2016 Index of Economic Freedom

The Gambia

overall score57.1
world rank119
Rule of Law

Property Rights25.0

Freedom From Corruption29.0

Limited Government

Government Spending78.0

Fiscal Freedom75.5

Regulatory Efficiency

Business Freedom53.4

Labor Freedom65.8

Monetary Freedom64.7

Open Markets

Trade Freedom65.0

Investment Freedom65.0

Financial Freedom50.0

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Quick Facts
  • Population:
    • 1.9 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $3.1 billion
    • -0.2% growth
    • 2.5% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $1,599 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 7.0%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 6.3%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $28.4 million
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Much-delayed economic measures undertaken to improve macroeconomic stability and enhance economic growth include reforming fiscal policies and strengthening management of public finance. There has been little progress in terms of privatization, however, and implementation of the overall reform program has been inconsistent.

Economic Freedom Snapshot

  • 2016 Economic Freedom Score: 57.1 (down 0.4 point)
  • Economic Freedom Status: Mostly Unfree
  • Global Ranking: 119th
  • Regional Ranking: 21st in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Notable Successes: Investment Freedom and Management of Public Finance
  • Concerns: Corruption, Property Rights, and Business Freedom
  • Overall Score Change Since 2012: –1.7

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Background

Yahya Jammeh, who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1994, won his fourth term in 2011 in flawed elections. Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction won a major victory in the 2012 legislative elections, which were boycotted by opposition parties. The government restrains civil liberties and harasses political opponents. In 2013, President Jammeh withdrew The Gambia from the British Commonwealth. The Gambia has few natural resources. Government revenue depends heavily on peanut exports, leaving the state vulnerable to price fluctuations and market shocks. Because of its unique location along the Gambia River, the country is also a natural hub for tourism and trade.

Rule of LawView Methodology

Property Rights 25.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

Freedom From Corruption 29.0 Create a Graph using this measurement

Official corruption and impunity are serious problems, and government officials reportedly participate in drug trafficking. President Jammeh’s erratic rule through a combination of patronage and repression was a factor in an attempted coup in late 2014. Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, Jammeh selects and dismisses judges. The judicial system recognizes both customary law and sharia (Islamic) law.

Limited GovernmentView Methodology

The top personal income tax rate is 35 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 32 percent. Other taxes include a capital gains tax and a sales tax. The overall tax burden equals 14.3 percent of GDP. Government spending amounts to 27.1 percent of total domestic output. The deficit has moderated, but public debt equals 100 percent of GDP. Tax administration and spending reforms are underway to improve government financial stability.

Regulatory EfficiencyView Methodology

Regulatory inefficiency continues to hamper the business environment. There is no minimum capital requirement, but business start-up costs exceed the level of average annual income. The labor market remains stagnant. In 2015, contrary to IMF guidance, the government continued to incur debt to heavily subsidize the parastatal water and electricity companies that are among the least efficient in Africa.

Open MarketsView Methodology

The Gambia’s average tariff rate is 12.5 percent. Foreign and domestic investors are generally treated equally under the law. State-owned enterprises operate in several economic sectors. The financial sector has gradually expanded and benefited from increased competition. Almost all commercial banks are majority-owned by foreign banks, and credit to the private sector has been rising.

Country's Score Over Time

Bar Graph of The Gambia Economic Freedom Scores Over a Time Period

Country Comparisons

Bar Graphs comparing The Gambia to other economic country groups Download Charts

Regional Ranking

rank country overall change
1Mauritius74.7-1.7
2Botswana71.11.3
3Cabo Verde66.50.1
4Rwanda63.1-1.7
5Ghana630.0
6Seychelles62.24.7
7South Africa61.9-0.7
8Namibia61.92.3
9Madagascar61.1-0.6
10Côte d'Ivoire 601.5
11Swaziland59.7-0.2
12Benin59.30.5
13Uganda59.3-0.4
14Burkina Faso59.10.5
15Gabon590.7
16Zambia58.80.1
17Tanzania58.51.0
18Senegal58.10.3
19Kenya57.51.9
20Nigeria57.51.9
21The Gambia57.1-0.4
22São Tomé and Príncipe 56.73.4
23Mali56.50.1
24Djibouti56-1.5
25Mauritania54.81.5
26Niger54.3-0.3
27Cameroon54.22.3
28Burundi53.90.2
29Togo53.60.6
30Guinea53.31.2
31Mozambique 53.2-1.6
32Comoros52.40.3
33Sierra Leone52.30.6
34Liberia52.2-0.5
35Guinea-Bissau51.8-0.2
36Malawi51.8-3.0
37Ethiopia51.50.0
38Lesotho50.61.0
39Angola48.91.0
40Democratic Republic of Congo46.41.4
41Chad46.30.4
42Central African Republic45.2-0.7
43Equatorial Guinea43.73.3
44Republic of Congo 42.80.1
45Eritrea42.73.8
46Zimbabwe38.20.6
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