Gambia Labor Market

Three quarters of Gambians are employed in agriculture, mainly for self-catering. Tourism creates many jobs, but unemployment is high. Only about one in five Gambians have a formal employment, the rest gets their support in the informal sector of the economy.

The black or informal sector includes trade and services that are not reported in the official statistics. This is especially true in tourism, with jobs as craftsmen, unofficial guides and taxi drivers. Jobs in the tourism sector are also seasonal, as tourists come mainly during the drier period when it is winter in Europe.

The trade union movement has a relatively long tradition, but is fragmented. There are three dominant central organizations and several independent trade unions. Trade union rights are often violated by employers and authorities. Child labor is common. Military, police and other government employees do not have the right to organize themselves.

In 2013, then-President Jammeh introduced four days’ work week in the state administration to allow people to spend more time on “prayers, social activities and agriculture”. The working day is 10 hours. Excluded are the schools that should be open on Saturdays instead of Fridays.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Gambia, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.

Gambia Population



8.9 percent (2019)

Youth Unemployment

12.3 percent (2019)



Ten are charged with planning a coup

November 27th

Ten soldiers are indicted in a military court for planning a coup against President Barrow. The men were arrested in July and have been incarcerated ever since without prosecution (under the Constitution, prosecution must be filed within three days). At the same time, a trial is underway against Yankuba Badjie, the head of the former intelligence service NIA, and eight of his subpoenas for the murder of opposition activist Solo Sandeng in April 2016.


The Gambia on its way to abolish the death penalty

September 22

The Gambia is taking a first step towards abolishing the death penalty. President Barrow has already signed a UN agreement on this in December 2016, but it has not yet been ratified.


271 diplomatic passports are revoked

August 3rd

The government cancels the diplomatic passports issued to members of the former regime. Among those who can no longer claim diplomatic immunity are former President Yahya Jammeh, his wife, former ministers and other high-ranking members of the previous administration.

Environmental activists sue Chinese company

1 August

Environmental activists in Gunjur village south of Banjul are filing a lawsuit against the Chinese company Golden Lead. They demand that the company be banned from discharging toxic waste into the sea, which, according to them, caused fish death in a lagoon and affected the health of residents. The residents also claim the equivalent of around SEK 2.6 million in damages. The Gambian Environmental Protection Agency sued the Chinese company in June but has settled in favor, which the villagers have not accepted. The Gambian state is keen to attract Chinese investment to boost the economy.


Promise of new constitution

July 20

Justice Minister Abubacarr “Ba” Tambadou says that a commission will be commissioned to write a new constitution to replace the 1997 constitution that upheld Yahya Jammeh’s power. According to Tambadou, for a maximum of two years, the Commission will consult a wide sample of the population, after which the new constitution will be subject to a referendum. It is unclear when the Commission will begin its work.

Commission investigates Jammeh’s assets in Gambia

July 13

President Barrow appoints a commission to investigate what assets President Jammeh has deposited in the country. The Commission is headed by prominent lawyer Surahata Semega Janneh and will present its conclusions to the President in three months.

Ten arrested for coup plans

July 10

Ten soldiers are arrested and charged with preparing a coup attempt against President Barrow.


Peace force will remain for another year

June 5

The Ecowas partner organization extends the mandate for its peacekeeping force in The Gambia for another year. However, the troop strength has been reduced from 7,000 men to 500 men.


Jammeh’s assets are frozen

May 22

The government orders that 86 bank accounts belonging to deposed President Yahya Jammeh be frozen and 14 companies in his ownership seized. The new government accuses the ex-president of stealing the equivalent of US $ 50 million of state funds between 2006 and 2016. He fled the Equatorial Guinea in January.

New HD judges are installed

15th of May

Four new members of the Supreme Court and two members of the Court of Appeal are discharging their seats of office. Three of the new judges are Gambians, while the other three come from other countries within the Commonwealth . The appointments are nevertheless seen as the beginning of a “gambification” of the judiciary, which has long been dominated by foreign staff who were often quickly replaced when the dictator Jammeh was not satisfied with the ruling. Jammeh used the justice system to strengthen his power by letting political opponents into custody.


Grand victory for the UDP in the parliamentary elections

April 6

The long-dominant opposition party UDP wins big in the parliamentary elections and gets its own majority with 31 of the 53 seats. The old APRC government party only gets five seats.


Opposition alliances are shattered before the parliamentary elections

14th of March

The opposition parties who supported Barrow in the 2016 presidential election now announce that they will take part in the parliamentary elections individually. After his election victory, Barrow had promised that the alliance would “continue as a family” but now it is split.

New friendship with Senegal is cemented

4th of March

President Barrow visits Senegal and meets his colleague Macky Sall, who helped Barrow take up the presidential post in January. The two heads of state announce that a “new era” has entered the countries’ relationship, which was sometimes strained under Barrow’s predecessor Jammeh. Agreements are signed for cooperation in tourism and defense.


New age limit for presidents

February 28

Parliament abolishes the upper age limit of 65 for presidents. It happens after President Barrow failed to get his female vice presidential candidate, Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, 68, approved.

The army commander is allowed to go

February 27th

President Barow dismisses Army chief Ousman Badjie, who is replaced by another general, Masanneh Kinteh. The measure is seen as a way for the new president to take a firmer grip on the military, where it is uncertain how many people support him. The head of the country’s prisons has also had to go.

The Gambia receives $ 60 million from the World Bank

February 25th

The World Bank grants Gambia $ 60 million in budget support. $ 40 million will be paid out pretty soon, and the rest after June. According to Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh, both the state companies responsible for electricity, water communications and transport lack any funds.

Prosecution for murder of opposition politicians

February 23

Former spy chief Yankuba Badjie and eight of his former employees are prosecuting for the murder of opposition politician Solo Sandeng 2016 (see April 2016). All defendants deny crime.

Former spy boss is arrested

February 21st

Gambian police seize the country’s former spy chief Yankuba Badjie. His representative at the post of head of the intelligence service Nia is also arrested. Human rights organizations accuse Badjie of causing Nia, under his leadership, to commit torture, rape, extrajudicial executions and other serious abuses. As late as April 2016, he is to order that peaceful protesters be tortured. Nia has changed her name to Sia after the change of power, and no longer has the right to arrest anyone.

Twenty Jammeh supporters were prosecuted

February 21st

About 25 supporters of former President Jammeh are accused of attacking participants at a meeting organized by Barrow’s party APRC. Police also say they have arrested about 50 people accused of harassing supporters of Barrow.

Barrow is sworn in again

February 18

Barrow swears again the presidential speech, this time at home and in front of thousands of spectators. He promises to work for “a Gambia, a nation, a people”. Several African heads of state attend the ceremony.

New chief judge in HD

February 15

Barrow appoints Hassan Bubacar Jallow, who has served both in the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as new Chief Judge in the Gambia Supreme Court. Under Jammeh there was a system where judges from other countries played a key role.

The Gambia will re-enter the ICC

February 14th

The Gambia asks the UN to stop the process of Gambia’s exit from the International Criminal Court (ICC) (see October 2016). In connection with the visit of Gambia by British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, it appears that the country is also planning a re-entry into the Commonwealth .

“The Gambia is bankrupt”

February 9

The EU promises support to the bankrupt Gambia. President Barrow says that Gambia is largely competitive, because of how Jammeh’s regime managed the country’s economy. According to him, the country’s assets in foreign currency will only last for two months. The EU, which froze its aid to the Gambia in December 2014, now promises to assist the country with the equivalent of EUR 225 million.

New government in progress

February 3

Ten out of 18 ministers take office. Amadou Sanneh from UDP becomes new finance minister, while Barrow’s adviser Mai Fatty is appointed Home Minister.


Barrow promises extensive reforms

January 28

Barrow promises a transformation of almost all of society. He also makes a mark against Jammeh and emphasizes that Gambia should not be an Islamic republic. At the same time, he says that the national security police will remain, but under a new name, the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and that its personnel should be trained.

Barrow returns home

January 26

President Barrow returns to the Gambia and is greeted by cheering crowds at Banjul Airport.

Election of new vice president is questioned

January 23

Barrow appoints Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang as new vice president. She is considered by some to be a controversial choice when she said in an interview that Jammeh would be prosecuted for the crimes committed under his rule. But she is also believed to have persuaded the opposition to agree on a candidate, Barrow, ahead of the 2016 presidential election. From many quarters, the election of Jallow-Tambajang is questioned, as she is too old to get the post (she is 67, according to she may not exceed 65 years of age). About 8,000 people of the more than 76,000 who have moved to the neighboring country have now returned home.

Jammeh goes into exile

January 22

Finally, Jammeh gives up and leaves the country. At the airport, he is waved off by a small crowd of followers before traveling to Equatorial Guinea where he is granted political asylum. On Banjul’s streets, the residents celebrate that Jammeh has given up. An aide to Barrow later says that Jammeh, before leaving, had emptied the Treasury and brought in the equivalent of $ 11 million. Jammeh should also have brought luxury cars and other valuable assets on the planet. According to a document published on the AU and Ecowa’s website, the organizations promised to guarantee Jammeh’s rights as a Gambian citizen and former head of state, that his and his supporters’ assets should not be confiscated, and a declaration that the former president could return to the Gambia.ICC) and is therefore not required to disclose Jammeh if ICC so requires. Barrow should also have assured Jammeh that he will be covered by all the privileges of a Gambian ex-president. That is, he cannot be prosecuted unless two-thirds of Parliament votes for it. The Ecowas countries are strengthening their troop forces to ensure security ahead of Barrow’s return to his home country.

Excited when Jammeh gets a deadline

January 20th

The Ecowa troops have stopped and are waiting, while Jammeh may decide on an ultimatum. First, he says he must leave no later than 12 o’clock but the deadline is postponed when Mauritania and Guinea’s presidents, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz and Alpha Condé, are on their way to Banjul to try to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. The two have long been closely allied with Jammeh.

Barrow swears presidential oath in Senegal

January 19

At a ceremony at the Gambia Embassy in Senegal, Adama Barrow swears presidential oath. Despite all external pressure, Jammeh still refuses to leave the presidential post. In Gambia, Army Chief Ousmane Badjie celebrates with Barrow supporters in the streets, saying that his soldiers will not prevent Ecowa troops, Ecomig , from entering the Gambia. Later in the day, several thousand people cross the Senegal border, and Nigerian military planes fly over the Gambia. Ecowas is supported by the UN Security Council.

Jammeh announces state of emergency

January 17

President Jammeh announces a 90-day emergency on January 17. The day after, it is approved by Parliament, which simultaneously extends Jammeh’s mandate for one month. A setback for the president is that his vice president Isatou Njie-Saidy also leaves his post. At the same time, thousands of British and Dutch tourists are being evacuated from the Gambia. Senegal places military forces near the Gambia border. These have also received reinforcements from other West African countries, including Nigeria. Senegal is also acting to get the Security Council’s support for Ecowas to intervene in the Gambia.

Four ministers leave the government

January 17

Four ministers, many of whom are in high positions, resign. However, there are those who question whether they have left their positions voluntarily or dismissed. At the same time, thousands of people are reported to have gone to Senegal out of concern about what will happen. Adama Barrow is also in Senegal. Jammeh has gone to court to try to stop Barrow from taking over the presidential post, but he suffers a setback when the chief judge says he can’t take the case.

HD decides on the election results in May

January 10

The Supreme Court announces that it will not be able to meet until May to determine whether the election results are fixed or not. It is, according to the court, that the Nigerian judge, Onogeme Uduma, who will lead the work, has no time until then. Another source says that the court’s hearing was postponed because only one in five judges came to the meeting.

The President of the Election Commission flees to Senegal

January 4th

Election Commission President Alieu Momar Nja flies to Senegal after receiving death threats.

Radio stations are closed

January 3rd

At the beginning of the year, the authorities decide to close Teranga FM, a popular radio station that has long been critical of President Jammeh. A few days later, two more private radio stations are stopped: Hilltop Radio and Afri Radio.

“Declaration of War from Ecowas”

January 1st

Jammeh says that statements by Ecowas leaders that they are prepared to send troops to the Gambia are to be equated with a “declaration of war” and that the organization cannot be used as a mediator in the conflict.

Gambia Labor Market