Gambia, The

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Introduction

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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 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.
 
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Geography

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Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
 
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13 28 N, 16 34 W
 
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total: 11,295 sq km
country comparison to the world: 167
land: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,295 sq km
 
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slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
 
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total: 740 km
border countries: Senegal 740 km
 
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80 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: extent not specified
 
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tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)
 
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flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation 53 m
 
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fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon
 
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arable land: 27.88%
permanent crops: 0.44%
other: 71.68% (2005)
 
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20 sq km (2008)
 
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8 cu km (1982)
 
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total: 0.03 cu km/yr (23%/12%/65%)
per capita: 20 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
 
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deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
 
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People and Society

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noun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
 
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African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1% (2003 census)
 
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English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
 
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Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%
 
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1,797,860 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
 
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0-14 years: 40% (male 360,732/female 358,440)
15-64 years: 56.9% (male 501,946/female 520,826)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 26,645/female 29,271) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 19.4 years
male: 19.2 years
female: 19.7 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.396% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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34.19 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
 
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7.65 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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-2.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
 
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urban population: 58% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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BANJUL (capital) 436,000 (2009)
 
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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: 0.98 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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400 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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total: 71.67 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 20
male: 77.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 63.51 years
country comparison to the world: 175
male: 61.23 years
female: 65.86 years (2011 est.)
 
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4.23 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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10.1% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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0.038 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 181
 
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1.13 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 139
 
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improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 92% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 8% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 68% of population
rural: 65% of population
total: 67% of population
unimproved:
urban: 32% of population
rural: 35% of population
total: 33% of population (2008)
 
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2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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18,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
 
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fewer than 1,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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15.8% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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2% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 154
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.1%
male: 47.8%
female: 32.8% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2008)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form: The Gambia
 
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republic
 
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name: Banjul
geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
 
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18 February 1965 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
 
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approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
 
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mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); note - from 1994 to 1996 he was chairman of the junta; Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: Yahya JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya JAMMEH 71.5%, Ousainou DARBOE 17.4%, Hamat BAH 11.1%
 
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unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 25 January 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APRC 47, UDP 4, NADD 1, independent 1
 
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Supreme Court
 
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Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH] (the ruling party); Gambia People's Democratic Party or GPDP [Henry GOMEZ]; National Alliance for Democracy and Development or NADD [Halifa SALLAH]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sheriff DIBBA]; National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat N. K. BAH]; People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Halifa SALLAH]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Ousainou DARBOE]
 
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National Environment Agency or NEA; West African Peace Building Network-Gambian Chapter or WANEB-GAMBIA; Youth Employment Network Gambia or YENGambia
other: special needs group advocates; teachers and principals
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Alieu Momodou NGUM
chancery: Suite 240, Georgetown Plaza, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX: [1] (202) 785-1430
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela WHITE
embassy: Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul
mailing address: P. M. B. No. 19, Banjul
telephone: [220] 439-2856, 437-6169, 437-6170
FAX: [220] 439-2475
 
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three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green; red stands for the sun and the savannah, blue represents the Gambia River, and green symbolizes forests and agriculture; the white stripes denote unity and peace
 
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lion
 
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name: "For The Gambia, Our Homeland"
lyrics/music: Virginia Julie HOWE/adapted by Jeremy Frederick HOWE
note: adopted 1965; the music is an adaptation of the traditional Mandinka song "Foday Kaba Dumbuya"
 
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Economy

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The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base, and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts. About three-quarters 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. The quality of fiscal management, however, is weak. The government has promised to raise civil service wages over the next two years and the deficit is projected to worsen.
 
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$3.494 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 170
$3.304 billion (2009 est.)
$3.098 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$1.067 billion (2010 est.)
 
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5.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
6.7% (2009 est.)
6.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
$1,900 (2009 est.)
$1,800 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 28.3%
industry: 15.3%
services: 56.4% (2010 est.)
 
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777,100 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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agriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6% (1996)
 
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NA%
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
 
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50.2 (1998)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
 
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26.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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revenues: $182.1 million
expenditures: $203.5 million (2010 est.)
 
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17.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
 
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-2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
 
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5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
4.6% (2009 est.)
 
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9% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 25
11% (31 December 2008)
 
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28% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
27% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$212.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
$207.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$468.2 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$434.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$355.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$280.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
 
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processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
 
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8.9%
country comparison to the world: 34
note: although The Gambia had the highest industrial growth rate in the world in 2009, this growth is from a tiny industrial base (2010 est.)
 
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220 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 176
 
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204.6 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
 
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2,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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42 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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2,807 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 173
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
 
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-$111 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
-$97.1 million (2009 est.)
 
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$104.3 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
$94.8 million (2009 est.)
 
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peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels
 
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India 40.8%, China 15.6%, France 11.9%, UK 6.6%, US 4.5% (2010)
 
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$336.4 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
$297.3 million (2009 est.)
 
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foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
 
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China 22.3%, Senegal 10.7%, Brazil 9.7%, Cote dIvoire 5.4%, India 5.2%, Netherlands 4.2% (2010)
 
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$201.6 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
$224.2 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$572 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
$520.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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dalasis (GMD) per US dollar -
28.5193 (2010)
26.6444 (2009)
22.75 (2008)
27.79 (2007)
28.066 (2006)
 
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Communications

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48,800 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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1.478 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 145
 
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general assessment: adequate microwave radio relay and open-wire network; state-owned Gambia Telecommunications partially privatized in 2007
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity, aided by multiple mobile-cellular providers, approached 85 per 100 persons in 2009
international: country code - 220; microwave radio relay links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; a landing station for the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea fiber-optic cable is scheduled for completion in 2011; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 
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state-owned, single-channel TV service; state-owned radio station and 4 privately-owned radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available, some via shortwave radio; foreign cable and satellite TV subscription services are obtainable in some parts of the country (2007)
 
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.gm
 
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1,453 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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130,100 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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Transportation

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1 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 222
 
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total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 3,742 km
country comparison to the world: 159
paved: 723 km
unpaved: 3,019 km (2004)
 
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390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
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total: 5
country comparison to the world: 129
by type: passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1 (2010)
 
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Banjul
 
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Military

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Office of the Chief of Defense Staff: Gambian National Army (GNA), Gambian Navy (GN), Republican National Guard (RNG) (2011)
 
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18 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; no conscription (2010)
 
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males age 16-49: 423,306
females age 16-49: 438,641 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 315,176
females age 16-49: 347,017 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 20,508
female: 20,853 (2010 est.)
 
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0.9% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 138
 
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Transnational Issues

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attempts to stem refugees, cross-border raids, arms smuggling, and other illegal activities by separatists from southern Senegal's Casamance region, as well as from conflicts in other west African states
 
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refugees (country of origin): 5,955 (Sierra Leone) (2007)
 
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current situation: The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; within The Gambia, women and girls and, to a lesser extent, boys are subjected to sex trafficking and domestic servitude; women, girls, and boys from West African countries - mainly Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Benin - are recruited for exploitation in the sex trade
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; the Gambian Government failed to use its adequate anti-trafficking legal framework to investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking cases (2011)
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