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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. In 2017, the Government established a transitional justice mechanism, the TRRC (Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission) to investigate human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Yahya Jammeh. The mandate includes investigating and documenting the atrocities committed. The TRRC has made significant progress by uncovering numerous cases of human rights abuses, it’s findings and recommendations are expected to inform legal and policy reforms in The Gambia aimed at ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law. 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 accelerated to 5.3% in 2023, mainly driven by agriculture and industry. Agriculture benefited from favorable rainfall and increased fertilizer subsidies. Despite increased tourism activity, services decelerated as many subsectors contracted (information and communication, entertainment, etc.). Private investment, supported by remittance inflows, and public investment, also drove growth.   Inflation averaged 16.9% in 2023 – the highest level in decades – caused by imported food inflation, utility tariffs increase, and currency depreciation, dragging down private consumption. Rising food prices are expected to have increased poverty to 16.9% in 2023, from 16.4% in 2022 - an increase of over 25,000 people, using the international poverty line of $2.15 (in 2017 PPPs). The increase in poverty is mainly due to food price inflation which rose to 22% in 2023, eroding the purchasing power of households. GDP growth is projected to average 5.6% in 2024-26, driven by increased activity in all sectors.  

The fiscal deficit halved to 2.6% of GDP in 2023, driven by increased tax revenues and grants. Public expenditure remained high owing to increased investment spending in road infrastructure. With lower net domestic borrowing, public debt is estimated to have declined to 75.8% of GDP in 2023. Nevertheless, the Gambia remains at high risk of debt distress as highlighted by the joint WB/IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) completed in December 2023.  

The current account deficit (CAD) is estimated at 4.5% of GDP in 2023, almost comparable to the 4.2% in 2022, on the back of a recovery in tourism and increased imports related to ongoing infrastructure projects. The monetary stance was further tightened, with the policy rate increasing to 17% in August 2023 from 10% in April 2022.

Last Updated: Apr 10, 2024

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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