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Gambia, The Economy Profile

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Economy - overview

The government has invested in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the sector for its livelihood and agriculture provides for about one-third of GDP, making The Gambia largely reliant on sufficient rainfall. The agricultural sector has untapped potential - less than half of arable land is cultivated and agricultural productivity is low. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of cashews, groundnuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia's reexport trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports and China has been its largest trade partner for both exports and imports for several years.

The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits. It relies heavily on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts. Remittance inflows to The Gambia amount to about one-fifth of the country’s GDP. The Gambia's location on the ocean and proximity to Europe has made it one of the most frequented tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by private sector investments in eco-tourism and facilities. Tourism normally brings in about 20% of GDP, but it suffered in 2014 from tourists’ fears of Ebola virus in neighboring West African countries. Unemployment and underemployment remain high.

Economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. International donors and lenders were concerned about the quality of fiscal management under the administration of former President Yahya JAMMEH, who reportedly stole hundreds of millions of dollars of the country’s funds during his 22 years in power, but anticipate significant improvements under the new administration of President Adama BARROW, who assumed power in early 2017. As of April 2017, the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, and the African Development Bank were all negotiating with the new government of The Gambia to provide financial support in the coming months to ease the country’s financial crisis.

The country faces a limited availability of foreign exchange, weak agricultural output, a border closure with Senegal, a slowdown in tourism, high inflation, a large fiscal deficit, and a high domestic debt burden that has crowded out private sector investment and driven interest rates to new highs. The government has committed to taking steps to reduce the deficit, including through expenditure caps, debt consolidation, and reform of state-owned enterprises.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$5.218 billion (2019 est.)

$4.92 billion (2018 est.)

$4.588 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$1.746 billion (2019 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.6% (2017 est.)

0.4% (2016 est.)

5.9% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,223 (2019 est.)

$2,158 (2018 est.)

$2,073 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
Gross national saving15.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

17.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

3.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 90.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 19.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -2.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 20.8% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -40% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 20.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 14.2% (2017 est.)

services: 65.4% (2017 est.)
Ease of Doing Business Index scoresOverall score: 50.3 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 84.6 (2020)

Trading score: 67.8 (2020)

Enforcement score: 50.9 (2020)
Population below poverty line48.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force777,100 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 75%

industry: 19%

services: 6% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate


Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 25.8%

male: 21%

female: 32.3% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index35.9 (2015 est.)
Budgetrevenues: 300.4 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 339 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues20.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt88% of GDP (2017 est.)

82.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.1% (2019 est.)

6.5% (2018 est.)

8% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsgroundnuts, milk, oil palm fruit, millet, sorghum, rice, maize, vegetables, cassava, fruit
Industriespeanuts, fish, hides, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
Industrial production growth rate-0.8% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$194 million (2017 est.)

-$85 million (2016 est.)
Exports$643 million (2019 est.)

$448 million (2018 est.)

$435 million (2017 est.)
Exports - commoditieslumber, cashews, refined petroleum, fish oil, ground nut oil (2019)
Exports - partnersChina 38%, India 22%, Mali 7%, Chile 5% (2017)
Imports$1.246 billion (2019 est.)

$851 million (2018 est.)

$754 million (2017 est.)
Imports - commoditiesclothing and apparel, refined petroleum, rice, raw sugar, palm oil (2019)
Imports - partnersChina 33%, India 10%, Senegal 5%, Brazil 5% (2019)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$170 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$87.64 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$586.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$571.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesdalasis (GMD) per US dollar -

51.75 (2020 est.)

51.4 (2019 est.)

49.515 (2018 est.)

41.89 (2014 est.)

41.733 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021

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