Since the 1990s, migrating has become quite popular with the Senegalese, many of whom have found a home in Argentina.
The journeys are long, often with layovers in Brazil or other African countries, and are mostly made by men aged 25 to 40 with no previous migrating experience. To this day, very few have managed to bring over relatives, although quite a few have wives and children.
Still, over 4,500 Senegalese have bet on Argentina, primarily Buenos Aires, to escape poverty and provide for their families in a way they wouldn’t be able to in their native country.
The life of the Senegalese in Argentina
As we discussed recently, deforestation in countries bordering the Sahara Desert has displaced thousands who used to live off the land.
Without a source of sustenance, representatives from these families are forced to migrate and become the token breadwinners.
For this reason, Senegal has become Argentina’s main remittance-sending community given that a large portion of these migrant workers’ income needs to be sent back to their loved ones.
In Argentina, they work hard to learn the language so they can study, find better jobs and integrate themselves into Argentine society, working as street vendors in the meantime.
Of course, this is a complex task as migrant workers must overcome language barriers, homesickness and uncertainty to succeed. This is why the Senegalese community values tremendously any Argentine efforts for inclusion.
Ria in Argentina
Ria opened its doors in Buenos Aires at the end of last year. After only four months, the store has already become the favorite of the Balvanera neighborhood where it is located.
Although we also receive many visitors from Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia, this month we have had an excellent opportunity to bond with our Senegalese customers.
We received an invitation to participate in the Journee Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Cherif Argentine event, meant to commemorate the life of a revered religious leader of the Sufi tribe, the predominant ethnic background within the Senegalese community in Argentina.
The guest of honor was Serigne Habib Sy Mansour, the Director of the Cabinet of the President of Senegal, and more than 500 people from all over the country attended the event. It was a truly magical evening with dinner and singing.
Guido Taub, Country Manager for Ria Argentina, shared: “We are sincerely thankful to have participated in such a special night. There are many Senegalese people in our country looking for work opportunities. Our main objective in Argentina is to offer them a fast, affordable and secure service, focusing on meeting the needs of the community by being open to our customers’ feedback. We are happy to have become, in the short four months that we’ve been here, the top choice for the expat communities in Argentina.”
Immigration and opening new businesses have something in common: it takes hard work and dedication to get things going. That being said, as we continue to work together, the future looks bright for both Ria and the Senegalese community in Argentina.