NI Global Issues for Learners of English > Country profiles > Senegal



Country profile

Flag of Senegal

Map of Senegal

Where Senegal is in Africa

Area of Sengal: 196,720 square kilometres

Formerly a French colony, Senegal became independent in 1960.

Senegal's capital Dakar had been the administrative center of a large region of west Africa during the colonial period.

Information at a Glance


Population: 8.263,000 (1994)
Most people live in the less dry part in the West close to Dakar.
41% Urban
Annual Growth in population: 1.2%
Religions: 94% Muslim; 5% Christian; 1% traditional African religions and others


Currency: CFA Franc
GNP per capita: $600 (1994)
Main Industries: agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials
External Debt per capita: $445


Life expectancy: 62.19 years
Infant mortality: 58.08 deaths/1,000 live births.
Average calories consumed: 94% of calories needed
Safe water: 52% of population has access


Dependent on exporting peanuts and international aid. Indebtness rising.


IlIiteracy: 67%
Languages: French is the official language. Widely spoken indigenous languages are Wolof, Peul and Ful

Income Distribution

Inequalities are growing.


Regions: generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast .
Farming: Agriculture is the main occupation with food crops being millet, rice, maize and beans. About 40 per cent of land is taken up with peanuts, the main export crop.
Natural resources: fish, phosphates, iron ore Problems: deforestation and desertification.


Multi-party democratic system.

Freedom & human rights

There is a free press and trade unions do well. No political prisoners reported.

Position of women: Women do most of the farming and have little representation in any power base.

Sources: The World Guide; Leading Issues in Economic Development 7th edition by Meier and Rauch; Senegal country profile, the New Internationalist, Feb 1992 by Kayo Whiteman.

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Last modified 21 November 2000