Senegal Geography and Population

By | January 8, 2023

Senegal – Geography

Senegal – Geography, The majority of Senegal consists of a low lying, smooth and sandy plain that extends to the heights at the border with Guinea. Despite its location in the tropics, the coastal climate is remarkably cool, due to a northerly trade wind. Inland, the northeast pass, the Harmattan, can bring hot, dry air from the Sahara. However, it is the annual displacement of the intertropical convergence zone that gives the dominant seasonal variations and the significant regional variations in rainfall. In the south goes the rainy season from May to October, with up to 1500 mm of rainfall per year, so that there is dense tropical forest towards the border with Guinea Bissau. At the level of Dakar, approximately 500 mm, and the area north of this lies in the Sahel Belt with sparse and unstable rainfall in July-September.

Natural geographical regions

In the Fleuve region along the Senegal River to the north and north, rainfall falls below 300 mm per year for two to three months, so that arable farming is dependent on irrigation. Irrigation projects of over 240,000 hectares are planned in the hope of reducing large rice imports. However, unclear ownership of the land and a lack of profitability have so far contributed to the slow progress in implementation.

Almost half of the residents, mainly wolof, live in the peanut basin, which extends approximately 500 km east from Dakar. It is this area that has been the center of peanut production since the colonial period, which for many years has been Senegal’s all-dominant sales crop. The French introduced peanut cultivation for the Senegalese in the mid-1800’s, and this rescheduling of production was crucial to the farmers’ involvement in the monetary economy. Still more of the traditional millet for self-sufficiency was replaced by peanuts. The peasants bought consumables and food for the income, but as the price of peanuts dropped through the 1900’s, new land was brought in for peanut cultivation while reducing set-aside. The result was soil depletion and large food imports, which still burdens the economy.

The Ferlo area is like a desert-like plain north of the peanut belt. The Peul nomads here have largely become permanent residents with their flocks of cattle around deep water wells.

Casamance south of Gambia has enough rainfall for rice cultivation without irrigation, which diola strains had developed to perfection long before the Portuguese arrived. Due. the varied nature and long sandy beaches have made the area a big part of the rising tourism. Separatist movements have demanded independence since the 1980’s, and unrest up through the 1990’s meant a severe decline in tourism. Finally, with suburbs, Dakar can be considered an independent region.

The population

The population is growing approximately 2.7% annually, similar to West Africa’s average, but the urban population is growing 4%. More than 40% now live in urban development, which is significantly above the average in Africa, including 2 million. in the Dakar area. The government’s AIDS campaigns have had some success, so the number of people infected with HIV is significantly lower than in many other African countries.

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Senegal has approximately 20 different ethnic groups, of which the five largest constitute approximately 85% of the population. Wolof is approximately 43%, followed by seres (15%), peul (14%), tukulor (9%) and diola (5%). It is estimated that 300,000 Senegalese live in neighboring Mauritania. In the country’s southwestern province, Casamance, there are 60,000 internal refugees as a result of abuse and fighting between the government and the independence movement in the area.


After independence, the economy was regulated by the state with state-owned enterprises and price and trade controls. In 1979, a structural adjustment policy was initiated with support from the World Bank: lowering of tariff barriers, privatization, removal of agricultural subsidies, limiting the number of public servants, etc. The result was an increased social inequality without the economy recovering. It was not until the late 1990’s that economic growth came into line with population growth.

Throughout the period, the country has been heavily dependent on foreign, especially French aid, which has a value of more than half the export revenue. Senegal is the country in West Africa that receives the most aid per year. per capita, but it is falling sharply.

Agriculture employs 3/4 of the population and contributes about 16% to GDP. Peanuts, sugarcane, millet, cotton and rice are the most important crops. The major problem of agriculture is to produce enough food for the population while supplying export crops and surpluses to the cities. Failure rain has reduced crop yields since the 1970’s and, together with the deteriorating trade conditions, reduced import revenues. This, combined with an inefficient agricultural policy, has meant low incomes to farmers and necessitated a massive food import.

Fishing has an increasingly prominent place in the economy, both as a supplier to industry and to self-sufficiency. Sea off the coast of Senegal is very rich in fish, and the sector accounts for 15% of employment and almost 1/3 of export earnings. For culture and traditions of Senegal, please check allunitconverters.

Mining. Mining is growing; Gold mining began in 1997, and natural gas production is expected to grow following the discovery of a large natural gas field at Thiès. Large phosphate deposits near Thiès are exploited and give rise to the production of fertilizers. There are also unused iron and gold deposits.

The vast majority of the industry is located in and around Dakar. These are primarily light industries, which produce for the local market: oil mills, sugar refineries, food industries, textile industry and the like. a lack of a capable home market, high production costs and a bureaucratic government policy, the competitiveness of the industry is low, which pervasive privatization seeks to remedy.

Tourism is a major source of foreign exchange, accounting for almost 10% of export revenue. Most tourists take advantage of the pleasant climate in December-February for a beach holiday at the long sandy beaches, but also the Niokolo Koba National Park in eastern Senegal and bird life in the river deltas are tourist destinations.

Senegal Geography