The Gambia - Current Situation


The Gambia owes US$245m in international debt and a further $170m in domestic debt, he country's income is little more than Us$100m per annum. The Gambian government is spending nearly twice as much on debt payments (over 20% of GDP) than on healthcare and ten times as much on debt payments than on education. The debt cancellation programmes initiated by G7 in 2005 and G8 in 2008 will not apply to Gambia until it can meet good governance targets which, given its internal political situation, it is unlikely to do. 

Only 27.88% of The Gambia is arable land (usable for growing and farming). Rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years leading to large scale deforestation and desertification. Gambia's main exports are peanut products, cotton lint, palm kernels and fish, so this ongoing drought can only weaken the country's long term survival prospects. From 2005 to 2008 The Gambia wert from consuming 75 per cent of its own rice, to having to import as large a proportion. Each year infertile soil forces farmers to clear more land for farming. This is leads to land disputes, particularly with the Forestry Department who are working to reduce deforestation