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Flag of Gambia, The

Gambia, The country facts

Republic of The Gambia Africa Banjul 1,925,527 inhabitants 11,295 sq km 170.48 inhabitants/sq km dalasis (GMD) population evolution



The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then. Yahya JAMMEH led a military coup in 1994 that overthrew the president and banned political activity. A new constitution and presidential elections in 1996, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. JAMMEH has been elected president in all subsequent elections including most recently in late 2011.



Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal

Geographic coordinates

13 28 N, 16 34 W

Area (sq km)

total: 11,295 sq km
land: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,295 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly less than twice the size of Delaware

Land boundaries (km)

total: 749 km
border countries: Senegal 749 km

Coastline (km)

80 km

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 (m)

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: 39.82%
permanent crops: 0.44%
other: 59.73% (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)

50 sq km (2011)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

8 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) ()

total: 0.09 cu km/yr (41%/21%/39%)
per capita: 65.77 cu m/yr (2005)

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

People and Society


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)

Languages (%)

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

Religions (%)

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


1,925,527 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Age structure (%)

0-14 years: 38.7% (male 374,353/female 371,488)
15-24 years: 21% (male 199,306/female 204,324)
25-54 years: 33% (male 310,901/female 324,227)
55-64 years: 4% (male 37,506/female 39,958)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 29,793/female 33,671) (2014 est.)

Age structure in Gambia, The

Median age (years)

total: 20.2 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.5 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

2.23% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

31.75 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

7.26 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

-2.23 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

urban population: 57.3% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.63% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BANJUL (capital) 506,000 (2011)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

360 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: 65.74 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 71.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.11 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 64.36 years
male: 62.04 years
female: 66.74 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

3.85 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

4.4% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.11 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source (% of population)

improved: urban: 94.2% of population
rural: 84.4% of population
total: 90.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 5.8% of population
rural: 15.6% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2012 est.)

Sanitation facility access (% of population)

improved: urban: 64% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 60.2% of population
unimproved: urban: 36% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 39.8% of population (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

1.3% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

14,300 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

500 (2012 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 and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

7.9% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

15.8% (2006)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)

4.1% of GDP (2012)

Literacy (%)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 51.1%
male: 60.9%
female: 41.9% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) (years)

total: 9 years (2008)


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)


previous 1970; latest adopted 8 April 1996, approved by referendum 8 August 1996, effective 16 January 1997; amended several times, last in 2009 (2009)

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 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 29 March 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results: percent of vote by party - APRC 51.8%, independents 38.8%, NRP 9.4%; seats by party - APRC 43, independents 4, NRP 1
note: except for the NRP, all opposition parties boycotted the 29 March 2012 legislative elections

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of The Gambia (consists of the chief justice and 6 other justices); note - court sessions held with 5 justices
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, a 6-member independent body of high-level judicial officials, a presidential appointee, and a National Assembly appointee; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement age
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Special Criminal Court; Khadis or Muslim courts; district tribunals; magistrates courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC [Yahya 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 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Baboucarr JALLOW (since 25 June 2013)
chancery: Suite 240, Georgetown Plaza, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX: [1] (202) 342-0240

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Michael ARIETTI (since 2014)
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 symbol(s)


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"


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 and the sector provides for about one-fifth of GDP. The agricultural sector has untapped potential - less than half of arable land is cultivated. 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 2012, however, sluggish tourism led to a decline in GDP. Tourism brings in about one-fifth of GDP. Agriculture also took a hit in 2012 due to unfavorable weather patterns. The Gambia's re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports. 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. International donors and lenders continue to be concerned about the quality of fiscal management and The Gambia's debt burden.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.678 billion (2013 est.)
$3.456 billion (2012 est.)
$3.283 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$896 million (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate (%)

6.4% (2013 est.)
5.3% (2012 est.)
-4.3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$2,000 (2013 est.)
$1,900 (2012 est.)
$1,800 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 19.7%
industry: 12.6%
services: 67.7% (2013 est.)

Labor force

777,100 (2007)

Labor force - by occupation (%)

agriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6% (1996)

Unemployment rate (%)


Population below poverty line (%)

48.4% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share (%)

lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

50.2 (1998)


revenues: $229.6 million
expenditures: $265.1 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

25.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-4% of GDP (2013 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) (%)

6% (2013 est.)
4.6% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate (%)

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

Commercial bank prime lending rate (%)

30.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
28% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$207.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$217.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money

$479.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$494.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$375 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$386.2 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products

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


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

Industrial production growth rate (%)

3.4% (2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$163.7 million (2013 est.)
-$152.5 million (2012 est.)


$113.2 million (2013 est.)
$111.8 million (2012 est.)

Exports - commodities (%)

peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels

Exports - partners (%)

China 57.1%, India 18.6%, France 4.6%, UK 4% (2012)


$359.7 million (2013 est.)
$365.8 million (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities (%)

foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment

Imports - partners (%)

China 27.6%, Senegal 8.5%, Brazil 8.1%, UK 6.4%, India 6.1%, Indonesia 4.1% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$251.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$236.2 million (31 December 2012 est.)

External debt ($)

$517.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$481.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
dalasis (GMD) per US dollar -
36.59 (2013 est.)
32.0771 (2012 est.)
28.012 (2010 est.)
26.6444 (2009)
22.75 (2008)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

230 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

213.9 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

62,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

3,181 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

42 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

3,434 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

425,600 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

64,200 (2012)

Telephones - mobile cellular

1.526 million (2012)

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, is roughly 80 per 100 persons
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) (2011)

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; cable and satellite TV subscription services are obtainable in some parts of the country (2007)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

656 (2012)

Internet users

130,100 (2009)



1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways (km)

total: 3,740 km
paved: 711 km
unpaved: 3,029 km (2011)

Waterways (km)

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

Merchant marine

total: 4
by type: passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1 (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Banjul


Military branches

Office of the Chief of Defense Staff: Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Republican National Guard (RNG) (2010)

Military service age and obligation (years of age)

18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation 6 months (2012)

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.)

Transnational Issues

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 9,025 (Senegal) (2013)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Gambian women, children, and, to a lesser extent, boys are exploited for prostitution and domestic servitude; women, girls, and boys from West African countries are trafficked to the Gambia for sexual exploitation, particularly catering to European tourists seeking sex with children; some Gambian trafficking victims have been identified in neighboring West African countries and the UK; boys in some Koranic schools are forced into street vending or begging
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - The Gambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has sustained its modest anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, opening some investigations but failing to initiate any prosecutions or to formally identify any victims; a government program was launched providing resources and financial support to 12 Koranic schools on the condition that their students are not forced to beg (2013)

Largest cities of Gambia, The

These are the 50 largest cities of Gambia, The ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Serekunda 218,790
2 Brikama 101,805
3 Bakau 47,654
4 Farafenni 36,831
5 Banjul 34,598
6 Lamin 16,525
7 Basse 16,190
8 Sukuta 15,131
9 Gunjur 12,530
10 Kuntaur 11,399
11 Brufut 9,332
12 Sabi 7,738
13 Bansang 7,152
14 Gambissara 6,755
15 Barra 5,323