"Climate scientists project that salt water intrusion from rising sea levels will lead to a significant reduction in fish stocks for all west African coastal countries – countries for whom fishing is vital to economic stability. A World Fish Centre report says that Senegal’s economy is 'highly vulnerable' to the effects of global warming, and has a limited capacity to adapt. Other projections include coastal erosion and decreases in rainfall by a further 20%, leading to crop failures and food shortages in agricultural areas, aggravated by further desertification in the east of the country as the Sahara expands." (Africa Talks Climate, 2009).
Senegal’s agriculture industry occupies roughly 70% of the country’s working population and contributes 15% of the GDP. In the coastal south, 40% of the population depend on fishing for employment, and many more for dietary protein: nearly two-thirds of Senegal’s population live near the coast.
Rainfall is relatively high and dependable in the south, but in the north the climatic shift it has experienced during the past 25 years has resulted in crop and livestock production becoming even more difficult, as desertification extends further into the country from the Sahara.
Like its neighbouring countries, Senegal was hit by serious drought in the late 1960s which has affected the country’s ecology and environment. Average annual rainfall and agricultural production have decreased, livestock mortality has increased, and the country’s forest resources are disappearing.
Sources: Africa Talks Climate, 2009. Accessed on 5 November 2009 at http://www.africatalksclimate.com/. BBC News Online, World Bank, CIA World Factbook, Aquastat, International Journal of Climatology, IIED, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, OECD
Region: West Africa
Population: 12.7 million (UN, 2008)
Major languages: French, Wolof and Jola. Other languages include Pulaar and Mandinka
Major religion: Islam
Terrain: Flat or rising to foothills
Climate: Tropical/Sahelian. Desert or grasslands in the north, heavier vegetation in the south and south-east