Senegal borders the Atlantic Ocean on the westernmost point of the African continent. Two distinct
seasons characterize Senegal’s climate: a dry season from roughly October to May and a rainy season
from June to September. While Senegal has enjoyed a strong economic performance and a steady growth
over recent years, the population’s living standards are still very low. With a gross national income (GNI)
of US$540 per capita, life expectancy hovers at 56 years and the country retains a low, 40% adult literacy
rate. In 2006, Senegal ranked 156th of 177 countries in the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP)
human development index. Poverty in Senegal is most prevalent in rural areas, where roughly 60% of the
population resides. The other 40% are found in urban areas, where the majority live in rapidly growing
urban suburbs. Low agricultural production, limited capacity of the economy to create sustainable jobs,
and inadequate resource allocation for social services contribute to poverty.
Senegal is vulnerable to drought, locust invasion, flooding and related health epidemics, sea-level rise,
coastal erosion and its corollaries, and bush fire. Priority areas for research and adaptation measures
include water infrastructure, coastal zones, and the agriculture sectors, with particular attention to
reducing vulnerability to flooding and improving water management in the Senegal River basin.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities