In 2006, Gambia was a small West African nation located on the Atlantic Coast of Central Africa. It was bordered by Senegal to the north and east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The population of Gambia in 2006 was estimated to be around 1.7 million people with a mix of ethnicities including Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Jola and Serahule peoples. English was the official language but many Gambian citizens also spoke a variety of local languages. The main religion is Islam with a strong presence of Sufism in some areas.
According to constructmaterials, Gambia had been an independent nation since 1965 after centuries of colonial rule. Despite this, poverty levels were relatively high and inequality was widespread compared to other countries in Africa. In 2006, Gambia’s economy was largely dependent on its exports of peanuts as well as fish and tourism made by major corporations such as Royal Air Maroc and British Airways. There were some efforts to diversify its economy by encouraging foreign investment but with limited success. The healthcare system was also inadequate with poor access to basic medical care for much of the population as well as relatively high rates of infant mortality and malnutrition compared to other countries in Africa.
The Gambia. A total of 47 people were reported to have been arrested in March and April for participating in an alleged coup attempt. Among the arrested were military as well as civilians. As coup leader, the government appointed a former Army Chief of Staff who was said to have moved to Senegal. Five of the arrested managed to escape during a prison transport, 26 were released after questioning while 16 were brought to trial for treason and conspiracy.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Gambia include Independence Day (February 18) and New Year (January 1). President Yahya Jammeh was re-elected in September for a third five-year term. He got just over 67% of the vote against about 27% for leading opposition politician Ousainou Darboe.
In an attempt to remedy the many power cuts, the government gave a private company the right to be responsible for electricity supply for five years.
Area: 11,295 km2 (world rank: 160)
Population density: 186 per km2 (as of 2017, world rank: 143)
Official languages: English
Gross domestic product: 1.0 billion US $; Real growth: 3.5%
Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 450 US$
Currency: 1 Dalasi (D) = 100 Bututs
Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt 126, B-1050 Brussels
T +32 2 6401049,
Fax +32 26463277www.gambiaembassybrussels.be
Head of State and Government: Adama Barrow-Ousainou Darboe, Exterior: Mamadou Tangara
National holiday: 18.2.
6 districts and 2 urban districts
State and form of government
Constitution of 1997
Parliament: National Assembly with 58 members (53 elected, 5 appointed by the head of state), election every 5 years
Direct election of the head of state every 5 years
Right to vote from 18 years.
. 1,857,181 residents: last census in 2013
approximately 44% Mandingo, Fulani 18%, 12% Wolof, 7% Djola, 7% Sarakolé among others.
Cities (with population): (as of 2013) Kanifeng (including Serekunda and Bakau.) 377,134 pop., Brikama 81,007, Sukuta 47,048, Banjul 31,054
Religions: 95% Muslims (mostly Sunnis), 4% Christians, 1% followers of indigenous religions (as of 2006)
Languages: English; Manding, Wolof, Ful et al.
Employed persons by economic sector
Unemployment (in% of all economically active persons)
Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 8.0%
Foreign trade: Import: 402 million US $ (2017); Export: US $ 85 million (2017)
Gambia gained independence within the Commonwealth in 1965, and became a republic on April 24, 1970. After nearly thirty years of multi-partyism, on 22 July 1994 a military coup by a group of young officers led by Lieutenant Y. Jammeh led to the deposition of the President of the Republic D. Jawara, leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), in office since 1970. All political activity prohibited and the Constitution approved in 1970 suspended, power was assumed by a Provisional Government Council of the Armed Forces headed by Jammeh, who proclaimed himself President of the Republic. The new regime stated that it wanted to combat widespread corruption in the political class, in the public administration and among the armed forces, and appointed some commissions of inquiry. The coup d’état plunged the country into international isolation, depriving it of the traditional economic aid of the World Bank and the support of many member states of the European Union. To obtain new funding, between 1994 and 1995 the Gambia established new diplomatic relations with Libya, Taiwan, Cuba and Iran. In 1995the death penalty was reinstated and numerous journalists and dissidents were arrested. Also in 1995, on the occasion of the popular referendum approving some constitutional amendments, the activity of political parties was again authorized, except for the three that had held government responsibilities in the thirty years preceding the coup: the People’s Progressive Party of the deposed president Jawara, the Gambia People’s Party and the National Convention Party.
The presidential elections of September 26, 1996 saw the success of President Jammeh, candidate of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), who resigned from the army a few weeks earlier to run for president as a civilian, as required by the new Constitution. The legislative elections of January 2, 1997 sanctioned the success of Jammeh’s APRC, which won 33 of the 45 seats in the National Assembly, whose inaugural session of 16January sanctioned the entry into force of the new Constitution. According to some observers, the broad consensus given to the new regime by the voters was due to the ambitious projects of Jammeh who, in a few years, unlike what had been done during the Jawara presidency, had started the construction of schools, hospitals, universities, television stations and the modernization of the old infrastructures (port, new terminal). The opposition harshly criticized this ‘façade’ program, which caused exceptional expenses for the country. In April 1997with the dismissal of the regional military governors still in power, the return of civilians to government and public office was completed. On the international level, after the dissolution of the Confederation of Senegambia (a body set up to initiate the process of unification of Gambia and Senegal), which took place in 1989, the two countries went through a period of difficult relations, which was only overcome starting in January 1991. In January 1996 and April 1997, despite the presence in Senegal of numerous opponents of the Jammeh regime, the two countries signed good neighborly agreements to combat the drug trade, illegal immigration and to encourage trade.