Africa Essay Research Paper SENEGALThe current discourse

Africa Essay, Research Paper


The current discourse on Africa’s political corruption, poverty and

environment has emerged from a convergence of international and regional

critiques about the future of African trade and economic prospects. Recent years

have witnessed a considerable resurgence of interest in African Development,

although it is difficult to impose any precise link, much of the attention has

been generated by the events surrounding the transition and transformation of

Mandrel’s South Africa.

There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on the best way to deal with the many

problems that are affecting development in certain African countries. However,

most scholars agree that the primary underlying causes that affect international

political will to invest in Africa’s future must be controlled before this

glorious continent can reach its full potential. I want to argue that the

corruption, poverty, environment nexus is what went wrong after Africa was

decolonalized; I will focus on Senegal in particular.

Senegal is located on the West Coast of Africa. The French gained possession

of Senegal in 1840 and made it part of French West Africa. In 1946, together

with other parts of French West Africa Senegal became an overseas territory of

France. In 1956 Senegal gained internal self-government from France and in 1959

the country joined the Federation of Mali. On August 20 1960 Senegal withdrew

from the federation and became the independent Republic of Senegal with Leopold

Senghor as President. In 1970 President Senghor appointed Abdou Diouf as Prime

Minister and in 1976 a new constitution was introduced which committed the

country to a multiparty democratic system of government but also limited the

number of parties to three. This parliamentary style democracy with socialist

leanings offers the right to vote to anyone over 18 years old and a

constitutional guarantee of equality before the law, which is based on the

French civil law system. In January 1981 Senghor retired and Diouf was appointed

President, in 1983, 1988 and 1993 Diouf was re-elected with 58% of the vote

going to his Socialist Party or PS ( The ethnic composition of

Senegal is diverse with the principal ethnic group the Wolof who account for 44%

of the 9,723,149 population (1998). The official language is French, although

only about 12% of the population can speak it. Around 94% of the population are

Sunni Muslims, while 5% are Roman Catholic. As of 1970, 95% of the people over

the age of 6 had no formal schooling, however as of 1995, 33% of the population

age 15 and over could read and write.

Senegal is about the size of South Dakota and has a tropical climate with a

wet season from May to November and dry season from December to April. While

severe droughts during the late 1960’s and 1970’s seriously damaged the economy

and caused widespread famine the 1993 Gross National Product was $5,867,000,000

with public debt registering around $3,011,000,000, however debt decreased

slightly in 1996 to $3.7 billion. Only 2.4% of the Gross National Product

account for military expenditure. The main exports ($968 million, 1995) to the

U.S., Western European countries, African neighbors, Japan, China, and India are

cotton, fish nuts, oil and petroleum.

Imports of consumer goods, foodstuffs, transport equipment and petroleum

account for $1.22 billion dollars. Less than 35% of the population are

economically active in the major industries of agriculture, fishing, fertilizer

production and mining.


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