GAMBIA IN BRIEF

OFFICIAL NAME

The Republic of The Gambia

CAPITAL CITY

Banjul

MAJOR CITIES

Banjul, Serrekunda and Brikama

FLAG

The Gambia flag basically has four colours namely: Red, White, Blue and Green. The red Colour represents the sun which exhibits the abundance of sunlight for agriculture and tourism. The white colour represent peace, the Blue Colour represents the river which serve as source of sea food. Finally, the green colour represents agriculture which is the second largest contributor to GDP and employ vast majority of rural farmers.

LOCATION AND BOUNDARY

The Gambia is situated in the Sahelian zone on the West Coast of Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal in the North, East and South, and by the Atlantic Ocean in the West. It has a total land boundary of 740 km and a coastal line of 80 km. Part of its land stretches 450 km along the River Gambia.

SURFACE AREA

The Gambia has 11,295 sq. km surface area, and is the smallest country on main land Africa.

TOPOGRAPHY

The River Gambia divides the country into two parts; the north bank and south bank, narrowing to a width of 5 km (3 mi) at Banjul. During the dry season, tidal saltwater intrudes as far as 250 km (155 mi) upstream. Brown mangrove swamps line both sides of the river for the first 145 km (90 mi) from the sea; the mangroves then give way to more open country and, in places, to red ironstone cliffs. The land on either side of the river is generally open savanna with wooded areas along the drainage channels. Elevation reaches a maximum of 73 m (240 ft).

CLIMATE

The Gambia has a subtropical climate with distinct cool and hot seasons. From November to mid-May there is uninterrupted dry weather, with temperatures as low as 16°c (61°f) in Banjul and surrounding areas. Hot, humid weather predominates the rest of the year, with a rainy season from June to October; during this period, temperatures may rise as high as 43°c (109°f) but are usually lower near the sea. The average annual rainfall ranges from 92 cm (36 in) in the interior to 145 cm (57 in) along the coast.

NATURAL RESOURCES

The natural resources of the Gambia includes: fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, and zircon.

ENVIRONMENT

The Gambia's environmental concerns include deforestation, desertification, and water pollution. A 30% decrease in rainfall over the last 30 years has increased the rate of desertification for The Gambia's agricultural lands. Water pollution is a significant problem due to lack of adequate sanitation facilities. Impure water is responsible for life-threatening diseases that contribute to high infant mortality rates. Deforestation is the most serious problem, however, in recent years, many programmes have been initiated to address the effect of desertification, deforestation and water pollution problems.

POPULATION

The Population of the Gambia is at 1.8 Million according to 2013 census of the Gambia Bureau of Statistics.

POPULATION GROWTH RATE

The Population growth rate is 2.8 % per year.

POPULATION DENSITY

The Population density of the country is 176.1 inhabitants per square kilometer (456.1 inhabitants per square mile).

BIRTH RATE

43.18 per 1000 population

DEATH RATE

9.96 per 1000 population

INFANT MORTALITY RATE

49.20 per 1000 population

LIFE EXPECTANCY AT BIRTH

The life expectancy is 58 to 60 years.

URBAN POPULATION

57% of the population is around the Urban and Peri-urban areas.

LANGUAGES

The official language of the country is English and other major local languages are: Mandinka, Wollof, Jola, Fula and Serahule.

RELIGION

Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, Indigenous Beliefs 2%

EDUCATION AND LITERACY

51.1% of Gambia’s population aged 15 and over can read and write.

ECONOMY

The Gambia’s economy has maintained relative stability over the past decade with an average growth rate of 6%. This is largely due to the reforms undertaken by the Government in the fiscal and monetary areas that have provided the necessary tools for growth and development.

75% of the country’s population is dependent on the agricultural sector for its livelihood. However, the services and tourism sectors have made significant contributions to GDP growth.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): USD 930.6 million in 2013
Growth Rate of GDP: 5.6% in 2013
Per Capita GDP: USD 517 in 2013
Inflation Rate: 5.6 as of December 2013
External Debt: USD 398.5 million (in 2013.)
Government Expenditures: 8,778.4 million Dalasis; 27.1 % of GDP
Overall Deficit: 2,826.7 million Dalasis, 8.7% of GDP in 2013
Agriculture: Contributed 22% of the GDP in 2013
Services: Contributed 57% of the GDP in 2013
Industry: Contributed 15% of the GDP in 2013
Export (including re-exports): USD 106 million in 2013
Imports: USD 349 million in 2013
Trade Balance: A trade deficit of USD 243 million in 2013
Balance of Payments: Estimated USD 25.6 million in 2013
Total Investment: 6.85 billion Dalasis in 2013
Foreign Direct Investment: USD 17.5 million in 2013

CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE RATE

The currency is Dalasi and exchange rate is determined based on a floating exchange rate regime.

FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year runs from January to December.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL SYSTEM

The Government is based on a multiparty democratic system, and there are currently ten political parties registered with the Independent Electoral Commission. The Gambia has maintained its reputation as one of the most peaceful and stable countries in Africa with elections held every five years.