River scene in The Gambia

Gambia, The : History

The Gambia is the smallest country in West Africa. It has a short coast on the Atlantic Ocean but is otherwise completely surrounded by Senegal. The Gambia is a mainly flat and low-lying strip of land bisected by the River Gambia. It has rocky hills to the east and many sandy beaches along the coast. 

Key facts

  • Region: Africa
  • Population: 2.3 million (2018) 
  • Area: 11,600 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Banjul 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1965, following independence from Britain; left 2013, rejoined 2018 

Secretariat support for The Gambia 

Elections support 

The Secretariat has provided support to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on The Gambia’s electoral reforms.

Human rights 

In March 2019, the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva helped Gambian government and civil society members build skills to report on human rights in the country under the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. It helped The Gambia finalise its national UPR report in November 2019. 

Law reform 

In February 2019, The Gambia finalised a draft law on computer-related crime and security so that it conforms with the Commonwealth Model Law in this area. 

Public institutions 

The Secretariat advised the Gambian government on public finance, internal auditing (checking processes) and managing risks. The Gambia has made good progress in strengthening its public institutions and systems. It is applying Commonwealth recommendations and publishing bids to buy goods and services. 

Debt management 

The Secretariat's new debt management system, Meridian, is being implemented in The Gambia. 

Natural resources 

In January 2019, the Secretariat advised Gambian government officials on the financial and legal aspects of deep-sea mining and managing natural resources in a sustainable way. 

Blue Charter

The Gambia is a member of the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and Marine Protected Areas Action Groups.

Connectivity Agenda

The Gambia is a member of the Physical, Digital, Regulatory and Supply Side Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

The Gambia and the Commonwealth

The Gambia officially rejoined the Commonwealth in February 2018. 

Find out more