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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 was elected president in all subsequent elections including most recently in late 2011.

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 20% of the country’s GDP. 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 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 tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. Tourism normally brings in about one-fifth of GDP, but suffered in 2014 from tourists’ fears of Ebolavirus in neighboring West African countries.

The Gambia’s re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports and China was its largest trade partner for both exports and imports in 2013. In 2012 the IMF renewed an extended credit facility of $28.3 million for three years. Unemployment and underemployment 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. The Gambia’s debt interest payments are projected to consume about 31% of government revenue in 2015.

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.

Gambia GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.362 billion (2014 est.)
$3.131 billion (2013 est.)
$2.944 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 180

Gambia GDP (official exchange rate):
$918 million (2014 est.)

Gambia GDP – real growth rate:
7.4% (2014 est.)
6.3% (2013 est.)
5.3% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 15

Gambia GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,700 (2014 est.)
$1,700 (2013 est.)
$1,600 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 210

Gambia Gross national saving:
7.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
6.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160

Gambia GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 92.4%
government consumption: 8.6%
investment in fixed capital: 23.8%
investment in inventories: 0.3%
exports of goods and services: 28%
imports of goods and services: -53.1%
(2014 est.)

Gambia GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 22.8%
industry: 11.8%
services: 65.5%
(2014 est.)

Gambia Agriculture – products:
rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats

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

Gambia Industrial production growth rate:
0.3% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 166

Gambia labor force:
777,100 (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 151

Gambia Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6%
(1996 est.)

Gambia flag

Gambia Unemployment rate:

Gambia Population below poverty line:
48.4% (2010 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003 est.)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
country comparison to the world: 20

revenues: $177.6 million
expenditures: $242.6 million
(2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
19.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-7.1% of GDP(2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.6% (2014 est.)
5.7% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
9% (31 December 2009)
11% (31 December 2008)
* country comparison to the world: 29

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
33.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
28% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 3

Stock of narrow money:
$217.5 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$215.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177

Stock of broad money:
$534.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$511.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 178

Stock of domestic credit:
$416.3 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$398.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:
-$163.2 million (2014 est.)
-$165.1 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85

$107.4 million (2014 est.)
$104.6 million (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 190

Exports – partners:
China 57%, India 23.2% (2013)

Exports – commodities:
peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels

$102.2 billion (2014 est.)
$102.8 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34

Imports – commodities:
foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment

Imports – partners:
China 30.3%, Senegal 9.1%, Brazil 8.2%, India 6.7% (2013)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$227.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$210.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

Debt – external:
$583.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$547.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172

Exchange rates:
dalasis (GMD) per US dollar –
39.98 (2014 est.)
36.57 (2013 est.)
32.08 (2012 est.)
29.4615 (2011 est.)
28.012 (2010 est.)

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal

Geographic coordinates:
13 28 N, 16 34 W

Map references:

total: 11,300 sq km
land: 10,120 sq km
water: 1,180 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 167

Area – comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Delaware

Land boundaries:
total: 749 km
border countries (1): Senegal 749 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:
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:
agricultural land: 56.1%
arable land 41%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 14.6%
forest: 43.9%
other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
50 sq km (2011)

Total renewable water resources:
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 in Africa

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