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The World Factbook (1990)/The Gambia


The Gambia

World Factbook (1990) The Gambia.jpg

 See regional map VII


Total area: 11,300 km²; land area: 10,000 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than twice the size of Delaware

Land boundary: 740 km with Senegal

Coastline: 80 km

Maritime claims:

Contiguous zone: 18 nm
Continental shelf: not specific
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: short section of boundary with Senegal is indefinite

Climate: tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)

Terrain: flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills

Natural resources: fish

Land use: 16% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 9% meadows and pastures; 20% forest and woodland; 55% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: deforestation

Note: almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa


Population: 848,147 (July 1990), growth rate 3.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 48 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 18 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 140 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 46 years male, 50 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.5 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Gambian(s); adjective—Gambian

Ethnic divisions: 99% African (42% Mandinka, 18% Fula, 16% Wolof, 10% Jola, 9% Serahuli, 4% other); 1% non-Gambian

Religion: 90% Muslim, 9% Christian, 1% indigenous beliefs

Language: English (official); Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars

Literacy: 25.1%

Labor force: 400,000 (1986 est.); 75.0% agriculture, 18.9% industry, commerce, and services, 6.1% government; 55% population of working age (1983)

Organized labor: 25-30% of wage labor force


Long-form name: Republic of The Gambia

Type: republic

Capital: Banjul

Administrative divisions: 5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Lower River, MacCarthy Island, North Bank, Upper River, Western

Independence: 18 February 1965 (from UK); The Gambia and Senegal signed an agreement on 12 December 1981 (effective 1 February 1982) that called for the creation of a loose confederation to be known as Senegambia, but the agreement was dissolved on 30 September 1989

Constitution: 24 April 1970

Legal system: based on a composite of English common law, Koranic law, and customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Independence Day, 18 February (1965)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: unicameral House of Representatives

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba JAWARA (since 24 April 1970); Vice President Bakary Bunja DARBO (since 12 May 1982)

Political parties and leaders: People's Progressive Party (PPP), Dawda K. Jawara, secretary general; National Convention Party (NCP), Sheriff Dibba; Gambian People's Party (GPP), Assan Musa Camara; United Party (UP); People's Democratic Organization of Independence and Socialism (PDOIS)

Suffrage: universal at age 21

Elections: President—last held on 11 March 1987 (next to be held March 1992); results—Sir Dawda Jawara (PPP) 61.1%, Sherif Mustapha Dibba (NCP) 25.2%, Assan Musa Camara (GPP) 13.7%;

House of Representatives—last held on 1 1 March 1987 (next to be held by March 1992); results—PPP 56.6%, NCP 27.6%, GPP 14.7%, PDOIS 1%; seats—(43 total, 36 elected) PPP 31, NCP 5

Communists: no Communist party

Member of: ACP, AfDB, APC, Commonwealth, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, GATT, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, IMF, IMO, IRC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Ousman A. SALLAH; Chancery at Suite 720, 1030 15th Street NW, Washington DC 20005; telephone (202) 842-1356 or 842-1359; US—Ambassador (vacant); Embassy at Pipeline Road (Kairaba Avenue), Fajara, Banjul (mailing address is P. M. B. No. 19, Banjul); telephone Serrekunda [220] 92856 or 92858, 91970, 91971

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green


Overview: The Gambia has no important mineral or other natural resources and has a limited agricultural base. It is one of the world's poorest countries with a per capita income of about $250. About 75% of the population is engaged in crop production and livestock raising, which contributes about 30% to GDP. Small-scale manufacturing activity—processing peanuts, fish, and hides—accounts for less than 10% of GDP. Tourism is a growing industry. The Gambia imports about 33% of its food, all fuel, and most manufactured goods. Exports are concentrated on peanut products (over 75% of total value).

GDP: $195 million, per capita $250; real growth rate 4.6% (FY89 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.0% (FY89 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues $75 million; expenditures $67 million, including capital expenditures of $21 million (FY89)

Exports: $133 million (f.o.b., FY89); commodities—peanuts and peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels; partners—Ghana 49%, Europe 27%, Japan 12%, US 1% (1986)

Imports: $105 million (c.i.f., FY89); commodities—foodstuffs, manufactures, raw materials, fuel, machinery and transport equipment; partners—Europe 55% (EC 39%, other 16%), Asia 20%, US 11%, Senegal 4% (1986)

External debt: $330 million (December 1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 7.3% (FY88)

Electricity: 29,000 kW capacity; 64 million kWh produced, 80 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: peanut processing, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing

Agriculture: accounts for 30% of GDP and employs about 75% of the population; imports one-third of food requirements; major export crop is peanuts; the principal crops—millet, sorghum, rice, corn, cassava, palm kernels; livestock—cattle, sheep, and goats; forestry and fishing resources not fully exploited

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $84 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $422 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $39 million

Currency: dalasi (plural—dalasi); 1 dalasi (D) = 100 bututs

Exchange rates: dalasi (D) per US$1—8.3232 (December 1989), 7.5846 (1989), 6.7086 (1988), 7.0744 (1987), 6.9380 (1986), 3.8939 (1985)

Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June


Highways: 3,083 km total; 431 km paved, 501 km gravel/laterite, and 2,151 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 400 km

Ports: Banjul

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 1 with permanent-surface runway 2,440-3,659 m

Telecommunications: adequate network of radio relay and wire; 3,500 telephones; stations—3 AM, 2 FM, 1 TV; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, paramilitary Gendarmerie

Military manpower: males 15-49, 182,308; 92,001 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: NA