Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Senegal
Senegal is part of the Tropical Africa region. The top four countries most similar to Senegal all were colonized by France and use French as their lingua franca. In addition, four of the top five countries have Islam as their most common religion. However, these countries have less conservative laws than most Arab countries. These countries are also relatively poor and do not have well developed infrastructure.
- Guinea is just to the south of Senegal. It is another former French colony on the Atlantic Ocean. Although Senegal’s main ethnic group is Wolof, it also has a significant percentage of Fula people like Senegal. They have a similar standard of living and development of infrastructure. They also have low rates of alcohol and drug usage. However, Guinea does not have a large percentage of desert land, like Senegal, since it get more rainfall.
- Burkina Faso‘s technology is especially similar to Senegal. Both countries rely on oil to create electricity. In addition, both their militaries are not well equipped, neither have battle tanks. Both countries are secular democracies after Burkina Faso’s dictator was overthrown in 2014. Their landscape is similar as well since they are on the border between the Sahara Desert and the more tropical areas of Africa. However, only 60% of its citizens are Muslim.
- Mali and Senegal were actually one country briefly in 1960, but much earlier in history Senegal was part of the Mali Empire. The countries use the same currency: the West African CFA franc. Their flags are also incredibly similar. Furthermore, their agriculture is similar as well since they both grow millet, rice, sorghum, and corn, but Mali grows less peanuts. However, Mali is landlocked and its landscape is more barren.
- Benin is the only country in the top five with a majority Christian population, but it also has a significant number of Muslims as well. As a result, it drinks significantly more alcohol and polygamy is not allowed. It also has far less restrictions on abortion. Still, both countries have a similar standard of living. Both countries use the presidential system of government and have a unicameral legislature.
- Gambia is almost entirely surrounded by Senegal, so it is no wonder it is so similar. Both countries are primarily Muslim and they natively speak similar languages. They tend to eat a lot of rice and millet, as well as fish. However, there is one big difference between these countries. Gambia was a British colony, not a French colony, so its official language is English and it follows other British conventions.
- Ivory Coast, 7. Togo, 8. Niger, 9. Guinea-Bissau, 10. Cameroon
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Senegal
The five least similar countries to Senegal are located either in East Asia or former British colonies. They all border the Pacific Ocean. In addition, all these countries have much higher standards of living and they are also more developed. They tend to have a far higher percentage of atheists as well. Unlike Senegal, these countries are also quite mountainous. With the exception of Taiwan, their climates are much colder as well.
- Japan‘s geography significantly different from Senegal. It is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate and a lot of rainfall. Its demographics, culture, and technology are also quite different. Not only is its infrastructure much more developed, Japan drives on the left, uses Type A, B electrical outlets, and has one meter gauge railroad tracks. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that they are both democracies.
- New Zealand is another mountainous, temperate group of islands in the Pacific Ocean that starkly contrasts Senegal’s relatively flat and undeveloped desert landscape. Its government and laws are also far different. It is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. It also has less restrictions on abortion and more restrictions on guns than Senegal.
- Taiwan, like Japan and New Zealand, is another country in the Pacific Ocean with little in common with Senegal. They do not share a common language, writing system, or religion. However Taiwan is a little more like Senegal than Japan, since it drives on the right and its climate is hotter than Japan’s. According to the Lewis Model, its people are less outgoing as well.
- Canada is the least similar country to Senegal in the Western Hemisphere, despite both countries having French as one of their official languages and using the same writing system. It is one of the coldest countries, in contrast to Senegal’s hot desert climate. In addition, its politics are extremely different, since its laws are much more liberal and it gives more entitlements to its citizens.
- South Korea is yet another East Asian country on this list. Korea and Senegal have little in especially little in common culturally. However, they do share some similarity in technology. They both use Type C electrical outlets and drive on the right. However, Senegal’s infrastructure is less well developed.
- Norway, 7. Iceland, 8. Singapore, 9. United States, 10. United Kingdom
Senegal is like if Guinea was more like Tunisia
According to the Index, the most similar country to Senegal is Guinea. However, these countries have some significant differences. The data shows that Tunisia has some characteristics of Senegal that Guinea lacks. Senegal and Tunisia get less rainfall than Guinea. They also have legalized prostitution. In addition, both countries provide tuition free college to their citizens, unlike Guinea.
All data accurate as of 2020.