The Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland. It stretches 450 km along the Gambia River. Its 11,285 sq. km area is surrounded by Senegal, except for a 60 kilometer Atlantic Ocean front. Although the smallest country on the African continent, The Gambia harbors a wealth of land, coastal, marine and wetland habitats and species of local, national, regional and global significance, making it an attractive tourist destination. Due to its unique geographic location, it is also a hub for trade in the region. The country has a population of 2 million, with a fairly high average rate of growth of 2.8% per year over the last decade. With 177 people per square kilometer, The Gambia is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Most of the population (57%) is concentrated around urban and peri-urban centers. The main languages are English, Mandinka, Wolof, Jola, and Fula. 90% of Gambians are Muslim.
Politics of the Gambia takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of the Gambia is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament..
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced the continued legal existence of eight political parties, while two others are deregistered and one dissolved. The endorsement and deregistration of the political parties followed the 31 March 2016 deadline for all parties to regularise their status in line with the Elections Amendment Act, 2015. The eight approved political parties, as contained in a press release issued by Election House yesterday, are the Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC), United Democratic Party (UDP), National Reconciliation Party (NRP), People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), National Convention Party (NCP), People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), and Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP).
The Gambia is a one party dominant state with the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction in power. Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. In 2005 five opposition parties, virtually the entire political opposition in the country, formed a common umbrella called the National Alliance for Democracy and Development.
i) Education Female literacy rate (MICS) of 15-24 Female Male Total 62% 72% 67% Primary Net attendance rate, MICS/DHS 2007-2011 Female Male Total 45% 40% 42.5% GPI lower Secondary, UIS (2011) n.a n.a 1.04% Completion/survival (2010) 90% 94% 92% Proportion of children out of school (2010) 26% 27% 26% ii) Health Women have very little decision-making power even regarding their health and that of their children. This has contributed to the high fertility rate of 6.0. Women start childbearing at early ages of 15 – 16 and continue up to 40 – 45 and at short intervals, thus the reason for the maternal mortality rate of 1,050 per 100,000 live births, one of the highest in the sub-region. Elections Lower or single house Seat: 53; women: 5; % women: 9.4%