Africa :: Gambia, The

Introduction ::Gambia, The

    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.

Geography ::Gambia, The

People and Society ::Gambia, The

Government ::Gambia, The

    conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
    conventional short form: The Gambia
    name: Banjul
    geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
    18 February 1965 (from the UK)
    Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
    approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
    mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    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
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    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%
    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
    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
    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]
    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
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Baboucarr JARROW
    chancery: Suite 240, Georgetown Plaza, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
    FAX: [1] (202) 342-0240
    chief of mission: Ambassador Edward M. ALFORD
    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
    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
    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 ::Gambia, The

Energy ::Gambia, The

Communications ::Gambia, The

    50,400 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    1.4 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    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)
    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)
    656 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    130,100 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 150

Transportation ::Gambia, The

Military ::Gambia, The

Transnational Issues ::Gambia, The

    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 (country of origin): 9,042 (Senegal) (2012)
    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)