Government and legal system: Republic. 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; tensions have flared up intermittently since.
Political trends: Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh led a military coup in 1994 that overthrew the president. 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, most recently in late 2011.
Currency: Dalasi (GMD)
Inflation: 4.4% (2011)
GDP: US$ 903.5 million (2013)
GDP per capita: US$ 488.57 (2013)
Exports: peanut, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports
Growth rate: 3.2% (2013)
Unemployment: 6% (from 2003 to present)
Inflation: 4.4% (2011)
Budget Balance: US$ 163.7 million (2013 est.)
Commercial Balance: US$ 251.2 million (December 2013 est.)
Infrastructure: one airport and one port, both in Banjul; 3,742 km of road ways (744 km paved) and 390km of waterways
Reserves: US$ 695 million (2013 EST.)
Standard & Poor local currency: B/Positive/B
Standard & Poor foreign currency: B/Positive B
Fitch local currency: B
Fitch foreign currency (long-term/short term): B/B
Table 1: Macroeconomic indicators
Source: Data from domestic authorities; (e) estimates and (p) projections based on authors’ calculations.
Main towns: Banjul, Serrekunda, Bakau, Brikama, Farafenni, Basse
Area: 11,295 sq km
Climate: Tropical; hot rainy season (June to November) and cooler dry season (November to May)
Terrain: Flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
Land Use: Arable land 27.88%, permanent crops 0.44%, other 71.68% (2005)
Natural Hazards: Drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Environmental issues: Deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
Demographic growth: 2.23% (2014 est.)
Life Expectancy: 57.84 years
Religion: Muslim 90%; Christian 9%; traditional 1%
Human Development Index: 175 of 187 countries (UNDP 2014)
Transparency International Ranking: 126 of 175 countries
Labor force: 776,045 (2011)
Minimum wage: $33.75/month
Legal Working Hours: 48 hours
Gambia’s Cashew Industry
Gambia produces 10,000 MT of cashew annually. Production is concentrated in the zones indicated on the map below.
Total Processing Capacity: 4,000 MT
Processing Capacity Utilization: 10%. Cashew processing is mainly in the Brikama Industrial Area; further small-scale processing facilities are located on the North Bank of the Gambia River.
- Gambia Horticultural Enterprises (GHE)
- IRD Small Scale Processors
- Cashew Gam Company Ltd
- Popular Investment Company
- North Bank Region Cashew Association
Infrastructure and Regulations
- Production zones are close to processing locations
- 5 commercial banks and one central bank lend funds for trade and processing
- Easy land facilitation – long-term leasing for abandoned locations
- Cheap, locally-available labor
- Stable currency
- Raw material offers high yield and good quantity
- Young organic cashew plantations
- Initial 5 years for new investment free from industrial tax
- Import tax exemption facilities for agro-industrial equipment
- 0% export tax on cashew kernel export
Freight costs: 20-foot container to USA/Europe costs US$ 4,000
Governmental and Non-Governmental Agencies
- Ministry of Commerce and Industry – for commercial import and export licenses; Industry license.
- Ministry of Finance – for tax registration
- Ministry of Agriculture – for phytosanitary certificate for export purposes.
- Ministry of Justice – for legal registration of company.
- Municipal Committee – for publication of company registration in National Bulletin
- Gambia Investment & Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) – for Investment Code, information about requirements, facilities and benefits of investment in Gambia, and for submissions of project proposals
- IRD (International Relief and Development) – NGO working to improve food security by providing training to cashew farmers, seeds for a higher yielding variety of cashew trees, new techniques, nutrition education, land management practices, and also establishing small-scale units to process all parts of the cashew fruit and nut.
- Gambia Cashew Sector Development and Export Strategy – 2014-2019 project, recently made possible with the support of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF); the commitment of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, International Trade Centre (ITC), Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA); as well as the active participation of various intermediary organizations including the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), International Relief and Development (IRD), national cashew farmers’ associations and federation, and the Cashew Alliance of The Gambia (CAG).