Nelson Mandela Museum profiles African States in the Africa Month(Senegal)

Senegal

Current President- Macky Sall since 2012 elections.

Senegal is a democratic country with a population of about 15.5 million

History

In 1960 Senegal becomes an independent country from France with Leopold Senghor becoming the country’s first president- leading the country for two decades. Located in the west of Africa, Senegal is considered one of Africa’s model democracies and has a tradition of stable government.

At one point, hundreds of Senegalese were killed in a local separatist conflict in the southern region of Casamance, but since 2014 ceasefire violence has waned. The country’s stability has allowed it to send peacekeeping troops to DR Congo, Liberia and Kosovo.

Slaves, ivory and gold were exported during the 17th and 18th centuries and now the economy is based mainly on agriculture. The money sent home by Senegalese living abroad is a key source of revenue.

Major Languages

French is the official language of Senegal and other spoken language is Wolof.

Religion

Islam is the main religion in Senegal

Currency

The currency used in Senegal is Franc

Economy

Modern day Senegal is predominantly rural, and with limited natural resources. The economy of Senegal gains most of its foreign exchange from fish, phosphates, groundnuts, tourism and services. The agricultural sector is the main dominant part of the economy though it is faced with environmental challenges from climate change and changes in world commodity prices. Unemployment rate of Senegal was estimated to be 15 percent in 2017

Politics/Media

Senegal has a lively political scene, with parties competing across ethnic, religious and ideological lines. Traditionally, Senegal has one of the most unrestricted and diverse media scenes in the region. The constitution guarantees freedom of information and abuses against journalists are relatively infrequent.

Tourism

The tiny Island off the coast of Dakar and a UNESCO World Heritage Site- the Goree Island, is very popular among tourist known for the 15th to 19th century Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade history. The House of Slaves and Door of No Return is a top attraction for tourists who visit the country.

Also boosting tourism in the country was the Dakar Rally- one of the most thrilling rally, raid sporting events in the world. Since its inception in 1978, the race began in Paris, France, through the desert to Dakar. This was however cancelled in 2008 following security threats in Senegal and is now held in South America

Senegal-South Africa Relations

In 2017 South Africa commemorated the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Dakar Talks which played a significant role in the road towards democracy and the end of apartheid in South Africa. The celebration activities also include the twining of Robben Island and the Goree Island in Dakar-Senegal as part of linking the two historic Islands and an effort to strengthen economic ties via tourism.

In 1987 Senegal hosted a meeting between the ANC and Institution for Democratic Alternatives in South Africa (IDASA) in a political dialogue that played a massive role in the South African’s transition to democracy. The Dakar talks/conference between the ANC and IDASA could not have been possible were it not for the assistance of Senegal and then president Abdou Diouf. President Diouf paved the way for delegates to meet during a period when liberation movements were still banned in South Africa, and the apartheid regime still presided over a pariah state sanctioned and internationally isolated.

Potential Partnerships for the Nelson Mandela Museum

Senegal have some interesting museum institutions that the Nelson Mandela Museum will soon form some collaborative partnership with: The Leopold Sedar Senghor Museum, the Museum of Black Civilizations, and the Goree Island’s House of Slaves/ Door of No return.

Coronavirus in Senegal

Senegal has 2,617 confirmed case of coronavirus, 1,133 recoveries and 30 deaths as of 18 May 2020.

Senegal Map