The Gambia

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Flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills


Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)


Nationality: Gambian(s)
Population: 1,925,527  (July 2014 est.) 
Languages: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars


Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%


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 and the sector provides for about one-fifth of GDP. The agricultural sector has untapped potential—less than half of arable land is cultivated. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides.

Living Conditions

The Gambia is beset by a host of diseases, of which malaria is the most prevalent. Because of the vast areas of swamp it is impossible to control the mosquitoes that carry the disease. Diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and pneumonia are often fatal to small children. A program of immunization is helping matters. However, the ratio of doctors to population is 1 to 15,000. In rural areas most houses are built with mud walls. The outside and floors may be cement.



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