Senegal. Allegations of electoral fraud and other irregularities came before the parliamentary elections on May 24. According to Countryaah, the capital of Senegal is Dakar. The ruling Socialist Party Parti socialiste sénégalais (PS) received just over half the votes, giving 93 of the 140 seats. The Party Democratique Sénégalais (PDS) again became the largest opposition party with 23 seats despite a sharp decline, while the new party Union pour le renoveau démocratique (URD), formed by an outbreak from PS, received eleven seats. The turnout was only 39%.
That PS made a worse choice than expected was due to, among other things, on the fact that the party no longer received official support from Senegal’s religious fraternity and that the party’s austerity policy had caused severe dissatisfaction among public servants, who traditionally supported the party. Brutal police interventions against student demonstrations in the weeks before the election were considered to have reduced support among young voters.
In July, the government resigned with Prime Minister Abdou Diouf in the lead. He was replaced by former Finance Minister Mamadou Lamine.
The unrest in the province of Casamance in the south continued during the year. In February, Amnesty International accused both the government army and the separatist movement Mouvement des Forces Democratique de la Casamance (MFDC) for being guilty of serious abuses against civilians. Before the election, the army carried out a large campaign against the guerrillas and at least 30 rebels were killed. On Election Day, at least six people were killed in the provincial capital of Ziguinchor. Separatists were suspected of being behind the death. However, peace talks seemed to be getting under way with less hardy parts of the MFDC.
In connection with a coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau in June, Senegal sent over 2,000 soldiers to support the government side of the neighboring country. Senegal mainly acted out of fear that a victory for the coup makers would strengthen MFDC’s position. The border was closed to refugees from Guinea-Bissau because of concerns that rebels would enter the country.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does SEN stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Senegal.
During the colonial period the Senegal enjoyed particular conditions as it was considered the guide-colony, a model for the rest of French West Africa (of which Dakar was the capital). The effects of these conditions after the achievement of full independence (1960) were partly positive and partly negative: on the one hand, in fact, the Senegal found itself equipped with a series of relatively efficient infrastructures (railway, port, urban), even if designed to serve the interests of the motherland; on the other hand it suffered from shortages of food raw materials and was subject to all the risks of monoculture, because the territory had been reorganized by the French almost exclusively according to the cultivation of a typical export product such as peanut, with drastic reduction of subsistence crops. Subsequently, the economy experienced a certain diversification, with the development of fishing, tourism and some sectors of the manufacturing industry, without however being able to avoid a chronically high budget deficit, above all due to a hypertrophic and expensive public apparatus., and a strong foreign debt. Therefore, remittances from emigrants and international aid are of fundamental importance in the economic framework.
As far as the agricultural-breeding economy is concerned, it is possible to distinguish several regions in the Senegal another, narrow and long, extending to the North and NE, in the Senegal valley, cultivated partly with cereals and partly with legumes, in which modern irrigation works have been planned and partially implemented; a third in Casamance, where the Diolas have preserved a traditional rice-growing, moreover well cared for; finally, the large Sahelian area, where pastoral nomadism is practiced. The main agricultural products are peanuts (427,100 t in 2007), millet (362,900 t), rice (215,200 t), beans, cotton, sugar cane. Cattle are over 3 million heads, sheep about 5 million, goats 4.3 million. Fishing, mainly river fishing, provided 421,517 t of catch in 2007. Mineral resources are limited to phosphates, which are very abundant (Thiès region), actively extracted and exported. The main industries (many related to agricultural production, especially peanut) are concentrated mostly in the Dakar agglomeration, where there are car factories, textile factories, cement factories and shipyards.
Tourism, to which the country has been open since the late 1960s, is a growing sector (866,000 admissions in 2006). The Senegal has a road network of 15,000 km, about 900 km of railways, the major ports of Dakar and Saint-Louis and four airports, of which the capital has international functions.
France on the way to return items to Senegal and Benin
The French National Assembly is once again voting by a clear majority in favor of France returning artefacts stolen from Senegal and Benin during the colonial era, thus overthrowing the French Senate, which voted against it. For Senegal, this is especially true of a saber that belonged to a Muslim sheikh Omar Saidou Tall 1798–1864. The object officially belongs to the army museum in Paris, but has been on loan to Dakar since the autumn of 2019.
Opposition politicians are taking part in Sal’s new government
President Macky Sall presents his new government, with 33 ministers, who he claims stands for openness as well as unity and results. New as Foreign Minister is Aissata Tall Sall, who previously belonged to the opposition. Two other ministerial posts also go to opposition politicians. Antoine Félix Abdoulaye Diome becomes new Minister of the Interior. They replace two heavyweights from the ruling APR party, Amadou Ba and Aly Ngouille Ndiaye, who according to observers have set their sights on the presidency. This also applies to Minister of Petroleum Mouhamadou Makhtar Cissé, who has also been allowed to leave. At the same time, Idrissa Seck is appointed new chair of the Council for Economic Affairs, Social Affairs and the Environment.