Flora and fauna
In accordance with the low rainfall, there is a dry
savannah with thorn bushes and isolated groups of trees
in northern Senegal. The northern part of the country is
assigned to the Sahel, which is a transition zone from
desert to savanna areas. To the south, the vegetation
changes with increasing rainfall via tree and shrub
savannah to tropical wet forests. South of the Gambia
River, the landscape is characterized by large mangrove
areas. The kapok tree grows here, and the baobab tree is
widespread throughout the southern part of the country.
A species-rich fauna can almost only be found in the
designated conservation areas (eg Niokolo-Koba National
Park, Djoudj bird sanctuary). Buffalos, elephants,
hippos, cheetahs, hyenas and lions live here, and
warthogs in the south. The Djoudj bird sanctuary in the
northwest of the country (declared a World Heritage Site
by UNESCO) is home to around 180 species of birds,
including red-winged pelican, great white and purple
herons. Snakes such as the Boa constrictor, which reach
a length of up to four meters, are common in southern
Around 10.13 million people live in Senegal, the
strongest ethnic group with around 44% are the Wolof,
who mostly live in the northwest of the country. Other
groups are Serer, Fulbe, Tukulor, Diola, Bambara,
Malinke and Sarakole. About 94% of the country's
residents are Muslim Sunni, followers of various
traditional religions and Catholics make up 56% or one
percent of the population. Almost a quarter of the total
population lives in the greater Dakar area, the
country's capital (2.27 million people). The next
smaller towns are Thi®®s with around 238,000 residents in
the urban area, Rufisque with 180,000 and Kaolack with
172,500 residents. The population growth is 2.5%.
The official language in Senegal is French, and Wolof
and other languages are also spoken (eg Serer, Diola,
Malinke). According to COUNTRYAAH,
life expectancy averages 57 years. Over 40% of
the population are younger than 15 years. There is
social security and adequate medical care for urban
workers, but not for the rural population. There is
general compulsory schooling for children aged six to
twelve, but only just under half of the children attend
primary school until the end; accordingly, the
illiteracy rate is very high at 60%. There has been a
university in Dakar since 1957.
Senegal is a republic with a presidential system, the
constitution dates from 2001. The head of state is the
president (Macky Sall since April 2012), who is elected
for five years (can be re-elected) and has extensive
powers. The head of the government is the Prime
Minister, who is appointed by the President (Prime
Ministre, Mohamed Ben Abdallah Dionne since July 2014).
He appoints the ministers in consultation with the
The legislature lies with the bicameral parliament,
consisting of the Senate (Senate) with 100 members - 35
of them elected, 65 appointed by the President - and the
National Assembly (Assembl®¶e Nationale) with 150
deputies, directly elected by the people for five years.
Senegal is divided into 14 regions.
Senegal is a developing country, almost half of the
population lives in poverty. Since the mid-1990s, the
largely state-controlled economy has been increasingly
liberalized and privatized.
Agriculture is employed in 77% of the total
population. It forms the natural basis of life for the
rapidly growing population and is mostly practiced as a
pure subsistence economy. Droughts, overgrazing and soil
erosion cannot feed the country's residents. Food is one
of Senegal's most important imports. Fish, fish products
and peanuts make up about a third of the export volume.
For their own needs, millet, rice, cassava, potatoes,
vegetables and cotton are grown in smallholder farms.
The main growth area is the service sector
(especially finance, telecommunications and real
estate). Tourism is an important source of foreign
exchange income in Senegal.
The most important branches of industry are the
textile and food processing companies, the chemical (oil
processing, fertilizer production) and the building
materials industry. Senegal has mineral reserves of
phosphate and petroleum, but the latter has not yet been
mined and phosphate mining is declining. The energy
requirement is largely covered by imported petroleum.
France is still the most important trading partner in
imports, followed by Nigeria and India. Most goods are
currently sold to Mali, Switzerland and India.
Around 4,300 km of paved road are available in the
country (around 14,500 km in total), plus around 900 km
of rail. Dakar has a large sea port. The large
international airport is also in the vicinity of the
The currency is the CFA franc.