The Gambia Population: 2,009,648


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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, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then. Yahya 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. A presidential election is scheduled for December 2016.

Almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country in Africa
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Geographic coordinates: 13 28 N, 16 34 W
Area: total: 11,300 sq km
land: 10,120 sq km
water: 1,180 sq km

Size comparison: slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
Land Boundaries: total: 749 km border countries (1): Senegal 749 km
Coastline: 80 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: extent not specified
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
Elevation extremes:
Natural resources: fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon
Land use: agricultural land: 56.1% arable land 41%; permanent crops 0.5%; permanent pasture 14.6% forest: 43.9%
other: 0% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 50 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
International Environment 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, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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Nationality: noun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
Ethnic groups: Mandinka/Jahanka 33.8%, Fulani/Tukulur/Lorobo 22.1%, Wollof 12.2%, Jola/Karoninka 10.9%, Serahuleh 7%, Serere 3.2%, Manjago 2.1%, Bambara 1%, Creole/Aku Marabout 0.8%, other 0.9%, non-Gambian 5.2%, no answer 0.7% (2013 est.)
Languages: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
Religions: Muslim 95.7%, Christian 4.2%, none 0.1%, no answer 0.1% (2013 est.)
Population: 2,009,648 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.88% (male 382,215/female 379,029)
15-24 years: 20.64% (male 204,979/female 209,866)
25-54 years: 33.92% (male 333,875/female 347,779)
55-64 years: 4.14% (male 39,978/female 43,177)
65 years and over: 3.42% (male 32,011/female 36,739) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 94.2%
youth dependency ratio: 89.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 4.5%
potential support ratio: 22.3% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 20.7 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 21 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.11% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 30.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 59.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 4.33% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: BANJUL (capital) 504,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth: 20.9 note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 706 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 62 deaths/1,000 live births male: 67.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 56.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.9 years male: 62.5 years
female: 67.3 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.63 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 9% (2013)
Health expenditures: 7.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 0.11 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density: 1.1 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 94.2% of population
rural: 84.4% of population
total: 90.2% of population

urban: 5.8% of population
rural: 15.6% of population
total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 61.5% of population
rural: 55% of population
total: 58.9% of population

urban: 38.5% of population
rural: 45% of population
total: 41.1% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.82% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 20,500 (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,000 (2015 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 9.1% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 16.4% (2013)
Education expenditures: 2.8% of GDP (2013)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 55.5%
male: 63.9%
female: 47.6% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2010)
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Country name: conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form: The Gambia
etymology: named for the Gambia River that flows through the heart of the country
Government type: presidential republic
Capital: name: Banjul
geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 5 regions, 1 city*, and 1 municipality**; Banjul*, Central River, Kanifing**, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, West Coast
Independence: 18 February 1965 (from the UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
Constitution: previous 1970; latest adopted 8 April 1996, approved by referendum 8 August 1996, effective 16 January 1997; amended several times, last in 2010 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Elect Adama BARROW (since 1 December 2016); Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Elect Adama BARROW (since 1 December 2016); Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 November 2011 (next to be held on 1 December 2016)

election results: Adama BARROW elected president; percent of vote - Adama BARROW (opposition coalition) 45.5%, Yahya JAMMEH (APRC)36.7%, Mamma KANDEH (G
Legislative branch: description: unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 5 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 29 March 2012 (next to be held in 2017)

election results: percent of vote by party - APRC 51.8%, NRP 9.4%, independent 38.8%; seats by party - APRC 42, NRP 2, independent 4
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Supreme Court of The Gambia (consists of the chief justice and 6 other justices; court sessions held with 5 justices) judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the president after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, a 6-member independent body of high-level judicial officials, a presidential appointee, and a National Assembly appointee; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement age

subordinate courts: Court of Appeal; High Court; Special Criminal Court; Khadis or Muslim courts; district tribunals; magistrates courts
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC [Yahya JAMMEH] Gambia Democratic Congress or GDC [Mamma KANDEH] Gambia Moral Congress or GMC [Mai FATTY] Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress or GPDP [Henry GOMEZ] National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat BAH] National Convention Party or NCP [Ebrima Janko SANYANG] People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Halifa SALLAH] People's Progressive Party or PPP [Omar JALLOW] United Democratic Party or UDP [Ousainou DARBOE]
Political pressure groups and leaders: The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations or TANGO Female Lawyers Association of Gambia or FLAG Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices or GAMCOTRAP Gambia Press Union or GPU West African Peace Building Network-Gambian Chapter or WANEB-GAMBIA Youth Employment Network Gambia or YENGambia other: special needs group advocates; teachers and principals
National symbol(s): lion; national colors: red, blue, green, white
National anthem: name: "For The Gambia, Our Homeland"
lyrics/music: Virginia Julie HOWE/adapted by Jeremy Frederick HOWE

note: adopted 1965; the music is an adaptation of the traditional Mandinka song "Foday Kaba Dumbuya"
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Omar FAYE (since 3 August 2015)
chancery: 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown Plaza, Suite 240, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425 [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX: [1] (202) 342-0240
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador C. Patricia ALSUP (since 11 January 2016)
embassy: Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul
mailing address: P.M.B. 19, Banjul
telephone: [220] 439-2856
FAX: [220] 439-2475
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The government has invested strongly in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the sector for its livelihood and agriculture provides for another one-fifth of GDP. The agricultural sector has untapped potential - less than half of arable land is cultivated. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. The 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 and a limited agricultural base. 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 natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. Tourism normally brings in about 20% of GDP, but suffered in 2014 from tourists’ fears of Ebola virus in neighboring West African countries. Unemployment and underemployment remain high. Economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. International donors and lenders continue to be concerned about the quality of fiscal management. The IMF provided $10.8 million in emergency financial assistance to The Gambia in April 2015 to shore up the country’s finances. Relations with international donors have been tarnished by the country’s human rights record.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $3.387 billion (2016 est.) $3.31 billion (2015 est.) $3.172 billion (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $886 million (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2016 est.) 4.4% (2015 est.) -0.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,700 (2016 est.) $1,700 (2015 est.) $1,600 (2014 est.)

note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving: 11.4% of GDP (2016 est.) 4.5% of GDP (2015 est.) 14.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 80.7%
government consumption: 9.7%
investment in fixed capital: 19.1%
investment in inventories: -1.5%
exports of goods and services: 24.8%
imports of goods and services: -32.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 80.7%
government consumption: 9.7%
investment in fixed capital: 19.1%
investment in inventories: -1.5%
exports of goods and services: 24.8%
imports of goods and services: -32.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
Industries: peanuts, fish, hides, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
Industrial production growth rate: 1.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 777,100 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6% (1996)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 48.4% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 50.2 (1998)
Budget: revenues: $231.5 million
expenditures: $323.6 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 26.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.4% (2016 est.) 6.9% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$112 million (2016 est.) -$136 million (2015 est.)
Exports: $120 million (2016 est.) $113.2 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels
Exports - partners: China 47.6%, India 27.2%, France 5.9%, UK 4.9% (2015)
Imports: $363.9 million (2016 est.) $365.1 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
Imports - partners: China 34.2%, Brazil 8.1%, Senegal 6.9%, India 5.7%, Netherlands 4.8% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $91.7 million (31 December 2016 est.) $83.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: g: $541.8 million (31 December 2016 est.) $502.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: dalasis (GMD) per US dollar - 44.5 (2016 est.) 41.89 (2015 est.) 41.89 (2014 est.) 41.733 (2013 est.) 32.08 (2012 est.)
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Electricity - production: 300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 300 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 91,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 3,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 41.62 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 3,552 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 500,000 Mt (2013 est.)
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Cellular Phones in use: total: 2.586 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate microwave radio relay and open-wire network; state-owned Gambia Telecommunications partially privatized in 2007

domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity, aided by multiple mobile-cellular providers, is roughly 130 per 100 persons

international: country code - 220; microwave radio relay links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; a landing station for the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea fiber-optic cable completed in 2011 and launched in 2012; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
Broadcast media: state-owned, single-channel TV service; state-owned radio station and 15 privately owned radio stations; 6 community radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available, some via shortwave radio; cable and satellite TV subsc (2015)
Internet country code: .gm
Internet users: total: 337,000 percent of population: 17.1% (July 2015 est.)
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Airports: 1 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
Roadways: total 3,740 km
paved: 711 km
unpaved: 3,029 km (2011)
Waterways: 390 km (on River Gambia; small oceangoing vessels can reach 190 km) (2010)
Merchant marine: total 4

by type: passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 1 (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Banjul
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Military branches: Office of the Chief of Defense Staff: Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Republican National Guard (RNG) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription; service obligation 6 months (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
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
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 7,392 (Senegal) (2015)
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   Source: CIA - The World Factbook

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