Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south.
Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, has repainted mosques, reopened stadiums, lined thoroughfares with African flags, and erected acres of glimmering resident lofts for the 2,000 African artists coming to the first World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in 33 years.
For the West African government, the festival is a showpiece to assert Senegal’s rank as a leading destination for African art and intelligentsia.
More than 1 million children under 5 in this wide, arid swath of Africa below the Sahara are now at risk of a food shortage so severe that it threatens their lives, UNICEF estimates. In Senegal, which is relatively stable and prosperous, malnutrition among children in the north has already surpassed 14 percent, just shy of the World Health Organization threshold for an emergency.
Liberia and Senegal have pledged to reform their laws so that women can confer citizenship on their children.
The West African nations are currently among at least 30 countries that let only fathers pass their citizenship to children from marriages with a foreigner.
Others include the Bahamas, Iran, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The U.N. refugee agency says discrimination against women has contributed to the estimated 12 million stateless people around the world.
Widou is one of the first communities selected by the Senegalese government to start the Great Green Wall project, a pan-African initiative launched in 2007 by the African Union. The goal is to create a wall of trees — 15 km wide and 7,600 km long — from Dakar to Djibouti to help slow desertification. Eleven countries are participating, but Senegal, where 535 km of the wall are planned, is the first country where the project is starting to take shape.
The new president of Senegal, Macky Sall, has been sworn into office to become the country's first new leader in 12 years.
Around 2,000 people attended the ceremony, including 11 African heads of state, and crowds of people lined the streets to cheer Mr Sall.
He beat the outgoing president, Abdoulaye Wade, in a second round run-off vote last month.
Young Senegalese celebrated the decision by President Aboulaye Wade to peacefully concede defeat Sunday night in the country's presidential elections.
Thousands gathered outside the campaign headquarters of the victorious candidate Macky Sall, dancing to the hip-hop opposition anthem "Gorgui, Na Dem" – which means "old man, step down" in Wolof, the predominant local language. Mr. Wade is 85 to Mr. Sall's 50.
A revolution led by rappers says something about a country’s politics or its music, or maybe both.
In Senegal, the political mainstream appears stagnant and the musicians anything but, which explains why laid-back musicians with stage names like Fou Malade (“Crazy Sick Guy”) and Thiat (“Junior”) are leading a vigorous demonstration movement against the country’s octogenarian president, who does not want to leave office.
The usual regional trappings of power — a $27 million monumental statue overlooking the capital, a new presidential plane, tinkering with the country’s Constitution — have not gone down well in a poor but proud West African country used to something better.
Senegal's growing unrest is troubling for those among its neighbors that look to it as a model constitutional democracy. "[Senegal] plays a very significant role in that it's regarded as the leader, the bellwether," says George Ayittey, a Ghanaian economist. "And it's been one of the most stable countries in Francophone West Africa. Everyone in the region looks up to Senegal, so if something happens there it will have a ripple effect."
Senegal has been held up as one of Africa's model democracies. It has an established multi-party system and a tradition of civilian rule.
Although poverty is widespread and unemployment is high, the country has one of the region's more stable economies.
Senegal, long one of Africa’s most stable and admired countries, is embroiled in a miasma of political, economic and social problems as unmistakable as the fine dust that blows in from the Sahara every winter.
From the air, Dakar, the capital, looks like a metropolis on the move, a buzzing quadrilateral jutting into the Atlantic.