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Lebanese people in Senegal


Lebanese people in Senegal

Lebanese people in Senegal
Total population
Arabic · French · Wolof[1]
Shi'a · Maronite · Greek Orthodox[1]
Related ethnic groups
Lebanese diaspora

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


  • Migration history 1
  • Interethnic relations 2
  • Notes 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • Further reading 5

Migration history

The first trader from Lebanon arrived in 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.[2] 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.[3]

Interethnic relations

During the colonial period, the Lebanese tended to support independence movements.[3] 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.[4] 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.[3]

Lebanese migrants and their descendants have tended to maintain dual citizenship of both Lebanon and Senegal.[5] 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.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e Schwarz, Naomi (2007-07-10), "Lebanese Immigrants Boost West African Commerce", Voice of America, retrieved 2010-01-11 
  2. ^ O'Brien 1975, p. 98
  3. ^ a b c Boumedouha 1990, p. 538
  4. ^ O'Brien 1975, p. 96
  5. ^ Leichtman 2005, p. 663
  6. ^ Gaye 2008, p. 131


  • Boumedouha, Saïd (1990), "Adjustment to West African Realities: The Lebanese in Senegal", Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 60 (4): 538–549,  
  • Leichtman, Mara A. (2005), "The legacy of transnational lives: Beyond the first generation of Lebanese in Senegal", Ethnic and Racial Studies 28 (4): 663–686,  
  • Gaye, Adama (July 2008), "China in Africa: After the Gun and the Bible—a West African Perspective", in Soares de Oliveira, Ricardo; Alden, Christopher; Large, Daniel, China Returns to Africa: A Rising Power and a Continent Embrace, Columbia University Press, pp. 129–142,  
  • O'Brien, Rita Cruise (1975), "Lebanese Entrepreneurs in Senegal: Economic Integration and the Politics of Protection",  

Further reading

  • Boumedouha, Saïd (1992), "Change and Continuity in the Relationship between the Lebanese in Senegal and their Hosts", in Hourani, Albert; Shehadi, Nadim, The Lebanese in the World: A Century of Emigration, I. B. Tauris,  
  • El Bcheraoui, Charbel (2007), Etude du vieillissement de la population libanaise vivant en milieu urbain, rural et émigrée au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation,  
  • Leichtman, Mara A. (2006), A tale of two Shi'isms: Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts in Dakar, Ph.D. dissertation,  
  • Taraf, Souha (1994), L'espace en mouvement: dynamiques migratoires et territorialisation des familles libanaises au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation,  
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