About the Gambia

  • It’s the smallest country in Africa. About the size of Wales with a population roughly the size of Yorkshire (1.6milllion ish)
  • It is surrounded by Senegal except a fairly short coastline along West Africa
  • Official business language is English although it is not spoken well (or at all) in many rural areas. There are a number of African tribal languages spoken, most widely used are Mandinka and Wollof (more of which later…”Mangee janga olof”, “I’m learning Wollof”)
  • The economy is based around agriculture (mainly groundnuts for export) and tourism and not a great deal else. (Although tourism does provide jobs and some money into the economy, much of the revenue goes to multi national hospitality companies and not the locals)
  • According to the World Bank ,up to 60% of the population live in abject poverty (on less than $1 per day). However, in the Kombos area there are some fairly wealthy Gambians and ex-pats (the Kombos is the area close to Banjul where almost everyone that works in and around Banjul lives)
  • The Gambia is a stable country, it is safe and the people are welcoming and friendly
  • 90% of the population are Muslim but many other religions exist here and the population live happily side by side. Inter-faith marriage is common and poses no real cultural issues. From that point of view, many countries could learn something from the Gambians.

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