Republic of The Gambia
LOCATION AND SIZE.
The Republic of The Gambia measures 11,295 square kilometers (4,361 square miles) and consists of a long narrow ribbon of land sitting astride the river Gambia, one of the major waterways in West Africa. Apart from the 50-kilometer (31-mile) stretch of coastline on the Atlantic ocean, it is entirely surrounded by Senegal. At the estuary of the river Gambia, the northern and southern boundaries are only 45 kilometers (28 miles) apart and the belt of land narrows to about 20 kilometers (13 miles) inland. Banjul is the coastal capital located on the southern side of the estuary.
The population of The Gambia was estimated at 1.026 million in the 1993 census and 1.169 million in 1997. The estimated population in 2000 was 1.367 million, growing at a rate of 3.2 percent a year with a fertility rate of 5.2 children per woman. It is a young population with about 45 percent under 14 years of age, 52 percent between 15 and 64 years, and 3 percent 65 and over. Population density is 117 per square kilometer (1997) with 30 percent of the people living in urban areas. Life expectancy was estimated at 47 years in 1997, up from 36 years in 1970.
The Mandinka people constitute 42 percent of the total population, followed (in descending order of population) by the Fula, Wollof, Jola, and Savaluli. There is also a community of Akus (Creoles) descended mainly from African slaves freed in the 19th century. About 90 percent of the population is Muslim and the rest are mostly Christians. There are also traditional religions practiced. English is the official language with Mandinka extensively used in the provinces while Wollof is widely spoken in Banjul.
The Gambia has no territories or colonies.
Allan C. K. Mukungu
Dalasi (D). One dalasi equals 100 bututs. Dalasi notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50, and coins are in denominations of D1 and 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 bututs.
Ground nuts, fish and fish products, palm kernels, cotton.
Food, machinery, transport equipment, manufactured goods, fuels.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$1.5 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$125.8 million (f.o.b., 1999). Imports: US$202.5 million (f.o.b., 1999).