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The Gambian economy has depended almost entirely on the cultivation and export of groundnuts in the form of nuts, oil and cattle cake.

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries remain the dominant sector of economy providing employment and income for between 75 to 85% of the population and contribute about 59% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) whereas the industrial sector contributes less than 3%. Minor exports include horticultural products, cattle, hides and skins. The geographical location of The Gambia, low tariff regime and the ability of the firms engaged in the import business to secure supplies from the cheapest source, have made Banjul an important transit trade centre. Imports which support transit trade are estimated at 34% of total imports.

The government is, however, trying to diversify the economy by encouraging the cultivation of rice, millet, fruits and vegetables and by setting up different kinds of small industries. The fishing industry, due to abundant availability of fish in Gambian waters, has great potentials and is fast developing. The Government therefore, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is encouraging improved methods and the modernisation of boats.

General policy is concerned with trying to diversify and broaden the productive base of the economy and roster economic growth and development Recent policy directions signal a clear shift towards a private sector led economy while retaining the fabric of a mixed economy. Efforts being made to remedy the structural distortions in the economy are evident from the comprehensive package of measures initiated under the Economic Recovery Programme covering inter alia: institutional reform, price liberalisation and the adoption of a flexible exchange rate regime.

The Service sector is also well developed and tourism has been the most rapidly expanding sector, with direct and indirect benefits estimated at around 12% of GDP. The number of tourist arrivals are increasing year by year. There is a clear need for expansion of current hotel bed capacity in line with the projected increase in tourists arising from market diversification both in terms of nationality and by season.

FOR FURTHER DETAILS

Please contact:
The Department of State for Tourism and Culture
The Quadrangle
Banjul
The Gambia
Fax: (220) 227753
  Gambia Investment Promotion and Free Zones Agency
5 Nelson Mandela Street,
P.O. Box 757
Banjul
The Gambia
Fax: (220) 222829
Email: dipm.gipfza@qanet.gm