GAMBIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 4,007 square miles

Population: 1,705,000

Capital:  Banjul

Currency: Dalasi

Weather / Climate:

The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. It lies between latitudes 13° and 14°N, and longitudes 13° and 17°W.

The country is less than 48.2 km (30.0 mi) wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,295 km². Approximately 1,300 km² of The Gambia's area is covered by water. The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. In comparative terms the Gambia has a total area which is slightly less than that of the island of Jamaica. The western side of the country borders the North Atlantic Ocean with 50 miles of coastline.[10]

The climate of The Gambia is tropical. There is a hot and rainy season, normally from June until November, but from then until May there are cooler temperatures with less precipitation.[10] The climate in The Gambia is about the same as that found in neighbouring Senegal, southern Mali, and the northern part of Benin.[11]

Its present boundaries were defined in 1889 after an agreement between the United Kingdom and France. During the negotiations between the French and the British in Paris, the French initially gave the British approximately 200 miles (320 km) of the Gambia River to control. Starting with the placement of boundary markers in 1891, it took nearly fifteen years after the Paris meetings to determine the final borders of The Gambia. The resulting series of straight lines and arcs gave the British control of areas that are approximately 10 miles (16 km) north and south of the Gambia River.

Taken from wikipedia

GAMBIAN languages

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

The Mandinka language (Mandi'nka kango) is a Mandé language spoken by millions of Mandinka people in Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea-Bissau and Chad; it is the main language of The Gambia. It belongs to the Manding branch of Mandé, and is thus fairly similar to Bambara and Maninka or Malinké. In a majority of areas, it is tonal language with two tones: low and high, although the particular variety spoken in The Gambia and Senegal is non-tonal and uses a pitch accent.

Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language.

Wolof is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken not only by members of the Wolof ethnic group (approximately 40 percent of the population) but also by most other Senegalese. Note however that, this figure is misleading because other tribes who have been Wolofized and speak the Wolof language are added to this figure when in fact they are not Wolofs at all.[clarification needed][1] Wolof dialects may vary between countries (Senegal and the Gambia) and the rural and urban areas. "Dakar-Wolof", for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, Arabic, and even a little English - spoken in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. "Wolof" is the standard spelling, and is a term that may also refer to the Wolof ethnic group or to things originating from Wolof culture or tradition. As an aid to pronunciation, some older French publications use the spelling "Ouolof"; for the same reason, some English publications adopt the spelling "Wollof", predominantly referring to Gambian Wolof. Prior to the 20th century, the forms "Volof", and "Olof" were used.

The Fula or Fulani language (Fula: Fulfulde or Pulaar or Pular ; French: Peul) is a language of West Africa. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Wolof, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It is spoken as a first language by the Ful?e (Fula or Fulani people) and related groups (such as the Tukulor in the Senegal River Valley) from Senegambia and Guinea to Cameroon and Sudan. It is also spoken as a second language by peoples in various areas of the region.

Taken from:

GAMBIAN people

A wide variety of ethnic groups live in The Gambia, each preserving its own language and traditions with minimal intertribal friction. The Mandinka are the largest ethnic group with 40% of the population, followed by the Fula, the Wolof, the Jola, and the Serahuli. The Aku also live here although only constituting a small community. Approximately 25,000 non-Africans live in The Gambia, including about 20,000 Europeans and 2,500 people of Moroccan origin. Most Europeans are Britons and most of them stepped out after independence.

Muslims constitute more than 92% of the population. Christians of various denominations account for most of the remainder. Gambians officially observe the holidays of both religions and practice religious tolerance.

More than 80% of Gambians live in rural villages, although more and more young people come to the capital in search of work and education. While urban migration, development projects, and modernization are bringing more Gambians into contact with Western habits and values, the traditional emphasis on the extended family, as well as indigenous forms of dress and celebration, remain integral parts of everyday life.


1,782,893 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149

Age structure

0-14 years:43.6% (male 390,806; female 387,172)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 473,478; female 481,315)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 25,071; female 25,051) (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

2.668% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Birth rate

37.87 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26

Death rate

11.74 deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate

0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 69


urbanization population:57% of the total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth:1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total:67.33 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 29
male: 73.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.91 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth

total population:55.35 years
country comparison to the world: 193
male: 53.43 years
female: 57.34 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate

· 4.96 children born/woman (2010 est.)

· 5.04 children born/woman (2009 est.)

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The Gambia offers some of the best food anywhere in West Africa and it is renowned for its abundant supply of fresh sea food; lady fish, barracuda, butter fish, atlantic prawns are just some you will find on many menus.

Traditional dishes:

Nyombeh Nyebbeh
Is popularly used by many Gambians both in the rural and the urban centres; This is made with cassava and beans and has very rich nutrients. The ingredients that can be found in this local dish are as follows: beans, cassava, oils, onions, chili, and stock cube, salt for seasoning, black pepper, liter water and fried red snapper.

Pepeh Soup
This is a tasty thick stew which is very easy to make. Very spicy and it’s commonly prepared with fish, cow leg or foot wit the  bone into to the stock.

This is a typical mandinka dish made from groundnuts in most part of the Gambia. As the name implies, “Domo” means eating whilst Da means the stew pot. The uniqueness is that the flavor of this wonderful piquant dish comes from the main ingredient of concentrated peanut paste. Domoda can be prepared with meat, beef or fish with lot of vegetables. This is a source of high protein and with nutritious value in this Gambian local dish. Ingredients used in Domoda include: salt, small medium onion, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, medium cabbage, and peanut paste 2 liters of water, tomato paste, lemon juice stock cube and boiled white rice.

Similar to Yassa, but usually made with fish. Caldo is very easy to prepared with the same delicious tangy lemon flavoring, but as the fish is steamed, it is much quicker to prepare.
Use one whole fish per serving, jorto or sompat are recommended for this dish.

This is a popular Gambian dish, originated from the Wolof meaning cooking with one pot. As the name may suggest, just about anything can go in, this is Africa’s answer to a good risotto lady fish. Alternatively it can be made with beef. Always use fresh herbs as this gives a good flavor to the food. The preparation might take about 1hr.

Ingredients: Fish or meat, lemon juice, basil leaves, aubergine, chopp fresh parsley, small medium onion, fresh chili, fresh tomatoes, pumpkin, carrot, medium cabbage, vegetable oil, water, tomato paste if you want the colour to appear

It is made with chicken or fish, the delicious tangy flavor or fresh lemons or limes make Yassa sauce a huge favorite in this part of the world and definitely recommended as one to try.
Ingredients found in Yassa, whole chicken or fish, salt and pepper, onion, clove garlic, mustard, chili sauce, and lime juice, water if using chicken and, boiled rice.

This is another famous dish in the Gambia, easily prepared with groundnuts, and smoked fish the ingredients can be found in any local markets at a very cheap price. This dish is similar to risotto
Ingredients, smoked fish, dry salted fish, locus bean or black-eyed beans, bunch spring onion, fresh chilies, groundnut and white rice, bitter tomato or Jattoo.

Fish Ball
The Gambia over the years has been trying to expose its different cuisine to many visiting tourists to the above named Fish Ball can be seen in almost all the Hotels and restaurant around the Tourism Development area, if you want to have the best taste of this real Gambian owned dish you need to considered the following ingredients. Onion, fresh tomatoes, ground bonga fish,breadcrums, freshly chopped parsly , blackpaapeper,,oil,stock cube, tomato paste fresh chilies and boil white rice to serve

Oyster Stew
With the presence of the mighty  swamps around the banks of the River Gambia, the smiling coast is blessed with abundant oysters, the collection of these oysters are mainly done by women and they supply it to the major restaurants and hotels and to the Gambian family homes. Always request for this magnificent and delicious Gambian cuisine from any hotel or restaurants whilst in the smiling coast.

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Places to go in GAMBIA


Doing business in GAMBIA

The Gambia has a liberal, market-based economy characterized by traditional subsistence agriculture, a historic reliance on groundnuts (peanuts) for export earnings, a re-export trade built up around its ocean port, low import duties, minimal administrative procedures, a fluctuating exchange rate with no exchange controls, and a significant tourism industry.[15]

The World Bank pegs Gambia's GDP for 2009 at US$733M while the International Monetary Fund puts it at US$968M for 2009.

Agriculture accounts for roughly 30% of gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 70% of the labor force. Within agriculture, peanut production accounts for 6.9% of GDP, other crops 8.3%, livestock 5.3%, fishing 1.8%, and forestry 0.5%. Industry accounts for approximately 8% of GDP and services approximately 58%. The limited amount of manufacturing is primarily agricultural-based (e.g., peanut processing, bakeries, a brewery, and a tannery). Other manufacturing activities include soap, soft drinks, and clothing.[15]

Previously, Great Britain and other EU countries constituted the Gambia's major domestic export markets. However, in recent years Senegal, the United States, and Japan have become significant trade partners of the Gambia. In Africa, Senegal represented the biggest trade partner of the Gambia in 2007, which is a defining contrast to previous years that saw Guinea-Bissau and Ghana as equally important trade partners. Globally, Denmark, the United States, and China have become important source countries for Gambian imports. The U.K., Germany, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Netherlands also provide a fair share of Gambian imports. The Gambia's trade deficit for 2007 was $331 million.[15]

As of May 2009, there were twelve commercial banks in the Gambia, including one Islamic bank. The oldest of these, Standard Chartered Bank dates its presence back to the entry in 1894 of what shortly thereafter became Bank of British West Africa. In 2005, the Swiss-based banking group, International Commercial Bank established a subsidiary and has now four branches in the country. In 2007, Nigeria's Access Bank established a subsidiary that now has four branches in the country, in addition to its head office; the bank has pledged to open four more. In May 2009, the Lebanese Canadian Bank opened a subsidiary called Prime Bank (Gambia). [18]

Taken from wikipedia

GAMBIA: useful links

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