Recent violent unrest over soaring food prices in several West African nations points to new signs of trouble on a continent where nearly half the people live on a dollar a day, experts warn. After Mauritania and Morocco, Senegal this week was the latest country hit by violent protests.
Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi won Mauritania's historic presidential election with 52,85% of the vote, the interior minister said on Monday. Ould Abdallahi, who was backed by supporters of Mauritania's ousted dictator Maaouiya Ould Taya and who has vowed to become a ''reassuring president'', beat Ahmed Ould Daddah in the second-round run-off of the poll.
After a historic change of power in 2000, Senegal, one of Africa's oldest democracies, elects a new president on Sunday. Voters have a simple choice: to give a new mandate to incumbent 80-year-old Abdoulaye Wade, who promised much but disappointed some, or to turn the page with one of the 14 other candidates.
Senegal will mark on Monday the 100th anniversary of the birth of "poet-president" Leopold Sedar Senghor, whose political and literary legacy will be honoured in events across the West African country in December. Senghor, who became Senegal's first president after it gained independence in 1960, helped develop the concept of Negritude, or pride in black African culture.
''We talk of globalisation, of the global village, but here in Africa, we are under the impression of being that village's septic tank,'' says Senegalese ecologist Haidar al-Ali. A series of pollution scandals, ranging from the discharge of toxic waste in CÃ´te d'Ivoire to radioactive tanks in Somalia, show that Africa's poverty, corruption, and non-existent or malfunctioning democracies make it the world's preferred dumping ground.