Centre d'Initiatives et de Recherches Paysannes  pour l'Environnement et le Developpement Durable

Introduction to Senegal

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Kids from a village with some CIRPED's volunteers.Senegal is situated on the West African coast. It lies between Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south. From the west the country of Gambia extends into and is almost completely surrounded by Senegal.† Senegal has two seasons: rainy from June to October, and dry from November to May.†

The population is 8.8 million people, with a growth rate of 2.7%.† Young people are the majority of the population.† More than 60% of the population lives in rural settings. Agriculture (farming, animal husbandry, fishing, forestry) employs up to 60% of the active population.† The capital city is Dakar. The six major traditional languages are: Wolof, Pulaar, Serere, Diola, Soninke and Mandingue. The official language is French. The per capita income is $570/year. The life expectancy is 51 years.

A Village Assembly.Senegalís development potential is rendered problematic by its harsh, arid climate, its vulnerability to changes in rainfall amounts and the pressure placed by rapidly increasing population levels on the fragile and increasingly scarce resource base.† This demographic pressure, coupled with the effects of a continually shrinking forest and vegetal cover and the inappropriate use of fertilizers has contributed to the degradation of already-fragile soils, with consequent decline in agricultural yields.† Natural forests have shrunk over 7.4% over the past fifteen years.† Degradation of water resources, especially from saline intrusion and pollution of subterranean waters by pesticides and others pollutants, has increased steadily.† The difficulties of maintaining a productive existence in rural areas has contributed to the rapid swelling of urban centers where environmental problems are characterized by the near total absence of systems to manage urban solid and liquid waste and to ensure adequate sanitation.†

A Village's Health and Education Group.It is essential for Senegalís future that the environmental, food, health, and educational deficits in rural areas be addressed to discourage further out-migration and to maintain the strength and well-being of families, communities and local culture.




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CIRPED - Contact Person: Ibrahima Seck
E-mail : ibrahims55@hotmail.com

> Last revised on May 22, 2001<

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