Country Profile: Senegal
Capital and largest cityDakar
Other citiesTouba, Thies, Rufisque, Kaolack
Official languagesFrench, Wolof
Other languages and dialectsDyola, Fula, Pulaar, Guinea-Bissau Creole,
Hassaniya Arabic, Karon, Mandinka, Maninka,
Seereer-Siin, Serer, Soninke, Wolofal, Xaasongaxango, Yalunka.
Area196, 723 sq km
Population11, 658, 000 (2005 est.)
Although French is the official language of Senegal, there are many other languages and dialects spoken, including the recognised national language, Wolof, spoken by a high proportion of the population. Other languages include
Dyola, Fula, Pulaar, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Hassaniya Arabic, Karon, Mandinka, Maninka, Seereer-Siin, Serer, Soninke, Wolofal, Xaasongaxango, Yalunka.
Major industries in Senegal include cement, mining, food processing, fertiliser, textiles, refining imported petroleum, chemicals and tourisms. Main exports are fish, groundnuts, cotton, chemicals, calcium phosphate and fabrics, with important trading partners the US, UK, and Italy.
In 1994, Senegal started a programme of radical reform, with the help of the foreign aid community. After an initial decrease, the economy then started expanding, thanks to this system of reform, and now, Senegal's economy is increasing rapidly. Since the introduction of the internet to the country, there has been a surge in information technology, which has also helped to expand and develop the economy.
Senegal is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, and so is working to integrate more at regional and international levels, as well as on reducing tariffs. Senegal is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Businses Law in Africa.
Tourism is increasingly a vital part of the Senegalese economy, starting with visitors from former colonial France, and then expanding to attract visitors from around the world - with one million tourists visiting the country in 2008. Senegal boasts a variety of historic and cultural sites, as well as beach resorts and beautiful natural landscapes. Attractions include the former slave centre Goree Island, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Saint-Louis, a town visited for its colonial past and rich cultural heritage. The country also has several reserves including the World Heritage Site Niokolo-Koba National Park, which is home to an array of animals including hippopatomii, lions and elephants.
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