The Gambia

  • Official languages: English.
  • Geographical location: is a country in West Africa that is almost entirely surrounded by Senegal with the exception of its western coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa. 
  • Administrative divisions: The Gambia is divided into eight local government areas, including the national capital, Banjul, which is classified as a city.
  • Capital: Banjul.
  • Governance: politics of The Gambia takes place within the 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. 
  • Population: 2.417 million.
  • Currency: Dalasi. 
  • GDP: $1.902 billion (2020).
  • Time zone: GMT +0.
  • Telephone code: +220.
  • Barcode: 270.


Socio-economic situation of Gambia

The Gambia is an agrarian, underdeveloped country. The basis of production is small-scale activities, which include the processing of peanuts, fish and hides. The Gambia's re-export trade accounts for almost 80% of exports of goods. The country's economy is heavily dependent on the assistance of international donors.

The Gambia has rare deposits of natural resources and a limited agricultural base. The inflow of remittances to the Gambia accounts for about one-fifth of the country's GDP. The natural beauty of the Gambia has made it one of the major tourist destinations in West Africa.

The country's policy is aimed at the development of the agricultural sector and tourism.

Agriculture (fishing, animal husbandry, production of peanuts and cereals) accounts for 30% of the country's GDP, 75% of the able-bodied population is involved in it. The main agricultural crop is traditionally peanuts, which serves as the main source of currency (40% of total exports). In addition, millet, rice, corn, oil palm, sorghum, cassava are grown in the country. Due to the low mechanization of the agricultural sector, labor productivity remains at a low level.

The country's industry is represented by small and medium-sized enterprises producing construction materials, soft and low-alcohol beverages, cleaning and processing peanuts. Handicrafts are widely developed — leather dressing, pottery, wood processing.

The Government of the Gambia has invested heavily in recent years in improving trade facilitation systems in the Gambia. Much attention is paid to improving road infrastructure, developing an efficient road network, improving transit corridors, increasing the productivity of the seaport in Banjul, simplifying customs clearance of cargo, optimizing port services, and building cargo storage facilities. The goal of the general policy of the country is to develop the country as a powerful transit hub of West Africa, and the transformation of Banjula is the leading maritime trade center of the region. In accordance with which, the Gambia's policy defines national plans for the transport and development of the port of Banjul, as well as for bringing the country to an average level of human development by 2020.

Due to the lack of own financial resources, as well as the low interest of investors in this region, the tasks facing the government are being solved at a very slow pace.

When accessing the Gambian market, interested parties should take into account that the country is a member of ECOWAS, according to which the Common External Tariffs of the Community (CET) apply on its territory. Among other things, a special customs processing fee of 1.55% is charged. Belarusian interested parties can get more information about customs formalities and procedures on the the Gambian trade and information portal..

The documents required for customs procedures vary depending on the delivered goods, but the main ones are:

  • bill of lading;
  • certificate of origin;
  • invoice;
  • import customs declaration;
  • technical standard or certificate of health (environment), where appropriate;
  • phytosanitary certificates (for the import of cereals and legumes, including rice).

All products supplied to the Gambia must comply with the laws of the Gambia "On Food Products" of 2005 and "On Customs and Excise Duties" of 2010. In accordance with the provisions of the laws, the National Agency for Nutrition is responsible for the overall coordination of food quality issues. The National Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee, the Advisory Committee on Food Quality Control and the Committee for the Support of the Unhindered Implementation of Food Control are responsible for compliance with the norms of the above laws and develop additional measures to simplify trade procedures within their competence.

The main institutions of tariff and non-tariff methods of foreign trade regulation:

  • Economic Community of West African States — ECOWAS;
  • The Gambia Revenue Authority — GRA;
  • The Gambia Standards Bureau — TGSB;
  • Food Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia — FSQA.

ECOWAS (in the structure of foreign economic activity) is a single trade and economic space, which is designed to ensure the unhindered movement of human resources, goods and services on the territory of the member states, as well as to promote the development of the regional market through unification the single external tariff CET.

All non-residents when exporting goods to the territory of the Community are subject to the ECOWAS tax in the amount of 0.5% of the CIF price.

GRA is a state institution that develops and implements state policy in the field of standardization and quality, as well as responsible for the safety of all consumer products in the country.

It consists of two departments:

  • Department of Taxes;
  • Customs Department.

The official GRA website presents the ECOWAS customs tariffs in force on the territory of the Gambia, as well as the necessary documents for the implementation of import trade operations (electronic forms) and information about customs services.

To simplify doing business in the Gambia, the Gambia Information Trade Portal has been created. The portal provides information about the Gambia market, customs tariffs, benefits, excise taxes, import bans and restrictions, licensing and certification.

Considering that the Automated System for Customs Data Processing — ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data — ASYCUDA) operates on the territory of the Gambia, which facilitates customs procedures, all importers are subject to an additional tax for using ASYCUDA.

TGSB is a state institution responsible for the development and implementation of state policy in the field of standardization and ensuring compliance with the quality and safety of consumer goods in the country.

The organization supports the safety of the consumer market by conducting inspections, inspections and certification of products in accordance with the established standards of the Gambia and the International Organization for Standardization. The issuance of a product certificate indicates that the product meets a certain set of security requirements.

FSQA is a government agency responsible for food safety and quality through laboratory inspections.

The main functions of the institution:

  • organization of food safety and quality control;
  • verification of compliance of food products with the established requirements;
  • certification of food products;
  • inspection of enterprises, production processes;
  • provision of laboratory services for the analysis of food products.

Basic FSQA Requirements:

  • All food importers must be registered in the FAQ;
  • all food products entering the territory of the Gambia, as well as the production of their release must be licensed;
  • for each batch of goods, importers who have received licenses must submit an import permit to the FAQ 21 days before the arrival of the cargo;
  • Upon arrival of the goods, importers must submit a certificate of origin and a food safety certificate issued by the competent authorities of the exporting country.

Useful links:

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This article has been prepared on the basis of information provided by the National Centre for Marketing and Price Study of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and taken from public sources. The information presented herein is for informative purposes only. In this regard, it may be useful for the companies, which have been working in The Gambia for a long time, as well as for those, which are going to enter this market. Any questions, feedbacks and comments concerning this article are welcome. All of them will be fully considered and taken into account, if possible. If you have any information that may be interesting and useful for the visitors of this page, please write to us.

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