SENEGAL





Abdoulaye Wade
President

Senegal

(pronounced "AHB-doo-li WAD")

"As an African, I take on the right to implicate myself in everything happening on the continent…I refuse to belong to this trade union of presidents. Mugabe or not Mugabe is not my concern. My concern is what the people of Zimbabwe wanted."

Located in West Africa, midway between Arab-Mediterranean North Africa and the tropical rain forest countries along the Gulf of Guinea, the Republic of Senegal covers an area of 197,161 sq km (75,750 sq mi). Senegal was originally colonized by the Portuguese, who were followed later by the French. The country gained its independence from France on 4 April 1960 and was declared a republic on 20 August of the same year.

The capital of Senegal is Dakar, which with one million inhabitants is one of the great seaports and industrial complexes of West Africa. As of 2002, Senegal's total population exceeded 10 million. When the Federation of French West Africa was formed, Dakar became the federal seat of government. The country is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, and separated from Mauritania to the north by the Senegal River. On the east it is bordered by the Republic of Mali, and on the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The independent, English-speaking state of The Gambia, straddling the Gambia River, penetrates into Senegal for over 320 km (220 mi).

The dominant ethnic group is the Wolof, who constitute about 43% of the population and whose language, Wolof, is widely spoken throughout Senegal. About 24% of the Senegalese are Pular, with the remainder belonging to other ethnic groups, including the Serer, the Jola, the Mandinka, and the Soninke. Ninety-two percent of the Senegalese are Muslim, with 6% practicing indigenous beliefs and the remaining 2% practicing Christianity. The national currency is the Communauté Financière Africaine (CFA) franc . Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $1,580 in 2001. Agricultural production includes peanuts, cotton, millet, sorghum, and rice. Fish are caught along the Atlantic coast.

ADDRESS

Office of the President
Avenue Roume
BP 1 68
Dakar, Senegal

Read about the Culture of Senegal. More about Senegal's Culture.

Read about the Geography of Senegal.

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