Snapshot of Senegal
Senegal wraps around its smaller neighbor, The Gambia, to form the western bulge ofAfrica. It has a 330 mile coastline on the Atlantic. Mauritania and Mali are north andeast and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau border on the south.
Senegal covers approximately 76,000 square miles, roughly equivalent in size to SouthDakota.
The flat rolling plains in the northern region of the country are part of the Saheldesert. In the southeast plateaus rise from the foothills of the Gouta Djallon Mountains.Marshy swamps and tropical forests are found in southwest Senegal. The country's four mainrivers are the Senegal, Saloum, Casamance and Gambia.
The climate is as varied as the terrain. There are two seasons, rainy and dry. Therainy season lasts from June through October. Along the coast the weather tends to bebreezy and cooler while further inland it is drier in the north and more tropical in thesouth. Temperatures range from 64 to 86 degrees.
There are around 7 million people. The population is made up of numerous ethnic groupsthat include Wolof 36%, Fulani 17%, Serer 17%, Toucouleur 9%, Diola 9%, Mandingo 9%,European and Lebanese 1%, other 2%
French is the official language. Other languages spoken are Wolof, Pulaar, Serer, Diolaand Mandingo.
Muslim 92%, indigenous beliefs 6%, Christian 2%
Dakar is the nation's capital and its largest city. Other major cities are Saint Louis,which served as the colonialist capital, and Thiés, Kaolack and Ziguinchor.
After achieving independence from France in 1960, Senegal was established as arepublic. Its constitution was adopted in 1963. The president, elected every five years,is head of state and appoints a council of ministers as well as Supreme Court judges. Thelegislature, the National Assembly, is a unicameral body with 120 elected members.President Abdou Diouf is leader of the Socialist Party, which has been the party in powersince 1960.
The economy of Senegal is relatively diversified. The main agricultural crop isgroundnuts. Other crops are maize, millet, beans, rice, sugar and cotton. Industriesinclude textile manufacturing and food processing as well as petroleum and phosphateproduction. Fishing industries have become the largest export earner. Tourism is also agrowing sector of the economy.
The national banner consists of three vertical bands of green, yellow and red. A greenstar is centered in the yellow band.