Exploring The Gambia: Africa’s Hidden Gem

Geographical Marvels and Climate

The Gambia, a slender piece of paradise nestled in Western Africa, is uniquely positioned as it borders the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal. With a compact surface area of just 11,300 sq km, it remarkably manages to offer a diverse ecological footprint that comprises 10,120 sq km of land and an additional 1,180 sq km of water. The country’s distinct feature is its 749 km boundary with Senegal, enveloping it on three sides, while a modest 80 km coastline connects it to the vast Atlantic.

The climatic conditions in The Gambia epitomize the tropical; where from June to November, the land is bathed in rain, transitioning into a cooler, dry season that lasts from November to May. The terrain is fundamentally a flood plain of the Gambia River, bordered by low hills, creating an elevation spectrum that dips to the Atlantic Ocean at sea level and peaks at an unnamed elevation of merely 53 m. This topography supports a rich tapestry of flora and fauna, contributing to its natural allure.

Natural and Human Treasure

The Gambia’s natural resources are both diverse and vital to its economy. The treasury includes fish, clay, silica sand, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon, among others. Its land usage reflects agricultural dominance with 56.10% dedicated to farming and 43.90% covered by forests. Despite being one of Africa’s smallest countries, it harnesses its assets effectively, with an estimated 50 sq km of irrigated land as of 2012.

A closer look at the demographic distribution reveals settlements sprawled along the Gambia River. Banjul, the capital, together with Serekunda, the largest city, anchors the population along the Atlantic coast. As of July 2020, the estimated population stood at approximately 2,173,999 Gambians, with a significant 62.60% residing in urban settings according to 2020 estimations.

Economic Landscape

The backbone of The Gambia’s economy lies in agriculture, tapping into rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava, palm kernels, and livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats. This sector not only feeds the nation but also lays the groundwork for its industries which are centred around peanuts, fish, hides, tourism, beverages, and more.

Trade relationships illuminate the country’s economic engagements, with major exports including peanut products, fish, cotton lint, and palm kernels. Remarkably, Guinea-Bissau, Vietnam, Senegal, and Mali are among the top recipients of these exports. On the flip side, The Gambia imports predominantly from Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil, Spain, China, Russia, Netherlands, and India, focusing on foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite its vibrant culture and economic endeavors, The Gambia grapples with challenges such as the electrification of its populace, with about 1 million individuals still without electricity as of 2017. However, its GDP per capita of $2,600 in the same year signals a resilient economy poised for growth.


The Gambia, with its picturesque landscapes, tropical climate, and diverse natural resources, holds a unique position in West Africa. Its commitment to agriculture and trade, coupled with the spirit of its people, underscores a nation ripe with potential. As The Gambia continues to navigate its path towards economic development and sustainability, its story remains a compelling testament to resilience and the rich tapestry of African diversity.

Country data

Country Code GA
Region Africa
Surface 11300 sq km
Land Surface 10120 sq km
Water Surface 1180 sq km
Agricultural Surface 56.10%
Forest Surface 43.90%
Lowest Elevation Point Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest Elevation Point unnamed elevation 53 m
GDP / capita $2,600 (2017 est.)