Senegal Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Senegal > Map Economy History

Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Niokolo-Koba National Park

Facts About Senegal

Background: Independent from France in 1960, Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982. However, the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group sporadically has clashed with government forces since 1982. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.
Government type: republic under multiparty democratic rule
Capital: Dakar
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF) = 100 centimes

Geography of Senegal

Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
Geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 14 00 W
total: 196,190 sq km
land: 192,000 sq km
water: 4,190 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 2,640 km
border countries: The Gambia 740 km, Guinea 330 km, Guinea-Bissau 338 km, Mali 419 km, Mauritania 813 km
Coastline: 531 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind
Terrain: generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha 581 m
Natural resources: fish, phosphates, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 16%
forests and woodland: 54%
other: 18% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 710 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues: wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing.
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping
Geography - note: westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave of Senegal.

People of Senegal

About 70% of Senegal's population is rural. In rural areas, density varies from about 77 per square kilometer (200 per sq. mi.) in the west-central region to 2 per square kilometer (5 per sq. mi.) in the arid eastern section. About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French) and Lebanese reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities. French is the official language but is used regularly only by the literate minority. All Senegalese speak an indigenous language, of which Wolof has the largest usage.

Population: 11,126,832 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  44.07% 
15-64 years:  52.88%
65 years and over:  3.05% 
Population growth rate: 2.93% 
Birth rate: 37.46 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 8.35 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0.21 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 56.75 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  62.56 years
male:  60.94 years
female:  64.22 years 
Total fertility rate: 5.12 children born/woman 
noun: Senegalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Senegalese
Ethnic groups: Wolof 43.3%, Pular 23.8%, Serer 14.7%, Jola 3.7%, Mandinka 3%, Soninke 1.1%, European and Lebanese 1%, other 9.4%
Religions: Muslim 92%, indigenous beliefs 6%, Christian 2% (mostly Roman Catholic)
Languages: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 33.1%
male: 43%
female: 23.2% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Senegal > Map Economy History