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Introduction: The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. 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 carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989. The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa...

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People: About 58% of Senegal's population is rural (2010). In rural areas, density varies from about 77 per square kilometer (200 per sq. mi.) in the west-central region to 2 per square kilometer (5 per sq. mi.) in the arid eastern section. About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French) and Lebanese reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities. French is the official language but is used regularly only by the ...

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International Relations: Senegal’s relations with all its neighbours are generally good. Its relationship with The Gambia is complicated by the fact that The Gambia is used as a base by Casamance rebels. Relations with Guinea-Bissau have improved since the death of former Junta leader Ansumane Mane in 1999, who was thought to have aided the Casamance rebels.

Senegal pursues an active foreign policy and aspires to represent Africa on the UN Security Council. While France is a close ally for historical reasons, Senegal has also sought to develop its relations with the emerging economies, particularly China (which it only recognised in 2005) and ...

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