Following pressure from the United States, France, the IMF
and the World Bank, the government launched an economic
structural adjustment program in the early 1980s. The
abolition of agricultural subsidies led to higher production
costs and consumer prices.
In 1983, the country was hit by a major drought,
particularly affecting peanut production, which represents
35% of export revenue. The shortage of food made it
necessary to import 400,000 tonnes of rice that year.
In 1988, PSS once again won the election with 73% of the
vote against 26% for the PDS. The opposition seriously
questioned the election campaign and several of its leaders
were detained. According to
PDS leader, Waye went into exile in Paris, from where he
first returned in March 1989.
A month later, a border dispute erupted with neighboring
Mauritania. At the same time, the conflict froze the plans
for amalgamation with the Gambia. In previous years, efforts
had been made to form the federal state of Senegambia. Diouf
criticized the neighboring country for tolerating partisans
from Casamance to operate from its territory and for
entering into a mutual defense agreement with Nigeria.
The background to the conflict with Mauritania was
violent clashes between farmers and cattle owners in the
border area, and the number of fallen ones rose to hundreds.
About 70,000 refugees traveled inland.
In January 1991, accused Amnesty International Senegal
for violations of human rights and torture and killings in
the Casamance region. In late May, the government issued an
amnesty, declaring that political prisoners would be
released - including MFDC leader Abad Diamacoune Senghor.
In July 1991, Diouf was elected President of ECOWAS
(Economic Community of the West African States), comprising
16 countries from the region. In September, the United
States government returned $ 42 million of Senegal's debt to
support the Allied army during the Gulf War and to join the
"peacekeeping forces " in Liberia. At the same time, the IMF
issued a new loan of $ 57.2 million.
In the same year, a number of political-institutional
changes began. The Prime Minister's post was reinstated and
the opposition was allocated 2 ministerial posts. After
three months of negotiations with the opposition parties, an
agreement was reached in September 1991 on reform of the
electoral system. In 1992, the conflict with the separatist
movement in Casamance broke out again after a ceasefire on
In a situation characterized by accusations of electoral
fraud, President Diouf won the first round of the
presidential election on February 21, 1993, with 58.4% of
the vote. At the May parliamentary elections, his party
regained PSS control of the National Assembly with 84 out of
the 120 seats. The main opposition party, PDS gained 27
The country's economic and financial situation
deteriorated further through 1993 - especially as world
market prices for its export products dropped drastically.
It worsened the trade deficit, which was offset by new loans
abroad. Foreign debt reached $ 3.5 billion, equivalent to
60% of GDP.
In early 1994, France and the IMF decided to devalue the
African Franc (CFA) by 100%, further exacerbating social
tensions. On February 16, the opposition's Coordination of
Democratic Forces conducted a demonstration against the
government. It ended in clashes with police, killing 6
policemen and injuring dozens of protesters.