Gambia is a republic in West Africa with a multi-party government of President Yahya Jammeh. With an area of about 11,000 square kilometers, the country is the smallest state of the continent. Gambia has about 1.7 million inhabitants.The 740 km long border follows the course of the Gambia River. With the exception of a short section of coast at the mouth of the river in the Atlantic Ocean Gambia is completely surrounded by Senegal.
On February 18, 1965 The Gambia has been included as a constitutional monarchy in the British Commonwealth and therefore independent. About five years later Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth. On 2 October 2013, the Gambian government declared membership in the Commonwealth of Nations terminated with immediate effect. A major reason for this was that Britain as well as the human rights organization Amnesty International had critizied the human rights situation in Gambia.
Although Gambia has signed most of the international treaties for the protection of human rights, there is lack of implementation in national law. In November 2011 President Yahya Jammeh was elected for a fourth term after he came to power 1994 by a military but largely bloodless coup and was first held elections in 1996. According to the election commission he received 72% of the vote. The election, however, was widely criticized as neither free nor transparent. Islam has gained importance in public life since the takeover of President Jammeh. Gambia's population is 90 percent Muslim, nine percent Christian and about one per cent belong to traditional indigenous African religions. There is so far a peaceful coexistence between religions.
Gambia has no natural resources, which could open up economically. Agriculture, tourism and fishing are the main economic activities of the country. Two-thirds of the workforce is employed in agriculture. According to the World Bank about 58 percent of the population live below the poverty line, Gambia is 123 of 135 of the "Human Poverty Index”. The capital of Gambia is Banjul. As Banjul is located on an island, the city can not continue to expand. With around 30,000 inhabitants Banjul is only the eighth largest town of Gambia. The nearby Serekunda is by far the largest city with about 400,000 inhabitants and the economic and cultural center of the country.