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Stretching 450 km along the Gambia river, the country is surrounded by Senegal, except for a 60-km Atlantic Ocean front. The country is one of the smallest in Africa, covering about 10.7 thousand square kilometers and has a population of 2.5 million. With 176 people per square kilometer, it is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Most of the population (57%) is concentrated around urban and peri-urban centers.  

Political Context 

The Gambia is a multiparty republic. Under the 1997 constitution, the President is the head of state and government, and is elected by universal suffrage to a five-year term. The 2016 Presidential Election led to the end of the autocratic rule of former President Yahya Jammeh, who was in power from 1994 to 2017. Subsequent presidential elections took place on December 4, 2021. The incumbent President Adama Barrow was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) with 53.2% of the vote and was inaugurated for a second term on January 19, 2022.  

Economic Overview 

Economic growth is projected to rise to 4.8% in 2023, driven by increased activity across all sectors. Agriculture and services benefited from favorable rainfall and a gradual recovery in tourism. Private sector investment, supported by remittance inflows, and public investment, are also expected to drive growth.  Despite positive GDP growth, rising food prices are expected to lead to an increase poverty to 18.5% in 2023, from 17.7% in 2022 - an increase of over 33,000 people, using the international poverty line of $2.15 (in 2017 PPPs). The sharp increase in poverty is largely due to weaker growth in per capita GDP, and high prices eroding the purchasing power of households. GDP growth is projected to average 5.4% in 2024-25, driven by increased activity in all sectors.

Inflation increased to 18.4% (year-on-year) in August 2023, the highest level in decades, driven by food prices due to both imported food and poor domestic production due to climatic conditions, utility tariffs increases, and currency depreciation.

The fiscal deficit is expected to remain high, at 4.2% of GDP in 2023 (a primary deficit of 1% of GDP), despite revenue collection efforts, including increases in some excise and ad valorem taxes. Public expenditure is set to remain high owing to increased investment spending in road infrastructure and higher debt servicing, as yields on government securities rose due to monetary tightening. Public debt is projected to decrease to 81% of GDP in 2023. The risk of overall and external debt distress remains high as per the joint WB/IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) completed in June 2023 and the preliminary findings of the ongoing DSA (started in September 2023).

The current account deficit (CAD) is projected to remain large in 2023 at 12.3% of GDP, as imports pick up due to private and public construction projects. The Central Bank maintained a tight monetary stance, increasing its policy rate by 1 ppt to 17% in August 2023 – the 6th increase since May 2022.

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2023

What's New


Gambia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments
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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
For general information and inquiries
Haddija Jawara
External Affairs Consultant
Banjul, Gambia
For project-related issues and complaints