Gambian economy is a highly open type as measured by export
and import ratios to GDP, however, as much as 70 percent of
exports consist of re-exports. The main domestically-originating
exports are groundnuts and tourism.
The country's economy is mainly reliant mainly agricultural
exports as a foreign currency earner.
Entrepot (re-export) trade from
Banjul Ports makes up a significant portion of economic
activity though the devaluation of the CFA Franc in 1994 reduced
Tourism, which mostly takes the form of
sun seekers, birdwatchers and African-Americans, makes up about
about 18% of the Gambia's GDP.
Economic development is very reliant on
continued multilateral and bilateral aid and on prudent economic management
by the government as espoused by the International Monetary
help and advice.
The Gambia is among the poorest countries of the world, ranking
155th out of 177 countries in the 2007/2008 UNDP Human Development
Index rankings (HDI). According to the UNDP's
Human Poverty Index (HPI-1) of 2004 poverty is was at
40.9 percent, with rural poverty slightly exceeding urban
poverty rates, except in Banjul
where the rate is much lower. The Gambia’s per capita GDP
measured at PPP is higher than Benin, Senegal or Togo, but
literacy is low by regional standards.
Services account for over
50 percent of GDP, reflecting the importance of re-export trade
and tourism. Agriculture accounts for about a third of GDP but
more than 70 percent of employment. The
manufacturing sector is
undeveloped even by West African standards, providing only 5
percent of GDP and displaying little dynamism.
Macroeconomic performance deteriorated in 2002–03, reflecting
the impact of loose fiscal policy, accommodating monetary policy
and a drought.
Inflation rose from an average of less than 5
percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2003, the highest level in
nearly two decades. The dalasi depreciated by 55 percent in
nominal effective terms between end-2001 and end-2003. The seeds
for the poor performance were sown in 2001 when a combination of
significant unbudgeted expenditures and a fall in tax revenues
led to a large increase in government borrowing from the
Bank of The Gambia (CBG) and a sharp rise in domestic debt. Real
GDP declined by 3 percent in 2002 because of a drought, but
recovered in 2003.
The 2002 IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) loan
was cut off in 2002 following spending overruns and
irregularities at the CBG. The Gambian
government has sought to re-establish a program with the Fund
through a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) as an interim step
towards re-establishing a PRGF. The IMF notes that fiscal and
monetary policies have been tightened lately, contributing the
sharp decline in inflation, from double digits in 2003-2004 to
4.5 percent in 2005. Nevertheless, the IMF expresses continued
concerns about slippages in fiscal discipline, extra-budgetary
expenditures, and inadequate auditing of both fiscal and
monetary accounts. The Gambia’s fiscal policy is also
constrained by a large domestic debt and high real interest
rates, such that a substantial primary surplus is required to
cover interest payments.
As at 2008 The Gambia currently had a Staff Monitored Programme
with the IMF, as part of a Medium Term Economic Framework Plan.
The agency has reported some modest progress on fiscal balance
and some improvements in financial management.
A tightening of fiscal and monetary policies from late-2003
restored macroeconomic stability and contributed to sustained
growth. The basic primary fiscal balance moved from a deficit of
over 1 percent of GDP in 2001 to an average surplus of nearly 9
percent of GDP during 2004–07. Yields on treasury bills
rose from 15 percent at end-2001 to 31 percent at end-2003
before declining to 10–15 percent from mid-2005. Inflation fell
to less than 1 percent at end-2006 before a spike in the prices
of some imported food items pushed it to around 6 percent during
most of 2007. Real GDP expanded at a robust average annual rate
of 6.5 percent, led by the tourism, telecommunication, and
construction sectors. Tourism infrastructure has been a major
beneficiary of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Gambia’s longer term policy objectives are sketched in the
ambitious Vision 2020 document which aims to turn Gambia into a
diversified middle income economy with the private sector as "a
serious partner in national development and the very engine of
Products: groundnuts (140,000
tonnes - 2005), rice, millet,
sorghum, corn, sesame, cassava,
palm kernels; livestock:
cattle, sheep, goats
revenues: $181.1 million
expenditures: $163.4 million (2007 est.)
-$70 million (2007 est.)
Groundnut products, fish,
raw cotton, palm kernels, hides & entrepot trade
Export Partners (Principle):
India 37.7%, China 17.5%, UK 8.7%, France 5.1%, Belgium
$111 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)
$628.8 million (2003 est.)
$142.8 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Domestic Product (Estimates - 2008):
GDP (Official Exchange Rate)
GDP Real Growth Rate
GDP Per Capita (PPP)
Purchasing Power Parity
GDP Composition by Sector
Processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism; beverages;
agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking
Commodities: foodstuffs incl. rice, flour, sugar, manufactured
goods, petroleum, heavy fuel oil, cement bulk &
bags, auto vehicles, machinery equipment .
China 23.7%, Senegal 11.5%, Cote d'Ivoire 8.3%, Brazil
8%, Netherlands 5.2% (2007)
$301 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Inflation - Annual:
Average inflation in Gambia is 5.6 percent -
12-month moving average (31 December 2014)
agriculture 75%, industry, commerce, and services 19%,
The Gambia's unemployment rate is very high though no
exact figures are available.