flag Gambia Gambia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Gambia was showing strong macroeconomic performance before the Covid-19 pandemic plunged the country into recession. From a contraction of -0.2% in 2020, economic growth then rebounded to 4.9% in 2021, and it is expected to further accelerate to 6% in 2022 and 6.5% in 2023 (IMF). The third wave of the pandemic in mid-2021 has hampered a vigorous rebound, but the intensification of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the full resumption of activity should support growth in 2022-2023.

The pandemic disrupted some of the progress recently made by the Gambia and increased socio-economic fragility (IMF). After implementing support measures and launching a vaccination campaign, the authorities focused on reinforcing domestic revenue mobilization, furthering fiscal discipline, and improving public spending efficiency and transparency (IMF). According to IMF estimates, the overall fiscal deficit (including grants) increased from 2.2% GDP in 2020 to 4% GDP in 2021, and is forecast to decrease to 3% in 2022 and 1.2% GDP in 2023. While declining, public debt remained high at 82.3% GDP in 2021 (down from 83.5% GDP in 2020), and is expected to narrow to 79.1% GDP in 2022 and 73.8% GDP in 2023 (IMF). Inflation accelerated from 5.9% in 2020 to 7% in 2021, and is expected to ease to 6.3% in 2022 and 6.1% in 2023 (IMF). It should decline to the central bank’s target of 5% in the medium term (IMF). In March 2020, the IMF approved a 39-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement to help the Gambia address the challenges from the pandemic, support inclusive growth, reduce debt vulnerabilities, and advance structural reforms. The FY 2022 budget includes fiscal consolidation measures to reduce debt vulnerabilities while continuing to allocate resources to priority expenditures including pandemic mitigation, social spending, and accelerating the post-pandemic recovery (IMF).

The Gambia has a young population with a fast growing working age population, yet low labour force participation rates and high unemployment undermine this demographic distribution. In addition, there are major geographical and gender differences. Almost two-thirds of all employed workers are male, and while 43% of the working age population lives in rural areas, only 35% of employment is located there (World Bank). More than 60% of the population lives in poverty, according to UNDP, and nearly 30% of the active population is unemployed (especially the youth which makes up 39% of this category). According to World Bank, unemployment rate in the country was estimated around 11.1% in 2020, due to the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. On the UNDP’s HDI rankings, Gambia was 172th out of 189 countries in 2020.

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 1.812.032.172.332.52
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 748816846882924
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 85.983.880.673.168.0
Inflation Rate (%) 5.97.411.311.18.4
Current Account (billions USD) -0.05-0.16-0.30-0.27-0.24
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.9-8.1-13.7-11.7-9.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20152016201820192020
Gambian Dalasi (GMD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 64.0060.0864.2462.8866.03

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 27.0 15.0 58.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.4 17.2 53.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.7 10.4 1.9

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 753,285777,591775,068

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 60.53%60.55%60.54%
Men activity rate 69.21%69.12%69.00%
Women activity rate 52.23%52.34%52.45%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
The Point
Afrol, Gambia news
Allafrica, Gambia News
Gambia Newspapers online
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance and Economy
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Central Bank

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Latest Update: February 2023

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