Gambia, in the Western most tip of Africa, is
encircled by its neighbouring country Senegal on all
sides apart from the Atlantic side, and for this reason
the two countries have a lot of cultural & ethnic
ties. In contrast to Senegal, a former French colony,
The Gambia was colonised by Britain and gained its independence
on 18 February, 1965, when it then adopted the National
Anthem. The Gambia, in contrast to many of its West
African neighbours, it has enjoyed lengthy spells of
stability since independence.
the small country is situated on the Atlantic coast
at the bulge of Africa. It is a thin strip of mainly
low plateau, which decreases in height as it nears the
Atlantic coast. The plain is broken in a few places
by the river and its tributaries. Mangrove swamps, park-like
savannah and unspoiled beaches all feature in The Gambia’s
In contrast to its all-enveloping neighbour, Senegal,
and the massive nations surrounding them, Gambia looks
like a sliver in the side of Africa. True, it ranks
among the continent's tiniest countries, but its attractions
are just as bright and bold-faced as any in the region.
Its capital city, Banjul,
is a uniquely African experience, with a bustling marketplace
and enough street side culture to chase away the holiday
daze of glitzier cities. And for an even more 'traditional'
outlook, a quick trip upriver brings you into the Gambian
heartland, where the colourful buzz of weekly markets
vies with boat trips through mangrove creeks and bike
jaunts to mud-hut villages for your time and appreciation.
the country is largely defined by its natural features
- from the Gambia River, which runs the length of the
country, to the golden beaches
of its Atlantic coast resorts - the country's greatest
draw lies in its people, their culture and the amiable
atmosphere of daily life. Whether you're making conversation
at a kerbside coffee stall or shouting yourself hoarse
at a weekend wrestling match, you're sure to come away
with as warm a feeling for Gambians as they tend to
show to travellers.
stability, however, has not translated into prosperity.
Despite the predominance of the Gambia river, which
runs through the middle of the country, only one-sixth
of the land is arable and the poor nature of the soil
makes it suitable mostly for one crop - peanuts. The
major domestic export products of The Gambia consists
of groundnut products, cotton, fish and fish products,
fruits and vegetables. Over the past couple of years
the country has experienced significant economic growth
primarily driven by the construction sector of the economy.
country is heavily dependent on peanut exports and as
a result is a hostage to fluctuations in the production
and world prices of the crop.
Consequently, it suffers from poor health conditions
and relies on foreign aid to fill gaps in its balance
economy has a narrow industrial base and is also a low
food-producing nation. Thus it has little option but
to resort to importing most products for consumption.
The Gambia is a net food importing country particularly,
rice, sugar, flour, milk, tomato paste and it gets all
fuel supplies from abroad. The re-export trade continues
to play an important role in The Gambian economy, particularly
in trading with countries in the ECOWAS region of West
1994, the elected government was toppled in a military
coup. The country returned to constitutional rule two
years later when its military leader ran as a civilian
and won presidential elections (disputed).
In 2000, the country saw a foiled coup, the killing
of student demonstrators, and charges of murder being
brought against opposition leaders - all this against
the background of the collapse of the peanut-marketing
The current president is here.
Born in 1965, the former president, Yahya Jammeh, joined
the army in 1984 upon leaving school. After serving
with Gambian peacekeepers in Liberia, he returned and,
together with a group of veterans who had not been paid,
ousted the elected president, Dawda Jawara, who had
led the country since independence.
At age 36 he won a second term in the October 2001 presidential
elections, which earned the approval of foreign observers.
He gained 53% of votes cast against less than 33% for
his main rival Ouassainou Darboe, a prominent human
The only national television station is run by the government.
Between 2005 to 2007 the country experienced accelerated
growth rates in the economy largely driven by the building
construction sector of the economy. Many new roads and
hotel accommodation establishments have been built and
street lights have been installed on many junctions.