Republic of Senegal
Motto: "Un Peuple, Un But, Une Foi" (French)
"One People, One Goal, One Faith"
Location of Senegal (dark blue)
in the African Union (light blue)
and largest city
| Dakar |
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential republic|
• from France a
|4 April 1960|
• Withdrawal from
the Mali Federation
|20 August 1960|
|196,712 km2 (75,951 sq mi)(86th)|
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2016 census
|68.7/km2 (177.9/sq mi)(134th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$59.987 billion (112th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$24.240 billion (108th)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2011)||40.3 |
low · 164th
|Currency||West African CFA franc (XOF)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (GMT)|
|ISO 3166 code||SN|
Senegal ( /
West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016.
Mauritania is a country in Northwest Africa. It is the eleventh largest sovereign state in Africa and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest.
Mali, officially the Republic of Mali, is a landlocked country in West Africa, a region geologically identified with the West African Craton. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa, with an area of just over 1,240,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi). The population of Mali is 18 million. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert, while the country's southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Senegal rivers. The country's economy centers on agriculture and mining. Some of Mali's prominent natural resources include gold, being the third largest producer of gold in the African continent, and salt.
The unitary semi-presidential republic is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about 15 million. The climate is typically Sahelian, though there is a rainy season.and owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost
A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create administrative divisions. Such units exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers. A large majority of the world's states have a unitary system of government.
A semi-presidential system or dual executive system is a system of government in which a president exists alongside a prime minister and a cabinet, with the latter being responsible to the legislature of a state. It differs from a parliamentary republic in that it has a popularly elected head of state, who is more than a mostly ceremonial/non-executive, figurehead, and from the presidential system in that the cabinet, although named by the president, is responsible to the legislature, which may force the cabinet to resign through a motion of no confidence.
The term "Old World" is used commonly in the West to refer to Africa, Asia and Europe, regarded collectively as the part of the world known to its population before contact with the Americas and Oceania. It is used in the context of, and contrasts with, the New World.
Probably from a Portuguese transliteration of the name of the Zenaga also known as the Sanhaja, or a combination of the supreme deity in Serer religion (Rog Sene) and o gal meaning body of water in the Serer language. Alternatively, the name could derive from the Wolof phrase "Sunuu Gaal," which means "our boat."
Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation may be referred to as "Lusophone" in both English and Portuguese.
Zenaga is a moribund Berber language spoken from the town of Mederdra in southwestern Mauritania to the Atlantic coast and in Senegal. The language is recognized by the Mauritanian government.
The Sanhaja were once one of the largest North African tribal confederations, along with the Iznaten and Imesmuden confederations. Some Sanhaja claim that they traced their lineage back to the Himyar who are people of Southern Arabia. Many tribes in Morocco and Mauritania bore and still carry this ethnonym, especially in its Berber form. Other names for the population include Zenaga, Sanhája, Znaga, Sanhâdja and Senhaja.
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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. Senegal peacefully attained independence from France in 1960, and has since been among the more politically stable countries in Africa.
Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be widely adopted and it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.
The Jolof Empire, also known as the Wolof or Wollof Empire, was a West African state that ruled parts of Senegal from 1350 to 1549. Following the 1549 battle of Danki, its vassal states were fully or de facto independent; in this period it is known as the Jolof Kingdom. This was largely conquered by the imamate of Futa Jallon in 1875 and its territories fully incorporated into French West Africa by 1890.
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 phosphate is a chemical derivative of phosphoric acid. The phosphate ion is an inorganic chemical, the conjugate base that can form many different salts. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Of the various phosphoric acids and phosphates, organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry, and inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in agriculture and industry. At elevated temperatures in the solid state, phosphates can condense to form pyrophosphates.
Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellowish-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth's surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels. Components of petroleum are separated using a technique called fractional distillation, i.e. separation of a liquid mixture into fractions differing in boiling point by means of distillation, typically using a fractionating column.
The peanut, also known as the groundnut, goober, or monkey nut (UK), and taxonomically classified as Arachis hypogaea, is a legume crop grown mainly for its edible seeds. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, being important to both small and large commercial producers. It is classified as both a grain legume and, due to its high oil content, an oil crop. World annual production of shelled peanuts was 44 million tonnes in 2016, led by China with 38% of the world total. Atypically among crop plants, peanut pods develop underground (geocarpy) rather than aboveground. With this characteristic in mind, the botanist Linnaeus named the species hypogaea, which means "under the earth."
With it being a multiethnic and secular nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim with 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. Senegal has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970.
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah, referring to the behaviour of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions.
Sufism, or Taṣawwuf, variously defined as "Islamic mysticism", "the inward dimension of Islam" or "the phenomenon of mysticism within Islam", is mysticism in Islam, "characterized ... [by particular] values, ritual practices, doctrines and institutions" which began very early in Islamic history and represents "the main manifestation and the most important and central crystallization of" mystical practice in Islam. Practitioners of Sufism have been referred to as "Sufis".
An official language is a language given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a country's official language refers to the language used in government. The term "official language" does not typically refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government, as "the means of expression of a people cannot be changed by any law",
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups. Some kingdoms were created around the 7th century: Takrur in the 9th century, Namandiruand the Jolof Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern Senegal was once part of the Ghana Empire.
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 particular.
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 more powerful, having united Cayor and the kingdoms of Baol, Sine, Saloum, Waalo, Futa Tooro and Bambouk, or much of present-day West Africa. 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 .
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.
European missionaries introduced Christianity to 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. Yoro Dyao was in command of the canton of Foss-Galodjina and was set over Wâlo (Ouâlo) by Louis Faidherbe, where he served as a chief from 1861 to 1914. 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 Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, the Maad a Sinig of Sine, resulting in the Battle of Logandème.
On 4 April 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 Senegal and French Sudan (renamed the Republic of Mali) each proclaimed independence.
Léopold Sédar Senghor was 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.
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.
In the 1980s, Boubacar Lam discovered Senegalese oral history that was initially compiled by the Tuculor noble, Yoro Dyâo, not long after World War I, which documented migrations into West Africa from the Nile Valley; ethnic groups, from the Senegal River to the Niger Delta, retained traditions of having an eastern origin.
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 and President Macky Sall held talks with rebels in Rome in December 2012.
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 observers. 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.
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.
Currently, 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.
In 2008, Senegal finished in 12th position on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. As of 2012 [update] , Senegal's rank in the Ibrahim Index has decreased another point to 16 out of 52 African countries.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, Egypt and Morocco placing themselves ahead of Senegal).
On 22 February 2011, Senegal reportedly severed diplomatic ties with Iran, saying it supplied rebels with weapons which killed Senegalese troops in the Casamance conflict.
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 EUas a show of "maturity".
On 19 September 2012, lawmakers voted to do away with the Senate to save an estimated $15 million.
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 administrative officers.
Regional capitals have the same name as their respective regions:
Senegal has a high profile in many international organizations and was a member of the UN Security Council in 1988–89 and 2015–2016. It was elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1997. Friendly to the West, especially to France and to the United States, Senegal also 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.), an estimated 35,000 Mauritanian refugees (of the estimated 40,000 who were expelled from their home country in 1989) remain in Senegal.
Senegal is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Integrated with the main bodies of the international community, Senegal is also a member of the African Union (AU) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
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 France and the United States. Germany also provides support but on a smaller scale.
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, in 2000, 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.
In 2015, Senegal participated in the Saudi Arabian-led military intervention in 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.
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 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 capital Dakar lies on the Cap-Vert peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa.
The 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.
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. 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).Dakar's annual rainfall of about
Interior temperatures are higher than along the coast (for example, average daily temperatures in Kaolack and 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.
In 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. Senegal is mainly a sunny and dry country.
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 market is India with 26.7% of exports (as of 1998). Other foreign markets include the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom.
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, Mauritania, 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 (WAEMU), Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified external tariff. 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 (USAID), Japan, France and China. Over 3,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Senegal since 1963.
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.
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 Fulaand 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 [ citation needed ] 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 Dakar or 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.as well as smaller numbers of Mauritanians and Moroccans
According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for 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 Senegal River valley.
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. The 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 Wolof.
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 prevalent in Casamance as it relates with the local cultural identity.
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, Thies and Ziguinchor are members of the International Association of Francophone regions
Senegal's capital of Dakar is by far the largest city in Senegal, with over two million residents. [ better source needed ]The second most populous city is Touba, a de jure communaute rurale (rural community), with half a million.
Senegal is a secular state.Islam is the predominant religion in the country, practiced by approximately 92% of the country's population; the Christian community, at 7% 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 Serer religion.
A majority of the Muslims in Senegal are Sunni with Sufi influences. Islamic communities in Senegal are generally organized around one of several Islamic 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 Muslims.
The Halpulaar (Pulaar-speakers), composed of Fula people, a widespread group found along the Sahel from 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 conversion to 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 Fandane-Thiouthioune).
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 is also present in the country which represents approximately 1% of the Muslim population.
Small Roman Catholic communities are mainly found in coastal Serer, Jola, Mankanya and Balant populations, and in eastern Senegal among 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.
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.
The 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. [ citation needed ] The Bahá'í Faith in 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 of Senegal was elected in 1966 in Dakar. In 1975 the Bahá'í community elected the first 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 22,000.
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 (decade). 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 women in Senegal have undergone female genital mutilation.
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.
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.
The African Renaissance Monument built in 2010 in Dakar is the tallest statue in Africa. Dakar also hosts a film festival, Recidak.
Because 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 Muslim population. 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.
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 N'Dour, 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.
Hospitality, in theory, is given such importance in Senegalese culture that it is widely considered to be part of the national identity. The Wolof [ original research? ]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.
Senegalese play many sports. Wrestling and football are the most popular sports in the country. Senegal will host the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics in Dakar, making Senegal the first African country to host the Olympics.
Wrestling is Senegal's most popular sportand 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.
Football is a popular sport in Senegal. In 2002, the team finished as runners-up at the Africa Cup of Nations and became one of only three African teams to ever reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup, defeating holders France in their first game. Popular players of Senegal include El Hadji Diouf, Khalilou Fadiga, Henri Camara, Papa Bouba Diop, Salif Diao, Ferdinand Coly, and Sadio Mané all of whom played in Europe. Senegal also qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, playing in Group H alongside Japan, Colombia and Poland.
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.
The history of Senegal is commonly divided into a number of periods, encompassing the prehistoric era, the precolonial period, colonialism, and the contemporary era.
Wolof is a language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of the Niger-Congo family, Wolof is not a tonal language.
The Kingdom of Saloum was a Serer/Wolof kingdom in present-day Senegal. Its kings may have been of Mandinka/Kaabu origin. The capital of Saloum was the city of Kahone. It was a sister kingdom of Sine. Their history, geography and culture were intricately linked and it was common to refer to them as the Sine-Saloum.
Senegal's music is best known abroad due to the popularity of mbalax, a development of Serer sabar drumming popularized by Youssou N'Dour.
Abdou Diouf is a Senegalese politician who was the second President of Senegal from 1981 to 2000. Diouf is notable both for coming to power by peaceful succession, and leaving willingly after losing the 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade. He was also the second Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie from January 2003 to December 2014.
The Casamance conflict is an ongoing low-level conflict that has been waged between the Government of Senegal and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) since 1982. On May 1, 2014 the leader of the MFDC sued for peace and declared a unilateral ceasefire.
The Mauritania–Senegal Border War was a conflict fought between the West African countries of Mauritania and Senegal during 1989–1991. The conflict began around disputes over the two countries' River Senegal border and grazing rights, and resulted in the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries for several years, the creation of thousands of refugees from both sides, as well as having a significant impact on domestic Senegalese politics.
Senegal is a multilingual country: Ethnologue lists 36 languages, Wolof being the most widely spoken language.
Serer, often broken into differing regional dialects such as Serer-Sine and Serer saloum, is a language of the Senegambian branch of Niger–Congo spoken by 1.2 million people in Senegal and 30,000 in the Gambia. It is the principal language of the Serer people.
The Serer people are a West African ethnic group. They are the third largest ethnic group in Senegal making up 15% of the Senegalese population. They are also found in northern Gambia and southern Mauritania.
Senegalese wrestling is a type of folk wrestling traditionally performed by the Serer people and now a national sport in Senegal and parts of The Gambia, and is part of a larger West African form of traditional wrestling. The Senegalese form traditionally allows blows with the hands (frappe), the only one of the West African traditions to do so. As a larger confederation and championship around Lutte Traditionnelle has developed since the 1990s, Senegalese fighters now practice both forms, called officially Lutte Traditionnelle sans frappe and Lutte Traditionnelle avec frappe for the striking version.
The Kingdom of Sine was a pre-colonial Serer kingdom along the north bank of the Saloum River delta in modern Senegal. The inhabitants are called Siin-Siin or Sine-Sine.
There are various ethnic groups in Senegal, none of which forms the ethnic majority in the country. Many subgroups of those can be further distinguished, based on religion, location and language. According to one 2005 estimate, there are at least twenty distinguishable groups of largely varying size.
The Kingdom of Jolof, also known as Wolof and Wollof, was a West African rump state located in what is today the nation of Senegal. For nearly two hundred years, the Serer rulers of the Jolof Empire collected tribute from vassal kings states who voluntarily agreed to the confederacy. At the Battle of Danki, the Buurba Jolof was defeated by the lord of Kayor resulting in the rapid disintegration of the empire. Jolof survived as a meager state, unable to prosper from the Atlantic trade between its former vassal territories and the Portuguese.
The medieval history of the Serer people of Senegambia is partly characterised by resisting Islamization from perhaps the 11th century during the Almoravid movement, to the 19th century Marabout movement of Senegambia and continuation of the old Serer paternal dynasties.
Joof or Diouf is a surname typically Serer. This surname is also spelt Juuf or Juf. They are the same people. The differences in spelling is because Senegal was colonized by France, while the Gambia was colonized by the United Kingdom. Although spelt differently, they are pronounced the same way. The totem and symbol of the Joof family is the antelope, the symbol of grace, royalty, wisdom, hard work and protection in Serer mythology. The name of their clan is "Njoofene" variations: "Njuufeen" or "Njufeen". Members of this family had ruled over many of the pre-colonial kingdoms of Senegambia, including the Kingdom of Sine, the Kingdom of Saloum and the Kingdom of Baol. The royal princesses (Lingeers) from the Joof family were also given in marriage to the pre-colonial kings and princes of Senegambia. Some of these included the kings of Jolof, kings of Waalo, kings of Cayor and Baol. From these marriages, they provided many heirs to the thrones of these kingdoms. Although usually associated with Serer royalty, the Joof family also figure prominently in Serer religious affairs.
This is a timeline of the history and development of Serer religion and the Serer people of Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania. This timeline merely gives an overview of their history, consisting of calibrated archaeological discoveries in Serer countries, Serer religion, politics, royalty, etc. Dates are given according to the Common Era. For a background to these events, see Roog, Serer religion, Serer creation myth, Serer prehistory, Lamane, States headed by Serer Lamanes, Serer history and Serer people.
Religion and beliefs occupy an important place in the daily life of the nation of Senegal. A large majority (94%) of the Senegalese population is Muslim, mainly Sunni of Maliki school of jurisprudence with Sufi influences. Christians represent 4%. Traditional beliefs are officially practiced by 1% of the population, but members of other religions also often partake in traditional practices.
Marieme Faye Sall, also spelled Marème Faye Sall, is a Senegalese public figure who has served as the First Lady of Senegal since 2012. Sall, the wife of President Macky Sall, is the country's first First Lady to possess fully Senegalese heritage by birth and ethnicity, as her three predecessors have been of ethnic French or Lebanese origin.