Region: Western Africa
Population: 1,735,464 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 11,300 sq km
Currency: dalasi (GMD)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $1,300 (2007 est.)
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 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.
Economy – Overview:
The 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 Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa. The government's 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.
Major Export Commodities: peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports
Remittances: US $63 million (2006)
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 155 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $25.08 million. Major development partners include the IDA, Arab Agencies, and the African Development Fund.
Total External Debt: US $628.8 million (2003 est.)
United Nations membership date: 21 September 1965
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Gambia to the United Nations,
800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400F, New York, N.Y. 10017
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008