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Welcome To The Gambia

Here you will find the latest information, sourced from the CIA World Factbook and other public domain references around the Internet.

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Introduction Gambia, The
The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965; it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002. Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH, the leader of the coup, has been elected president in all subsequent elections.
Geography Gambia, The
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: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,300 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
Land boundaries:
total: 740 km
border countries: Senegal 740 km
80 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
continental shelf: not specified
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
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 location 53 m
Natural resources:
fish, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon, silica sand, clay, petroleum
Land use:
arable land: 25%
permanent crops: 0.5%
other: 74.5% (2001)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
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
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
People Gambia, The
1,593,256 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.5% (male 356,079/female 352,894)
15-64 years: 52.8% (male 416,809/female 424,429)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 22,111/female 20,934) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 17.59 years
male: 17.45 years
female: 17.74 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.93% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
39.86 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
11.81 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 72.02 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 78.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.75 years
male: 51.91 years
female: 55.64 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
5.38 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,800 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
600 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree 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 (2004)
noun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
Ethnic groups:
African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1%
Muslim 90%, Christian 9%, indigenous beliefs 1%
English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.1%
male: 47.8%
female: 32.8% (2003 est.)
Government Gambia, The
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form: The Gambia
Government type:
republic under multiparty democratic rule
Administrative divisions:
5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
18 February 1965 (from UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
24 April 1970; suspended July 1994; rewritten and approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; reestablished January 1997
Legal system:
based on a composite of English common law, Koranic law, and customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief 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; note - from 1994 to 1996 was he 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
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 18 October 2001 (next to be held October 2006)
election results: Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH 52.9%, Ousainou DARBOE 32.7%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 elected by popular vote, five appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 17 January 2002 (next to be held February 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - APRC 45, PDOIS 2, NRP 1,
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC - the ruling party [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH]; Gambian People's Party-Progressive People's Party-United Democratic Party or GPP-PPP-UDP Coalition [Ousainou DARBOE]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sheriff DIBBA]; National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat N. K. BAH]; People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Sidia JATTA]
note: in August 2001, an independent electoral commission allowed the reregistration of the GPP, NCP, and PPP, three parties banned since 1996
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: Suite 905, 1156 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379
FAX: [1] (202) 785-1430
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph D. STAFFORD, III
embassy: Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul
mailing address: P. M. B. No. 19, Banjul
telephone: [220] 392856, 392858, 391971
FAX: [220] 392475
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green
Economy Gambia, The
Economy - overview:
The Gambia has no significant 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 government's 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts; the following two marketing seasons saw substantially lower prices and sales. 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):
$2.799 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 26.8%
industry: 14.5%
services: 58.7% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
400,000 (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 75%, industry, commerce, and services 19%, government 6%
Unemployment rate:
NA (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
25.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
revenues: $44.85 million
expenditures: $59.94 million, including capital expenditures of $4.1 million (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism; beverages; agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking; clothing
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
90.31 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
83.99 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1,900 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Current account balance:
$-16.4 million (2004 est.)
$114.4 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports
Exports - partners:
India 21.4%, Thailand 15.1%, UK 13.7%, France 12.9%, Germany 8.7%, Italy 7.5% (2004)
$180.9 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
Imports - partners:
China 23.7%, Senegal 11.6%, Brazil 5.9%, UK 5.5%, Netherlands 4.5%, US 4.4% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$113.1 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$476 million (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$45.4 million (1995)
Currency (code):
dalasi (GMD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
dalasi per US dollar - 27.306 (2003), 27.306 (2003), 19.918 (2002), 15.687 (2001), 12.788 (2000)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Gambia, The
Telephones - main lines in use:
38,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
100,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
196,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (government-owned) (1997)
5,000 (2000)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
568 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2001)
Internet users:
25,000 (2002)
Transportation Gambia, The
total: 2,700 km
paved: 956 km
unpaved: 1,744 km (1999)
390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 30,976 GRT/10,978 DWT
by type: passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Switzerland 1) (2005)
1 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Military Gambia, The
Military branches:
Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Presidential Guard, National Guard
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 309,279 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 188,117 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.3% (2004)
Transnational Issues Gambia, The
Disputes - international:
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



Sources: The CIA World Fact Book and other public domain Internet sites

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