World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Africa

Gambia Travelling Guide
Gambia Travelling Guide

General background: Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965; it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002. 

Area comparative: Slightly less than twice the size of Delaware

Climate:
Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)

Terrain: Flood plain of the Gambia river flanked by some low hills

Population: 1,455,842 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1%

Religions: Muslim 90%, Christian 9%, indigenous beliefs 1%

Language: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars

Government type: Republic under multiparty democratic rule

Capital: Banjul

Legal system: Based on a composite of English common law, Koranic law, and customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Gambia has no important mineral or other natural resources and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. Reexport trade normally constitutes a major segment of economic activity, but a 1999 government-imposed preshipment inspection plan, and instability of the Gambian dalasi (currency) have drawn some of the reexport trade away from Banjul. The government's 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts; the following two marketing seasons have seen substantially lower prices and sales. A decline in tourism in 2000 has also held back growth. Unemployment and underemployment rates are extremely high. Shortrun economic progress remains highly dependent on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management as forwarded by IMF technical help and advice, and on expected growth in the construction sector. Record crops undergirded sturdy growth in 2001.

Communication/Telephone system: Adequate; a packet switched data network is available.

Places of interest: Gambia is largely defined by its natural features - from the River Gambia, 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.

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