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Africa :: Gambia, The
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  • Introduction :: GAMBIA, THE

  • The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived Confederation 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 election in 1996, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. JAMMEH was elected president in all subsequent elections including most recently in late 2011.
  • Geography :: GAMBIA, THE

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
    13 28 N, 16 34 W
    Africa
    total: 11,300 sq km
    land: 10,120 sq km
    water: 1,180 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 167
    slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
    total: 749 km
    border countries (1): Senegal 749 km
    80 km
    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
    mean elevation:
    elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation 53 m
    fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon
    agricultural land: 56.1%
    arable land 41%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 14.6%
    forest: 43.9%
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    50 sq km (2012)
    8 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.09 cu km/yr (41%/21%/39%)
    per capita: 65.77 cu m/yr (2005)
    drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
    deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
    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
    almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country in Africa
  • People and Society :: GAMBIA, THE

  • noun: Gambian(s)
    adjective: Gambian
    Mandinka/Jahanka 33.8%, Fulani/Tukulur/Lorobo 22.1%, Wollof 12.2%, Jola/Karoninka 10.9%, Serahuleh 7%, Serere 3.2%, Manjago 2.1%, Bambara 1%, Creole/Aku Marabout 0.8%, other 0.9%, non-Gambian 5.2%, no answer 0.7% (2013 est.)
    English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
    Muslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no answer 0.1% (2013 est.)
    1,967,709 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    0-14 years: 38.31% (male 378,449/female 375,417)
    15-24 years: 20.81% (male 202,218/female 207,194)
    25-54 years: 33.45% (male 322,250/female 335,860)
    55-64 years: 4.08% (male 38,717/female 41,532)
    65 years and over: 3.36% (male 30,886/female 35,186) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 94.2%
    youth dependency ratio: 89.7%
    elderly dependency ratio: 4.5%
    potential support ratio: 22.3% (2015 est.)
    total: 20.5 years
    male: 20.2 years
    female: 20.8 years (2015 est.)
    2.16% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    30.86 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    7.15 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    -2.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    urban population: 59.6% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 4.33% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    BANJUL (capital) 504,000 (2015)
    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: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
    20.9
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
    706 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    total: 63.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 69.33 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 58.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    total population: 64.6 years
    male: 62.27 years
    female: 67 years (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    3.73 children born/woman (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    9% (2013)
    6% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0.11 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    improved:
    urban: 94.2% of population
    rural: 84.4% of population
    total: 90.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 5.8% of population
    rural: 15.6% of population
    total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 61.5% of population
    rural: 55% of population
    total: 58.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 38.5% of population
    rural: 45% of population
    total: 41.1% of population (2015 est.)
    1.82% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    20,300 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    900 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    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)
    9.1% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    17.4% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    4.1% of GDP (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 55.5%
    male: 63.9%
    female: 47.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 9 years
    male: 9 years
    female: 9 years (2010)
    total number: 103,389
    percentage: 25% (2006 est.)
  • Government :: GAMBIA, THE

  • conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
    conventional short form: The Gambia
    etymology: named after the Gambia River that flows through the heart of the country
    republic
    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)
    previous 1970; latest adopted 8 April 1996, approved by referendum 8 August 1996, effective 16 January 1997; amended several times, last in 2004 (2015)
    mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); 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/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-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 (APRC) 71.5%, Ousainou DARBOE (UDP) 17.4%, Hamat BAH (NRP) 11.1%
    description: unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 5 appointed by the president; members serve 5-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%, NRP 9.4%, independent 38.8%; seats by party - APRC 43, NRP 1, independent 4
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of The Gambia (consists of the chief justice and 6 other justices; 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]
    National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat BAH]
    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
    ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Sheikh Amar FAYE (since 3 August 2015)
    chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown Plaza, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20007
    telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425 [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
    FAX: [1] (202) 342-0240
    chief of mission: Ambassador C. Patricia ALSUP (since 11 January 2016)
    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
    lion; national colors: red, blue, green, white
    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

  • The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base. It relies heavily on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts. Remittance inflows to The Gambia amount to about one-fifth of the country’s GDP. The Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. Tourism normally brings in about 20% of GDP, but suffered in 2014 from tourists’ fears of Ebolavirus in neighboring West African countries. Unemployment and underemployment remain high.
    The government has invested strongly in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the sector for its livelihood and agriculture provides for another 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 re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports and China has been its largest trade partner for both exports and imports for several years.
    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. The IMF provided $10.8 million in emergency financial assistance to The Gambia in April 2015 to shore up the country’s finances. Relations with international donors have been tarnished by the country’s human rights record on homosexuality and human trafficking, perceptions of graft, and a declaration by the president in 2014 that the country would stop using English as the national language.
    $3.269 billion (2015 est.)
    $3.123 billion (2014 est.)
    $3.13 billion (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 182
    $761 million (2015 est.)
    4.7% (2015 est.)
    -0.2% (2014 est.)
    4.8% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    $1,700 (2015 est.)
    $1,600 (2014 est.)
    $1,600 (2013 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 211
    4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
    11.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    9.8% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    household consumption: 81.7%
    government consumption: 9.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 19.8%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 34.7%
    imports of goods and services: -45.8%
    (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 19.9%
    industry: 13.2%
    services: 66.9% (2015 est.)
    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
    4.4% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    777,100 (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    agriculture: 75%
    industry: 19%
    services: 6% (1996)
    NA%
    48.4% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2%
    highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
    50.2 (1998)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    revenues: $226.8 million
    expenditures: $324.4 million (2015 est.)
    29.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    -12.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    calendar year
    6.9% (2015 est.)
    5.9% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    9% (31 December 2009)
    11% (31 December 2008)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    30.8% (31 December 2015 est.)
    28.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    $243.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $186.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $534.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $511.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    $482.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $357.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    $NA
    -$103 million (2015 est.)
    -$108 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    $102.5 million (2015 est.)
    $123.5 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels
    China 34.4%, India 32.9%, UK 8.2%, France 4.4% (2014)
    $310 million (2015 est.)
    $335 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
    China 31.3%, Brazil 8.6%, India 7.9%, Senegal 7.2% (2014)
    $82.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $159.3 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    g: $546.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $522.7 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    dalasis (GMD) per US dollar -
    41 (2015 est.)
    41.73 (2014 est.)
    41.73 (2013 est.)
    32.08 (2012 est.)
    29.46 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: GAMBIA, THE

  • 235 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    218.6 million kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    62,000 kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    3,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    41.62 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    3,159 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    472,200 Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
  • Communications :: GAMBIA, THE

  • total subscriptions: 55,800
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 3 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    total: 2.3 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    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)
    AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
    1 (government-owned) (1997)
    .gm
    656 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    total: 274,000
    percent of population: 14.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
  • Transportation :: GAMBIA, THE

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 218
    total: 1
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 3,740 km
    paved: 711 km
    unpaved: 3,029 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    390 km (on River Gambia; small oceangoing vessels can reach 190 km) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    total: 4
    by type: passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    major seaport(s): Banjul
  • Military and Security :: GAMBIA, THE

  • Office of the Chief of Defense Staff: Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Republican National Guard (RNG) (2010)
    18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation 6 months (2012)
  • 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): 11,036 (Senegal) (2014)
    current situation: The Gambia is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Gambian women, girls, 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 commercial sexual exploitation, particularly by European sex tourists; boys in some Koranic schools are forced into street vending or begging; some Gambian children have been identified as victims of forced labor in neighboring West African countries
    tier rating: Tier 3 – The Gambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government demonstrated minimal anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, investigating one trafficking case but not prosecuting or convicting any offenders in 2014; authorities did not investigate, prosecute, or convict any government employees complicit in trafficking, although corruption was a serious problem; the government identified and repatriated 19 Gambian girls subjected to domestic servitude in Lebanon but did not identify or provide protective services to any trafficking victims in The Gambia; a government program continued to provide resources and financial support to 12 Koranic schools on the condition that their students were not forced to beg (2015)
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