Geographic and Governmental Profile of The Gambia

Background
The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965. Geographically surrounded by Senegal, it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, but tensions have flared up intermittently since then. Yahya JAMMEH led a military coup in 1994 that overthrew the president and banned political activity. A new constitution and presidential elections in 1996, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. JAMMEH has been elected president in all subsequent elections including most recently in late 2011.
Location
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
Geographic coordinates
13 28 N, 16 34 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
11,295 sq km
rank:
167
land:
10,000 sq km
water:
1,295 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
Land boundaries
total:
740 km
border countries:
Senegal 740 km
Coastline
80 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
18 nm
exclusive fishing zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
extent not specified
Climate
tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)
Terrain
flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
unnamed elevation 53 m
Natural resources
fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon
Land use
arable land:
27.88%
permanent crops:
0.44%
other:
71.68% (2005)
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Irrigated land
20 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
8 cu km (1982)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.03 cu km/yr (23%/12%/65%)
per capita:
20 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Environment - current issues
deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form:
The Gambia
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Banjul
geographic coordinates:
13 27 N, 16 34 W
time difference:
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
Independence
18 February 1965 (from the UK)
Constitution
approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
Legal system
mixed legal system of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); note - from 1994 to 1996 he was chairman of the junta; Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); Vice President Isatou NJIE-SAIDY (since 20 March 1997)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
Yahya JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya JAMMEH 71.5%, Ousainou DARBOE 17.4%, Hamat BAH 11.1%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 29 March 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results:
percent of vote by party - APRC 51.8%, independents 38.8%, NRP 9.4%; seats by party - APRC 43, independents 4, NRP 1
except for the NRP, all opposition parties boycotted the 29 March 2012 legislative elections
Judicial branch
Supreme Court
Political parties and leaders
Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH] (the ruling party); Gambia People's Democratic Party or GPDP [Henry GOMEZ]; National Alliance for Democracy and Development or NADD [Halifa SALLAH]; National Convention Party or NCP [Sheriff DIBBA]; National Reconciliation Party or NRP [Hamat N. K. BAH]; People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism or PDOIS [Halifa SALLAH]; United Democratic Party or UDP [Ousainou DARBOE]
Political pressure groups and leaders
National Environment Agency or NEA; West African Peace Building Network-Gambian Chapter or WANEB-GAMBIA; Youth Employment Network Gambia or YENGambia
other:
special needs group advocates; teachers and principals
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Alieu Momodou NGUM
chancery:
Suite 240, Georgetown Plaza, 2233 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone:
[1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX:
[1] (202) 785-1430
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Edward M. ALFORD
embassy:
Kairaba Avenue, Fajara, Banjul
mailing address:
P. M. B. No. 19, Banjul
telephone:
[220] 439-2856, 437-6169, 437-6170
FAX:
[220] 439-2475
Flag description
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green; red stands for the sun and the savannah, blue represents the Gambia River, and green symbolizes forests and agriculture; the white stripes denote unity and peace
National symbol(s)
lion
National anthem
name:
"For The Gambia, Our Homeland"
lyrics/music:
Virginia Julie HOWE/adapted by Jeremy Frederick HOWE
adopted 1965; the music is an adaptation of the traditional Mandinka song "Foday Kaba Dumbuya"
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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