|Republic of The Gambia|
|Republic of the Gambia|
Motto : "Progress, Peace, Prosperity"
( English , "Progress, Peace, Prosperity")
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||Presidential system|
|Head of state , also head of government||
|population||2,051,363 (July 2017 estimate)|
|Population density||182 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+ 2.05% (2017)|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.452 ( 173. ) (2016)|
|independence||February 18, 1965
(from the UK )
|National anthem||For The Gambia Our Homeland|
|National holiday||February 18th (Independence Day)|
|Time zone||UTC ± 0|
|ISO 3166||GM , GMB, 270|
Gambia [ ˈgambi̯a ] (officially English The Gambia or Republic of The Gambia ) is a republic in West Africa , which lies on the banks of the Gambia . With the exception of a short stretch of coast where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean , the Gambia is completely enclosed by the state of Senegal . With a total area of approximately 11,000 square kilometers, the country is the smallest state on mainland Africa.
About the name Gambia
The exact etymological origin of the name Gambia is not known; there are several interpretations of this. It was first used in writing during the time of European explorers around 500 years ago. As they expanded their expeditions further south, they also made maps of the regions for future trips. Place names were mentioned in their reports and marked on the maps. Since the expeditions first took place by water, the rivers in the Senegambia region were of great importance.
Alvise de Cadamosto refers to the river and the country as Gambra or Cambra in the reports of his expeditions in 1455 and 1456 . Duarte Pacheco Pereira reports that the river forms the border between the kingdom of Jolof in the north and that of the Guambea , which is also called Guabu in the Mandinka language . In 1552 João de Barros knew two names for the river; the people along the river call it Gambu while the Portuguese call it Gambea . Richard Jobson noted in 1632 that some call the river Gambia , while others call it Gamba . From a linguistic point of view, there has been some confusion as to whether the words Cambra , Gambra , Gambu , Guabu, and Guambea refer to the river, the Mandinka kingdom, Kaabu, or to the river and kingdom. Both roots share Ka or Ga ( Kam / Gam ). The syllables bra , bu and bea seem to have different meanings. The syllable bu specifically refers to the land of the Kaabu, while the syllables bra and bea refer to the river. The syllable bra from Cadamosto could have its origin from the Wolof word Bur , which means king. This could explain that Gambia originally meant Gambura as 'the king's place'. The proximity of the Jolof Empire to the northern border with Kaabu could explain how a Wolof word stem may have mixed up with the Mandinka language.
Oral tradition, which is another important historical source in West Africa, gives another interpretation of the name Gambia . According to a rendering of the griot Fabala Kanuteh to Samuel Carter , it is said that when the Portuguese visited James Island , the king of Niumi , Seneke Jamme, sent a messenger to the strangers. This messenger, named Kambi Manneh , was asked by the Portuguese: “What is the name of this place?” His answer to the question, which he must have misunderstood, was: “My name is Kambi.” Kambi-yaa means Kambis Place or at Kambi's place . The story was also told in this form by the griot Foday Musa Suso , only the messenger's full name was Kambi Sonko .
In the 19th century, the documents refer to the settlement on the River Gambia ( English Settlement on the River Gambia ). In 1888, the colony was referred to as "the Colony of Gambia" ( English The Colony of the Gambia ). In the colonial times, no differences were made between the spellings Gambia and The Gambia . Since the Gambia's independence, the official name of the state has been The Gambia with a capitalized article. This notation is particularly important in English-language scripts.
According to another theory, the origin of the name comes from the Portuguese word câmbio ("exchange", "exchange" or "trade"). Câmbio could be the translation of the name for the river of the population at that time in the 15th century. The word ba dhimma (in another interpretation fura ) is here as the source. Ba dimma comes from the Mandinka language ( ba-djio = river).
The people on the river don't have a special name for him; the general word for river in Fula is maayo , baa in Mandinka, or dex in Wolof. The term Kambi Bolongo , which plays a key role in Alex Haley's novel Roots , is only known in the estuary. Bolongo is a word for creek .
Gambia is located on the west coast of the African continent and is 11,295 square kilometers whose smallest territorial state . The border, which is approximately 740 kilometers long, follows the course of the Gambia River for a length of 480 kilometers and a width of ten to 50 kilometers. Apart from the coastline, the Gambia is enclosed by Senegal, which is twenty times larger . The country is often referred to as an enclave , but this does not take into account access to the Atlantic Ocean. The unusual course of the Gambia border is explained by the widespread story that British ships fired from the navigable part of the river with cannons to both sides in order to define a border line against the French with the range of these cannons. The Gambia is a flat country, the height of which is between and above sea level .
The climate is tropical with a distinct rainy season and dry season . The dry season lasts from November to May. It is influenced by the dry northeast wind from the Sahara , called Harmattan . The average temperatures rise to values between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius , with peak values of over 40 ° C being reached. The relative humidity remains in the range between 30 and 60 percent.
The Gambia has a coastline of approximately 80 kilometers. About 1,300 square kilometers, i.e. 11.5 percent of the country's area, are bodies of water. Of this, the Gambia River - one of the main rivers in Africa - with its tributaries carries the majority.
Flora and fauna
The geographical position of the country, combined with the extensive wetlands , ensures a large number of different plant species. About 530 different plant species are known in the Gambia. The northern part of the bordering Senegal lies in the Sahel zone , further in the south of West Africa the tropical rainforest ( Guinea zone ) follows . The transition zone, in which the Gambia is also located, is called the Sudan zone . Wet savannah is the predominant type of vegetation , wherein the north of the Gambia the vegetation is sparse.
According to the land use study of 1998, around 45 percent of the country's area was covered with different types of forest. However, the proportion of closed forest ("dense forest", with a closed canopy) was just under 9 percent of the land area, while around three-quarters of the forest area was classified as "forest savannah". Another 32 percent of the land area was described as a park-like, open bush savannah, which is mostly cultivated seasonally. Typically, when the forest is converted into agricultural land, individual trees of certain tree species are left in the fields; namely mostly those that have a value as a supplier of fruits (e.g. "bush mango " ( Cordyla pinnata ), baobab ), medicinal products (e.g. "West African mahogany" Khaya senegalensis ), fodder (green leaves during the dry season, e.g. B. Anabaum ( Faidherbia albida )) or technical fibers (e.g. bark of the baobab for the production of ropes). The forest savannah can be roughly divided into a variant on deeper, better soils with higher rainfall (especially in the West Coast Region and in the western half of the Lower River Region) and a variant on the more shallow plateaus with lower rainfall in the east of the country can be found. The most common tree species are Khaya senegalensis , Cordyla pinnata , Daniellia oliveri , Pterocarpus erinaceus and Prosopis africana . On the drier plateaus, the red silk wool tree and Afzelia africana are also represented. On the other hand, Anogeissus leiocarpa , Néré ( Parkia biglobosa ) and Sterculia setigera are more common in the better locations in the west . The forest savannah has been degraded over a large area by forest fires, overgrazing and excessive use for decades, and the species composition has been greatly changed. Instead of the original biodiversity, robust pioneer plants such as Terminalia macroptera and various Combretum species have become predominant.
Over a distance of a good 200 kilometers from the mouth inland, as far as the influence of the salt water - the so-called brackish water zone - extends, there are densely entwined mangrove forests on the banks of the Gambia . Further upriver and at some of the mostly short fresh water inflows, some of which only carry water in the rainy season, remains of evergreen gallery forest can be found at the edges of the flowing waters. Besides most of the tree species mentioned for the forest savannah, ebony , Erythrophleum guineense , Milicia regia , as well as the Ethiopian palmyra palm ( Borassus aethiopum ) and numerous lianas grow here . Typical examples of gallery forest have been preserved in the Abuko Nature Reserve and in the town of Pirang in a small state forest park.
A strip of coastal forest (Coastal Woodland) stretched along the Atlantic before the coast was overbuilt by mainly tourist infrastructure, which is particularly characterized by closed stands of the Ethiopian Palmyra palm. Furthermore, Allophyllus africanus , Malacantha alnifolia with a characteristic non-round trunk and the thorny bush Fagara zanthoxyloides are often represented. A well-preserved and protected remnant of the typical coastal forest can be found near Bijilo .
Some tree species that are not native to Gambia are being planted on a larger scale. In particular, plantations with the Gmelina arborea from Southeast Asia were created, for example in the Nymbai Forest Park in the West Coast region, where a small sawmill industry has emerged. This fast-growing tree species has also proven its worth for planting on fire protection strips and for marking different ownership structures in the forest savannah, which is why Gmelina planted in rows can be seen quite conspicuously along roads and paths. Other tree species that are not native to West Africa but are regularly planted in the Gambia for forestry or agricultural reasons are z. B. Teak tree (Tectona grandis), mango ( Mangifera indica ), neem tree ( Azadirachta indica ) and eucalyptus species .
Big game such as elephants, lions and giraffes were exterminated by colonial rulers and poachers in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the Gambia with its extensive savannah and wetlands still offers a large number of animal species.
About 108 species of mammals , such as the various small antelope species, for example the sitatungas or the bushbuck , are native here. Primates are frequently encountered, including Guinea baboons and vervet monkeys , but also Temminck's colobus monkeys and Patas monkeys . The last chimpanzees in the country have been successfully moved to a nature reserve.
The country is known for the great variety of colorful bird life. Over 540 species of birds are described in the specialist literature - a third of these birds are migratory birds .
The Gambia was once considered the most crocodile-rich river in Africa; Today crocodiles are rarely found in the wild, including the Nile crocodile and the stump crocodile . Among the lizards also includes up to two meters large Nile Monitor . The hippos , of which around 100 still live above Elephant Island, have become rare, but more dangerous .
The protected coastline is a popular spawning and growing area for various fish. Dolphins can be seen in the estuary.
Cities and towns
Because the capital Banjul is on an island, it cannot expand any further. This means that Serekunda is in the Kombo-St. Mary Area is by far the largest town and with 415,962 inhabitants the economic and cultural center of the country.
Share of the population in percent
Since the Gambia is home to many different ethnic groups who are mainly defined by their own language, the Gambians are quite polyglot . Often they speak several languages fluently or can at least communicate in them. Nine languages are mainly spoken, but over twenty different languages are spoken in the small country. The most widespread is the Mandinka from the group of Mande languages with around 454,000 speakers . Topographical names are common in Mandinka. The Wolof with around 165,000 speakers, which is most widespread in Senegal, is mainly used in the coastal region around Banjul and in Kombo-St. Mary Area spoken. Wolof is often used as a commercial and business language and also served as the language of parliament during the time of the Senegambian Confederation . The Fulfulde (or Fulani ) is spoken by about 263,000 Gambians.
The Arabic language is an old written language in the Gambia Valley. In the course of the Trans-Saharan trade , North African traders came to the West African rulers since the 10th century. With the adoption of Islam , the Arabic language, which is now considered the language of education and the language of religion, was also spread to the region south of the Maghreb . Due to the close contacts with Senegal, many Gambians also have a sound knowledge of French . Gambians who have contact with tourism often also have language skills in German , Dutch , Swedish or Finnish .
Until 2015, the Gambia saw itself as a secular state that promotes respect for all cultural and traditional values. It was traditional in the Gambia to open official events with prayers from a Muslim imam and a Christian clergyman . On December 11, 2015, however , President Yahya Jammeh declared Gambia an "Islamic Republic". His critics pointed out that there was no “constitutional basis” for his decision.
Voodoo is one of the indigenous religions . In contrast to the voodoo cult in Haiti, the voodoo in West Africa usually sees itself as a white, healing and good magic. Nonetheless, stories are occasionally spread in which someone is alleged to have maliciously made something of voodoo. For example, a suspect was lynched because he allegedly had conjured the genitals away from another.
An animal with mythological significance is the crocodile . It is considered a sacred animal and symbol of fertility. For example, West Africans see a crocodile in the full moon - called Bambo in the Mandinka language . This animal is incorporated as a watermark into the Dalasi banknotes.
There are three known sacred crocodile pools that are operated for tourism, among other things. The most visited is the sacred crocodile pool of Kachikally near Bakau . There are also plants at Barra and Allahein. In a long family tradition, crocodiles are raised there, which visitors - if they are brave - are allowed to touch. This touch is said to bring happiness and fertility. The water from these places of worship is also used for ritual purposes.
The literacy rate of adults (over 15 years) is according to an estimate of 2015 at 55.6 percent (compared to 2000: 36.8 percent). Broken down by gender, this is 63.9 percent of men and 47.6 percent of women. In 2013 (as in 2002), government spending on education was 2.8 percent of gross domestic product.
The school system is based on the British system , and schooling is compulsory in the Greater Banjul Area. The school age is seven years in the primary school , which comprises six school years . After a good graduation, the five-year secondary high school follows . Then the path is open to the two-year high school in Banjul. This degree entitles you to attend a university.
In Serekunda there is the University of Gambia , which was founded in 1998 and started teaching in 1999. Previously, students had to go abroad if they wanted to start studying medicine or agriculture.
According to an estimate, the state of Gambia has a population of over 2.0 million (estimate July 2016) and is growing at a rate of 2.11 percent per year. This value has increased over time and reached its zenith in 1993 with 3.88 percent. Since then, the growth rate has been falling again. With an area of 11,295 square kilometers, that makes a population density of 145 inhabitants per square kilometer. This puts Gambia in 42nd place worldwide .
The population structure shows a developing country typical construction of what is in the light pagoda shape in the age pyramid can recognize. For example, the age group up to 14 years makes up 44.3 percent. The group of the elderly only has a share of 2.7 percent. The remaining 53.0 percent are residents between 15 and 64 years of age.
The distribution between the two sexes is almost the same. In the age structure, there is no discernible rash that would point to social changes such as wars, catastrophes or a pill break. In the group of up to 14-year-olds, the male portion slightly predominates with a ratio of 1.01: 1, and in the group of old people the ratio in favor of the male portion is 1.05: 1. In the rest of the population, the male proportion is 0.99: 1.
In Gambia, the median age (is median ) 17.7 years (17.6 ♂ / ♀ 17.8). One can assume a life expectancy of 60.3 years for those born in 2015 (♂ 59.1 / ♀ 61.6). The death rate is 12.3 deaths per year per 1000 inhabitants. The birth rate is 39.4 births per year and 1000 inhabitants. The average number of children is 5.3 births per woman. The infant mortality rate is 71.6 deaths per 1000 births (♂ 78.1 / ♀ 64.9).
The country recorded a positive immigration rate that stands at 1.29 immigrants per 1,000 people. In 2017, 9.8% of the population were born abroad. The reasons are probably the economic conditions, which are better than in Guinea and Guinea-Bissau ; There are also many immigrants from Ghana . However, emigration has also accelerated since 2015; Among the boat refugees who arrived in Italy in 2015 alone , around 8,500 Gambians were.
The government spending for health care , as measured by the share of gross domestic product in 1990 amounted to 2.2 percent, rising to 3.2 percent in 2001. The number of doctors and health care workers also increased over the same period. With the new university it is now also possible to train doctors in your own country.
Successful programs to fight AIDS have ensured that the AIDS rate in Gambia is falling. In 2003 it was 1.2 percent, which is particularly low compared to the sub-Saharan African average of nine percent. The Gambia's malaria control program is also considered exemplary for all of West Africa.
The improvement in clinical care can be seen in the fact that in 2003, for the first time in Gambian history, a young woman from Brikama had quintuplets . She gave birth to the children healthy in a clinic with worldwide media interest.
Female genital mutilation
As in neighboring countries, the tradition of female genital mutilation in The Gambia poses a major threat to the physical and mental health of girls and women as well as their children. In connection with the low literacy rate of women, the lack of education, especially in rural areas cemented, superstitious ideas about female sexuality, the practice has continued into the 21st century. Depending on the ethnic group, the percentage of genitally mutilated women is between 12.5 percent among the Wolof and 98 percent among the Sarahule. Terre des Femmes speaks of 76 percent of genital mutilation women in The Gambia. However, also as a result of awareness-raising campaigns, the number of women supporters is gradually falling from 71 percent in 2005 to 64 percent a few years later. The circumcisions are only performed by women, and women are also the ones who hold onto the practice the most. In 2015 female genital mutilation was banned because it is “un-Islamic”.
The fertile banks of the Gambia River have been populated for thousands of years. The Carthaginian Hanno the Seafarer gave a written testimony around 470 BC. In the report of his trip to West Africa . The connection to the Mediterranean was only broken with the fall of the Roman Empire and the spread of Islam .
In the middle of the 15th century, numerous voyages of discovery initiated by Heinrich the Navigator led to the western tip of Africa. Among them were the sailors Dinis Dias , Alvise Cadamosto and Nuno Tristão . In the years that followed, Portuguese traders took over the sea route. At that time Gambia was part of the Mali Empire .
In 1618 King James I granted a British company the privilege to trade with Gambia and the Gold Coast , today's Ghana. The Netherlands and the Duchy of Courland also briefly had colonies in what is now the Gambia. From the late 17th to the end of the 18th century, England and France fought over political and economic rule over the rivers in Senegal and Gambia. The Peace of Paris of 1763 gave Great Britain control over Gambia, the French only got a small enclave around Albreda north of the river. This was ceded to Great Britain in 1857.
During the time of the transatlantic slave trade, more than three million slaves were brought to America. It was not until 1807 that Great Britain officially ended the slave trade, which initially did not affect trade in Gambia. In 1816 the English built a military base in Bathurst (now Banjul). In the following years Banjul was temporarily under the British Governor General in Sierra Leone. The Gambia only became an independent colony in 1888. The border between the French colony of Senegal and Gambia was finally determined.
On February 18, 1965, Gambia was admitted to the Commonwealth as a constitutional monarchy . When Senegal's President Léopold Sédar Senghor visited the Gambia in 1967, an agreement on intensive cooperation was concluded between the then not yet so-called Banjul and Dakar. On April 24, 1970, The Gambia was converted into a republic within the Commonwealth. The first President of the Republic was the previous Prime Minister David Dawda Kairaba Jawara , who was re-elected five times until 1994. In 1981 a violent coup rocked the country. In the aftermath of the coup, Gambia and Senegal signed a treaty on December 12, 1981, which provided for the unification of the armed forces, the currency and the economic area in the Confederation of Senegambia . This confederation existed from February 1, 1982 to September 30, 1989, when Gambia left the federal government.
One of the greatest maritime disasters of the post-war period occurred off the Gambian coast in 2002 . The Senegalese ferry Le Joola , at the time the only ferry between Ziguinchor in the Casamance region and Dakar, sank in a storm. More than 1800 people were killed.
On October 2, 2013, the Gambian government declared membership of the Commonwealth to be terminated with immediate effect. Like the human rights organization Amnesty International , Great Britain recently reprimanded the human rights situation in Gambia. The government in the capital Banjul announced that the West African country would “never want to be a member of a neo-colonial institution” or an institution “that stands for the continuation of colonialism”.
In the presidential election on December 1, 2016, the challenger Adama Barrow surprisingly triumphed against the long-time incumbent Yahya Jammeh . After Jammeh had initially admitted his defeat, he retracted this statement a week later and announced new elections, which he wanted to hold because of alleged irregularities in the election. That's how long he wanted to stay in office. The international community ( African Union , United Nations, United States) condemned this behavior and called on Jammeh to resign. From mid-December 2016, the neighboring country Senegal as well as Nigeria and other countries of the West African economic community ECOWAS tried in negotiations to convince Yahya Jammeh of an orderly handover of power to Adama Barrow. These negotiations were unsuccessful and Ecowas threatened military intervention. Jammeh called this a "declaration of war". After his regular presidency ended, Senegalese troops marched into Gambia on January 19, 2017 to force the transfer of power. Jammeh finally agreed to resign and go into exile in Guinea . Barrow returned from exile in Senegal and took over the business of government.
The Gambia is a republic under President Adama Barrow . On December 12, 2015, then President Yahya Jammeh declared Gambia an Islamic state . The young lieutenant Jammeh came to power in 1994 through a military, but largely bloodless, coup d'état , which arose out of a protest by soldiers about late payouts . At that time he announced that he would rule alone until at least 1998. Nevertheless, elections were held again in 1996 , from which Jammeh emerged the clear winner. A new constitution was introduced in 1997.
In fact, the years from 1996 to 2000 were characterized by a certain stability and economic upswing: The international airport in Banjul and numerous roads were modernized, a new hospital, new schools, a television station and a huge revolutionary monument were built, tourism was again a good source of income .
In 2000, at least 14 people were killed in a street battle between student protesters and police , according to Amnesty International . Schools were temporarily closed, and patrols dominated the cityscape at night.
In 2001 Jammeh was re-elected. In 2002 the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) won the election to the National Assembly, but the opposition party UDP boycotted the election. She criticized the election organized by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) because, in her opinion, the electoral system was flawed.
On December 16, 2004, the government-critical journalist Deyda Hydara was murdered. He had previously denounced the new media law, according to which journalists can be sentenced to at least six months' imprisonment for writing a “defamatory article” such as defamation or publishing inflammatory articles. Four days after the crime, hundreds of journalists protested against Hydara's murder and for freedom of the press.
In 2011, opponents of the regime in the diaspora , especially in the USA and Great Britain, founded the Coalition for Change , which sees itself as an oppositional political and civil rights movement. One of the founders was the country's former information minister , Amadou Scattred Janneh , who is also a US citizen and worked at the US embassy in Gambia until he was appointed minister in 2003. He was arrested in 2011 and released in 2012 under pressure from American civil rights activists.
On August 23, 2012, nine political prisoners were shot dead on death row . These were the first “official” executions in the Gambia in 30 years. Since 2014, reports of massive human rights violations, including a. on torture , extrajudicial executions and the persecution of homosexuals (see Homosexuality in Gambia ). President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals "vermin" that "should be killed like mosquitoes". He also said that they were “more dangerous than tsunamis and earthquakes” and that he would “cut the necks of homosexuals with his own hands”. The EU and USA then froze their economic support programs for Gambia.
President Jammeh sought new allies in the Middle East, visited Qatar in 2014 and intensified Islamic and anti-imperialist propaganda. After a failed coup attempt on December 30, 2014, the repression intensified. Jammeh accused foreign governments of supporting the conspirators. In June 2015, the permanent EU representative was expelled from the country without giving any reason.
In the election on December 1, 2016, National People's Party member Adama Barrow was elected as the new president. After his predecessor Yahya Jammeh initially admitted his defeat, he questioned the election results after a few days and called for new elections. This led to a constitutional crisis, which could only be resolved through an intervention by ECOWAS , which Barrow, who had meanwhile sworn in in exile in Senegal , was able to resolve. Jammeh finally declared his defeat on January 20, 2017, and Barrow was inaugurated on February 18, 2017.
The current constitution of the Gambia came into force on January 1, 1997. In 2002, then President Yahya Jammeh passed a constitutional amendment according to which the president can be re-elected indefinitely.
Head of state
The head of state combines in his office the function of the government and the supreme commander of the armed forces . There has not been a prime minister since 1970. The head of state is elected directly by the people every five years. Adama Barrow has proposed Fatoumata Tambajang for the second highest office as Vice President . However, it does not meet the constitutional age limit. Halifa Sallah has acted as spokesperson for the new President Barrow since 2017.
The Gambia was a party dominated country. In the parliamentary elections in 2012 , the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction emerged as the strongest force in parliament. Opposition parties are allowed, but have not gained much influence in the past. In 2005, five opposition parties, practically the entire opposition in the country, formed a coalition called the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD). In the 2017 parliamentary elections, the previously dominant party lost almost all of its seats, while the party of the newly elected incumbent President Barrow won an absolute majority of the seats.
The parliament, which sits in the National Assembly , and the head of state are elected directly by the people every five years. The active right to vote , each Gambier, which over 18 years old and previously had a choice to register. In the past, the elections themselves took place freely and without pressure, and no criticism was voiced by opposition members or foreign observers.
Presidential elections took place in September 2006 , November 2011 and December 2016, the last general election in April 2017.
In the 2006 presidential election, Yahya Jammeh was re-elected with 67.3 percent of the vote and was confirmed for a fourth term in November 2011. According to the electoral commission, he received 72 percent of the vote, but the West African Economic Community had previously criticized the presidential elections for being “not free, fair and transparent” and refused to send election observers .
In the presidential election on December 1, 2016 , President Yahya Jammeh was voted out of office after 22 years in office after threatening the opposition with death. There were numerous arrests and prison sentences during the election campaign.
After Jammeh did not want to resign after the election, Senegalese troops were relocated to the Gambian border with the support of Nigeria and were supposed to overthrow it if he did not step down by midnight on January 19, 2017. The United Nations Security Council had previously passed a resolution on the intervention of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) in Gambia. Adama Barrow was sworn in as the new president on January 19, 2017 in the Gambian embassy in neighboring Senegal. Senegalese troops marched into Gambia on January 19, 2017. Gambia's chief of staff, Ousman Badjie , previously spoke out against combat. He will not sacrifice the lives of his men for a political argument. After the ultimatum had expired, the neighboring states made a final attempt on January 20 to negotiate with Jammeh; Jammeh eventually gave up and resigned as President of The Gambia.
Ex-President Jammeh left the country on January 21, 2017. The following week, Barrow returned to Gambia and presented his cabinet to Adama Barrow on February 1 .
In April 2017, Barrow's party, the United Democratic Party , won 31 of the 48 seats available, while Jammeh's Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction lost almost all seats.
Membership in international organizations
The Gambia is a member of various international organizations and groups. The most important include the United Nations and its sub-and specialized organizations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank . At the regional level, the African Union and the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) are most important.
|region||abbreviation||ISO code||Administrative headquarters||Land area
|Greater Banjul Area||GBA||B.||Banjul||88||454.233|
|Lower River Region||LRR||L.||Mansa Konko||1618||75,841|
|Central River Region||CRR||M.||Janjanbureh||2895||207,574|
|North Bank Region||NBR||N||Farafenni||2256||178,612|
|Upper River Region||URR||U||Basse Santa Su||2070||202.153|
|West Coast Region||WCR||W.||Brikama||1764||594.854|
|Gambia||All in all:||10,691||1,713,267|
Population (calculation May 2013)
In 2006, the share of government spending on defense was estimated to be half a percent of the gross domestic product. This makes the Gambia one of the countries with the lowest military spending in the world. The Gambian armed forces , the so-called Gambia Armed Forces , are around 2000 strong and include the land forces ( Gambia National Army ), the navy ( Gambia Navy ) and the air forces ( Gambia Air Wing ). There is no conscription .
The army was founded as a 200-man unit in 1983 , initially as a result of the 1981 coup . Before that, there were no armed forces in the country since independence, only a 750-man police force and a half-size association called the Field Force . A defense agreement had been signed with Senegal before the coup.
Although the country has only a small army , it participates intensively in peace missions of the United Nations and the African Union (AU) , for example the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Since December 2004, Gambia has been participating in a peace mission in Sudan led by the African Union.
Since the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th century, the river has been a major trade and transport route to the African hinterland. From ivory , iron , gold , slaves to peanuts , everything was transported on the river. River transport has been dominated by passenger traffic since the 1980s.
Although the Gambia is largely navigable, it is almost no longer used for transport purposes to the Gambian hinterland. Public transport from east to west has also shifted to the streets.
The power plant output for generating electricity was slightly more than 60 megawatts in 2009, which is generated exclusively by diesel generators. Eighty percent of all government spending is used to buy oil, making the Gambia vulnerable to rising energy prices. The energy supply is patchy, only every second inhabitant in urban settlements and every fourth inhabitant in rural settlements is connected to the power grid. The grid losses are serious, around 40 percent of the energy fed in is lost. The reasons for this are weak lines and theft.
A year after independence from Great Britain in 1965, The Gambia eliminated left-hand traffic on its roads. Since then, people drive right on the streets like in other West African countries. Vehicles that are driven on the right are no longer permitted.
In 2003, the road network had a length of approximately 3742 kilometers. 723 kilometers of this are paved. North of the Gambia River is the important North Bank Road that crosses the country. More important for long-distance traffic, however, is the South Bank Road , which runs across the country from Banjul via Brikama to Basse Santa Su . For some years now, traffic lights have also been increasingly installed, but mostly with the support of a traffic police officer, as the traffic light has not yet established itself as a serious traffic signal for all drivers. In 2009 there were already six traffic lights.
Bush taxis are responsible for local public transport . The minibuses drive along the main roads and can be easily stopped with a hand signal. Conventional taxis in yellow with a green dash are plentiful. In the tourist centers there are also green-painted taxis. They have special state licenses that also distinguish them as tourist guides.
The Gambia no longer has an actively operated route network. In the 1930s there was a twelve-kilometer route at Brikama.
Just outside of Banjul is Gambia's only airport. The airfield of Banjul International Airport was selected by NASA in 1987 as a transatlantic emergency landing site for space shuttles and adapted for this task in the following years, so the runway was expanded to 3600 meters.
The Gambia River is navigable up to 390 kilometers inland. Due to the draft, ocean-going ships can navigate the Gambia for around 190 kilometers.
There are several ferries on the river, which are an important north-south connection for passenger and motor vehicle traffic. Until the 1970s, inland shipping was almost the only way to get inland. Only in the 1980s did the expansion of the highways progress, since the sinking of the Lady Chilel Jawara in 1984 no regular ferry service has been established along the river.
An important ferry connection is between Banjul and Barra on the northern bank of the Gambia estuary, on the important route to Dakar. The ferry Kanilai built in Ukraine was put into service for ferry traffic on July 25, 2005 by President Jammeh . The ferry with a length of 50 meters, a width of 12.5 meters and a draft of 1.7 meters can carry a maximum of 250 tons of cargo and 1200 people. The maximum number of passengers was limited to 600.
The state-owned Gambia Telecommunications Company , Gamtel for short, is Gambia's most important telecommunications company. In addition to around 50,000 landline connections (as of 2004), it operates a mobile network. In the Banjul Greater Area and in the west of the Western Division this is nationwide, in the other parts of the country there is network coverage with mobile communications only in the metropolitan areas.
Another company that operates a cellular network in Gambia is the African region Africell . Together, the two providers had over 220,000 mobile phone subscribers in September 2005, that is 25 percent of 15 to 64 year olds or 1.9 mobile phones per household. The number of subscribers increased 40-fold from 5,624 in 2000 within five years, giving the Gambia one of the highest mobile phone quotas in all of Africa.
According to an estimate from 2005, there were 49,000 private internet users in the country , that is just under six percent of 15 to 64 year olds. That number has increased tenfold in four years. By 2016 the number had increased to 346,000 private internet users, which is now almost 17 percent of 15 to 64 year olds. There are a large number of telecenters that provide various communication services such as Internet terminals , fax machines or landline telephones for a fee.
The Gambia has no natural resources that can be exploited economically - agriculture , tourism and fishing are the country's main livelihoods. Exports - estimated at 120 million US dollars in 2016 - went to around 48 percent in 2016 to China, around 27 percent to India and just under 9 percent to the United Kingdom. In the same year, 34 percent of imports came from China. The country has a large trade deficit due to the low competitiveness of its domestic industry . In 2016 it was just under 20% of economic output. In order to meet its import needs, the country has to borrow heavily. In 2016, the national debt was 116% of GDP, making it one of the highest in the world.
The estimates for the gross domestic product fluctuate extremely depending on the exchange rate. Adjusted for purchasing power, it is said to have amounted to 3.38 billion US dollars in 2016. That equates to US $ 1,700 per inhabitant. Other estimates are 50% lower. This makes the Gambia one of the poorest countries in the world: in 2003, the proportion of the population with an income of less than US $ 1 per day (not adjusted for purchasing power) was 59 percent.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Gambia ranks 117th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018).
To convert the Gambia's energy infrastructure to renewable energies, the European Union (41 million euros), the European Investment Bank (65 million euros loan) and the World Bank (35.7 million euros loan) approved the clean energy program of the state-owned electricity supplier NAWEC in 2019 finance.
Two thirds to three quarters of the workforce work in agriculture, which generates a quarter to a third of the gross domestic product. The Gambia River with its tributaries is Gambia's lifeline. The river water can be used most efficiently in the irrigation of agricultural land. The densely populated areas of West Gambia are totally dependent on the use of groundwater for industrial and domestic use.
By far the most important crop is the peanut , which prefers slightly sandy soils. Every second agricultural field is a peanut field. With its by-products, it brings in 78 percent of export earnings. The export-oriented, peanut-oriented agriculture makes it necessary that a fifth of the food required must be imported.
Livestock farming in The Gambia is largely extensive with little use of resources. Among the livestock, cattle (approx. 300,000), goats (200,000–230,000) and sheep (approx. 150,000) are most strongly represented.
The tourism in Gambia makes the second most important contribution to the gross domestic product by agriculture with about 18%. Most tourists visit the country for the beaches. In addition, river and bird excursions are particularly important. Those interested in culture also come to Gambia to learn to drum on a Djembé in a course lasting several days.
In the mid-1960s, a Swedish travel agency began offering trips to the Gambia. The number of hotel beds rose from an initial 52 to 4,500 in 1989. The increase in tourism over the past 30 years has gradually built up more than half of the developed coastline, and the Jammeh government pushed further growth in tourism.
Gambia is making headlines in the context of sex tourism . The so-called bumsters try to advertise themselves as travel companions in a charming way. Women traveling alone who want to move safely around the country occasionally accept the services. The fuckers hope to receive alms for themselves and their families, or speculate on a marriage and subsequent emigration to Europe.
In the summer of 2008, several European governments tightened their travel warnings for gay men after two Spaniards were arrested solely for their homosexuality, see. a. Homosexuality in the Gambia . “You have to be extremely careful when you visit this West African country, so the recommendation.” In 2014, tourism fell due to the Ebola epidemic in other West African countries.
Industry and manufacturing
There is no pronounced industrial production in Gambia. The largest branch of industry is the local processing of peanuts. The larger private companies are involved in road and house construction. There is also the Banjul Breweries , bakeries, a bicycle manufacturer and a foundry. A pharmaceutical company was opened in 2007. There are also many small businesses that manufacture furniture, work metal, make wood carvings or process fish. Many companies are subsidized by the state.
The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 324 million US dollars , which were income equivalent to 232 million US Dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 9.7 percent of the gross domestic product .
The national debt amounted to US $ 2016 1.096 million, or 116.1 percent of GDP, the highest in the world.
In 2006, the share of government spending as a percentage of GDP was in the following areas:
Many Gambian writers like Ebou Dibba and Sally Singhateh have left the country and live in England or the USA. Nana Gray-Johnson is an exception . The fable The Golden Days of the Jungle (1998) by Saikou S. Ceesay also became known in Europe.
In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Gambia was ranked 143rd out of 180 countries. According to the report by the NGO, the press freedom situation in the country was "difficult". The changes after the change of government at the beginning of 2017 have not yet been included in the report; the developments in the period from January 2016 to December 2016 were essentially taken into account.
Newspapers have grown in importance in recent years as the illiteracy rate has fallen. The Jammeh government had sought to restrict or even ban the rights of the press. Among other things, the publication of the daily newspaper The Point was banned.
The organization Reporters Without Borders added President Jammeh to its list of “enemies of press freedom ” on May 3, 2005 , on International Press Freedom Day , thereby drawing global attention to the fact that conditions for journalists in Gambia are critical.
Radio and television
The state broadcasting company , Gambia Radio & Television Service (GRTS) is the only television broadcaster. There are five radio programs from GRTS, but broadcasts from neighboring Senegal are also received. According to a 1997 estimate, there are 197,000 radios .
At the beginning of 2017, several radio stations had their license withdrawn without giving any reason, including the radio station "Paradise FM", which is regarded as critical of the government. The closings have been described as "extremely worrying" by Reporters Without Borders .
Traditional instruments in Gambia are balafon , kora and djembé . You can always find men all over the country playing a djembé to pass the time. Drumming courses are offered to tourists, where guests can learn to play drums on site.
There are a number of musicians producing popular music in West Africa . In neighboring Senegal, for example, Youssou N'Dour is a superstar, and it is no different in Gambia. The musician Foday Musa Suso is internationally known from Gambia , while the kora player and singer Tata Dindin has made a name for himself in Switzerland and Germany .
to eat and drink
The Gambian cuisine is part of West African cuisine and, like this , has been influenced by the Arab cuisine in the North African countries . There are no typical Gambian specialties in this small country; the common dishes can be found in variations or with different names in Senegal and the other West African countries. In contrast to Senegal, where the French cuisine of the former colonial power had more established itself, the English cuisine in Gambia could not gain a foothold.
We cook a lot with fresh and dried fish . The following fish are used, for example: woman fish , barracuda , mullet , coral fish and sole . Rice , sweet potatoes , cassava , okra and other vegetables are used as a side dish . The peanut sauce is typical of the Gambian cuisine .
The main courses are chicken yassa (or sisay yassa ), a chicken pickled in lemon juice and onions, and benachin , a rice dish made with fresh vegetables and dried fish. There is also domoda , a stew with peanut sauce that is prepared with meat and vegetables. As a small snack , the fish cakes, fish and apply spices filled fried dumplings . As a dessert there is the chakery , which is prepared with yogurt . In addition to fresh fruit, you will always get freshly roasted peanuts.
Due to the Islamic belief, alcohol is not widespread. The ethnic groups Aku and Diola, however, like to drink palm wine . For this purpose, fermented juice from palm trees is collected using suspended bottles. The main drink of the Gambians, however, is Ataya , a green tea that is drunk as part of a ritual tea ceremony, as in North Africa. Fruit juices ( mango , guava , papaya , tamarind ) and Bissap juice made from dried hibiscus flowers ( Hibiscus sabdariffa ) are also drunk. Another specialty of the country is the Kinkéliba tea.
The West Africans like to wear colorful clothes, the fabrics are woven thin in the batik dyed technique. In the streetscape of the coastal region around Serekunda , European clothing mixes equally with traditional clothing. Despite often dusty and unpaved roads, Gambier always strive to be clean and fashionably dressed.
For the Islamic Friday prayer , most men, including the young men in the coastal region, who otherwise like to wear Western clothing, dress in a caftan . The Muslim customs are interpreted more freely here, women have other opportunities to show fashion consciousness. So a free shoulder is not at all reprehensible, even a bare breast of a breastfeeding woman is more accepted there than in Western countries. Only a woman's knee should be covered; even this rule is applied more loosely in the coastal region.
Two athletes from Gambia took part in the 2004 Olympic Games : Jaysuma Saidy Ndure , who took part in the men's 100-meter and 200-meter athletics competitions, and Adama Njie , who took part in the 800-meter run of the Women participated. Three participants represented Gambia at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing: boxer Badou Jack , track and field athlete Fatou Tiyana and track and field athlete Suwaibou Sanneh . There have been no medals in the Olympic history of the Gambia .
International golf tournaments are held on the Fajara Golf Course .
The nation is very enthusiastic about football , there is a large stadium near Banjul that can hold 40,000 spectators. The 29 million euro Independence Stadium was built by the Chinese as part of a development aid project. This stadium is also used for cultural events.
The The Scorpions called Gambian national football team is currently in the FIFA world rankings at No. 159. (1015 points)
(Status: July 16, 2020) In qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup , the team lost in the first qualifying round against the team from Liberia and could not qualify further. The U-20 team, on the other hand, qualified for the Junior World Championships. There the inexperienced team was able to make it into the round of 16 of the U-20 World Cup in Canada on July 9, 2007 with a 2-1 win over the Portuguese team , where Austria had to admit defeat 1: 2.
Popular sport with a long tradition among men, especially the Diola ethnic group, is African wrestling , a form of wrestling. This wrestling has a similar position in Gambia as sumo wrestling in Japan . There were wrestling competitions among the ruling families as early as the 11th century. Today the competition is held in every village, especially in the south on the border with the Senegalese region of Casamance.
Arch 22 is a landmark of the country and the capital . The history of the country can be explored in the National Museum in Banjul, in which some buildings from colonial times have been preserved. Other colonial remains can be found on James Island , in Juffure and in Janjanbureh (formerly Georgetown ). The ecosystem of the mangrove forest in the Tanbi Wetland Complex can be observed from the Lamin Lodge . The Abuko Nature Reserve clearly shows a gallery forest . The Mungo Park Memorial at Karantaba Tenda is difficult to reach .
The eleven national holidays are based on the two national holidays on February 18 ( Independence Day ) and July 22 ( Republic Day ) and the religious holidays of the two largest religions represented in the country. Despite the majority of the Muslim population, the Christian holidays have their place, due to British colonial history.
Sunday has been the weekly rest day since colonial times. If a public holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be postponed to the following Monday, which is then non-working.
Friday is the day of prayer for Muslims, and strict believers keep their shops closed after the midday prayer on Friday .
Since the 1970s, along with bush fires, there has been an increased incidence of drought disasters. Since the mid-1980s, sandstorms that last more than three days have occurred almost annually. In the past 20 years, large stretches of the coastline between Banjul and Tanji have been damaged by erosion during storm surges, with considerable loss of property. Recently, the river has been flooded annually, damaging fields and buildings in many parts of the country. In 2004 the entire West African region controlled a huge population of locusts. The Gambian government therefore declared a state of emergency as a precaution.
The expansion of arable land, overgrazing through livestock farming, bush fires, and unauthorized logging has reduced the proportion of forest from around 70 percent in the 1960s to less than nine percent in 2000.
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