Senegal vs. Mauritania


A Jolof Empire ruled parts of Senegal from 1350 to 1549. Various European powers, including Portugal, the Netherlands, France, and Great Britain, competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward. A slave station on the island of Goree, next to modern Dakar, was used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland. Having abolished slavery in 1815, the French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland in the second half of the 19th century and made it a French colony. The French colonies of Senegal and French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. The union broke up after only a few months. Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982. The envisaged integration of the two countries was never implemented, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s. Several attempts at reaching a comprehensive peace agreement have failed to resolve the conflict but, despite sporadic incidents of violence, an unofficial cease-fire has remained largely in effect since 2012. Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa and has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation. Senegal was ruled by the Socialist Party of Senegal, first under President Léopold Sédar SENGHOR, and then President Abdou DIOUF, for 40 years until Abdoulaye WADE was elected president in 2000. He was re-elected in 2007 and during his two terms amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition. His decision to run for a third presidential term sparked a large public backlash that led to his defeat in a March 2012 runoff with Macky SALL. A 2016 constitutional referendum reduced the term to five years with a maximum of two consecutive terms for future presidents - the change did not apply to SALL's first term. SALL won his bid for re-election in February 2019; his term will end in 2024. A month after the election, the National Assembly voted to abolish the office of the prime minister. Opposition organizations and civil society have criticized the decision as a further concentration of power in the executive branch at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches.

Berbers moved south into the area of today's Mauritania beginning in the 3rd century. Beginning in the 8th century, Mauritania experienced a slow but constant infiltration of Arabs and Arab influence from the north, pressing the Berbers, who resisted assimilation, to move farther south. One particular Arab group, the Bani Hassan, continued to migrate southward until, by the end of the 17th century, they dominated the entire country. Having finally been defeated, Berber groups turned to clericalism to regain a degree of ascendancy. At the bottom of the social structure were the slaves, subservient to both the Arabic warriors and Islamic Berber holy men. All of the social rivalries were fully exploited by the French as they colonized Mauritania in the late 19th century. Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976 but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel AZIZ deposed him and installed a military council government. AZIZ was subsequently elected president in 2009 and reelected in 2014 to a second and final term. He was replaced in 2019 by Mohamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among three major groups: Arabic-speaking descendants of slaves (Haratines), Arabic-speaking "White Moors" (Beydane), and members of Sub-Saharan ethnic groups mostly originating in the Senegal River valley (Halpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof).

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched a series of attacks in Mauritania between 2005 and 2011, murdering American and foreign tourists and aid workers, attacking diplomatic and government facilities, and ambushing Mauritanian soldiers and gendarmes. A successful strategy against terrorism that combines dialogue with the terrorists and military actions has prevented the country from further terrorist attacks since 2011. However, AQIM and similar groups remain active in neighboring Mali and elsewhere in the Sahel region and continue to pose a threat to Mauritanians and foreign visitors.


Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates
14 00 N, 14 00 W
20 00 N, 12 00 W
Map references
total: 196,722 sq km
land: 192,530 sq km
water: 4,192 sq km
total: 1,030,700 sq km
land: 1,030,700 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than South Dakota; slightly larger than twice the size of Indiana
slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico; about six times the size of Florida
Land boundaries
total: 2,684 km
border countries (5): The Gambia 749 km, Guinea 363 km, Guinea-Bissau 341 km, Mali 489 km, Mauritania 742 km
total: 5,002 km
border countries (4): Algeria 460 km, Mali 2236 km, Senegal 742 km, Western Sahara 1564 km
531 km
754 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind
desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast
mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 69 m
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 2.8 km southeast of Nepen Diaka 648 m
mean elevation: 276 m
lowest point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
highest point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Natural resources
fish, phosphates, iron ore
iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Land use
agricultural land: 46.8% (2011 est.)
arable land: 17.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 29.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 43.8% (2011 est.)
other: 9.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 38.5% (2011 est.)
arable land: 0.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 38.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 0.2% (2011 est.)
other: 61.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
1,200 sq km (2012)
450 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards
lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts
hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; periodic droughts; seasonal flooding; overfishing; weak environmental protective laws; wildlife populations threatened by poaching
overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Senegal, which is the only perennial river; locust infestation
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal
Mauritania is considered both a part of North Africa's Maghreb region and West Africa's Sahel region; most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
Population distribution
the population is concentrated in the west, with Dakar anchoring a well-defined core area; approximately 70% of the population is rural as shown in this population distribution map
with most of the country being a desert, vast areas of the country, particularly in the central, northern, and eastern areas, are without sizeable population clusters; half the population lives in or around the coastal capital of Nouakchott; smaller clusters are found near the southern border with Mali and Senegal as shown in this population distribution map


15,736,368 (July 2020 est.)
4,005,475 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 40.38% (male 3,194,454/female 3,160,111)
15-24 years: 20.35% (male 1,596,896/female 1,606,084)
25-54 years: 31.95% (male 2,327,424/female 2,700,698)
55-64 years: 4.21% (male 283,480/female 378,932)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 212,332/female 275,957) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 37.56% (male 755,788/female 748,671)
15-24 years: 19.71% (male 387,140/female 402,462)
25-54 years: 33.91% (male 630,693/female 727,518)
55-64 years: 4.9% (male 88,888/female 107,201)
65 years and over: 3.92% (male 66,407/female 90,707) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 19.4 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 20.3 years (2020 est.)
total: 21 years
male: 20.1 years
female: 22 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.31% (2020 est.)
2.09% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
31.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
29 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
7.6 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
7.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
-0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.86 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.75 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 93.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.83 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 92.9 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 45.7 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 40 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 47.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 63.2 years
male: 61.1 years
female: 65.4 years (2020 est.)
total population: 64.5 years
male: 62.1 years
female: 67 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
4.04 children born/woman (2020 est.)
3.65 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.4% (2019 est.)
0.2% (2019 est.)
noun: Senegalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Senegalese
noun: Mauritanian(s)
adjective: Mauritanian
Ethnic groups
Wolof 37.1%, Pular 26.2%, Serer 17%, Mandinka 5.6%, Jola 4.5%, Soninke 1.4%, other 8.3% (includes Europeans and persons of Lebanese descent) (2017 est.)
black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Beydane) 30%, Sub-Saharan Mauritanians (non-Arabic speaking, largely resident in or originating from the Senegal River Valley, including Halpulaar, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and Bambara ethnic groups) 30%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
41,000 (2019 est.)
5,700 (2019 est.)
Muslim 95.9% (most adhere to one of the four main Sufi brotherhoods), Christian 4.1% (mostly Roman Catholic) (2016 est.)
Muslim (official) 100%
HIV/AIDS - deaths
1,200 (2019 est.)
<500 (2019 est.)
French (official), Wolof, Pular, Jola, Mandinka, Serer, Soninke
Arabic (official and national), Pular, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French

note: the spoken Arabic in Mauritania differs considerably from the modern standard Arabic used for official written purposes or in the media; the Mauritanian dialect, which incorporates many Berber words, is referred to as Hassaniya

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51.9%
male: 64.8%
female: 39.8% (2017)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 53.5%
male: 63.7%
female: 43.4% (2017)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact diseases: rabies
respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 9 years
male: 8 years
female: 9 years (2019)
total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 10 years (2019)
Education expenditures
4.8% of GDP (2017)
2.6% of GDP (2016)
urban population: 48.1% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 3.73% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 55.3% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 4.28% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 92.3% of population
rural: 74.5% of population
total: 83.3% of population
unimproved: urban: 6.7% of population
rural: 25.5% of population
total: 16.7% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 98.7% of population
rural: 68.4% of population
total: 84.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 1.3% of population
rural: 31.6% of population
total: 15.6% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 91.2% of population
rural: 48.5% of population
total: 68.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 8.8% of population
rural: 51.5% of population
total: 31.6% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 83.5% of population
rural: 25.2% of population
total: 56% of population
unimproved: urban: 16.5% of population
rural: 74.8% of population
total: 44% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
3.140 million DAKAR (capital) (2020)
1.315 million NOUAKCHOTT (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
315 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
766 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
13.3% (2019)
19.2% (2018)
Health expenditures
4.1% (2017)
4.4% (2017)
Physicians density
0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
8.8% (2016)
12.7% (2016)
Demographic profile

Senegal has a large and growing youth population but has not been successful in developing its potential human capital. Senegal’s high total fertility rate of almost 4.5 children per woman continues to bolster the country’s large youth cohort – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. Fertility remains high because of the continued desire for large families, the low use of family planning, and early childbearing. Because of the country’s high illiteracy rate (more than 40%), high unemployment (even among university graduates), and widespread poverty, Senegalese youths face dim prospects; women are especially disadvantaged.

Senegal historically was a destination country for economic migrants, but in recent years West African migrants more often use Senegal as a transit point to North Africa – and sometimes illegally onward to Europe. The country also has been host to several thousand black Mauritanian refugees since they were expelled from their homeland during its 1989 border conflict with Senegal. The country’s economic crisis in the 1970s stimulated emigration; departures accelerated in the 1990s. Destinations shifted from neighboring countries, which were experiencing economic decline, civil wars, and increasing xenophobia, to Libya and Mauritania because of their booming oil industries and to developed countries (most notably former colonial ruler France, as well as Italy and Spain). The latter became attractive in the 1990s because of job opportunities and their periodic regularization programs (legalizing the status of illegal migrants).

Additionally, about 16,000 Senegalese refugees still remain in The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau as a result of more than 30 years of fighting between government forces and rebel separatists in southern Senegal’s Casamance region.

With a sustained total fertility rate of about 4 children per woman and almost 60% of the population under the age of 25, Mauritania's population is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Mauritania's large youth cohort is vital to its development prospects, but available schooling does not adequately prepare students for the workplace. Girls continue to be underrepresented in the classroom, educational quality remains poor, and the dropout rate is high. The literacy rate is only about 50%, even though access to primary education has improved since the mid-2000s. Women's restricted access to education and discriminatory laws maintain gender inequality - worsened by early and forced marriages and female genital cutting.

The denial of education to black Moors also helps to perpetuate slavery. Although Mauritania abolished slavery in 1981 (the last country in the world to do so) and made it a criminal offense in 2007, the millenniums-old practice persists largely because anti-slavery laws are rarely enforced and the custom is so ingrained.  According to a 2018 nongovernmental organization's report, a little more than 2% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which includes individuals sujbected to forced labor and forced marriage, although many thousands of individuals who are legally free contend with discrimination, poor education, and a lack of identity papers and, therefore, live in de facto slavery.  The UN and international press outlets have claimed that up to 20% of Mauritania's population is enslaved, which would be the highest rate worldwide.

Drought, poverty, and unemployment have driven outmigration from Mauritania since the 1970s. Early flows were directed toward other West African countries, including Senegal, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, and Gambia. The 1989 Mauritania-Senegal conflict forced thousands of black Mauritanians to take refuge in Senegal and pushed labor migrants toward the Gulf, Libya, and Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mauritania has accepted migrants from neighboring countries to fill labor shortages since its independence in 1960 and more recently has received refugees escaping civil wars, including tens of thousands of Tuaregs who fled Mali in 2012.

Mauritania was an important transit point for Sub-Saharan migrants moving illegally to North Africa and Europe. In the mid-2000s, as border patrols increased in the Strait of Gibraltar, security increased around Spain's North African enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla), and Moroccan border controls intensified, illegal migration flows shifted from the Western Mediterranean to Spain's Canary Islands. In 2006, departure points moved southward along the West African coast from Morocco and Western Sahara to Mauritania's two key ports (Nouadhibou and the capital Nouakchott), and illegal migration to the Canaries peaked at almost 32,000. The numbers fell dramatically in the following years because of joint patrolling off the West African coast by Frontex (the EU's border protection agency), Spain, Mauritania, and Senegal; the expansion of Spain's border surveillance system; and the 2008 European economic downturn.

Contraceptive prevalence rate
27.8% (2017)
17.8% (2015)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 84.2
youth dependency ratio: 78.4
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
potential support ratio: 17.5 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 75
youth dependency ratio: 69.5
elderly dependency ratio: 5.6
potential support ratio: 18 (2020 est.)


Country name
conventional long form: Republic of Senegal
conventional short form: Senegal
local long form: Republique du Senegal
local short form: Senegal
former: Senegambia (along with The Gambia), Mali Federation
etymology: named for the Senegal River that forms the northern border of the country; many theories exist for the origin of the river name; perhaps the most widely cited derives the name from "Azenegue," the Portuguese appellation for the Berber Zenaga people who lived north of the river
conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Mauritania
conventional short form: Mauritania
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
local short form: Muritaniyah
etymology: named for the ancient kingdom of Mauretania (3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.) and the subsequent Roman province (1st-7th centuries A.D.), which existed further north in present-day Morocco; the name derives from the Mauri (Moors), the Berber-speaking peoples of northwest Africa
Government type
presidential republic
presidential republic
name: Dakar
geographic coordinates: 14 44 N, 17 38 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: the Atlantic coast trading settlement of Ndakaaru came to be called "Dakar" by French colonialists
name: Nouakchott
geographic coordinates: 18 04 N, 15 58 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: may derive from the Berber "nawakshut" meaning "place of the winds"
Administrative divisions
14 regions (regions, singular - region); Dakar, Diourbel, Fatick, Kaffrine, Kaolack, Kedougou, Kolda, Louga, Matam, Saint-Louis, Sedhiou, Tambacounda, Thies, Ziguinchor
15 regions (wilayas, singular - wilaya); Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Nouakchott Nord, Nouakchott Ouest, Nouakchott Sud, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza
4 April 1960 (from France); note - complete independence achieved upon dissolution of federation with Mali on 20 August 1960
28 November 1960 (from France)
National holiday
Independence Day, 4 April (1960)
Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
history: previous 1959 (preindependence), 1963; latest adopted by referendum 7 January 2001, promulgated 22 January 2001
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by the National Assembly; passage requires Assembly approval and approval in a referendum; the president can bypass a referendum and submit an amendment directly to the Assembly, which requires at least three-fifths majority vote; the republican form of government is not amendable; amended several times, last in 2019
history: previous 1964; latest adopted 12 July 1991
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; consideration of amendments by Parliament requires approval of at least one third of the membership; a referendum is held only if the amendment is approved by two-thirds majority vote; passage by referendum requires simple majority vote by eligible voters; passage of amendments proposed by the president can bypass a referendum if approved by at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament; amended many times, last in 2017 (by referendum)
Legal system
18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President Macky SALL (since 2 April 2012)
head of government: President Macky SALL (since 2 April 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single renewable 5-year term; election last held on 24 February 2019 (next to be held in February 2024)
election results: Macky SALL elected president in first round; percent of vote - Macky SALL (APR) 58.3%, Idrissa SECK (Rewmi) 20.5%, Ousmane SONKO (PASTEF) 15.7%
chief of state: President Mohamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI (since 1 August 2019)
head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Ould BILAL (since 6 August 2020)
cabinet: Council of Ministers - nominees suggested by the prime minister, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 22 June 2019 (next scheduled for 22 June 2024); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Mohamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI elected president in first round; percent of vote - Mahamed Cheikh El GHAZOUANI (UPR) 52%, Biram Dah Ould ABEID (independent) 18.6%, Sidi Mohamed Ould BOUBACAR (independent) 17.9%, other 11.55%
Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblée Nationale (165 seats; 105 members including 15 representing Senegalese diaspora directly elected by plurality vote in single- and multi-seat constituencies and 60 members directly elected by proportional representation vote in single- and multi-seat constituencies)
elections: National Assembly - last held on 2 July 2017 (next to be held in July 2022)
election results: National Assembly results - percent of vote by party/coalition - BBK 49.5%, CGWS 16.7%, MTS 11.7%, PUR 4.7%, CP-Kaddu Askan Wi 2%, other 15.4%; seats by party/coalition - BBY 125, CGWS 19, MTS 7, PUR 3, CP-Kaddu Askan Wi 2, other 9; composition - men 96, women 69, percent of women 41.8%
description: unicameral Parliament or Barlamane consists of the National Assembly or Al Jamiya Al Wataniya (157 seats; 113 members in single- and multi-seat constituencies directly elected by a combination of plurality and proportional representation voting systems, 40 members in a single, nationwide constituency directly elected by proportional representation vote, and 4 members directly elected by the diaspora; all members serve 5-year terms)
elections: first held as the unicameral National Assembly in 2 rounds on 1 and 15 September 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - NA

note: a referendum held in August 2017 approved a constitutional amendment to change the Parliament structure from bicameral to unicameral by abolishing the Senate and creating Regional Councils for local development

Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of the court president and 12 judges and organized into civil and commercial, criminal, administrative, and social chambers); Constitutional Council or Conseil Constitutionel (consists of 7 members, including the court president, vice president, and 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president of the republic upon recommendation of the Superior Council of the Magistrates, a body chaired by the president and minister of justice; judge tenure varies, with mandatory retirement either at 65 or 68 years; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the president and 2 by the National Assembly speaker; judges serve 6-year terms, with renewal of 2 members every 2 years
subordinate courts: High Court of Justice (for crimes of high treason by the president); Courts of Appeal; Court of Auditors; assize courts; regional and district courts; Labor Court
highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (subdivided into 7 chambers: 2 civil, 2 labor, 1 commercial, 1 administrative, and 1 criminal, each with a chamber president and 2 councilors ); Constitutional Council (consists of 6 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court president appointed by the president of the republic to serve a 5-year renewable term; Constitutional Council members appointed - 3 by the president of the republic, 2 by the president of the National Assembly, and 1 by the president of the Senate; members serve single, 9-year terms with one-third of membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; courts of first instance or wilya courts are established in the regions' headquarters and include commercial and labor courts, criminal courts, Moughataa (district) Courts, and informal/customary courts
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for the Republic-Yakaar or APR-Yakaar [Macky SALL]
Alliance of Forces of Progress or AFP [Moustapha NIASSE]
Alliance for Citizenship and Labor or ACT [Abdoul MBAYE]
And-Jef/African Party for Democracy and Socialism or AJ/PADS [Mamadou DIOP Decriox]
Benno Bokk Yakaar or BBY (United in Hope) [Macky SALL] (coalition includes AFP, APR, BGC, LD-MPT, PIT, PS, and UNP)
Bokk Gis Gis coalition [Pape DIOP]
Citizen Movement for National Reform or MCRN-Bes Du Nakk [Mansour Sy DJAMIL]
Democratic League-Labor Party Movement or LD-MPT [Abdoulaye BATHILY]
Dare the Future movement [Aissata Tall SALL]
Front for Socialism and Democracy/Benno Jubel or FSD/BJ [Cheikh Abdoulaye Bamba DIEYE]
Gainde Centrist Bloc or BGC [Jean-Paul DIAS]
General Alliance for the Interests of the Republic or AGIR [Thierno BOCOUM]
Grand Party or GP [Malick GAKOU]
Independence and Labor Party or PIT [Magatte THIAM]
Madicke 2019 coalition [Madicke NIANG]
National Union for the People or UNP [Souleymane Ndene NDIAYE]
Only Senegal movement [Pierre Goudiaby ATEPA]
Party for Truth and Development or PVD [Cheikh Ahmadou Kara MBAKE]
Party of Unity and Rally or PUR [El Hadji SALL]
Patriotic Convergence Kaddu Askan Wi or CP-Kaddu Askan Wi [Abdoulaye BALDE]
Patriots of Senegal for Ethics, Work and Fraternity or (PASTEF) [Ousmane SONKO]
Rewmi Party [Idrissa SECK]
Senegalese Democratic Party or PDS [Abdoulaye WADE]
Socialist Party or PS [Ousmane Tanor DIENG]
Tekki Movement [Mamadou Lamine DIALLO]
Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal or AJD/MR [Ibrahima Moctar SARR]
Burst of Youth for the Nation [Lalla Mint CHERIF]
Coalition of Majority Parties or CPM (includes UPR, UDP)
El Karama Party [Cheikhna Ould Mohamed Ould HAJBOU]
El Vadila Party [Ethmane Ould Ahmed ABOULMAALY]
National Forum for Democracy and Unity or FNDU [Mohamed Ould MAOLOUD] (coalition of hard-line opposition parties, includes RNRD-TAWASSOUL)
National Rally for Reform and Development or RNRD-TAWASSOUL [Mohamed Mahmoud Ould SEYIDI]
Party of Unity and Development or PUD [Mohamed BARO]
Popular Progressive Alliance or APP [Messaoud Ould BOULKHEIR]
Rally of Democratic Forces or RFD [Ahmed Ould DADDAH]
Ravah Party [ Mohamed Ould VALL]
Republican Party for Democracy and Renewal or PRDR [Mintata Mint HEDEID]
Union for Democracy and Progress or UDP [Naha Mint MOUKNASS]
Union of Progress Forces [Mohamed Ould MAOULOUD]
Union for the Republic or UPR [Seyidna Ali Ould MOHAMED KHOUNA]
International organization participation
ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, AU, CAEU (candidate), EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAS, MIGA, MIUSMA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Mansour KANE (since 6 January 2020)
chancery: 2215 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 234-0540
FAX: [1] (202) 629-2961
consulate(s) general: Houston, New York
Ambassador Mohamedoun DADDAH (since 27 June 2016)
chancery: 2129 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5700 through 5701
FAX: [1] (202) 319-2623
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Tulinabo S. MUSHINGI (since August 2017); note - also accredited to Guinea-Bissau
telephone: [221] 33-879-4000
embassy: Route des Almadies, Dakar
mailing address: B.P. 49, Dakar
FAX: [221] 33-822-2991
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael J. DODMAN (since 5 January 2018)
telephone: [222] 4525-2660 or [222] 2660-2663
embassy: Avenue Al Quds, Nouadhibou, Nouadhibou Road, Nouakchott

mailing address: use embassy street address
FAX: [222] 4525-1592
Flag description
three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), yellow, and red with a small green five-pointed star centered in the yellow band; green represents Islam, progress, and hope; yellow signifies natural wealth and progress; red symbolizes sacrifice and determination; the star denotes unity and hope

note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the same as those of neighboring Mali and the reverse of those on the flag of neighboring Guinea

green with a yellow, five-pointed star between the horns of a yellow, upward-pointing crescent moon; red stripes along the top and bottom edges; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam; green also represents hope for a bright future; the yellow color stands for the sands of the Sahara; red symbolizes the blood shed in the struggle for independence
National anthem
name: "Pincez Tous vos Koras, Frappez les Balafons" (Pluck Your Koras, Strike the Balafons)
lyrics/music: Leopold Sedar SENGHOR/Herbert PEPPER

note: adopted 1960; lyrics written by Leopold Sedar SENGHOR, Senegal's first president; the anthem sometimes played incorporating the Koras (harp-like stringed instruments) and Balafons (types of xylophones) mentioned in the title

name: "Hymne National de la Republique Islamique de Mauritanie" (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania)
lyrics/music: Baba Ould CHEIKH/traditional, arranged by Tolia NIKIPROWETZKY

note: adopted 1960; the unique rhythm of the Mauritanian anthem makes it particularly challenging to sing; Mauritania in November 2017 adopted a new national anthem, "Bilada-l ubati-l hudati-l kiram" (The Country of Fatherhood is the Honorable Gift) composed by Rageh Daoud (sound file of the new anthem is forthcoming)

International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)
lion; national colors: green, yellow, red
five-pointed star between the horns of a horizontal crescent moon; national colors: green, yellow
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Senegal
dual citizenship recognized: no, but Senegalese citizens do not automatically lose their citizenship if they acquire citizenship in another state
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Mauritania
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


Economy - overview

Senegal’s economy is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture, which are the primary sources of employment in rural areas. The country's key export industries include phosphate mining, fertilizer production, agricultural products and commercial fishing and Senegal is also working on oil exploration projects. It relies heavily on donor assistance, remittances and foreign direct investment. Senegal reached a growth rate of 7% in 2017, due in part to strong performance in agriculture despite erratic rainfall.

President Macky SALL, who was elected in March 2012 under a reformist policy agenda, inherited an economy with high energy costs, a challenging business environment, and a culture of overspending. President SALL unveiled an ambitious economic plan, the Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP), which aims to implement priority economic reforms and investment projects to increase economic growth while preserving macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. Bureaucratic bottlenecks and a challenging business climate are among the perennial challenges that may slow the implementation of this plan.

Senegal receives technical support from the IMF under a Policy Support Instrument (PSI) to assist with implementation of the ESP. The PSI implementation continues to be satisfactory as concluded by the IMF’s fifth review in December 2017. Financial markets have signaled confidence in Senegal through successful Eurobond issuances in 2014, 2017, and 2018.

The government is focusing on 19 projects under the ESP to continue The government’s goal under the ESP is structural transformation of the economy. Key projects include the Thiès-Touba Highway, the new international airport opened in December 2017, and upgrades to energy infrastructure. The cost of electricity is a chief constraint for Senegal’s development. Electricity prices in Senegal are among the highest in the world. Power Africa, a US presidential initiative led by USAID, supports Senegal’s plans to improve reliability and increase generating capacity.

Mauritania's economy is dominated by extractive industries (oil and mines), fisheries, livestock, agriculture, and services. Half the population still depends on farming and raising livestock, even though many nomads and subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s, 1980s, 2000s, and 2017. Recently, GDP growth has been driven largely by foreign investment in the mining and oil sectors.

Mauritania's extensive mineral resources include iron ore, gold, copper, gypsum, and phosphate rock, and exploration is ongoing for tantalum, uranium, crude oil, and natural gas. Extractive commodities make up about three-quarters of Mauritania's total exports, subjecting the economy to price swings in world commodity markets. Mining is also a growing source of government revenue, rising from 13% to 30% of total revenue from 2006 to 2014. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, and fishing accounts for about 15% of budget revenues, 45% of foreign currency earnings. Mauritania processes a total of 1,800,000 tons of fish per year, but overexploitation by foreign and national fleets threaten the sustainability of this key source of revenue.

The economy is highly sensitive to international food and extractive commodity prices. Other risks to Mauritania's economy include its recurring droughts, dependence on foreign aid and investment, and insecurity in neighboring Mali, as well as significant shortages of infrastructure, institutional capacity, and human capital. In December 2017, Mauritania and the IMF agreed to a three year agreement under the Extended Credit Facility to foster economic growth, maintain macroeconomic stability, and reduce poverty. Investment in agriculture and infrastructure are the largest components of the country’s public expenditures.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$54.8 billion (2017 est.)
$51.15 billion (2016 est.)
$48.15 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$17.28 billion (2017 est.)
$16.7 billion (2016 est.)
$16.4 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
7.2% (2017 est.)
6.2% (2016 est.)
6.4% (2015 est.)
3.5% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
0.4% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$3,500 (2017 est.)
$3,300 (2016 est.)
$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$4,500 (2017 est.)
$4,400 (2016 est.)
$4,400 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 16.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 24.3% (2017 est.)
services: 58.8% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 27.8% (2017 est.)
industry: 29.3% (2017 est.)
services: 42.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
46.7% (2011 est.)
31% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 31.1% (2011)
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 29.5% (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1.3% (2017 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)
2.3% (2017 est.)
1.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force
6.966 million (2017 est.)
1.437 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 77.5%
industry: 22.5%
industry and services: 22.5% (2007 est.)
agriculture: 50%
industry: 1.9%
services: 48.1% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate
48% (2007 est.)
10.2% (2017 est.)
10.1% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
40.3 (2011)
37 (2014)
39 (2006 est.)
revenues: 4.139 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.9 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 1.354 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 1.396 billion (2017 est.)
agricultural and fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, zircon, and gold mining, construction materials, ship construction and repair
fish processing, oil production, mining (iron ore, gold, copper)

note: gypsum deposits have never been exploited

Industrial production growth rate
7.7% (2017 est.)
1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
peanuts, millet, corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, tomatoes, green vegetables; cattle, poultry, pigs; fish
dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, camel and sheep
$2.362 billion (2017 est.)
$2.498 billion (2016 est.)
$1.722 billion (2017 est.)
$1.401 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
fish, groundnuts (peanuts), petroleum products, phosphates, cotton
iron ore, fish and fish products, livestock, gold, copper, crude oil
Exports - partners
Mali 14.8%, Switzerland 11.4%, India 6%, Cote dIvoire 5.3%, UAE 5.1%, Gambia, The 4.2%, Spain 4.1% (2017)
China 31.2%, Switzerland 14.4%, Spain 10.1%, Germany 8.2%, Japan 8.1% (2017)
$5.217 billion (2017 est.)
$4.966 billion (2016 est.)
$2.094 billion (2017 est.)
$1.9 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
food and beverages, capital goods, fuels
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Imports - partners
France 16.3%, China 10.4%, Nigeria 8%, India 7.2%, Netherlands 4.8%, Spain 4.2% (2017)
Belgium 11.5%, UAE 11.3%, US 9.2%, China 7.5%, France 7.4%, Netherlands 6.1%, Morocco 6%, Slovenia 4.8%, Vanuatu 4.7%, Spain 4.7% (2017)
Debt - external
$8.571 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.327 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.15 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.899 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
617.4 (2017 est.)
593.01 (2016 est.)
593.01 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
ouguiyas (MRO) per US dollar -
363.6 (2017 est.)
352.37 (2016 est.)
352.37 (2015 est.)
319.7 (2014 est.)
299.5 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
48.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
47.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
96.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
100% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$1.827 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$116.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$875 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$849.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$1.547 billion (2017 est.)
-$769 million (2016 est.)
-$711 million (2017 est.)
-$707 million (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$21.11 billion (2017 est.)
$4.935 billion (2017 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares



Central bank discount rate
0.25% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
9% (31 December 2009)
12% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
5.4% (31 December 2017 est.)
5.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
17% (31 December 2017 est.)
17% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$6.695 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.219 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.364 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.355 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$5.944 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.689 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.296 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.287 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$5.944 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.689 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.296 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.287 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
19.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
27.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-3.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-0.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 8.1%
male: 7.4%
female: 8.9% (2015 est.)
total: 15.2%
male: 14.1%
female: 17% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 71.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.2% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 25.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 3.4% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 27% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -42.8% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 64.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 21.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 56.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -3.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 39% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -78.6% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
21.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
21.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
24.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
19% of GDP (2015 est.)


Electricity - production
4.167 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.139 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
3.497 billion kWh (2016 est.)
1.059 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
4,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
17,880 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
5,333 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
20 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
59.46 million cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
59.46 million cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
977,000 kW (2016 est.)
558,000 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
82% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
65% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
7% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
16% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
20% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
17,590 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
48,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
17,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
4,063 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
32,050 bbl/day (2015 est.)
17,290 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
8.644 million Mt (2017 est.)
2.615 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
population without electricity: 5 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 71% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 94% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 50% (2019)
population without electricity: 3 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 32% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 56% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 4% (2019)


Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 195,288
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.27 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 53,742
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.37 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 16,871,654
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109.72 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,083,199
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 104.09 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
Internet users
total: 6,909,635
percent of population: 46% (July 2018 est.)
total: 798,809
percent of population: 20.8% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: mobile penetration reached 108% in March 2019; mobile broadband accounts for close to 100% (97.2%) Internet accesses; 3G and LTE services for 50% of population; growth in the intel market along with economic growth for the country; regulator awards more MVNO licenses, deactivated some 5 million unregistered SIM cards (2020)
domestic: generally reliable urban system with a fiber-optic network; about two-thirds of all fixed-line connections are in Dakar; mobile-cellular service is steadily displacing fixed-line service, even in urban areas; fixed-line 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 110 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 221; landing points for the ACE, Atlantis-2, MainOne and SAT-3/WASC submarine cables providing connectivity from South Africa, numerous western African countries, Europe and South America; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: limited system of cable and open-wire lines, minor microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone communications stations; mobile-cellular services expanding; 3 mobile network operators; monopolies and little stimulus for competition; 3G penetration high yet little development in LTE and consequently mobile broadband access speeds are low; World Bank and European Investment Bank support attempts to improve telecom and improve regulatory measures; regulator struggles to enforce good quality of service; efforts to improve backbone of network (2020)
domestic: fixed-line teledensity 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular network coverage extends mainly to urban areas with a teledensity of roughly 104 per 100 persons; mostly cable and open-wire lines; a domestic satellite telecommunications system links Nouakchott with regional capitals (2019)
international: country code - 222; landing point for the ACE submarine cable for connectivity to 19 West African countries and 2 European countries; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intelsat - Atlantic Ocean, 2 Arabsat) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 129,820
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)
total: 13,222
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
state-run Radiodiffusion Television Senegalaise (RTS) broadcasts TV programs from five cities in Senegal; in most regions of the country, viewers can receive TV programming from at least 7 private broadcasters; a wide range of independent TV programming is available via satellite; RTS operates a national radio network and a number of regional FM stations; at least 7 community radio stations and 18 private-broadcast radio stations are available; transmissions of at least 5 international broadcasters are accessible on FM in Dakar (2019)
10 TV stations: 5 government-owned and 5 private; in October 2017, the government suspended all private TV stations due to non-payment of broadcasting fees; as of April 2018, only one private TV station was broadcasting, Al Mourabitoune, the official TV of the Mauritanian Islamist party, Tewassoul; the other stations are negotiating payment options with the government and hope to be back on the air soon; 18 radio broadcasters: 15 government-owned, 3 (Radio Nouakchott Libre, Radio Tenwir, Radio Kobeni) private; all 3 private radio stations broadcast from Nouakchott; of the 15 government stations, 3 broadcast from Nouakchott (Radio Mauritanie, Radio Jeunesse, Radio Koran) and the other 12 broadcast from each of the 12 regions outside Nouakchott; Radio Jeunesse and Radio Koran are now also being re-broadcast in the regions (2019)


total: 906 km (713 km operational in 2017) (2017)
narrow gauge: 906 km 1.000-m gauge (2017)
total: 728 km (2014)
standard gauge: 728 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
total: 16,665 km (2017)
paved: 6,126 km (includes 241 km of expressways) (2017)
unpaved: 10,539 km (2017)
total: 12,253 km (2018)
paved: 3,988 km (2018)
unpaved: 8,265 km (2018)
1,000 km (primarily on the Senegal, Saloum, and Casamance Rivers) (2012)
(some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Dakar
major seaport(s): Nouadhibou, Nouakchott
Merchant marine
total: 32
by type: general cargo 4, oil tanker 1, other 27 (2019)
total: 5
by type: general cargo 2, other 3 (2019)
total: 20 (2013)
total: 30 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 9 (2017)
over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 (2017)
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
total: 9 (2017)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 (2017)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 11 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 21 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 8 (2013)
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 2 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 21,038 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 40,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 6
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 454,435 (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
6V (2016)
5T (2016)


Military branches
Senegalese Armed Forces: Army, Senegalese National Navy (Marine Senegalaise, MNS), Senegalese Air Force (Armee de l'Air du Senegal), National Gendarmerie (includes Territorial and Mobile components) (2020)
Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM); Ministry of Interior: Gendarmerie, National Guard (2019)
Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for voluntary military service; 20 years of age for selective conscript service; 2-year service obligation; women have been accepted into military service since 2008 (2016)
18 is the legal minimum age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
1.5% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2018)
1.5% of GDP (2017)
1.6% of GDP (2016)
1.2% of GDP (2015)
2.8% of GDP (2019)
3% of GDP (2018)
2.9% of GDP (2017)
2.9% of GDP (2016)
2.8% of GDP (2015)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

cross-border trafficking in persons, timber, wildlife, and cannabis; rebels from the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance find refuge in Guinea-Bissau

Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant

Refugees and internally displaced persons
refugees (country of origin): 14,114 (Mauritania) (2020)
IDPs: 8,400 (clashes between government troops and separatists in Casamance region in the 1990s and early 2000s) (2019)
refugees (country of origin): 26,001 (Western Saharan Sahrawis) (2019); 60,455 (Mali) (2020)

Source: CIA Factbook