Foreign relations of Senegal


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President Léopold Senghor advocated close relations with France and negotiation and compromise as the best means of resolving international differences. To a large extent, the two succeeding presidents have carried on Senghor's policies and philosophies. Senegal has long supported functional integration among French-speaking West African states through the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

Senegal has a high profile in many international organizations and was a member of the UN Security Council in 1988–89. It was elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1997. Friendly to the West, especially to France and to the United States, Senegal also is a vigorous proponent of more assistance from developed countries to the Third World.

Senegal enjoys mostly cordial relations with its neighbors. In spite of clear progress on other fronts with Mauritania (border security, resource management, economic integration, etc.), there remains the problem of an estimated 30,000 Afro-Mauritanian refugees living in Senegal.

Senegal is also a member of the International Criminal Court with a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US-military (as covered under Article 98).

Pre-colonial foreign policyEdit

Senegal was regarded as Senegambia before the arrival of Europeans (Jaiteh)[2], where a number of independent kingdoms settled. By the 15th century, when the first Europeans arrived, Senegambia was linked to intra and inter-regional (Decourse, 8)[3] trade networks that extended throughout the coast. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the African slave trade took advantage of autonomous kingdoms such as, the Wolof and Jolof kingdoms (Tang, 3).[4] The establishment of French colonies coupled with the competing hegemonic power between local ethnic groups within the Wolof kingdom led to a power void after traditional rulers could not prevent the French from impeding the establishments already in place by politicians and elites (Venema, 4) . The change from slave trade to the trade of cash crops set the precedent for the collapse of states within both empires (Gray, 3).[5] The French used Senegal's advantageous geographic location, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, to safeguard their interest in the trade of groundnuts (Schraeder and Gaye, 488).[6] The foreign policy of Senegal is also characterized by the religious values and beliefs of Islam. The spiritual traditions and foundations of Senegal represent another facet of foreign policy in and outside of the region. Political and diplomatic actors are ultimately determined by marabouts that intercede on behalf of the people to Allah (Schraeder and Gaye, 489).[6] Some marabouts establish loyalist relationships of patron with political leaders. Marabouts do not make policy, but their support is essential to the stability of government (Behrman Creevey, 262).[7]


Senegalese independence began in 1960 with Léopold Sedar Sénghor as the first president and was succeeded by Abdou Diouf in 1980. There are four sets of principles key to conceptualizing foreign policy in Senegal. The first is a French term, reminiscent of colonial roots, called la francophonie (Schraeder and Gaye, 495)[6] that is a part of a larger foreign policy initiative to self-affirm the values and cultures of African people while rejecting French colonialism and orientalist attitudes through the concept of Négritude (Diagne)[8] and Pan-Africanism (Diagne).[8] The promotion of this concept played a key role in the formation of worldwide summits, such as the Franco-African Summit, that allowed Senegal to emerge as a leader within the francophone movement in Africa African consolidation, unification, and cooperation are at the center of Sengalese foreign policy (Schraeder and Gaye, 495).[6] Senegelese diplomats in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believe that West Africa must unite in order to not only remain competitive in an international economy dominated by superpowers like China and the United States, but also promote and consolidate economic development within West Africa (Schraeder and Gaye, 495).[6] Sengalese policy officials prioritize and use the individual strengths of surrounding African countries in order to strengthen regional economies and weaken regional dependency on foreign actors. This combative approach for western influence is underscored in the Senegalese constitution in clause four of the preamble: “must spare no effort in the fulfillment of African Unity” (Schraeder and Gaye, 493).[6] These efforts have been actively pursued through formal diplomatic agreements with neighboring countries, such as the Mali Foundation in 1960, the Federation with Gambia from 1982 to 1989, as well as informal forms of cooperation such as the Inter-State Authority in the Fight Against Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), The Joint African and Malagasy Organization (OCAM), the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River Valley (OMVG), and the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Valley (OMVS) (Schraeder and Gaye, 493).[6]

Future developments in foreign policyEdit

Senegal is regarded on the international stage as one of the most stable democracies in Africa (Konte) [9] as a result of three peaceful power-transitions since 1960 (WorldBank). Sengalese policy making is primarily based on immediate neighbors, the remainder of Africa, the Arab world and other Muslim states, and western democracies (Schraeder and Gaye, 501)[6] and revolves around Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Gambia (Schraeder and Gaye, 502).[6] A source of conflict between Senegal and surrounding nations has been the management and development of shared border resources (Schraeder and Gaye, 503).[6]

Senegalese foreign policy also revolves around Senegal's involvement in the internal affairs of other African nations and the desire to take and establish a lead role in a myriad of organizations committed to promoting regional integration and African unity (Schraeder and Gaye, 504). [6] International commitments are a distinctive aspect of Sengalese foreign policy and includes arrangements with international organizations that operate in Senegal and members of state organizations that Senegal belongs to (Sall, 9).[1] An obligatory resolution mandated by the United Nations or a decree by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may constitute an international commitment by Senegal.

Senegalese foreign policy is now characterized by a nationalism that is fueled by the place Senegal once had within the French colony and a traditional culture. Thus, constituting a sense of regional superiority in regards to the domain of regional integration. The thirty-five years of uninterrupted democratic rule in Senegal has also been a key factor in Sengalese foreign policy. Over seventy percent of people are dependent on agriculture to provide economic stability and most of Senegal's economic earnings stem from the exportation of groundnuts (Gray, 1).[5] Thus, Senegal is currently working towards a structural transformation of their economy by implementing a form of economic diplomacy to strengthen regional stability and seize foreign markets (Zacchia et al., 2).[10] Senegal plays an active role within international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nepad, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or the International Organisation of La Francophonie (WorldBank).[11]

Bilateral relationsEdit

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  Armenia April 8, 2004

Both countries established diplomatic relations on April 8, 2004.

  Canada 1962 See Canada–Senegal relations
  China See China–Senegal relations

From 1996 to 2005, Senegal maintained relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) instead of the People's Republic of China. On October 25, 2005, People's Republic of China re-established foreign relations with Senegal.[14]

  France 1960 See France–Senegal relations
  Guyana November 10, 2009

Both countries established diplomatic relations on November 10, 2009.[17]

  Iran See Iran–Senegal relations

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Wade had a joint press conference along with a close meeting in Feb 2008 in the city of Mashhad, both side pledged to expand the bilateral ties in the fields of economy, tourism and politics in addition to increase the efforts for empowering the OIC.[18]

Also the giant Iran-based automaker Iran Khodro established[19] an assembly line to produce Iranian cars in Senegal and dispatch them to the African markets directly from Dakar. This Iranian-Senegalese company has the capacity to produce 10,000 Samand cars annually.[20]

In 2011, Senegal cut ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of supplying separatist rebels in the Casamance region with weapons. They purport that these weapons were used in the killing of three Senegalese soldiers.[21]

  Malaysia See Malaysia–Senegal relations
  Mauritania See Mauritania–Senegal relations

In the years following independence, Mauritania's principal friend in sub-Saharan Africa was Senegal, although the two countries have espoused different strategies for development.[24] The growing split between blacks and Maures in Mauritania has, however, affected ties with Senegal, which sees itself as championing the rights of Mauritania's black minority.[24] Under Taya, relations between the two countries were correct, even though each accused the other of harboring exiled dissidents.[24]

In May 1987, Senegal extradited Captain Moulaye Asham Ould Ashen, a former black member of the Haidalla government accused of corruption, but only after veiled threats from Nouakchott that failure to do so would result in Mauritania's allowing Senegalese dissidents a platform from which to speak out against the government of President Abdou Diouf.[24] At the same time, Senegal and Mauritania have cooperated successfully with Mali under the Senegal River Development Office (Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal—OMVS), which was formed in 1972 as a flood control, irrigation, and agricultural development project.[24]

  Mexico May 1962 See Mexico–Senegal relations
  • Mexico is accredited to Senegal from its embassy in Rabat, Morocco.[25] and maintains an honorary consulate in Dakar.[26]
  • Senegal is accredited to Mexico from its embassy in Washington, D.C., United States and maintains an honorary consulate in Mexico City.[27]
  • Namibia is accredited to Senegal from its high commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
  • Senegal is accredited to Namibia from its embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
  Russia June 14, 1962 See Russia–Senegal relations

Russia has an embassy in Dakar and Senegal has an embassy in Moscow. The Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with Senegal on June 14, 1962.

  Serbia 1961

Both countries have established diplomatic relations in 1961.[28]

  South Korea October 19, 1962

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Senegal was on October 19, 1962.[29]

  United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates established an Embassy in Dakar in March 2018, which was unveiled by Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[30] The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development loaned Senegal $13 million to invest in rural solar energy.[30]

  United States 1960 See Senegal–United States relations

Senegal enjoys an excellent relationship with the United States. The Government of Senegal is known and respected for its able diplomats and has often supported the U.S. in the United Nations, including with troop contributions for peacekeeping activities. The United States maintains friendly relations with Senegal and provides considerable economic and technical assistance.

  • Senegal has an embassy in Washington, DC and a consulate-general in New York City.[31]
  • United States has an embassy in Dakar.[32]

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State document: "Senegal".

Disputes – internationalEdit

A short section of the boundary with the Gambia is undefined.

Illicit drugsEdit

Transshipment point for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin moving to Europe and North America; illicit cultivator of cannabis[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Sall, Alioune (2013). "The Foreign Policy of Senegal Since 2000." South African Foreign Policy and African Drivers Programme". South African Institute of International Affairs. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Malanding, Jaiteh J. (December 16, 2008). "Senegambia". The Atlas of the Gambia. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  3. ^ DeCorse, Christopher R. (2001). West Africa during the Atlantic Slave Trade Archaeological Perspectives. London: Leicester University Press. p. 8.
  4. ^ Tang, Patricia (2007). Masters of the Sabar: Wolof Griot Percussionists of Senegal. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 3.
  5. ^ a b Gray, James K. (June 10, 2002). "The Groundnut Market in Senegal: Examination of Price and Policy Changes". S2CID 157599763. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Peter J, Gaye, Schraeder, Gaye (1997). "Senegal's Foreign Policy: Challenges of Democratization and Marginalization". African Affairs. 96 (385): 485–508. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a007881. JSTOR 723816.
  7. ^ Behrman, Lucy Creevey (1977). "Muslim Politics and Development in Senegal: The Journal of Modern African Studies". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 15 (2): 261–277. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00053933. JSTOR 159921.
  8. ^ a b Diagne, Souleymane Bachir (Summer 2018). "Négritude". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Konte, Suleyman Garaba (2018). "Leadership in African Public Policy: A Comparative Study of the Effects of African Political Thought on Monetary, Trade, and Aid Policy in The Gambia and Senegal". ProQuest 2132006730. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Zacchia, Marzo, Muller, Paolo, Federica, Aneliya (2018). "Systematic Country Diagnosis of Senegal" (PDF). The World Bank Group. Retrieved September 30, 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ World Bank (2019). "The World Bank in Senegal". The World Bank Group. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  12. ^ Embassy of Canada in Senegal
  13. ^ Embassy of Senegal in Ottawa (in French)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 5, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Embassy of France in Dakar (in French)". Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  16. ^ "Embassy of Senegal in Paris (in French)". Archived from the original on May 18, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Iran, Senegal presidents urge OIC to support Muslims[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Iranian car assembly line in Senegal
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 29, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Senegal severs ties with Iran – Africa – Al Jazeera English
  22. ^ "Official Website of Embassy of Malaysia, Dakar". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  23. ^ "Ambassade (Malaisie)" (in French). Gourvernement du Senegal. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  24. ^ a b c d e Handloff, Robert E. "Relations with Other African States". In Mauritania: A Country Study (Robert E. Handloff, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (June 1988). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  25. ^ "Embassy of Mexico in Morocco (in Spanish)". Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  26. ^ Honorary consulate of Mexico in Dakar, Senegal
  27. ^ "Embassy of Senegal in the United States (in French)". Archived from the original on December 25, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b "Abdullah opens new UAE Embassy in Senegal". Gulf News. March 6, 2018.
  31. ^ Embassy of Senegal in Washington, DC (in French) Archived July 15, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Embassy of the United States in Dakar (in English and French)". Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2019.