8. Responsible Business Conduct
The notion of corporate social responsibility is not well known in The Gambia and only some state-owned enterprises and some private companies, such as banks and mobile phone companies, adopt Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) as a policy.
Gambian laws generally contain a provision that ensures social and environmental protection of its citizens, regardless of activity and its potential for income for the country. There have been no recent high profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or resolution of such cases. Currently no national action plan on RBC has been enacted. Agencies that promote or enforce RBC include the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency (PURA), The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), the Standards Bureau, and the Gambia Revenue Authority.
Any project with potential environmental impact is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted by the National Environment Agency (NEA) before a license or permit is granted. These projects include hotels, roads, bridges, mining, large-scale agricultural projects, processing and manufacturing industries, fish processing, waste disposal, and installation of electrical lines. Despite its efforts to enforce domestic laws, the NEA is heavily underfunded and short of resources to implement adequate environmental protections. The Gambia has adopted several measures to support environmental protection and reduce the impact of environmental damage.
According to the GIEPA Act, “the Government shall take all necessary measures to protect investments and the property of investors in accordance with the laws of The Gambia and the bilateral investment Treaties.” In most cases, the understanding of RBC is limited to the allocation of funds to charitable causes such as supporting schools and health projects, disaster relief, and environment enhancement. Banks and mobile phone companies often use such donations for publicity and marketing. The Gambian public often views these firms favorably.
Foreign and local enterprises are encouraged to follow RBC principles such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Areas where natural resources are extracted are not subject to conflict. GoTG does not specifically promote the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Afflicted and High-Risk Areas. The Gambia does have a substantial extractives industry, but GoTG does not participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Standards or the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. There are no domestic transparency measures requiring the disclosure of payments made to government and/or of RBC/BHR policies or practices.
Department of State
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices;
- Trafficking in Persons Report;
- Guidance on Implementing the “UN Guiding Principles” for Transactions Linked to Foreign Government End-Users for Products or Services with Surveillance Capabilities and;
- North Korea Sanctions & Enforcement Actions Advisory
Department of Labor
11. Labor Policies and Practices
As of 2020 the total labor force in The Gambia stood at 774,759, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators. In 2019, the labor force participation rate is 60.75%. The Gambia suffers from high unemployment and underemployment, compounded by a shortage of skilled workers and trained professionals. About 59% of the individuals in the labor force have no formal education. Many of the skilled workers in the construction and mechanical industries are foreigners from neighboring countries. However, many Gambians are now taking up these trades and the government is eager to increase primary and secondary school enrollment.
Several government policies require the hiring of nationals, including The Labor Act of 2007, The Payroll Tax Act of 2008, and the social security act. The Labor Act of 2007 and its regulations provide the legal framework for labor relations in The Gambia. The Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment enforces the Act. It covers most conditions of employment, including dismissals, recruitment and hiring, registration and training, protection of wages, registration of trade unions and employees’ organizations, and industrial relations in general. The Act also contains procedures for the settlement of disputes, including an industrial tribunal. Minimum wages and working hours are established through six joint industrial councils: commerce, artisans, transport, port operations, agriculture, and fisheries. Private-sector employees receive between 14 and 30 days of paid annual leave, depending on length of service. Depending on how the person’s wage is paid, one or two months’ notice or a week to two weeks’ notice is required (Section 55 of the Labor Act 2007). In Gambia, there is no unemployment insurance. Although laid-off workers are entitled to a portion of their social security contributions. There are no additional/different labor law provisions in special economic zones, foreign trade zones, or free ports concerning the economy. No new labor related laws were enacted during the last year. Most Gambians work in the informal sector, and receive none of the protections provided by law.
In Gambia, collective bargaining is uncommon. Gambia has no organized trade unions.
According to statute, the Department of Labor (DOL) settles individual and collective conflicts by inviting parties to a meeting to conciliate or mediate with the goal of amicably settling the matter. If the matter is not resolved within a month, DOL refers it to the industrial tribunal for resolution. In reality, the DOL lacks sufficient funding to implement any of this procedure.
There were no strikes during the last year that posed an investment risk. There are no serious questions of compliance in law or practice with international labor standards that may pose a reputational risk to investors.
The International Labor Organization reported potential gaps in law or practice with respect to international labor standards, including reporting on Gambia’s ratified Fundamental Conventions. Every three years, report must be submitted on the implementation of these Conventions.