Gambia (GPS: 13 28 N, 16 34 W) is located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal. The country’s area measurements are total: 11,300 sq km; land: 10,120 sq km, water: 1,180 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly less than twice the size of Delaware. The total irrigated land is 50 sq km (2012).
One of the critical features of Gambia: Almost an enclave of Senegal. The smallest country on the African mainland.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Banjul’s GPS coordinates are 13 27 N 16 34 W. Banjul’s local time is 5 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC 0.
The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived Confederation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991, the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, although tensions flared up intermittently during the regime of Yahya JAMMEH. JAMMEH led a military coup in 1994 that overthrew the president and banned political activity. A new constitution and presidential election 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.
After 22 years of increasingly authoritarian rule, President JAMMEH was defeated in free and fair elections in December 2016. Due to The Gambia’s poor human rights record under JAMMEH, international development partners had distanced themselves and substantially reduced aid to the country. These channels have now reopened under the administration of President Adama BARROW, who took office in January 2017. The US and The Gambia currently enjoy improved relations. US assistance to the country has supported military education and training programs and various capacity building and democracy strengthening activities.
Gambia’s names conventional long form: The Republic of The Gambia, traditional short form: The Gambia, etymology: named for the Gambia River that flows through the country’s heart and named for the Gambia River that flows through the heart of the country.
Gambia’s terrain is typically the flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills. The country’s mean elevation: 34 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m, highest point: unnamed, height 53 m.
The country’s general climate is tropical: hot, rainy season (June to November): cooler, dry season (November to May).
The total number of border countries is 1, Senegal 749 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Gambia’s coastline is 80 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 18 nautical miles, exclusive fishing zone: 200 nautical miles, continental shelf: extent not specified. Waterways: 390 km (on River Gambia; small oceangoing vessels can reach 190 km) (2010). Land use: agricultural land: 56.1%; arable land 41%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 14.6%; forest: 43.9%; other: 0% (2011 estimate).
The population in Gambia 2,092,731 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 59.6% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: BANJUL (capital) 504,000 (2015), while Gambia has N/A. Their spoken languages are English (official language), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars. Main religions in Gambia are Muslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no answer 0.1% (2013 estimate). The nation uses mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law. It is a(n) presidential republic, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 18 February (1965).
Economic overview for the country: The government has invested in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the industry for its livelihood, and agriculture provides for about one-third of GDP, making The Gambia largely reliant on sufficient rainfall. The agricultural sector has untapped potential – less than half of arable land is cultivated, and agricultural productivity is low. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of cashews, groundnuts, fish, and hides. Gambia’s re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports and China has been its largest trade partner for both exports and imports for several years. The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits. It relies heavily on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts.
Remittance inflows to The Gambia amount to about one-fifth of the country’s GDP. The Gambia’s location on the ocean and proximity to Europe has made it one of the most frequented tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by private sector investments in eco-tourism and facilities. Tourism typically brings about 20% of GDP, but it suffered in 2014 from tourists’ fears of the Ebola virus in neighboring West African countries. Unemployment and underemployment remain high. Economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, responsible government financial management, and continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. International donors and lenders were concerned about the quality of fiscal management under the administration of former President Yahya JAMMEH, who reportedly stole hundreds of millions of dollars of the country’s funds during his 22 years in power, but anticipate significant improvements under the new administration of President Adama BARROW, who assumed control in early 2017.
As of April 2017, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and the African Development Bank were all negotiating with the new government of The Gambia to provide financial support in the coming months to ease the country’s economic crisis. The country faces a limited availability of foreign exchange, weak agricultural output, a border closure with Senegal, a slowdown in tourism, high inflation, a large fiscal deficit, and an increased domestic debt burden that has crowded out private sector investment-driven interest rates to new highs. The government has committed to reducing the deficit, including through expenditure caps, debt consolidation, and reform of state-owned enterprises.
Main export partners for the Gambia, Africa are China 47.6%, India 27.2%, France 5.9%, UK 4.9% (2015) for peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, while the main import partners for the country are: China 34.2%, Brazil 8.1%, Senegal 6.9%, India 5.7%, Netherlands 4.8% (2015) for foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery, and transport equipment.
When you visit this country in Africa, consider the natural hazards in the Gambia: Drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years), while infectious diseases are a degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever water contact disease: schistosomiasis respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis animal contact disease: rabies (2016). Also, note that the Gambia faces the following environmental issues: Deforestation due to slash-and-burn agriculture, Desertification, water pollution, water-borne diseases.
You may also be interested in the countries next to the Gambia around its total: 749 km border, like Senegal.