During World War II, Gambian troops fought with the Allies in Burma. The Gambia’s capital city served as an air stop for the U.S. Army Air Corps and a port of call for Allied naval convoys. The Gambia became independent from the United Kingdom in 1965. In January 2017, Adama Barrow was sworn in as president, as head of a coalition of opposition parties that defeated Yahya Jammeh in elections held on December 1, 2016. Jammeh had initially taken power in a military coup d’état in 1994. The United States strongly supports the Government of The Gambia in its efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and improve governance, implement significant economic reforms, account for financial crimes and gross violations of human rights during the Jammeh era, and focus on economic growth.
U.S. Assistance to The Gambia
U.S. assistance supports democracy, trafficking in persons, fiscal transparency, capacity building, electoral reform, security, human rights, education, media freedom, agricultural expansion, rural development, refugee support services, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition, the Peace Corps maintains a large program with about 140 volunteers engaged in the environment/agriculture, public health, and education sectors, mainly at the village level. The United States also provides limited military training assistance to The Gambia in line with Gambian Security Sector Reform efforts.
Bilateral Economic Relations
In December 2017, the reinstatement of The Gambia’s eligibility for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), effective January 1, 2018 was approved. After being selected by the Millennium Challenge Corporation to develop a threshold program in 2017, program development was paused in 2019 when The Gambia was downgraded to Tier 3 on the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report. A number of U.S. citizens have set up small businesses in The Gambia and several U.S. brand companies such as Western Union, MoneyGram, UPS, and FedEx are represented in the country.