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Research Report

International migration, social change and local governance in Ourossogui and Louga, two small urban centres in Senegal

Mohamadou Sall
Serigne Mansour Tall
Aly Tandian
Al Assane Samb
Abdou Khadre Sano
Souleymane Sylla
Copyright Date: Jun. 1, 2010
Pages: 50
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    In recent years, migration from Senegal has attracted much attention from researchers and policy makers. The sudden explosion in the number of clandestine migrants on the national and international scene, the large number of departures and the magnitude of the consequences, have attracted scientific interest and growing attention from politicians. Historically, the research emphasis has been on remittances.

    Despite the importance of migration to everyday domestic life, and its impact on the development of Dakar and the towns of the interior, few studies have examined its effects on local governance and urban change. Yet, several small and medium-sized urban centres...

  2. (pp. 3-6)

    Senegal’s major urban centres are founded on sites that met the needs of the colonial authorities at the time, be they strategic military locations, maritime ports, coastal urban centres or railway junctions. Investment was concentrated where most of the high-ranking officials of the colonial government lived. Senegal emerged from this era with a low, albeit sound, level of urbanization, especially when compared to the rest of West Africa, which was still largely rural in nature. Under the colonial authority, Dakar, Rufisque, Saint Louis and Goree were fully fledged municipalities, where residents were recognized as citizens of France. In addition, Saint...

  3. (pp. 6-20)

    The town of Ourossogui is in the north of Senegal in the Matam Region, 420 kilometres from Saint Louis and 693 kilometres from Dakar. The town is located on the edge of the floodplain of the Senegal River, which forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania, and at the entrance to a vast unflooded area called the Diéri. Although it is far from any major urban centre, Ourossogui occupies a strategic position at the crossroads of National Highway 2 (the Diéri Road) and National Highway 3 (the Ferlo Road). Its location has facilitated its development as a transport hub where...

  4. (pp. 20-35)

    Louga is the capital of Louga Region and is located 200 kilometres north of Dakar, about 30 miles from the Atlantic coast. It is at the junction of National Road II and the east-west regional road between Potou and Linguere, and is crossed by the rail network. Because of its strategic location in terms of transport, historically Louga has played an important role in regional trade. The city covers a vast sandy and gently hilly plain, with the potential to expand in all directions. The only obstacles to this expansion are municipal boundaries.

    Louga’s relatively flat geographical site does not...

  5. (pp. 35-37)

    These two case studies highlight some important differences and similarities with regard to the effects of migration on the governance of the small towns of Louga and Ourossogui. Several aspects of this are analyzed below, including the impact of migration on social relations, on urbanization patterns and on local governance.

    Rates of male migration are higher in Ourossogui than in Louga, and the proportion of female-headed households supports this assertion. Twenty-two per cent of households in Ourossogui, or one in five, are run by women. This figure fell to 10.8 per cent, or one in nine, female-headed households in Louga...