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 Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal

Geographic Coordinates:

 13 28 N, 16 34 W


 Total: 11,295 sq km
Land: 10,000 sq km
Water: 1,295 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly less than twice the size of Delaware

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 740 km
Border countries: Senegal 740 km


 80 km (Rank: 171)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: extent not specified


 Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)


 Flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed elevation 53 m

Natural Resources:

 Fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon

Land Use:

 Arable land: 27.88%
Permanent crops: 0.44%
Other: 71.68% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 20 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 8 cu km (1982)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 0.03 cu km/yr (23%/12%/65%)
Per capita: 20 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural Hazards:

 Drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)

Environment - Current Issues:

 Deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 Almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa

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 Noun: Gambian(s)
Adjective: Gambian

Ethnic Groups:

 African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1% (2003 census)


 English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars


 Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%


 1,797,860 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 40% (male 360,732/female 358,440)
15-64 years: 56.9% (male 501,946/female 520,826)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 26,645/female 29,271) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 19.4 years
Male: 19.2 years
Female: 19.7 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.396% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 34.19 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 7.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -2.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 58% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 BANJUL (capital) 436,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.98 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 400 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 71.67 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 77.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 65.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 63.51 years
Male: 61.23 years
Female: 65.86 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.23 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 10.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.038 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density:

 1.13 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 96% of population
Rural: 86% of population
Total: 92% of population
Urban: 4% of population
Rural: 14% of population
Total: 8% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 68% of population
Rural: 65% of population
Total: 67% of population
Urban: 32% of population
Rural: 35% of population
Total: 33% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 2% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 18,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: very high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases: malaria
Water contact disease: schistosomiasis
Respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 15.8% (2006)

Education Expenditures:

 2% of GDP (2004)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 40.1%
Male: 47.8%
Female: 32.8% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 9 years
Male: 9 years
Female: 9 years (2008)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
Conventional short form: The Gambia

Government Type:



 Name: Banjul
Geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
Time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative Divisions:

 5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western


 18 February 1965 (from the UK)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 18 February (1965)


 Approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997

Legal System:

 Mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); note - from 1994 to 1996 he was chairman of the junta; Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997)

Cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)

Election results: Yahya JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya JAMMEH 71.5%, Ousainou DARBOE 17.4%, Hamat BAH 11.1%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 25 January 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APRC 47, UDP 4, NADD 1, independent 1

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH] (the ruling party); Gambia People's Democratic Party or GPDP [Henry GOMEZ]; National Alliance for Democracy and Development or NADD [Halifa SALLAH]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sheriff DIBBA]; National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat N. K. BAH]; People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Halifa SALLAH]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Ousainou DARBOE]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 National Environment Agency or NEA; West African Peace Building Network-Gambian Chapter or WANEB-GAMBIA; Youth Employment Network Gambia or YENGambia
Other: special needs group advocates; teachers and principals

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Alieu Momodou NGUM
Chancery: Suite 240, Georgetown Plaza, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX: [1] (202) 785-1430

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela WHITE
Embassy: Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul
Mailing address: P. M. B. No. 19, Banjul
Telephone: [220] 439-2856, 437-6169, 437-6170
FAX: [220] 439-2475

Flag Description:

 Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green; red stands for the sun and the savannah, blue represents the Gambia River, and green symbolizes forests and agriculture; the white stripes denote unity and peace

National Symbols:


National Anthem:

 Name: "For The Gambia, Our Homeland"
Lyrics/music: Virginia Julie HOWE/adapted by Jeremy Frederick HOWE

Note: adopted 1965; the music is an adaptation of the traditional Mandinka song "Foday Kaba Dumbuya"

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Economy - Overview:

 The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base, and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts. About three-quarters of the population depends on the agricultural sector for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. In the past few years, The Gambia's re-export trade - traditionally a major segment of economic activity - has declined, but its banking sector has grown rapidly. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain high; economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. The quality of fiscal management, however, is weak. The government has promised to raise civil service wages over the next two years and the deficit is projected to worsen.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $3.494 billion (2010 est.)
$3.304 billion (2009 est.)
$3.098 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $1.067 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 5.7% (2010 est.)
6.7% (2009 est.)
6.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,900 (2010 est.)
$1,900 (2009 est.)
$1,800 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 28.3%
Industry: 15.3%
Services: 56.4% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 777,100 (2007)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 75%
Industry: 19%
Services: 6% (1996)

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:


Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2%
Highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 50.2 (1998)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 5,955 (Sierra Leone) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 26.9% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $182.1 million
Expenditures: $203.5 million (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 17.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 5% (2010 est.)
4.6% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 9% (31 December 2009)
11% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 28% (31 December 2010 est.)
27% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $192.9 million (31 December 2008)
$186.7 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $176.2 million (31 December 2008)
$180.4 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $212.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$207.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $468.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$434.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $355.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$280.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats


 Processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing

Industrial Production Growth Rate:


Note: although The Gambia had the highest industrial growth rate in the world in 2009, this growth is from a tiny industrial base (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 220 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 204.6 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 42 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 2,807 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$111 million (2010 est.)
-$97.1 million (2009 est.)


 $104.3 million (2010 est.)
$94.8 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels

Exports - Partners:

 India 40.8%, China 15.6%, France 11.9%, UK 6.6%, US 4.5% (2010)


 $336.4 million (2010 est.)
$297.3 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment

Imports - Partners:

 China 22.3%, Senegal 10.7%, Brazil 9.7%, Cote dIvoire 5.4%, India 5.2%, Netherlands 4.2% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $201.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$224.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $572 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$520.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Gambian Dalasi to Any Currency

Dalasis (GMD) per US dollar -
28.5193 (2010)
26.6444 (2009)
22.75 (2008)
27.79 (2007)
28.066 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 48,800 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 1.478 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: adequate microwave radio relay and open-wire network; state-owned Gambia Telecommunications partially privatized in 2007

Domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity, aided by multiple mobile-cellular providers, approached 85 per 100 persons in 2009

International: country code - 220; microwave radio relay links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; a landing station for the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea fiber-optic cable is scheduled for completion in 2011; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 State-owned, single-channel TV service; state-owned radio station and 4 privately-owned radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available, some via shortwave radio; foreign cable and satellite TV subscription services are obtainable in some parts of the country (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (government-owned) (1997)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 1,453 (2010)

Internet Users:

 130,100 (2009)

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 1 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
Over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 3,742 km
Paved: 723 km
Unpaved: 3,019 km (2004)


 390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2010)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 5
By type: passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1 (2010)

Ports and Terminals:


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Military Branches:

 Office of the Chief of Defense Staff: Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Republican National Guard (RNG) (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 423,306
Females age 16-49: 438,641 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 315,176
Females age 16-49: 347,017 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 20,508
Female: 20,853 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 0.9% of GDP (2009)

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Disputes - International:

 Attempts to stem refugees, cross-border raids, arms smuggling, and other illegal activities by separatists from southern Senegal's Casamance region, as well as from conflicts in other west African states

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; within The Gambia, women and girls and, to a lesser extent, boys are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude; women, girls, and boys from West African countries - mainly Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Benin - are recruited for exploitation in the sex trade

Tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; the Gambian Government failed to use its adequate anti-trafficking legal framework to investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking cases (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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