Senegal - An In Depth Study

Senegal is a republic located in western Africa and has Dakar
which is its largest city as capital. On the northern border is located
Mauritania, on the east is Mali and on the Guinea. Senegal is also
bordered by the Atlantic ocean on the west. Located in the center of the
country is the small republic of Gambia. The county is pierced by the
River Gambia. (see figure: 1)

Figure 1



Senegal primarily is made up of a large plain. The only real
exceptions to this are in the south east where relatively high elevations
exist. There are only a few rivers of any reasonable size in Senegal,
these include; the Saloum, Gambia, Casamance and of course the Senegal
which runs along the northern border of the country. Like all rivers,
these recess during dry seasons and surge forth during wet seasons.
Like most other countries of this region in Africa, Senegal has a
vast multitude of climatic regions. These range from dry desert to a wet
tropical zone in the southern portion of the country leaving the dry
region to the north. There are two distinct seasons; the dry season, and
the rainy season. The latter lasts from July to October in the north.
(see figure: 2)

Figure 2

Here, the rainfall averages 350 mm . In the south the season starts a
month later in June but ends as it does in the north in October. In the
north the average yearly rainfall averages 1525 mm . In January the
average temperature is 22 degrees centigrade and in July it averages at
28 degrees centigrade. In Senegal the citizens to indeed have to endure
very diverse climatic conditions.

Figure 3

Figure 4
As mentioned before the northern portion of the country is dominated by
very dry desert like conditions while the south is a very wet region. The
northern portion of the Country is part of the Sahal which is a buffer
for the wetter southern part of the country against the Sahara which is
located to the north of the country. In the Sahel the vegetation
resembles that of the movie The Lion King in that it consists primarily
of savanna grasses with random outcroppings of small stunted shrubs (see
Figure: 3). As you move south towards the Gambia trees become more
common. Further south still, there are actual swamps and dense forests.
In these forests the typical tropical woods can be found including
mahogany, palms and bamboo. In the Gambia and the others rivers as well
crocodiles and hippopotamuses can be found. Other animals such as
elephants can be found in the eastern portion of the country. Senegal's
infamous varieties of snake include the cobra and the boa constrictor.

Senegal possess many minerals and other natural resources. Among
these is Senegal's principal exploited mineral resource, phosphates.( see
figure:5) Iron ore is also present I but it has not yet been exploited
due to a lack of accessibility. In the 1970's deposits of both natural
gas and petroleum were located off the western coast of Senegal.

Figure 5

Senegal's economy is based primarily on agriculture.
The soul of the agricultural economy is based on peanuts,
literally. Although this is the case Senegal has a growing
industrial sector which is the largest in West Africa. Senegal
receives aid from France and other European countries through
the World Bank. Senegal is starting to learn to budget, and is
now only spending $700 million more than the country brings in
every year.
About 27% of Senegal's land is arable which is very

inproportionate to the 78% of the population which relies on subsistence
farming. Because of French colonization, Senegal is now the leading
producer of peanuts in the world. These peanuts are primarily grown in
the north-west but are also grown in other
parts of the country. Peanuts and peanut oils constitute a significant
percent of the yearly export earnings ranging from
29% in the 80s to 12% in the early 90s . Most of the land is

Figure 6
devoted to the production of peanuts and great strides have been


made recently to diversify the types of crops grown. (see Figure:6) Among
the
crops to be grown are; rice, and tomatoes. This will allow the
people of