West African Nations - 2012

SENEGAL

This former French colony has a strong claim to be one of the most stable democracies on the African continent. Having gained its independence in 1960 as did most of the former colonies controlled by France, Senegal has failed to provide an environment attractive to foreign investment or local business development. Consequently, it is a debtor nation heavily dependent on donor assistance and the remittances of its overseas workers. The economy had begun to improve due to control of inflation during the period between 2001 and 2007, but then the global downturn hurt the country significantly. Several economic reforms have been undertaken under the auspices of the IMF and there is some improvement now. But the unemployment rate of 48% is a punishing drag on economic progress. Not particularly well endowed with natural resources, the country’s main industries are phosphate and fertilizer production as well as commercial fishing. Many of the problems plaguing the other West African countries also prevail here: loss of wildlife and habitat, deforestation, desertification, communicable disease spread chiefly by impure water supplies. Slightly smaller than South Dakota in size, the country has 13,000,000 citizens, of whom 95% are Muslim and 5% Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. The median age is 18 and life expectancy is 59. Apparently there is no overt tension between Muslims & Christians in the country. Literacy is only 40% which indicates a grave deficiency in possible improvements

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