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The Gambia: Economy#

The government has invested strongly in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the sector for its livelihood and agriculture provides for another one-fifth of GDP. The agricultural sector has untapped potential - less than half of arable land is cultivated. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia's re-export 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 and a limited agricultural base. 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 natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger tourist destinations in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. Tourism normally brings in about 20% of GDP, but 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 continue to be concerned about the quality of fiscal management. The IMF provided $10.8 million in emergency financial assistance to The Gambia in April 2015 to shore up the country’s finances. Relations with international donors have been tarnished by the country’s human rights record.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.387 billion (2016 est.)
$3.31 billion (2015 est.)
$3.172 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$886 million (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.3% (2016 est.)
4.4% (2015 est.)
-0.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,700 (2016 est.)
$1,700 (2015 est.)
$1,600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving11.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
14.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 80.7%
government consumption: 9.7%
investment in fixed capital: 19.1%
investment in inventories: -1.5%
exports of goods and services: 24.8%
imports of goods and services: -32.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 21.4%
industry: 15.6%
services: 63% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsrice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
Industriespeanuts, fish, hides, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
Industrial production growth rate1.2% (2016 est.)
Labor force777,100 (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6% (1996)
Unemployment rateNA%
Population below poverty line48.4% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
Distribution of family income - Gini index50.2 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $231.5 million
expenditures: $323.6 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues26.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-10.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)7.4% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate9% (31 December 2009)
11% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate30.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
30.8% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$236.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$275.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$534.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$511.5 million (31 December 2013 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$420.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$466.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Current account balance-$112 million (2016 est.)
-$136 million (2015 est.)
Exports$120 million (2016 est.)
$113.2 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespeanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels
Exports - partnersChina 47.6%, India 27.2%, France 5.9%, UK 4.9% (2015)
Imports$363.9 million (2016 est.)
$365.1 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
Imports - partnersChina 34.2%, Brazil 8.1%, Senegal 6.9%, India 5.7%, Netherlands 4.8% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$91.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$83.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - externalg: $541.8 million (31 December 2016 est.) ++ $502.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesdalasis (GMD) per US dollar -
44.5 (2016 est.)
41.89 (2015 est.)
41.89 (2014 est.)
41.733 (2013 est.)
32.08 (2012 est.)