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Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Total population (millions): 10.5
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 50%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 2.1%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km²) : 196,720

Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population

Main Cities Population
Dakar 2 243 400
Touba Mosquee 529 200
Thies 263 500
Kaolack 186 000
Mbour 181 800
Saint-Louis 171 300

Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Dakar (GMT).

Official language: French
Spoken languages: The Wolof for most people, but there are also the Diola, the Poulaar, the Malinké and the Mandingue. If, in the East of Africa, the Swahili has developed as the common language, in Western Africa the predominant language is the old colon's languages, French, here. However, the Wolof is spoken and understood by several Senegalese. Dialects are numerous (at least 50, 15 of which are spoken by more than 15,000 people). It is to be noted that following the example of numerous essentially Muslim ethnies, the Wolofs and Madingues use the traditional Arab greetings (Salaam Aleikoum, Aleikoum Asalaam...)
Business language: French and Wolof.

Free translation tools

Babel Fish
Free French-English-French translation of texts and web pages

Religious practises : mainly Islam (94 %), Christianity (5 %) and animism (1 %).

Political context

Senegal is a republic state based on parliamentary democracy with presidential form of government. Senegal (official name: Republic of Senegal) is one of the few African countries that has never experienced a military coup and is thus being held up as one of Africa's model democracies.
President is the chief of state and is elected by a popular vote for a five-year term under the new constitution of 2001 (earlier it was seven years). President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enjoys immense executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. He appoints the Prime Minister as head of the government. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President.
The legislature in Senegal is unicameral. The parliament called National Assembly has 120 seats with its members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms. President has the right to dismiss the National Assembly. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.The people of Senegal have considerable political rights.
Judiciary in Senegal is not completely independent; it is often subjected to political and economic pressures. The main source of law in the country is the new constitution of 2001. The country’s legal system is based on French civil law system and judicial review of legislative acts. The country accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction but with reservations. The judicial language used in the country is French, having an interpreter is possible.
Senegal is weakly ruled by law, though government is taking measures to strengthen it. The separatist rebellion in the Southern region of the country Casamance is a cause of security concern. Foreign nationals can, to a large extent, expect an impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. A considerable degree of corruption exists in the country especially in the government departments, but is still low and under control when compared to other African countries.

Major political parties

Senegal has presently a multi-party system. The major political parties in the country are:
- PDS (Senegalese Democratic Party) – a liberal democratic party;
- AEP (Alliance of Progress Forces) – a progressive liberal party, believes in social justice and development;
- PS (Socialist Party of Senegal) – a democratic socialist party, having strong base in trade unions;
- African Party for Democracy and Socialism – a revolutionary socialist party;
- URD (Union for Democratic Renewal) – a democratic liberal party.

Major political leaders

President: Abdoulaye WADE (since April 2000) - PDS
Prime MinisteCheikh Hadjibou SOUMARE (since June 2007) PD

Next political election dates

Presidential: Year 2012
National Assembly: Year 2012




Capital: Dakar



Number of visitors in Senegal 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 363 769 ..
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005


Tourist sites
-Dakar: the Presidencial Palace ; The National Assembly; the Cathedral ......
-Saint Louis and the Senegal river; the lake of Guiers; the national parks of Djoudj and the Barbary Tongue
-Sine Saloum: the Saloum islands; Megalithic Sites.
-Saly: beaches.
-Casamance: the fields; the pêghe; the rice harvest and the village under the cheese dairy.
-Joal and Fadiouth: Jaoul beach.
-Cayar: the pink lake
-The Gorée island: the slave's house

For more information about tourism in Senegal , check out the following web site(s) :
Senegal Tourism Board


Traditional dishes
Groundnut and chicken soup
Groundnuts Chicken
Thebouidienne: fish with vegetables. In Senegal, this traditional dish is generally prepared with Tiof, a local fish. The hake is the most similar fish but it can be substituted by a light fish such as haddock, sea bream, conger etc. Usually, the fish is served in a service dish; the rice in another one and the cooking juice in a sauceboat.
Chicken Yassa : it is the flavour of lime, garlic, and clove. It is usually served with rice in a service dish wich is placed in the centre of the table and the dinner guests eat it with their fingers. In Senegal, they stab every piece of meat with a chopper to make it more tender before it is marinaded. Time of preparation: less than 30 min.
Coconut Cake: it is a kind of fritter.
The fish is the main ingredient of the daily diet, chicken, lamb or beef are sometimes in the meals. Some gnu or wild boar grill can also be found on the restaurants menus.

Food-related taboos
You will not find any pork because 90% of the population is Muslim.

Last modified on December 2006

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