Guide to Business Operation

Guide to Business Operations in The Gambia

  1. Introduction

The Gambia is a small, open economy with a long trading history. It is the smallest country on the continent, surrounded by Senegal and with a 60 km Atlantic coastline that has led to it being known as the “Smiling Coast of Africa”. The Gambia harbours a wealth of land, coastal, marine and wetland habitats and species of local, national, regional and global significance, making it an attractive investment and tourist destination.


The country has a population of 2 million, with an average growth rate of 3% per year over the last decade. With 177 people per sq. km, it is one of the most densely populated countries.  While the proportion of households living below the poverty line is 31.6% in urban areas, the proportion rises to 69.5% for rural Gambia. The rural areas account for 43% of the country’s population, but they hold 60% of its poor.  Most of the population (57%) is concentrated around urban and peri-urban centres.


Gross domestic product is powered by services. The contribution of services to gross domestic product (GDP) stands at over 60%. Beyond wholesale and retail trade, including re-exportation to neighbouring countries, the services sector also includes tourism, the fastest-growing sector in the economy, which alone accounts for around 8% -9%[1] of GDP and a fifth of all formal jobs (the second highest nonfarm labour employer after the Government).


The large majority of Gambians still depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Agriculture accounts for close to 30% of GDP and is the country’s major employer, with over 75% of the population engaged in subsistence and cash crop farming. The sector also delivers 50% of national food requirements and 70% of export earnings generated domestically. The main cash crop, groundnuts, represents 60% of domestically produced exports. Other than groundnuts, commercial farming has been largely limited to horticulture, sesame and cotton.


[1] Source: WTTC: Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2018 Gambia; UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2017; WEF Travel & Tourism Competitive Index 2017 Edition


Read document below for  the complete guide to business operation in The Gambia. 

MOTIE_ Business Guide.pdf

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