Dakar is the capital city of Senegal and is located on the Cap Verde Peninsula. The city covers an area of 550 km2.
According to 2005 official estimates, Dakar as a city has a population of 1 million and about 2.5 million people live in the suburban area.
Dakar is the political and economical centre of Senegal and home to the National Assembly of Senegal and Senegal Presidential Palace. Because of its strategic place, Dakar has attracted many banks, international organizations, NGO's and international research centres.
The Dakar region (Greater Dakar) is divided into 4 'départements' (Dakar, Guediawaye, Pikine and Rufisque). These 'départements' are subdivided into 'arrondissements' and 'commune d'arrondissements'.
Dakar city and the suburbs
As a peninsula, Dakar is becoming increasingly saturated. High rents and living costs in Dakar have several effects on the demographic landscape of the region. a) Built-up area of the city: Multi-storey houses are built everywhere as a mainly private investment. b) Suburban growth: People who cannot afford living in Dakar establish their homes in the fast growing suburban area the so-called 'banlieue'. Because of the shape of the peninsula (bottle-neck), commuting in and out of Dakar has become a painful, daily reality for those who work in Dakar but live in the suburbs.
Dakar as a melting pot
Dakar is a real melting pot; on one side there is the quest for modern, occident-orientated development and on the other side the ancient African traditional roots. Those roots are especially deep in the Lebou villages Ouakam, Ngor, Yoff, Camberene and Hann.Wolof is the main trade language and yet in Dakar it is very much mixed with French. Further out of Dakar, in the suburbs, Wolof has become the predominant language despite the big variety of different ethnic groups.
In terms of its international flavour, there is a considerable number of Lebanese, French and other Africans living in Dakar. The missionary community adds lots of other nationalities into that cultural and linguistic melting pot.
WEC in Dakar
As a faith mission, WEC is an official member of the F.E.S and the A.E.E.S (mentioned elsewhere). It runs a guesthouse in Dakar (Point E), which is at the same time, the administrative central office. The WEC Dakar team is made up of all the WEC workers, both long - and short term, who live in the Dakar region. These workers are involved in administration, internal leadership and member care, children ministries, church planting and language learning.
Within the same Dakar team, there is another smaller group, the Dakar Church planting team (CPT).
The evangelical community / church situation in Dakar
There is a big variety of evangelical missions and churches (appr. 60 churches) represented in Dakar. Above that there is a small number of Christian bookstores, 1 major medical centre, some Institutes for Bible and ministry training and a few Christian NGOs, all working towards the same objective; making Christ known in Word and Action to a nation that still lies in great spiritual darkness.
In the suburban area of Dakar, the picture becomes different. There is very little Christian witness out there with a very small number of churches compared with the millions of people who live there. The WEC Dakar CPT is actually working on its vision and hopes to start new initiatives of church planting in order to reach the 95 in that needy area of Senegal.
There are two WEC related churches in the Dakar region (Keur Yàlla and Boune) and two other young plants being nurtured (Parcelles and Keur Massar). More on this to come ------