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Africa :: Gambia, The
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Gambia, The
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Introduction ::Gambia, The
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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 A. J. J. 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 2006.
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Geography ::Gambia, The
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Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal
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13 28 N, 16 34 W
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total: 11,295 sq km
country comparison to the world: 166
land: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,295 sq km
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slightly less than twice the size of Delaware
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total: 740 km
border countries: Senegal 740 km
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80 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 18 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: extent not specified
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tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May)
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flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location 53 m
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fish, titanium (rutile and ilmenite), tin, zircon, silica sand, clay, petroleum
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arable land: 27.88%
permanent crops: 0.44%
other: 71.68% (2005)
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20 sq km (2003)
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8 cu km (1982)
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total: 0.03 cu km/yr (23%/12%/65%)
per capita: 20 cu m/yr (2000)
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drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
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deforestation; desertification; water-borne diseases prevalent
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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
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almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the continent of Africa
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People ::Gambia, The
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1,782,893 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
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0-14 years: 43.6% (male 390,806/female 387,172)
15-64 years: 53.6% (male 473,478/female 481,315)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 25,071/female 25,051) (2009 est.)
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total: 17.9 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.1 years (2009 est.)
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2.668% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
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37.87 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
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11.49 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
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0.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
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urban population: 57% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 67.33 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 29
male: 73.56 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 60.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 55.35 years
country comparison to the world: 193
male: 53.43 years
female: 57.34 years (2009 est.)
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5.04 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
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0.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
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8,200 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
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600 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
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noun: Gambian(s)
adjective: Gambian
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African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1% (2003 census)
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Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%
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English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 40.1%
male: 47.8%
female: 32.8% (2003 est.)
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total: 7 years
male: 7 years
female: 7 years (2004)
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2% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 166
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Government ::Gambia, The
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conventional long form: Republic of The Gambia
conventional short form: The Gambia
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republic
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name: Banjul
geographic coordinates: 13 27 N, 16 34 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
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18 February 1965 (from the UK)
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Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
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approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; effective 16 January 1997
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based on a composite of English common law, Islamic law, and customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Yahya A. J. J. 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 A. J. J. 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 22 September 2006 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH reelected president; percent of vote - Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH 67.3%, Ousainou DARBOE 26.6%, Halifa SALLAH 6.0%
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unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 25 January 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APRC 47, UDP 4, NADD 1, independent 1
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Supreme Court
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Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction or APRC (the ruling party) [Yahya A. J. J. JAMMEH]; 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]
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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
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ABEDA, ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: Suite 600, 1424 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1379, 1399, 1425
FAX: [1] (202) 785-1430
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chief of mission: Ambassador Barry L. WELLS
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
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three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green
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Economy ::Gambia, The
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The Gambia has no confirmed mineral or natural resource deposits and has a limited agricultural base. About 75% of the population depends on crops and livestock for its livelihood. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides. Reexport trade normally constitutes a major segment of economic activity, but a 1999 government-imposed preshipment inspection plan, and instability of the Gambian dalasi (currency) have drawn some of the reexport trade away from The Gambia. The Gambia's natural beauty and proximity to Europe has made it one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa. The government's 1998 seizure of the private peanut firm Alimenta eliminated the largest purchaser of Gambian groundnuts. Despite an announced program to begin privatizing key parastatals, no plans have been made public that would indicate that the government intends to follow through on its promises. Unemployment and underemployment rates remain extremely high; short-run economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, on continued technical assistance from the IMF and bilateral donors, and on expected growth in the construction sector.
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$2.272 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
$2.145 billion (2007 est.)
$2.018 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$808 million (2008 est.)
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5.9% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
6.3% (2007 est.)
6.5% (2006 est.)
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$1,300 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
$1,300 (2007 est.)
$1,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 33.3%
industry: 7.6%
services: 59% (2008 est.)
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777,100 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 143
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agriculture: 75%
industry: 19%
services: 6% (1996)
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NA%
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NA%
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lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 36.9% (2003)
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50.2 (1998)
country comparison to the world: 23
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28% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
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revenues: $155.6 million
expenditures: $167.3 million (2008 est.)
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6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
5.1% (2007 est.)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 41
10% (31 December 2007)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 8
27.92% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 155
$186.7 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 154
$180.4 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 164
$169.9 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, corn, sesame, cassava (tapioca), palm kernels; cattle, sheep, goats
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processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, clothing
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0.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
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160 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
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148.8 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
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2,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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41.62 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
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2,266 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 182
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 176
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
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$-127 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$-80.3 million (2007 est.)
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$85 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
$91.4 million (2007 est.)
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peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports
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India 32.4%, Japan 22.2%, China 10.7%, Belgium 5.5%, UK 4.7% (2008)
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$299 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
$262.9 million (2007 est.)
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foodstuffs, manufactures, fuel, machinery and transport equipment
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China 22.7%, Senegal 11.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 8.4%, Brazil 7.4%, Netherlands 4.9% (2008)
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$140 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$142.8 million (31 December 2007 est.)
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$628.8 million (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
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dalasis (GMD) per US dollar - 22.75 (2008 est.), 27.79 (2007), 28.066 (2006), 28.575 (2005), 30.03 (2004)
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Communications ::Gambia, The
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48,900 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 164
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1.166 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 138
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general assessment: adequate; a packet switched data network is available; state-owned Gambia Telecommunications partially privatized in 2007
domestic: adequate network of microwave radio relay and open-wire; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity reached 70 telephones per 100 persons in 2008
international: country code - 220; microwave radio relay links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
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AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2001)
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1 (government-owned) (1997)
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.gm
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895 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 162
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114,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 148
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Transportation ::Gambia, The
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1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 232
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total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 3,742 km
country comparison to the world: 158
paved: 723 km
unpaved: 3,019 km (2004)
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390 km (on River Gambia; small ocean-going vessels can reach 190 km) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 89
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total: 5
country comparison to the world: 133
by type: passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 1 (2008)
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Banjul
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Military ::Gambia, The
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Office of the Chief of Defense: Gambian National Army (National Guard, GNA), Gambian Navy (GN) (2009)
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2008)
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males age 16-49: 379,668
females age 16-49: 384,438 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 238,454
females age 16-49: 253,680 (2009 est.)
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male: 20,238
female: 20,167 (2009 est.)
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0.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 163
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Transnational Issues ::Gambia, The
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attempts to stem refugees, cross-border raids, arms smuggling, and other illegal activities by separatists from southern Senegal's Casamance region, as well as from conflicts in other west African states
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refugees (country of origin): 5,955 (Sierra Leone) (2007)
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current situation: The Gambia is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; women and girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are trafficked for sexual exploitation - in particular to meet the demand for European sex tourism - and for domestic servitude; boys are trafficked within the country for forced begging and street vending; Gambian women and children may be trafficked to Europe through trafficking schemes disguised as migrant smuggling
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for a second consecutive year, The Gambia is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to eliminate trafficking; The Gambia failed to report any trafficking arrests, prosecutions, or convictions in 2007, and the government demonstrated weak victim protection efforts during the reporting period (2008)
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