The United States established diplomatic relations with Senegal in 1960, following its independence from France and the dissolution of the Mali Federation. Senegal had three presidents from 1960 to 2012. Power was transferred peacefully from one president to his handpicked successor in 1981, and transferred again in elections in 2000. The country’s fourth president was elected in 2012.
Senegal is a strong U.S. ally as a regional, diplomatic, and economic partner. The country shares many fundamental values and international goals with the United States, and it has been a symbol of democracy as well as ethnic and religious tolerance. Senegal also has contributed to regional peacekeeping operations. The main challenge Senegal faces is accelerating economic growth in order to create more opportunity for young people, who are the majority of the population.