flag Gambia Gambia: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Gambia was showing strong macroeconomic performance before the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the country into recession. Economic growth rebounded, but the recovery was impeded by the repercussions of the war in Ukraine and a major flooding. Growth remained moderate at 4.4% GDP in 2022, only slightly up from 4.3% GDP in 2021, according to IMF latest estimates. It is expected to strengthen to 5.6% GDP in 2023 and 6.3% GDP in 2024, supported by the full recovery of the tourism sector and the resilience of domestic activity (construction and agriculture sectors) (IMF).

In 2022, as the Gambia’s economy was still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, it was affected by the spillovers from the war in Ukraine and a major flooding. Tax collection was weaker than anticipated, and inflationary pressures and foreign exchange shortages intensified (IMF). Inflation increased from 7.4% in 2021 to 11.5% in 2022 and reached a record-high level of 13.2% (year-on- year) in October 2022 (IMF). To tackle inflationary pressures, the Central Bank of The Gambia increased its policy rate several times. The IMF forecasts inflation to remain high in 2023 (11.3%) and start decreasing in 2024 (8.7%). Nonetheless, in February 2023, inflation persisted at 13.6%, fuelled by high food and energy prices amid the protracted war in Ukraine (IMF). The government maintained prudent fiscal management despite measures to alleviate the impact of the high global fuel prices on the population. Fiscal deficit increased from -4.6% GDP in 2021 to -4.8% GDP in 2022, and it is expected to reduce to -2.7% GDP in 2023 and -2.1% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Public debt slightly increased from 83.5% GDP in 2021 to 84% GDP in 2022, but it is forecasted to reduce to 73% GDP in 2023 and 68.6% GDP in 2024 (IMF). The balance of payments was affected by disruptions of timber and cashew exports, weaker-than-expected tourist arrivals, lower remittance inflows, high food and fuel import bills, and elevated freight costs. These shocks generated foreign exchange shortages and weighed on forex reserves (IMF). The authorities remain committed to structural reforms and fiscal discipline as agreed with the IMF. Indeed, in March 2020, the IMF approved a 39-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement to help the Gambia address the challenges from the pandemic, support inclusive growth, reduce debt vulnerabilities, and advance structural reforms.

The Gambia has a young population with a fast growing working age population, yet low labour force participation rates and high unemployment undermine this demographic distribution. In addition, there are major geographical and gender differences. Almost two-thirds of all employed workers are male, and while 43% of the working age population lives in rural areas, only 35% of employment is located there (World Bank). More than 60% of the population lives in poverty, according to UNDP, and nearly 30% of the active population is unemployed (especially the youth which makes up 39% of this category). According to the World Bank, unemployment rate in the country was estimated at 5% in 2021 (modeled ILO estimate). On the UNDP’s HDI rankings, Gambia was 174th out of 191 countries in 2021.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 2.162.392.682.903.09
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 8429039851,0351,069
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 82.872.365.560.757.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a17.
Current Account (billions USD) -0.13-0.12-0.14-0.15-0.16
Current Account (in % of GDP) -5.9-5.0-5.2-5.2-5.2

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20152016201820192020
Gambian Dalasi (GMD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 11.2911.1510.509.679.20

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 48.5 7.4 44.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.6 17.3 52.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) 6.1 5.6 2.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 753,285777,591775,068

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 60.53%60.55%60.54%
Men activity rate 69.21%69.12%69.00%
Women activity rate 52.23%52.34%52.45%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Not Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
The Point
Afrol, Gambia news
Allafrica, Gambia News
Gambia Newspapers online
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance and Economy
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Central Bank

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Latest Update: December 2023