Gambia, The

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Introduction - Gambia, The:
CountryGambia, The
BackgroundThe 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 A. J. J. 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 2006.
Location - Gambia, The:
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Geographic coordinates13 28 N, 16 34 W
Map referencesAfrica
Areatotal: 11,300 sq km
land: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,300 sq km
Area comparativeslightly less than twice the size of Delaware
Land boundariestotal: 740 km
border countries: Senegal 740 km
Coastline80 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: extent not specified
Climatetropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)
Terrainflood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 53 m
Natural resourcesfish, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon, silica sand, clay, petroleum
Land usearable land: 27.88%
permanent crops: 0.44%
other: 71.68% (2005)
Irrigated land20 sq km (2003)
Natural hazardsdrought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Environment current issuesdeforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
Environment international agreementsparty 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 notealmost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
People - Gambia, The:
Population1,688,359 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 44.1% (male 373,831/female 370,397)
15-64 years: 53.2% (male 445,365/female 452,311)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 23,582/female 22,873) (2007 est.)
Median agetotal: 17.8 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 17.9 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate2.781% (2007 est.)
Birth rate38.86 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate11.99 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate0.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.009 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.985 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.031 male(s)/female
total population: 0.997 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 70.14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 76.55 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 54.54 years
male: 52.68 years
female: 56.46 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate5.21 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate1.2% (2003 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids6,800 (2003 est.)
Hiv aids deaths600 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever are high risks in some locations
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2007)
Ethnic groupsAfrican 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1%
ReligionsMuslim 90%, Christian 9%, indigenous beliefs 1%
LanguagesEnglish (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.1%
male: 47.8%
female: 32.8% (2003 est.)
Government - Gambia, The:
Country nameconventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form: The Gambia
Government typerepublic
Capitalname: Banjul
geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
Independence18 February 1965 (from UK)
National holidayIndependence Day, 18 February (1965)
Constitutionapproved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
Legal systembased on a composite of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Yahya A. J. J. 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 A. J. J. 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 22 September 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH 67.3%, Ousainou DARBOE 26.6%, Halifa SALLAH 6.0%
Legislative branchunicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 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 branchSupreme Court
Political parties and leadersAlliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC (the ruling party) [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH]; Gambia Peoples 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]; Peoples Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Sidia JATTA]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Ousainou DARBOE]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Dodou Bammy JAGNE
chancery: Suite 905, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379
FAX: [1] (202) 785-1430
Diplomatic representation from the uschief of mission: Ambassador Joseph D. STAFFORD, III
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 descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green
Economy - Gambia, The:
Economy overviewThe Gambia has no confirmed mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. Reexport trade normally constitutes a major segment of economic activity, but a 1999 government-imposed preshipment inspection plan, and instability of the Gambian dalasi (currency) have drawn some of the reexport trade away from The Gambia. The Gambias natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa. The governments 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts. Despite an announced program to begin privatizing key parastatals, no plans have been made public that would indicate that the government intends to follow through on its promises. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector.
Gdp purchasing power parity $3.284 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $462.5 million (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate5.3% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $2,000 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 30.5%
industry: 13.9%
services: 55.6% (2006 est.)
Labor force400,000 (1996)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6%
Unemployment rateNA%
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate consumer prices 14% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 20.3% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $112.7 million
expenditures: $155.1 million; including capital expenditures of $4.1 million (2006 est.)
Agriculture productsrice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
Industriesprocessing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Electricity production145 million kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption134.9 million kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports0 kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption2,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exportsNA bbl/day
Oil importsNA bbl/day
Oil proved reserves0 bbl
Natural gas production0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance-$54.61 million (2006 est.)
Exports$130.5 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiespeanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports
Exports partnersIndia 36.8%, UK 15.1%, Indonesia 7.5%, France 6.8%, Italy 4.3%, Senegal 4.2% (2006)
Imports$212.2 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesfoodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
Imports partnersChina 25%, Senegal 12.6%, Cote dIvoire 8%, Brazil 6.2%, Netherlands 4.4% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$88.11 million (2006 est.)
Debt external$628.8 million (2003 est.)
Economic aid recipient$59.8 million (2003)
Currency code dalasi (GMD)
Exchange ratesdalasi per US dollar - 28.3 (2006), 30.38 (2005), 30.03 (2004), 27.306 (2004), 19.918 (2003), 15.687 (2002), 15.687 (2001)
Communications - Gambia, The:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use52,900 (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular404,300 (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: adequate; a packet switched data network is available
domestic: adequate network of microwave radio relay and open-wire
international: country code - 220; microwave radio relay links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (1997)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
Television broadcast stations1 (government-owned) (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts14 (2006)
Internet users58,000 (2005)
Transportation - Gambia, The:
Airports1 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2006)
Roadwaystotal: 3,742 km
paved: 723 km
unpaved: 3,019 km (2004)
Waterways390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2006)
Merchant marinetotal: 5 ships (1000 GRT or over) 32,064 GRT/9,751 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1 (2006)
Ports and terminalsBanjul
Military - Gambia, The:
Military branchesGambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Gambian National Guard (includes Presidential Guard) (2007)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 18-49: 311,025
females age 18-49: 316,214 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 18-49: 183,057
females age 18-49: 194,551 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp0.5% (2006)
Disputes internationalattempts to stem refugees, cross-border raids, arms smuggling, and other illegal activities by separatists from southern Senegals Casamance region, as well as from conflicts in other west African states
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
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