Economic Outline

flag Gambia Gambia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Between 1990 and 2022, the Gambia's real GDP growth averaged 3.1%, equating to less than 0.5% growth in per capita terms. However, there was a notable acceleration in economic growth to 5.3% in 2023 (2.7% per capita), primarily propelled by agriculture and industry sectors. Agriculture saw benefits from favorable rainfall and increased fertilizer subsidies. Despite a rise in tourism activity, the services sector experienced a slowdown due to contractions in various subsectors such as information and communication, and entertainment. Growth on the demand side was primarily driven by private investment, supported by remittances and public investment. Growth is projected to average 5.6% in 2024-26 (3.1% per capita), driven by increased activity in all sectors. Agriculture and services are expected to sustain growth, assuming favorable rainfall and continued recovery in tourism. Robust remittances, which represented 32.1% of GDP in 2023, will support the recovery in private sector demand, which, together with infrastructure programs, are expected to drive growth (data World Bank).

The fiscal deficit halved to 2.6% of GDP in 2023, driven by increased tax revenues and grants. Public expenditure remained high due to increased spending on road infrastructure. With lower net domestic borrowing, public debt declined to 75.8% of GDP in 2023. Nevertheless, the Gambia remains at high risk of debt distress. The current account deficit was estimated at 4.5% of GDP in 2023, almost comparable to the 4.2% in 2022, driven by a recovery in tourism and increased imports related to ongoing infrastructure projects.  The fiscal deficit is projected to narrow to 1.5% of GDP over 2024-26, supported by the completion of major infrastructure projects and domestic revenue mobilization efforts. These efforts include the digitization of tax administration and customs, the implementation of digital excise stamps for excisable products, the introduction of fuel marking, and reforms to broaden the tax base. Public debt is projected to decrease to 68.9% of GDP in 2024, supported by the fiscal path. Nevertheless, The Gambia is expected to remain at high risk of debt distress, and the end of the debt-service deferrals in 2024 could weigh on debt sustainability and economic growth. Inflation averaged 16.9% in 2023, marking the highest level in decades, attributed to factors like imported food inflation, utility tariff increases, and currency depreciation, which in turn affected private consumption negatively. Inflationary pressures are predicted to persist in 2024 and gradually ease, with CPI inflation reaching 6.5% in 2026, close to the Central Bank’s 5% target, reflecting the restrictive monetary policy and easing global supply conditions (data World Bank). The Gambia is in the process of consolidating its democratic transition while simultaneously implementing reforms aimed at transforming the economy. Despite these efforts, several structural factors persistently hinder growth, such as low productivity growth, insufficient structural change, limited fiscal space for infrastructure investments, a challenging business environment for private sector development, restricted economic diversification, and human capital challenges.

The Gambia has a young population with a fast growing working age population, yet low labour force participation rates and high unemployment undermine this demographic distribution. In addition, there are major geographical and gender differences. The World Bank estimated unemployment at 4.1% in 2023, while the international extreme poverty rate is expected to increase to 17.2% in 2024 before declining in 2025 and 2026.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 2.162.362.693.013.23
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 4.95.66.25.85.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 8428939891,0721,117
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 82.971.764.359.755.4
Inflation Rate (%) 11.517.015.110.56.6
Current Account (billions USD) -0.09-0.10-0.12-0.09-0.08
Current Account (in % of GDP) -4.2-4.1-4.4-3.1-2.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20152016201820192020
Gambian Dalasi (GMD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 1.191.251.421.421.31

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 48.5 7.4 44.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.6 17.3 52.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 6.1 5.6 2.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 753,285777,591775,068

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 60.53%60.55%60.54%
Men activity rate 69.21%69.12%69.00%
Women activity rate 52.23%52.34%52.45%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
58,8/100
World Rank:
104
Regional Rank:
12

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
85/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance and Economy
Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Central Bank
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024