The vast majority of Senegalese are Muslims, most of whom belong to the main focus of Islam Sunni. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in Senegal’s constitution and the tolerance is great between the country’s various religious groups.
The Tukulor people (see Population and languages) were converted to Islam as early as the 11th century, but the majority of the population became Muslims during the 19th century. Believers belong to various Muslim fraternities that have great influence in society. One obeys his religious leader, marabout, and often contributes money to the brotherhood. Two fraternities dominate: Tidjania, which has the most members, and Mouridia, which controls large parts of the important peanut cultivation and is thus an economic power factor. The holy city of the Mourides Touba has an informal special position with far-reaching self-government and limited transparency from the central government. The city has, among other things, its own militia to increase the safety of the streets.
Religion is an integral part of most Senegalese’s everyday lives, whether they are Muslims, Christians or followers of traditional African religions. The Christian minority consists mainly of Catholics. Catholics are mainly found in the cities as well as in the Casamance region, where the traditional religions are also strongest. The animist regards everything in nature as living and respect for the ancestors is important. Even Muslims and Christians often believe in spirit beings and supernatural powers.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Senegal, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
Schools open to final year students
After being closed for almost three months due to the corona pandemic, the country’s schools open to the students who will be writing their degree during the current academic year. Half a million pupils can thus return to school provided they wear mouthguards. Many schools have taken measures to reduce the risk of infection, but at the same time there is great concern that it will be difficult to maintain the restrictions. The number of cases of covid-19 is still increasing in Senegal and President Macky Sall is quarantined himself after coming in contact with an infected person. The president is not said to be infected.
Protests lead to new relief
After several days of violent protests against the curfew during the corona pandemic, the government decides to ease the restrictions. The Senegalese are again allowed to travel inland and the night curfew is reduced by two hours. The relief will also apply to public gatherings in public and private contexts. The rules on social distancing and oral protection, on the other hand, remain for the time being.
Violent protests against coronary restrictions
For the third day in a row, police and protesters rally in violent popular protests against the government’s remaining restrictions to prevent the spread of covid-19. More than 200 people are arrested and the police deploy tear gas before they succeed in dispelling the protesters, whose main message to the government is that travel and curfew bans deprive people of their livelihoods. The restrictions, which have been in effect since March, have been gradually eased (see May 2020) but not enough to appease the protesters.
The bodies of the dead are allowed to be flown home in the end
After a month-long dispute, President Macky Sall rescinded the ban on retrieving the bodies of Senegalese who died in covid-19 overseas. Several foreign nationals have died of the disease, mainly in France, but grieving families have been stopped from flying their relatives home. As recently as last week, the country’s highest court announced that the ban was valid. Nevertheless, the president is now changing. In a statement he says that the conditions have changed and that it is now possible to carry out the transport safely.
Senegal eases the restrictions
Senegal now decides to ease some of the restrictions that have been introduced to reduce the spread of the new corona virus. The nightly curfew is shortened and mosques and churches are reopened. Many markets and businesses that previously only had to stay open a few days a week are now allowed to run their businesses more freely, if they keep closed one day a week to clean the premises. Some restrictions imposed on public transport will be removed, but schools will remain closed until June. Senegal has had nearly 1,900 confirmed cases of covid-19, and at least 19 people have died in the disease.
Reduced referrals hit poor Senegalese
Many Senegalese families are hit hard when relatives abroad can no longer send home as much money as before. According to the World Bank, almost 40 percent of Senegalese live on less than two dollars a day and they are often dependent on this money. The World Bank estimates that these so-called referrals will decrease by 20 percent in 2020, compared with 2019, when Senegalese abroad sent home the equivalent of $ 554 billion.
Comprehensive financial rescue efforts are initiated
Senegal launches one of West Africa’s largest package of measures to try to mitigate the effects of the severe coronary restrictions. The state has leased nearly a thousand trucks that have started distributing food and other supplies to those who were deprived of their livelihoods during the ongoing pandemic. The ambition is to reach one million households and up to ten million citizens with the relief efforts.
The ban on disposable plastic items takes effect
A ban on all use of plastic for single use comes into force today. However, the government makes an exception for the sale of water in plastic bags, as long as the corona pandemic is ongoing. The measure was decided in January to reduce the extensive littering of plastics on both streets and beaches.
Senegal receives crisis loan from the IMF
The IMF grants a $ 442 million crisis loan to Senegal to help the country cope with the ongoing corona crisis. According to President Macky Sall, Senegal’s GDP was expected to grow by almost 7 percent by 2020, now the forecast is written down to 3 percent or even less. The sectors most affected are transport, tourism and agriculture. At the same time, the country is severely affected by Senegalese working in Europe due to the corona pandemic, unable to send home as much money as before. Despite this, Senegal extends the ban on passenger traffic by air which is already in effect until 31 May.
Senegal announces health emergency
Senegal announces a health emergency from midnight on the same day in order to try to stop the spread of the covid-19 viral disease. This means, among other things, that a curfew is introduced from 8 o’clock in the evening to 6 o’clock in the morning. The authorities are also given the right to stop events, turn off public places and prevent travel between different regions. The police and the military have been given powers to ensure that the measures are followed. The restrictions are presented by President Macky Sall in a televised speech to the nation. At the same time, a new solidarity fund of $ 1.5 billion and $ 80 million will be launched, the money will go to those who cannot afford to buy food.
Senegal cancels air traffic to and from Europe
Senegal stops all air traffic to and from France, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Algeria and Tunisia. Since then, 27 cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been detected in the country. In the past, the government has decided to close all schools and to suspend the 60th anniversary of Senegal’s independence. Religious leaders also decide to set up worship services and other gatherings to protect the people in their congregations.
Schools are closed due to covid-19
14th of March
President Macky Sall announces that all the country’s schools should be closed with immediate effect to try to limit the spread of covid-19. All public gatherings are also banned, which means, among other things, that the 60th anniversary of the independence of France on April 4 is completely canceled, as well as several religious festivals. The stricter restrictions also include stricter border controls and a ban on cruise ships from entering the country’s ports.
First case of covid-19 in Senegal
Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr announces that Senegal received its first known case of covid-19. The infected person is a French man who has lived in the country for several years. He visited France in late February. According to the Minister of Health, preparedness is now being increased in all hospitals.
Peanut exports to China create problems for Senegalese industry
High demand for peanuts from China means good income for many Senegalese farmers, while there is a shortage of the domestic market, which is detrimental to the local business community. The Chinese companies can pay significantly more for the peanuts than local industrial companies, who now have to let seasonal workers go because of the lack of raw materials. It has also led to local companies accusing Chinese buyers of distorting competition when they bought the peanuts even before they were harvested. In 2015, Senegal exported 100,000 tonnes of peanuts to China, by 2019 exports had risen to 200,000 tonnes, according to statistics from the Chinese embassy in Dakar.