The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989.


The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa.


Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was re-elected in February 2007, but complaints of fraud led opposition parties to boycott June 2007 legislative polls. Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.


Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
Geographic coordinates: 14 00 N, 14 00 W
Population: 12,969,606 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.3% (male 2,748,457/female 2,722,633)

15-64 years: 53.9% (male 3,200,056/female 3,611,173)

65 years and over: 2.9% (male 166,577/female 194,903) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Senegal

conventional short form: Senegal

local long form: Republique du Senegal

local short form: Senegal

former: Senegambia (along with The Gambia), Mali Federation

Government type: republic
Telephones – main lines in use: 341,900 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 8.344 million (2009)
Airports: 20 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 9

over 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Army, Senegalese Navy (Marine Senegalaise), Senegalese Air Force (Armee de l’Air du Senegal) (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service; 20 years of age for selective conscript service; service obligation – 2 years; women have been accepted into military service since 2008 (2004)


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 was 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 over 5% annually during 1995-2007. Annual inflation had been pushed down to the low single digits. As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified external tariff and a more stable monetary policy.

Transnational Issues:

The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau attempt to stem separatist violence, cross border raids, and arms smuggling into their countries from Senegal’s Casamance region, and in 2006, respectively accepted 6,000 and 10,000 Casamance residents fleeing the conflict; 2,500 Guinea-Bissau residents fled into Senegal in 2006 to escape armed confrontations along the border.