The Gambia is a small and fragile country in West Africa. It stretches 450 km along the Gambia River.
Presidential elections on December 1,
The Parliamentary elections in April 2017 led to an absolute majority for Barrow’s United Democratic Party (UDP) with 31 seats (not including the five MPs appointed directly by the President) in the 53-seat National Assembly. The former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party was reduced to five seats. In the recent local elections, 62 of the 120 seats went to the UDP and 18 to the APRC.
The Gambia has a small economy that relies primarily on tourism, rain-dependent agriculture, and remittances, and is vulnerable to external shocks. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to be above 3.5% in 2017, propelled by lower interest rates and a rebound in the service sector. The fiscal situation, which deteriorated during the political crisis, has improved due to
The macroeconomic framework continues to be characterized by high debt levels, estimated at 123.6% of GDP in 2017, creating significant risks of debt distress. About 40% of the domestic debt is held by domestic banks, which poses risks for the stability of the banking sector.
The key long-term development challenges facing The Gambia are related to its undiversified economy, small internal market, limited access to resources, lack of skills necessary to build effective institutions, high population growth, lack of private sector job creation, and high rate of outmigration.
Poverty is widespread and remained stagnant at 48.6% in 2015, compared to 48.1%in 2010. In rural areas, a higher proportion of the population (almost 70%)
A legacy of authoritarianism, weak public institutions, political instability, and the limited capacity of the public administration are the most salient causes of state fragility in the country
The Gambia’s growing debt and leaves little fiscal space to reinvigorate the economy and ensure inclusive growth, particularly by investing in energy, modernizing agriculture, and providing resources for the poor. Heavy dependence on agriculture, tourism, and a small service sector, coupled with a legacy of unsustainable macro-fiscal management has increased the economy’s sensitivity to external shocks.
A combination of slow economic growth, limited employment prospects, political instability and food insecurity has driven a dramatic increase in emigration. Gambians are now Europe’s second-largest diaspora as a share of the home-country population. The implications are mixed for fragility and resilience. While the loss of skilled labor has long slowed the country’s economic development, remittance income is an increasingly crucial component of household consumption.
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2018