Senegal is primarily an agricultural country, but industry in the cities, especially Dakar, is growing. The principal food crops are millet, corn, sorghum, rice, and vegetables. Peanuts are the chief cash crop and the country's main agricultural export; they are grown primarily on small farms in the region between the Siné and Saloum rivers near Kaolack and Diourbel. Cotton is also grown and there is a sizable coastal fishing industry. Large numbers of cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep, and goats are raised, although intermittent drought conditions can reduce their population. The principal minerals extracted are phosphate rock, high-grade iron ore, limestone, and gold. Offshore petroleum deposits are being explored.
Industries include peanut and fish processing, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, and ship construction and repair. Tourism and information technology are growing sectors of the economy. The west-central part of Senegal, which includes Saint-Louis, Louga, Dakar, Thiès, and Kaolack, is well served by railroads and major highways; a rail line runs from Dakar to Mali. Dakar is the country's leading port and also has an international airport. The chief imports are foodstuffs (especially rice), machinery, transportation equipment, and crude petroleum; the main exports (in addition to peanuts and peanut products) are processed fish, petroleum products, calcium phosphate, and cotton. France is by far Senegal's leading trade partner; Mali, India, and Nigeria also carry on a considerable trade with the country.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.