Senegal - Migration



There is considerable seasonal migration between the Gambia and Senegal in connection with cultivation and harvesting of peanuts. Estimates of the number of Guineans who had fled to Senegal for political reasons ranged from 40,000 to more than 500,000, but all apparently returned after a 1984 military coup in Guinea. Also living in Senegal are perhaps 20,000 French and more than 18,000 Lebanese, about a third of whom have Senegalese nationality. Some Senegalese work in France; others have moved to other African countries in search of work, especially to Côte d'Ivoire. Since relations improved between Senegal and Mauritania in 1996, both countries agreed to the return of Mauritanian refugees. As of 1997, the number of refugees dropped from 80,000 to 64,000 due to voluntary returns.

As of 1999, the urban refugee population stood at some 2,500, of whom more than half were from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, and Congo. There was a significant increase in the number of Sierra Leonean asylum-seekers due to the outbreak of fighting in Sierra Leone in 1999. Conversely, peace was restored in Guinea Bissau in that year, allowing hundreds of Bissau Guineans who sought refuge in Senegal to return home. In 2000, the net migration rate was -1.1 per 1,000 population. In that year the number of migrants was 284,000, including 20,000 remaining refugees. Worker remittances for that year amounted to $130 million, or 2.7 GDP. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.

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