The Gambia has a liberal, market-based economy characterized by traditional subsistence agriculture, a historic reliance on groundnuts (peanuts) for export earnings, a re-export trade built up around its ocean port, low import duties, minimal administrative procedures, a fluctuating exchange rate with no exchange controls, and a significant tourism industry.
Agriculture accounts for roughly 30% of gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 80% of the labor force. Within agriculture, peanut production accounts for 6.9% of GDP, other crops 8.3%, livestock 5.3%, fishing 1.8%, and forestry 0.5%. Industry accounts for approximately 14% of GDP and services approximately 54%. The limited amount of manufacturing is primarily agriculturally based (e.g., peanut processing, bakeries, a brewery, and a tannery). Other manufacturing activities include soap, soft drinks, and clothing.
Previously, the U.K. and other EU countries constituted The Gambia's major domestic export markets. However, in recent years India, Thailand, and China have gained increasing proportions of Gambian exports. The African sub-region, including Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Ghana are also important trade partners. China and Brazil have become important source countries for Gambian imports. The U.K., other EU countries, and Senegal also command a large share of Gambian imports.GDP (2006): $511.4 million.
Annual growth rate (2006): 6.5%.
Per capita income (2006): $356.
Natural resources: Seismic studies indicate the possible presence of oil and gas offshore.
Services: 56% of GDP, 2006.
Agriculture (29.8% of GDP, 2006): Products--peanuts, rice, millet, sorghum, fish, palm kernels, vegetables, livestock, forestry.
Industry (10.9% of GDP, 2006): Types--peanut products, construction, telecommunications, brewing, soft drinks, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metal working, clothing.
Trade: (2004 est.): Principal exports--$123.3 million: 13% groundnut products, 4.2% fish and fish preparations, and 82.1% re-exports. Major markets--India 37.6%, U.K. 19.4%, France 5.8%, and Thailand 3.9%. Principal imports--$207.2 million including food and beverages, manufactures, machinery and transport equipment, and minerals and fuel. Major suppliers--China, Senegal, Brazil, U.K., and Netherlands.
Official Development Assistance (ODA) received from all sources (2001): $50.9 million.
U.S. economic aid received (FY 2007): $88,000 in grassroots projects and assistance to democracy and human rights programs.