The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then. Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH led a military coup in 1994 that overthrew the president and banned political activity. A new constitution and presidential elections in 1996, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. JAMMEH has been elected president in all subsequent elections, including most recently in late 2006..

The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base, and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas. About 80% of the population depends on the agricultural sector for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa, boosted by government and private sector investments in eco-tourism and upscale facilities. In the past few years, the Gambia's re-export trade - traditionally a major segment of economic activity - has declined, but its banking sector has grown rapidly. Unemployment and underemployment rates 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. Sourced from the CIA factbook

Education in Gambia

The school going age in the Gambia is officially seven years. The education system, which is largely based on the British system, consists of the following:

  • Six years of primary schooling: grades 1 - 6
  • Three years of Junior Secondary schooling: grades 7 - 9
  • Three years of Senior Secondary schooling: grades 10 - 12
  • Four years of University education

The Constitution mandates free and compulsory primary education in The Gambia, but a lack of resources and educational infrastructure has made implementation difficult.

Message from the President

"We want to transform the Gambia into a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated , trained , skilled healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and in so doing bring to fruition this fundamental aim and aspiration of Vision 2020."

DOSTIE. Department of State for trade industry and employment.

World Bank Support

The World Bank is helping to fight poverty and improve living standards for the people of The Gambia. As of October 2008, the World Bank, through the International Development Association (IDA), had approved a total of 31 IDA credits for The Gambia for a total of approximately US$299 million. The commitment value of the currently five ongoing World Bank operations is approximately US$55.9 million.

The World Bank