Gambia’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 2 million, making it one of the smallest countries in Africa. The majority of Gambian citizens identify as Muslim, with a minority of Christians also present. The Gambian economy is heavily reliant on the export of peanuts and other agricultural products, with groundnuts accounting for over half of the country’s exports. Other exports include fish and timber. Gambia has strong trade ties with its African neighbors, particularly Senegal, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Gambia is a unitary presidential republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Yahya Jammeh was the president after winning reelection in 2011. In foreign relations, Gambia is a member of both the United Nations and African Union and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with Russia have been strained since 2014 due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine but Gambia has maintained close ties through diplomatic channels. See ehealthfacts for Gambia in the year of 2005.
The Gambia. According to COUNTRYAAH, Banjul is the capital of Gambia which is located in Western Africa. The unsuccessful coup attempt that was carried out on December 30, 2014 received its legal postponement during the year. A group led by Americans of Gambian origin took the opportunity when President Yahya Jammeh was overseas to try to take control of the presidential palace with arms. Their hope was that militants tired of Jammeh’s long-standing rule would support the coup. However, that was not the case and three of the coup makers were brought to trial in the United States since they succeeded in returning there. The men were indicted for violating the rarely-enforced Neutrality Act, which prohibits Americans from participating in military operations against “friendly-minded states.” In April, three Gambian soldiers were sentenced to death for participating in the coup attempt and another three were sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Gambia country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In June, the EU chargé d’affaires Agnès Guillaud was expelled from the country. No reasons for the expulsion were stated. On the 21st anniversary of his takeover of power in July 1994, President Jammeh pardoned over 200 sentenced persons. However, the three soldiers sentenced to death for the 2014 coup attempt were not pardoned. On the other hand, several relatives were released to persons accused of participating in the coup attempt.
In December, President Jammeh announced that Gambia is an Islamic state, referring to the fact that the majority of the population are Muslims and that the country must rid itself of its colonial past. At the same time, the president assured that some new dress codes for women would not be introduced and that the country’s religious minorities would still have their rights guaranteed. According to the opposition, the president was not entitled in this way to change the constitution of the country, according to which Gambia is a secular state. The month before, Jammeh had declared genital mutilation (female circumcision) prohibited with immediate effect, although it was unclear at the time when the formal legislation could be in place.
Founded as the oldest English colonial settlement in Africa in 1661, with the functions of a trading post for trade with the interior, the Gambia was annexed to the colony of Sierra Leone, also serving as a destination land for freed slaves. Once the autonomy of the colony was re-established in 1888, in 1965 the Gambia was proclaimed independent within the Commonwealth. The government was formed by DK Jawara, leader of the People’s progressive party (PPP), which then remained the hegemonic party for almost 30 years. In 1970, after a republican constitution was passed, Jawara was elected president of the republic (later reconfirmed 5 times). The relative political stability of Gambia was shaken in 1981 by an attempted coup d’etat repressed by an intervention by the armed forces Senegalese; following the event, the Confederation of Senegambia came to life, which lasted until 1989. In 1994 Jawara was deposed by Y. Jammeh who, self-proclaimed president of the Republic, banned all political activities and suspended the Constitution. The activity of political parties was re-authorized the following year, the presidential elections of 1996 saw the success of Jammeh, and the legislative elections of 1997 that of his party, the APRC (Alliance for patriotic reorientation and construction). If in the following years the electorate confirmed a broad consensus for the regime, with the re-election of Jammeh in 2001, 2006 and 2011 and the maintenance of a strong majority of the APRC in Parliament, a serious political crisis has opened in the country following of the consultations held in December 2016,
In October 2013, with a sudden decision with immediate effect, the government of Gambia announced its withdrawal from the Commonweath, of which the country had been a member for 48 years.