Politics and Economy of Gambia

State structure and political system of the Gambia

The Gambia is a presidential republic. The Constitution of January 16, 1997 is in force. Administratively, the Gambia is divided into 8 districts (2003): Banjul, Basse, Brikama, Yanyanbureh, Kanifing, Kerevan, Kuntaur, Mansakonko. The largest cities (2003, thousand people): Serekunda (344.1), Bakau (82.3), Brikama (80.4), Banjul.
The highest body of legislative power is the unicameral National Assembly (53 seats). Executive power is exercised by the president of the republic and the government. The head of state, government and commander-in-chief is President Yaya Jammeh. The head of the highest legislative body is Sheriff Mustafa Dibba. Check cancermatters for political system of Gambia.

The President is elected by universal secret suffrage and can be re-elected multiple times. Members of Parliament are elected: 48 people. – through direct general elections, 5 people. – Appointed by the president.

President Dauda Jawara was in power for almost 30 years (1965–94). During his reign, the political situation in the country remained very stable, but on July 22, 1994, he was overthrown (the population was dissatisfied with the low standard of living). He took refuge on board an American ship, later he was taken to Senegal.

Local self-government bodies are city and district councils, the majority of whose members are elected by the population, and some – the leaders of the tribes – take their places ex officio.

In 1996, the ban on the activities of parties introduced in 1994 was lifted. Major parties: Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Creation (APPS); coalition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – United Democratic Party (UDP) – Gambia People’s Party (GNP); National Convention Party (CNP); National Reconciliation Party (PNP); People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (NDONS).

Leading business organizations: Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gambia Cooperative Union.

Public organizations: the Gambian Workers’ Congress, founded in 1935, 25,000 members; Gambian Press Association; Workers’ Union of the Gambia.

After the transition to a civilian form of government, the internal political situation is stable. The APPS, headed by the president, controls 50 of the 53 seats in parliament.

The participation of the Gambia in international affairs comes down to supporting the position taken by most countries in international and local (Organization for the Development of the Gambia River) organizations. In response to the provision of financial assistance by Taiwan, the Gambia established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1996, which led to a rupture of relations with China.

In 1998, there were 2,000 soldiers in the national army, 70 in the Navy, and 25 in the Air Force. and 2 reconnaissance aircraft. Gendarmerie – 900 people. Military service is voluntary, but the Constitution provides for the possibility of mandatory conscription.

The Gambia has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1965).

Economy of the Gambia

The Gambia is an agricultural country, one of the most economically backward in Africa. GDP $2.5 billion, GDP per capita $1,770 (2001). Economically active population 0.4 million people (2000). Inflation 4% (2001).
Sectoral structure of the economy in terms of contribution to GDP (1998,%): agriculture 21, industry 12, services 67. Employment (1998,%): agriculture – 75, industry, trade and services – 19, civil service – 6.

Electricity generation 75 million kWh (2000). In 1995, the country produced (thousand tons): palm oil 3.0, salted, smoked and dried fish 1.5, meat 6.0 (in 1997). In 1997, 1.24 million m3 of commercial timber was harvested.

Most of the population of The Gambia depends on agricultural production. Main crops (1999, thousand tons): peanuts (126), millet (76), rice (29), corn (21), sorghum (18). Livestock (1999, thousand heads): cattle 360, goats 265, sheep 190, poultry 1000. Fish catch (1999, thousand tons): in the Atlantic Ocean 40, in inland waters 5.

There are no railroads. The length of the road network is 2.7 thousand km, including 956 km of paved roads (1996). Road vehicles in operation (1999, thousand units): cars – 7.3, trucks and vans – 4.1.

There is 1 international airport in Yandum (27 km from the capital). In 1995, 19,000 people were transported, and the mileage flown was 1 million km.

The largest port is Banjul. Merchant fleet (1998) – 7 small vessels with a total displacement of 1.6 thousand tons.

The telephone network is small but of good quality. Communication facilities (2000): radios 196 thousand (1997), televisions 5 thousand, telephones 31.9 thousand lines, cell phones 5624 subscribers, Internet providers 2 (2001), Internet users – 5 thousand people. (2001).

Tourism is one of the main sectors of the economy. In 1999, 122 thousand tourists visited the Gambia. Tourism income (1996) US$15 million.

The Gambia is heavily dependent on donor assistance received under the Lomé Convention from the EU, IMF and IBRD. The main priorities of social policy are: the fight against unemployment, the level of which is subject to strong fluctuations in years of peanut crop failure or in the event of a decrease in the number of tourists; development of school education in rural areas.

The regime of exchange rate regulation of the national currency is uncontrolled swimming. Foreign exchange reserves – 106.4 million US dollars (1999). Demand deposits in commercial banks 279.02 million dalasies, cash in free circulation 347.55 million dalasies. State budget (2001): revenues $90.5 million, expenditures $80.9 million. Public debt $440 million (2001).

The low living standards of the population are associated with a high level of illiteracy, lack of mineral wealth, and poorly developed infrastructure. Up to 70% of assistance from foreign countries ends up in the accounts of the “top” in Western banks. The income of workers in rural areas is approx. $1 per day. High unemployment in cities (in some years it reaches 30-35%).

In 2000, the volume of exports amounted to 139.2, and imports – 200.3 million US dollars. Export (2000,%): Benelux (26), Japan (15), Great Britain (14), Brazil (7). Import (2000, %): China (18), Great Britain (10), Netherlands (8), France (6), Brazil (6). The main export commodities are peanuts, fish, palm oil, cotton fiber; imports – food, consumer goods, fuel, machinery and equipment, vehicles.

Politics of Gambia