Learn how the World Bank Group is helping countries with COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find Out

Overview

  • The Gambia is a small, fragile country in West Africa. Stretching 450 km along the Gambia River, its 10, 689 sq. km area is surrounded by Senegal, except for a 60 km Atlantic Ocean front. The country has a population of 2.1 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

    Presidential elections in December 2016 resulted in a political transition after the incumbent President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, who had led the country for 22 years was defeated by Adama Barrow, the presidential candidate of a political coalition.

    The Parliamentary elections in April 2017 led to an absolute majority for United Democratic Party (UDP) with 31 seats in the 58-seat National Assembly. The former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party was reduced to five seats. In the local elections of May 2018, 62 of the 120 seats went to the UDP and 18 to the APRC.

    The cabinet was reshuffled in March 2019, as the vice president was removed, along with two other prominent members of the UDP. In December 2019 President Adama Barrow formed a new political party, the National People’s Party which would allow him to seek a second term in 2021 elections.

    Economic Overview

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6% in 2019 against 6.5% in 2018. Services grew by 10%, supported by wholesale and retail trade, despite the Thomas Cook UK bankruptcy. Agriculture contracted by 10% due to erratic rainfall. On the demand side, growth was driven by high public and private investment. Externally financed projects (9.8% of GDP) supported public investment while private sector credit expanded rapidly (y-o-y growth of 35.8%). Inflation increased from 6.5% in 2018 to 7.1% in 2019, reflecting a reduction of the output gap and the impact of a one-off administrative price change.

    The government adhered to a tight fiscal stance in 2019 and succeeded in reducing the fiscal deficit by almost 3.5 percentage points of GDP to 2.6% of GDP in 2019 (corresponding to a primary surplus of 0.6%). Revenues (excluding grants) increased markedly driven by strong tax performance. Current expenditure increased by 1% of GDP in 2019 relative to previous year to accommodate a 50% increase in civil service salaries, and higher outlays for social sectors and transitional justice initiatives. Interest payments declined from 26.1% of domestic revenues in 2018 to 22.3% in 2019. SOE subsidies were contained at 0.6% of GDP. Public debt declined from 86.7% of GDP in 2018 to 82.5% in 2019.

    The restructuring of The Gambia’s external debt is being finalized following commitments provided by participating creditors. These deferrals have markedly improved The Gambia’s debt outlook.

    The Gambia has met quantitative targets under the one-year IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP) for 2019 (approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 24, 2019), including on domestic borrowing by the government and on poverty-reducing spending. On February 11, 2020, IMF reached staff-level agreement with the Gambia on a three-year Extended Credit Facility  program in the amount of SDR 35 million (or around $48 million). This arrangement will catalyze much needed resources from other international partners enabling The Gambia to fulfill its economic potential and address pressing social needs.

    Last Updated: Mar 20, 2020

  • The Gambia Country Engagement Note FY18-21, focuses on the following objectives: (i) Restoring Macroeconomic Stability and Stimulate Inclusive Growth and; (ii) Investing in Human Capital and Build Assets and Resilience for the Poor. The active portfolio for The Gambia comprises seven national International Development Association (IDA) investment operations for $166.84 million, and three regional IDA operations for $116 million in commitments. International Finance Corporation commitments are $5  million. The details are provided below:

    National Projects

    Regional Projects

    Last Updated: Mar 20, 2020

  • The World Bank Group continues to contribute to The Gambia’s development performance in the following sectors:

    • The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP) supports in the energy sector by focusing on: (i) on-grid solar PV; (ii) reduction of technical and commercial losses; and (iii) institutional support. This project is co-financed by the European Union and the European Investment Bank.
    • The Education Sector Support Program jointly funded by the International Development Association and the Global Partnership for Education focuses on: (i) enhancing access to early childhood development and basic education; (ii) improving quality of teaching and learning and; (iii) technical and institutional support.
    • To support the country’s health program, the Bank Group is working closely with the National Nutrition Agency and the Ministry of Health to reprioritize health expenditures, strengthen primary health care, and increase the use of community nutrition and primary maternal and child health services in selected regions of the country.
    • The Social Safety Net project aims to (i) improve coordination in the sector, through the establishment of a Social Protection Secretariat and a Social Registry and (ii) increase coverage of social assistance through the Nafa Program of cash transfers and behavioral change communications.

    Last Updated: Mar 20, 2020

  • In addition to the World Bank, The Gambia’s largest development partners include the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the Africa Development Bank, and agencies of the United Nations system. Bilateral assistance from China and Turkey are significant. The Islamic Development Bank  is also a major player providing short-term revolving funds and other financial support, along with Arab Fund for Economic Development in Africa.

    The World Bank is coordinating with UNICEF, the European Union, the United Nations Population Fund, the World Food Programme and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the health and nutrition sectors. In the education sector, the Bank collaborates closely with the Global Partnership for Education  and UNICEF. In the energy sector, the World Bank is working together with European Commission and European Investment Bank. The World Bank is also a leading partner on social protection, together with UNICEF, the UNDP and the European Union.

    Last Updated: Mar 20, 2020

Api


LENDING

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

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments


PHOTO GALLERY

More Photos Arrow

In Depth

Coronavirus Sparks Recession

The latest economic analysis for the region predicts the pandemic could cost as much as $79 billion in output losses for 2020.

CPIA Africa

Africa’s poorest countries saw little to no progress on average in improving the quality of their policy and institutional frameworks in 2018.

IDA in Africa

With IDA’s help, hundreds of millions of people have escaped poverty—through the creation of jobs, access to clean water, schools, roads, nutrition, electricity, and more.

World Bank Africa Multimedia

Watch, listen and click through the latest videos, podcasts and slideshows highlighting the World Bank’s work in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Doing Business in Gambia

The Doing Business report provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement. See where your country ranks.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Main Office Contact
+220-44-980-89
For general information and inquiries
Haddija Jawara
External Affairs Consultant
Banjul, Gambia
hjawara1@worldbank.org
For project-related issues and complaints
gambiaalert@worldbank.org