Lebanese people in Senegal

Lebanese people in Senegal
Total population
Arabic (Lebanese Arabic· French · Wolof[1]
Sunni · Shia · Maronite · Eastern Orthodox[1][2]
Related ethnic groups
Lebanese diaspora

There is a significant community of Lebanese people in Senegal.[1]

Migration history

The first trader from Ottoman Lebanon arrived in French Senegal in the 1860s. However, early migration was slow; by 1900, there were only about one hundred Lebanese living in the country, mostly from the vicinity of Tyre. They worked as street vendors in Dakar, Saint-Louis and Rufisque. After World War I, they began to move into the peanut trade. With the establishment of the French Mandate of Lebanon, Lebanese immigration expanded sharply.[3] During the Great Depression and again after World War II, French traders lobbied the government to restrict Lebanese immigration; however, the government generally ignored such lobbying.[4]

Interethnic relations

During the colonial period, the Lebanese tended to support independence movements.[4] Their social position outside of the colonial relationship, as neither colonist nor colonised, enabled them to maintain good relations with both Senegalese consumers as well as the large French businessmen.[5] After Senegal gained independence in 1960, most French small traders left the country; however, indigenous Senegalese people began to compete increasingly with the Lebanese in the peanut sector, and soon after, the whole peanut marketing sector was nationalised.[4]

Lebanese migrants and their descendants have tended to maintain dual citizenship of both Lebanon and Senegal.[6] Most speak Arabic, Wolof and French, and some have become involved in Senegalese politics. However, they are a fairly endogamous community.[1]

In the early 2000s, the Lebanese began to be displaced from their position as a market-dominant minority by the influx of Chinese traders and the cheap goods they brought from China; as a result, the Lebanese began to shift to a pattern of buying goods from the Chinese and reselling them in remote areas of the country where no Chinese migrants lived.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Schwarz, Naomi (2007-07-10), "Lebanese Immigrants Boost West African Commerce", Voice of America, archived from the original on 2011-12-24, retrieved 2010-01-11
  2. ^ https://www.cairn.info/les-mondes-chiites-et-l-iran--9782845868885-page-211.htm
  3. ^ O'Brien 1975, p. 98
  4. ^ a b c Boumedouha 1990, p. 538
  5. ^ O'Brien 1975, p. 96
  6. ^ Leichtman 2005, p. 663
  7. ^ Gaye 2008, p. 131


Further reading

  • Boumedouha, Saïd (1992), "Change and Continuity in the Relationship between the Lebanese in Senegal and their Hosts", in Hourani, Albert; Shehadi, Nadim (eds.), The Lebanese in the World: A Century of Emigration, I. B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-85043-303-3
  • El Bcheraoui, Charbel (2007), Etude du vieillissement de la population libanaise vivant en milieu urbain, rural et émigrée au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation, Aix-en-Provence: University of the Mediterranean, OCLC 493494634
  • Leichtman, Mara A. (2006), A tale of two Shi'isms: Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts in Dakar, Ph.D. dissertation, Rhode Island: Department of Anthropology, Brown University, OCLC 183678779
  • Taraf, Souha (1994), L'espace en mouvement: dynamiques migratoires et territorialisation des familles libanaises au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation, Tours: Department of Geography, François Rabelais University, OCLC 490432951

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