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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 in 2022 reached 4.3%, driving improved agriculture production due to a relatively good rainy season, increased government consumption, and high infrastructure spending driven by the preparation for the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference. Real GDP growth was unchanged from 2021 after the economy rebounded from the COVID-19 shock. Lower remittances and high inflation dragged down private sector demand. Despite positive GDP growth, rising food prices undermine the pace of poverty reduction. Poverty is expected to have increased to 20.3% in 2022 from 18.4% in 2021, using the international poverty line of $2.15 (in 2017 PPPs)[1]. The sharp increase in poverty is largely due to weaker growth in per capita GDP, and high prices eroding the purchasing power of households. These estimates are based on a new tool which now accounts for the distributional impact of rising food prices. GDP growth is projected to 5% in 2023, driven by tourism and private demand recovery as well as resilient public demand.

Yearly inflation averaged 11.6% in 2022 from 7.4% in 2021, reaching double digits for the first time in almost three decades. Food and nonfood inflation were high, averaging 14.5% and 8.6%, respectively, mainly driven by global commodity market shocks, local currency depreciation, increased salaries of civil servants, and persistent structural issues at the port of Banjul.

The fiscal deficit widened to 4.8% of GDP in 2022 (a primary deficit of 2.9% of GDP) from 4.6% of GDP in 2021), as the spillover effects of the war in Ukraine drove down domestic revenue, along with increased public spending. Tax revenues as a percent of GDP declined, driven by lower taxes on goods and services and international trade and increased subsidies for fuel, fertilizer, and grains to address higher import prices induced. Public debt to GDP remained unchanged at 83.9% of GDP in 2022 from 83.8% in 2021. The risk of overall and external debt distress remains high as per the joint WB/IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) completed in November 2022 and the preliminary findings of the ongoing DSA (started in February 2023).

Last Updated: Mar 10, 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