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Republic of Senegal

Senegal location

Official language – French
It owes its name to the Senegal River that borders it to the east and north.
Capital – Dakar
National holiday – Independence Day, 4 April (1960)
Independence - 4 April 1960 (from France); complete independence achieved upon dissolution of federation with Mali on 20 August 1960
Government type – semi-presidential republic

Border countries: The Gambia 740 km, Guinea 330 km, Guinea-Bissau 338 km, Mali 419 km, Mauritania 813 km. Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania

Area – 196,723 sq km
Natural resources: Fish, phosphates, iron ore

Population – 15,6 mln (2016, UNCTAD)
Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups and, as in most West African countries, several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 43%; the Fula and Toucouleur (also known as Halpulaar'en, literally "Pulaar-speakers") (24%) are the second biggest group, followed by the Serer (14.7%), then others such as Jola (4%), Mandinka (3%), Maures or (Naarkajors), Soninke, Bassari and many smaller communities (9%). (See also the Bedick ethnic group.)

About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French) and Lebanese as well as smaller numbers of Mauritanians and Moroccans reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities. The majority of Lebanese work in commerce. Also located primarily in urban settings are small Vietnamese communities as well as a growing number of Chinese immigrant traders, each numbering perhaps a few hundred people. There are also tens of thousands of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal, primarily in the country's north.
About 42% of population live in rural areas. Density in these areas varies from about 77 inhabitants per square kilometre in the west-central region to 2 per square kilometre in the arid eastern section.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Senegal has a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 23,800 in 2007. The majority of this population (20,200) is from Mauritania. Refugees live in N'dioum, Dodel, and small settlements along the Senegal River valley.

The predominant religion in Senegal is Islam – 94% of the country's population;
the Christian community – 5% of the population, includes Roman Catholics and diverse Protestant denominations;
animist beliefs 1%, particularly in the southeastern region of the country.
Some Serer people follow the Serer religion.

Calling code: 221