A Look at Senegal's Culture and Economy
Families attend a malaria
clinic in Senegal.
Senegal is located on the westernmost point of the continent
of Africa. In this story, we take a look at the traditions, cultures and economy
of Senegal, a country with many children in need of sponsors.
Senegal has a population of more than 12 million
people, many of whom live in rural areas. Although a majority of the Senegalese
population belongs to the Wolof ethnic group, many other ethnicities are present
today, including the Fula, Toucouleur and Serer.
The culture of
Senegal has a rich and varied culture dating back centuries.
Music and dance play an integral role, and distinctive traditional music such
as Yela, the rhythms of which mimic the sound of grain being pounded by female
villagers, is still practiced by many people in Senegal. Musical instruments
such as the kora and hoddu are still played during celebrations in many parts of
the country. The famous Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour was appointed the
minister of culture in April 2012.
In addition to its rich musical
culture, Senegal is famous across Africa for the quality of its jewelry. Local
artisans sell their exquisitely crafted gold and silver jewelry in regional
markets all over the country, and the large amber necklaces traditionally worn
by Fulani women are a common sight.
As Senegal used to be a French colony,
the country is still popular with French tourists, many of whom spend their
vacations in coastal regions. In comparison to some other African countries,
Senegal is relatively Westernized, especially the capital of Dakar.
Politically, Senegal is relatively stable in comparison to some other African
nations. Presidents are elected every five years, and President Macky Sall, who
took office in March 2012, has made significant headway in reshuffling his
cabinet to include prominent and respected Senegalese people such as Abdoul
Latif Coulibaly, who was named the minister for good governance in an attempt to
promote accountability and transparency of government.
An economy in
In the past, much of Senegal's economy was dependent on
agriculture. However, in recent years, environmental crises such as droughts
have caused a shift in the country's agricultural production. Today, mining,
petroleum refining and the production of artificial fertilizers and chemicals
account for a substantial part of the country's economy.
exports such as cotton, fabrics, calcium phosphate and refined petroleum are
shipped all over the world, providing economic stimulus to the country. Top
importers of Senegalese products include Italy, the United Kingdom and the
You can support a child to ensure
that he or she has access to lifesaving medications to combat diseases such as
malaria, which is prevalent in Senegal. So far, ChildFund, through the help of
sponsors, has provided more than 800,000 treated bed nets to slow the spread of
malaria, but we still need your help. One urgent problem in Senegal is lack of
access to education, especially for girls. President Sall recently implemented
programs to provide a higher standard of education for all children in Senegal,
but these initiatives are dependent on the work of organizations such as
ChildFund and the financial support of the International Monetary Fund, USAID
and private donors like you.
If you want to make a difference and help
children in need, work with us to fight child poverty by sponsoring a child in Senegal.