The Republic of The Gambia, commonly known as The Gambia, or Gambia, is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, with a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River. Banjul is The Gambia's capital, but the largest industrial and population area is Serekunda. The climate is tropical; there are rainforests along the riverbanks and wooded savannah further inland.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations with many arriving as slaves needed for maintenance of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. There exists a wide variety of ethnic groups, each preserving its own language and traditions. The Mandinka tribe is the largest (approximately 42% of the population) followed by the Fula, Jola, and Serahule. The Wolof tribe is the smallest tribe. There is also a community of Akus (Creoles), descended from Africans freed from slavery in the early 19th century. More than 50% of people live in rural areas but, many young Gambians move to the cities to look for work. 63% of The Gambia’s population is 24 years or younger.
Although it has enjoyed lengthy spells of stability since its independence, there was a military coup in 1994 before an apparent return to Constitutional rule. At one time suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth, The Gambia has, in recent years, returned to full membership. At present The Gambia is seen as a politically stable nation.
Health and Education
Due to its dependence on one major crop, The Gambia suffers from extremely poor health conditions and relies on foreign aid to fill gaps in its balance of payments. The people are at risk of contracting a variety of diseases such as bacterial and protozoal diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria and meningococcal meningitis. The rate of hepatitis B is extremely high.
Most students attend school on average for approximately 7 years and Primary School attendance rates are higher than Secondary School, though many girls in particular do not attend school due to poverty. Gender issues, particularly the treatment of women and girls is an issue in Gambia. The literacy rate is approximately 42%.
Only one-sixth of the land is arable and the poor nature of the soil makes it suitable for only one crop, peanuts. The economy is based on peanut exports and tourism and is subject to fluctuations in peanut production and world prices for the crop. The country relies heavily on foreign aid. The use of firewood as a main energy source and the production of export crops, has resulted in large areas of forest have being felled each year. An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population live below the international poverty line.
Population: 1.7 million (UN, 2010)
Head of State: The President, HE Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. JAMMEH
Head of Government: The President, HE Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J. JAMMEH
National Day: 18th February
Joined Commonwealth: 1965
Major Languages: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula
Major Religions: Islam, Christianity
Life Expectancy: 56 years (men), 59 years (women) (UN)
Infant Mortality Rate: 74.2 per 1000 births
Literacy Rate: 42%
Monetary Unit: Dalasi (D)
Main Exports: Peanuts and peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels
GNI per capita: US $440 (World Bank, 2009)
- Regional Security
- Reliance on Foreign Aid
- Gender issues/violence
- Environmental Constraints
- Democratic Consolidation (ex-military coup, CMAG intervention)
- Economic Reliance on One Major Source of income
Commonwealth Secretariat: www.thecommonwealth.org
BBC Country Profiles: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/country_profiles/default.stm
Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade: www.dfat.gov.au/
World Health Organisation: www.who.int/countries/en/
UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs: www.irinnews.org
One World Civil Society Network: www.oneworld.net
United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) http://www.unfpa.org/public/
Economist Intelligence Unit - EIU Viewswire http://viewswire.eiu.com/
CIA World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
Country Watch http://www.countrywatch.com/cw_default.aspx
All Africa: www.allafrica.com
Africa Online: www.africaonline.com
The Gambia Government: www.gambia.gm
Gambia Daily News: www.dailynews.gm