World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Senegal Travelling Guide
Senegal Travelling Guide

General 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.

Area comparative: Slightly smaller than South Dakota.

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.

Population: 10,589,571 (July 2002 est.)

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 94%, indigenous beliefs 1%, Christian 5% (mostly Roman Catholic)

Language: French (official), Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka

Government type: Republic under multiparty democratic rule.

Capital: Dakar

Legal system: Based on French civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Court; the Council of State audits the government's accounting office; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: In January 1994, Senegal undertook a bold and ambitious economic reform program with the support of the international donor community. This reform began with a 50% devaluation of Senegal's currency, the CFA franc, which is linked at a fixed rate to the French franc. Government price controls and subsidies have been steadily dismantled. After seeing its economy contract by 2.1% in 1993, Senegal made an important turnaround, thanks to the reform program, with real growth in GDP averaging 5% annually during 1995-2001. Annual inflation had been pushed down to less than 1%, but rose to an estimated 3.3% in 2001. Investment rose steadily from 13.8% of GDP in 1993 to 16.5% in 1997. 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 also realized full Internet connectivity in 1996, creating a miniboom in information technology-based services. Private activity now accounts for 82% of GDP. On the negative side, Senegal faces deep-seated urban problems of chronic unemployment, trade union militancy, juvenile delinquency, and drug addiction.

Communication/Telephone system: Good system

Places of interest: Senegal's arts are lively, with a thriving textile market and an entourage of internationally known musicians.

Travel tips: Worrying for travellers was an incident in 2001 involving a busload of 15 tourists held up between Ziguinchor and Cap Skiring. The tourists were robbed at gunpoint and the driver and a local guide on board were killed. There is speculation as to whether this act was committed by the rebels or murderous thieves taking advantage of the unrest in the region. Either way, travellers should ask around for information about the latest no-go areas.