Macky Sall has his first shot at Senegal's presidency this weekend after falling out with his mentor and now opponent, President Abdoulaye Wade.
In a dusty basement in Dakar, the archived history of nearly two centuries of French presence in West Africa is in an advanced state of degradation.
Senegal is turning to Islamic texts and the powerful sway of religious leaders to prevent children from being sent to beg by their Koranic teachers.
The Faidherbe bridge, a century-old emblem of Senegal's former riverside capital Saint-Louis, is being fully restored after threatening to collapse.
Four million Guineans vote on Sunday in the first democratic election in the West African nation.
Senegal, which imports the majority of its food and all of its petrol, has been hit hard by rising food and fuel prices.
Senegal's Macky Sall, a 50-year-old geologist, ended Abdoulaye Wade's tenacious rule by triumphing over his mentor.
Guinea's first free election since independence was met with praise and relief on Tuesday, but observers warned the days to come were crucial.
Guinea-Bissau voted on Sunday to elect a new president after a series of assassinations, including that of veteran leader Joao Bernardo Vieira.
Guinea-Bissau's junta has vowed to defend itself from interference as the international community condemns a two-year transition government.