Senegal is the only state on the West African
mainland that has never been ruled by military. Its
first president after independence in 1960 was the poet
Léopold Sédar Senghor, who was followed by other civil
leaders. Multiparty democracy has existed since the
early 1980s. In the Casamance region in the south, there
has been a low-intensity separatist war for decades.
Although Senegal is more developed than most of the
neighboring countries, there is great poverty. The
majority of the population is dependent on cultivation
and fishing for their own use to cater for their
Brief profiles of Senegal, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Senegal is located in West Africa and is
almost half the size of Sweden. The Cap Vert peninsula,
where the capital Dakar is located, is the westernmost
point of the African mainland. The small state of Gambia
goes like a wedge straight in along the Gambia River,
shielding the Casamance region to the south from the
rest of Senegal.
The country's longest river, the Senegal River, forms
a border with Mauritania in the north, while its
tributary Falémé partly forms a border with Mali in the
east. To the south, the Casamance River flows through
the fertile Casamance region bordering Guinea-Bissau.
Senegal is a flat lowland. The mountains that exist
reach a maximum of almost 600 meters above sea level and
are located on the border with Guinea in the southeast.
Characteristic of the Senegal landscape are the large
baobab trees, which are also a symbol of the state arms.
The Atlantic coast consists mostly of sand.
Most of the country lies in the often
drought-stricken Sahel area, which is a wide belt of
semi-deserts and savannas on the southern edge of the
Sahara. At the far south, however, there is lush
greenery and even rain forest inland.
The climate is varied in Senegal. In the northern
part it is semi-dry and on the coast it can be
relatively cool in winter. In the Casamance region in
the south, it is significantly hotter and humid than in
the rest of the country. The rainy season lasts the
longest from June to October.
The hinterland also receives more rain and higher
temperatures than the coastal regions. In Dakar it is
often quite windy. The clearly defined dry and rainy
periods are characterized by different winds: a
northeastern winter wind and a southwestern summer wind.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
196 722 km2 (2018)
Swedish - 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau
Capital with number of inhabitants
Dakar 3 million (including suburbs, estimated 2018)
Other major cities
Touba, Guediawaye, Thiès, Kaolack, Mbour, Saint-Louis
Senegal, Casamance, Saloum
Average Precipitation / year
1250 mm in the south, 220 mm in the north
Average / day
Dakar 22 °C (Jan), 28 °C (Sept)
Khalifa Sall loses immunity from prosecution
Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall is deprived of his immunity from prosecution, which
allows him to stand trial for embezzlement (see March 2017).
Ex-President Wade leaves the National Assembly
Former President Abdoulaye Wade leaves his seat in the National Assembly. The
91-year-old PDS politician says he only pitched in July to promote his party.
The government's election victory is confirmed
The Election Commission announces the final result of the parliamentary
elections and confirms that the ruling alliance Benno Bokk Yakaar wins by a good
margin. BBY receives almost exactly half of the votes and 125 of Parliament's
165 seats. Formally, the result must be approved by the Constitutional Court.
The alliances led by former President Wade (Coalition Gagnante / Manko
Wattu Sénégal) and Dakar's Mayor Khalifa Sall (Manko Taxawu
Senegaal) receive 19 and 7 seats, respectively. Khalifa Sall wins a
seat in parliament, despite being in prison (see March 2017). In total, 14
parties are entering Parliament where, for the first time, Senegalese living
abroad are represented by 15 members.
The government alliance claims great electoral victory
Before any official election results are presented, the ruling party alliance
Benno Bokk Yakaar claims that it has won in all but three of the country's 45
constituencies. Despite President Sall calling on the Election Commission to
approve ordinary ID cards, hundreds of people complain that they did not get to
vote because they lacked biometric credentials.
Choices with many options
The more than 6.2 million voting Senegalese have a record 47 candidate lists
to choose from when they elect the 165 people to sit in Parliament in the coming
years. For the first time, 15 places are reserved for the half a million
Senegalese living abroad. Although Senegal has a tradition of being one of
Africa's most stable democracies, the electoral movement has been tense. At
several elections, there have been violent acts that have ended with the police
firing tear gas and arresting dozens of people.
Election rules are facilitated
Four days before the parliamentary elections, the Constitutional Court
approves that passports or other ID cards may be used as identification
documents in the polling stations, because the authorities have not been able to
produce enough biometric ID cards. The decision is made at the request of
President Sall but is met by protests from several opposition parties who fear
that this will increase the risk of electoral fraud. Sall hopes that the
election will strengthen his support in Parliament.
Final judgment against Habré
A special court in Dakar confirms the life sentence against Chad's former
dictator Hissène Habré who was convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity
and torture (see May 2016). Thus, Habré's opportunity to appeal
has been exhausted.
Thousands show their support for Khalifa Sall
Thousands of people gather in Dakar to demand the release of Mayor Khalifa
Sall (see March 2017).
Dakar's mayor is charged with corruption
Dakar's Mayor Khalifa Sall and five of his staff are arrested on charges of
embezzling nearly $ 3 million in public funds. Sall, who belongs to the
Socialist Party, is being prosecuted for fraud and money laundering. He himself
denies that he has committed any crime and claims that the prosecution against
him is politically motivated, and is because he is seen as an increasingly
serious threat to President Macky Sall's power position ahead of the 2019
presidential election. by challenging Macky Sall.
New friendship with Gambia is cemented
4th of March
President Sall receives Gambia's new President Adam Barrow, who is making his
first visit to Senegal since taking office as president of the neighboring
country. The two heads of state announce that a "new era" has entered the
countries' relationship, which was sometimes strained under Barrow's predecessor
Jammeh. Agreements are signed for cooperation in tourism and defense.
Troops are sent to the Gambia
A crisis in the Gambia where President Yahya Jammeh refuses to resign despite
the loss of elections (see Gambia: Current Politics) leads to election winner
Adam Barrow swearing the presidential speech at the Gambian embassy in Dakar. On
the same day, soldiers cross the border, under the auspices of the regional
cooperation organization Ecowa. The force consists of soldiers from Senegal and
some other countries in the region. Before this pressure, Jammeh is forced to
resign and Barrow is installed as president of the Gambia.
Greater parliamentary influence for Senegal's diaspora
The National Assembly is voting to increase the number of seats from 150 to
165 in order to prepare more room for members who take care of the interests of
Senegalese living abroad. The opposition voted no to the proposal, which they
believe is just a waste of money. They intend to appeal the decision to the