Hydrogeology of Senegal
The area of present-day Senegal has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Recorded history shows kingdoms in this area from the 7th century; and parts of Senegal lay within the ancient empires of Ghana and Jolof at times between the 8th and 16th centuries. Islam has been an important influence since the Almovarid era of the 11th century. Various European colonial powers competed for trade in the area from the 15th century, including Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain. From the 17th century France dominated the area as part of French West Africa. In 1960 Senegal gained independence, initially as part of the short-lived Mali Federation with French Sudan (later Mali) and then a few months later as independent Senegal. Between 1982 and 1989, Senegal federated with Gambia as Senegambia. There were sporadic episodes of unrest in the 1980s and 90s, but since 2000 the country has seen relative political and civil stability, although there has been a long-running, albeit relatively low key separatist conflict in the southern Casamance region.
In the colonial period the economy was dominated by export of groundnuts and other agricultural products. After independence, commercial agriculture was run by government parastatal organisations. From the 1980s there have been moves to privatise and diversify the economy. Senegal’s manufacturing industry is better developed than that of other West African countries, with petrochemicals now playing a significant role in the economy, and Dakar an important international port. Current key exports include fish, chemicals, cotton, groundnuts and calcium phosphate. Tourism is of growing importance, in part due to Senegal’s diverse ecology and culture, its relatively high level of development in comparison with other West African countries, and its reputation as a fairly stable democracy within the region. Information technology based services are another key contributor to the economy.
Senegal has relatively abundant water resources averaged across the country, but there are strong regional and seasonal variations. The north of the country is semi-arid; the south humid-tropical. The largest surface water resource is the shared Senegal River, which forms the country’s northern boundary. Many smaller perennial rivers and some lakes are also important resources. Groundwater is relatively abundant and provides much of the country’s water supplies. Overabstraction of groundwater is a growing problem in some areas.
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South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
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South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution’s recognition of 11 official languages, which is the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990.
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