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Known as the “Smiling Coast of Africa,” The Gambia is a West African country of roughly two million people. The Gambia has an active private sector, and the government is reforming the economy to support local investment and attracting foreign direct investment.

The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) is dedicated to attracting foreign investment and promoting exports. It provides guidelines and incentives to all investors whose portfolios qualify for a Special Investment Certificate (SIC). Incentives include corporate tax relief, import duty exemption, and VAT exemption. The Gambia encourages investment across all sectors, but targets agribusiness, information and communication technology (ICT), renewable energy, light manufacturing, transportation, and tourism. In 2021, GIEPA launched a new National Export Strategy for 2021-2025, which supports The Gambia’s export-ready and export-potential firms trying to enter regional and global value chains, particularly in horticulture, agro-processing, groundnuts, cashews, fisheries, light manufacturing, and hospitality.

The Gambian Government is committed to infrastructure improvements and is upgrading the road network, telecommunication system, seaport and airport, and the electricity grid. The Gambia’s primary ports of entry are Banjul International Airport and the Port of Banjul. The Port of Banjul is renovating and expanding to construct a $177 million jetty. As a port to West Africa and accounting for about 90% of the country’s trade in both volume and weight, the port plays a vital role in the trade and distribution of cargo to neighboring countries including Mali, Guinea Bissau, and Senegal.

The Gambia’s major trading partners are Ivory Coast (15 percent of total imports) and China (15 percent). Other significant trading partners include the United States, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom.

Some challenges in The Gambia’s business environment persist, mainly in the form of inconsistent enforcement of rules and regulations, and normally affect both Gambians and foreign investors. The Gambian government is addressing problems in the business environment through regulatory and legislative reforms and efforts to streamline business processes.

Economic Overview

The Gambian economy has proved resilient in the face of global challenges. Although the rise in the cost of living continues to suppress household consumption, public and private construction, agricultural output, and tourism supported growth in 2022-23. The Gambian economy is projected to grow 5.6 percent in 2023 despite facing multiple exogenous shocks, including the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and seasonal flooding. Inflation reached a record-high level of 13.2 percent in October 2022. The balance of payments is adversely affected by disruptions of timber and cashew exports, weaker-than-expected tourist arrivals, lower remittance inflows, high food and fuel import bills, and elevated freight and supply chain costs. These shocks are generating foreign exchange (forex) shortages and weighing on forex reserves. The budget has limited options to increase tax revenue and faces increasing debt and debt servicing costs.



Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 110 of 180 
Global Innovation Index N/A N/A 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 
World Bank GNI per capita 2020 12,023 

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

The Gambian government encourages foreign investment and has made increasing FDI a priority. It also recognizes the importance of creating an environment that allows the private sector to be the engine of growth, transformation, and job creation. FDI is welcomed in almost every sector of the Gambian economy. There is no restriction on ownership of businesses by foreign investors in most sectors. Foreign companies can invest in Gambia without facing systemic discrimination in favor of local companies. Excessive and inconsistently applied bureaucratic procedures, decision-making process for public tenders and contracts are common complaints.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign and domestic private entities have a right to own business enterprises and engage in in all forms of remunerative activities in The Gambia and are treated the same as domestic firms. There are no limits on foreign ownership or control of businesses except in defense-related industries, which are closed to all private sector participation, irrespective of nationality.

There is no mandatory screening of foreign direct investment, but the government may conduct screening if there is suspicion of money laundering or terrorism financing. Investors subjected to such a screening may be asked for business registration documents and bank statements. As part of the country’s privatization program, foreign investors are treated the same as local investors.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The World Trade Organization (WT O) last conducted a Trade Policy Review (TPR) in January 2018. The Gambia has maintained its generally open trade and investment regime since the last TPR in 2010. The main trade policy reform has been the adoption of the five-band ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) from 1 January 2017. An executive summary of the findings can be found at: .

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) conducted an Investment Policy Review (IPR) in 2017. The review shows The Gambia has adopted an open regime for investment and a range of modern business regulation tools. However, supply-side constraints, vulnerability to exogenous shocks, and remaining regulatory and institutional bottlenecks have negatively affected the development of the private sector and the country’s performance in attracting FDI. The report can be downloaded at: 

Business Facilitation

The Ministry of Justice, which offers a range of administrative services to foreign investors, is the point of entry for company registration through its Single Window Business Registration Desk. It normally takes one or two days to register a company.

According to the 2020 Doing Business report, it takes about three days to complete the six formal steps for starting a business, which are: registering a unique company name, notarizing company status, obtaining a tax identification number (TIN), registering employees with the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, registering with the Commercial Registry, and obtaining an operational license. While this can be done by anyone, a local attorney who is familiar with the system can facilitate the process. Additional practical steps for starting a business, such as establishing electricity, water, and other utilities, are sometimes inefficient and can add considerable time to the start-up process.

Projects that could have a negative impact on the environment require an Environmental Clearance issued by the National Environment Agency (NEA) using guidelines set out by the NEA as per the Environment Act 1994.

Outward Investment

Foreign investment in The Gambia is facilitated by the Gambia Investment Export and Promotion Agency (GIEPA) and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). Their mandate includes export promotion and support for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) development. Domestic investors have no limitations investing abroad. Post works with the American Chamber of Commerce to expand its role in facilitating trade between The Gambia and the United States.

The Gambia signed bilateral investment treaties ( ) with the following countries: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mauritius, Kuwait, Turkey, Spain, Iran, Morocco, Taiwan, Mali, Guinea, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Qatar, Ukraine, Mauritania, Libya, and Switzerland. In April 2019, The Gambia became the 22nd country to approve the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and effectively met the minimum threshold for the agreement to come into force. The AfCFTA, which was enacted in 2018, seeks to create the largest trade zone in the world, covering 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP valued at $3.4 trillion. According to a World Bank report, the pact could boost regional income by 7 percent, or $450 billion, speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035.

The Gambia is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and acceded to the WTO in 1996. The Gambia does not have a bilateral trade agreement with the United States. However, as a member of ECOWAS, it is a beneficiary of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFAs) which the United States has had with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) since 2013. The Gambia regained its African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) eligibility in 2018, after initially losing both due to concerns over human rights violations by the previous regime. In 2019, MCC designed a Power Sector Program in The Gambia that will provide tools over a multi-year period for the Gambian government to improve the Gambia’s electricity sector. In December 2022, MCC announced that it would partner with The Gambia on a full compact.

The Gambia does not have a bilateral investment treaty, bilateral taxation treaty, or a free trade agreement with the U.S. The Gambia is not a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, nor party to the Inclusive Framework’s Deal on the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, which includes a global minimum corporate tax.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Gambian government uses transparent policies and effective laws to foster competition on a non-discriminatory basis to establish “clear rules of the game.” The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission develops polices and regulate the market to ensure fair competition.

In 2007, the Competition Act was passed by the National Assembly to promote competition in the supply of goods and services by establishing a Commission with the authority to regulate the market and ensure that collusive agreements and bid rigging are forbidden. Additionally, the Commission conducts inquiries to monitor restrictive agreements and protect against the formation of monopolies.

Post is unaware of informal regulatory processes managed by nongovernmental organizations or private sector associations.

The legislative and regulatory process follows a transparent, stakeholder-based approach. Regulations derive their legitimacy from legislation that are normally developed by the responsible ministry or other relevant authority, whereas the regulations are drafted by the Legislative Drafting Department of the Ministry of Justice based on the instructions provided by the responsible ministry. Draft regulations are then posted online for review by stakeholders, after which the cabinet reviews for final approval.

The Gambia has a unitary government system, meaning the laws made by the central government are applicable across the country. However, regulations are generally industry or sector specific. Local government authorities have the authority to create bylaws, which are typically limited to environmental or sanitary regulations.

The Gambia does not have a stock exchange market. All registered private companies may use their preferred accounting systems. However, all registered companies are required by law to file annual returns with the Gambia Revenue Authority and the Registrar of Companies and are required to adhere to the accounting standards approved by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of The Gambia. The Gambian government does not require environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures by companies.

The Gambia does not have a centralized online platform for the publication of regulations. However, the various regulatory authorities and ministries normally publish their regulations and laws on their websites. The text on the website is the final version of the regulation or law.

The Constitution of The Gambia empowers the National Assembly to oversee the executive branch. The National Assembly has the power to summon ministers and examine the accounts and expenditures of publicly funded bodies.

The Competition Act and Consumer Protection Act are currently under review by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission in consultation with the Legislative Drafting Department of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The MOJ is reviewing the Acts to update them with an emphasis on regulating competition and protecting consumers.

The regulatory authorities enforce laws, through financial penalties or other legal action.

All public accounts are audited by the national Audit Office, which is headed by the Auditor General. The audited accounts are reviewed by the National Assembly.

International Regulatory Considerations

The Gambia is a member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and as such, is signatory to the 1975 ECOWAS Treaty, which harmonizes investment rules. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) first introduced competition legislation in 2008, including a prohibition on anticompetitive mergers.

The Gambia has its own regulatory system, which it designs with stakeholders from the international community of NGOs, but international norms or standards referenced or incorporated into the country’s regulatory system are often based on United Kingdom (UK) regulations. The Gambia’s regulatory system incorporates many UK norms and standards.

The Gambia is a member of the WTO. The government does not notify the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) of all draft technical regulations. However, draft technical regulations are available to relevant stakeholders like the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), if requested.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The country’s legal system is based on English common law. The Gambia has a written and consistently applied commercial law, which is found in the Companies Act. Monetary judgments can be made in both the investor’s currency and local currency. The Gambia does not have a written commercial and/or contractual law, but property and contractual rights are generally enforced. The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and although the courts are not totally free from influence of the executive branch, they are generally considered to be independent. The Supreme Court, presided over by a chief justice, has both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Appeals against decisions of district tribunals (or the industrial tribunal in the case of labor disputes) may be lodged with the lower courts, the High Court, and the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of appeal in the country.

The public has access to courts during sittings and judgements, which are made available to the parties involved in the case at the conclusion of the case. Although the judiciary does not publish judgements on their website, the judgments are compiled and reported in the Law Reports published by the Law Report Committee.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

The investment laws and regulations of The Gambia apply equally to domestic and foreign investors. Some investment-related laws such as competition, labor and corruption, have weak or non-existent implementation regulations. For information on the laws, rules, procedures and reporting required, foreign investors can visit the GIEPA website: GIEPA .

The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) is the body primarily responsible for the promotion of competition and the protection of consumers mandated by three acts: The Competition Act 2007, The Consumer Protection Act 2014, and The Essential Commodities Act 2015. No major investment related laws/ regulations, or judicial decisions came out within the past year.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

GCCPC is a commercial watchdog that reviews transactions for competition-related concerns and ensures the protection of consumers from unfair and misleading market practices and administers the prohibition of illegal business practices.

Expropriation and Compensation

The Constitution of The Gambia provides the legal framework for the protection of private ownership of property and only provides for compulsory acquisition by the state if this is found to be necessary for defense, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country planning.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

The Gambia is a member of the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID). The Gambia has been a member since January 1975. The Gambia is currently not a member of the New York Convention but is in the process of acceding to it. The Gambian Government has made significant steps towards acceding to the Convention and the accession process is at the final stages.
Section 52 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 2005 (ADR Act) provides that an arbitral award, irrespective of the country in which it was made, shall be recognized as binding on application to the High Court. An award shall be entered by entry as a judgment in terms of the award, or by action. Section 52(2) further details the documents that the applicant must provide to the court before applying. This section does not specifically provide for the enforcement of awards under ICSID but does provide for an arbitral award irrespective of the country.
Section 56 of the ADR Act specifically provides for the enforcement of awards under the New York Convention. However, section 56 is not enforceable in The Gambia until the Gambian government accedes to the New York Convention.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The Gambia is a member of the ICSID which provides for binding international arbitration of disputes between contracting states and nationals of other contracting states under the ICSID convention.
The Gambia does not have a Bilateral Investment Treaty or a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.
There have been no investment disputes involving a U.S. citizen in over 10 years.
Section 52 of the ADR Act, laws of The Gambia, states that arbitral awards shall be recognized as binding, on application to the High Court, and shall be enforced by entry as a judgment in terms of the award. The Act does not make an exemption for awards.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Mediation and arbitration are commonly used ADR mechanisms for settling disputes.
Section 99 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act establishes the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS). The ADRS is the domestic alternative dispute resolution body of The Gambia that deals with ADR. The domestic legislation regarding ADR (the ADR Act) is modelled in conformity with international rules on arbitration, conciliation, and mediation but not the UNCITRAL model law specifically.
The local courts in The Gambia recognize and can enforce foreign arbitral awards. This power is conferred on the courts by Section 52 of the ADR Act, which recognizes arbitral awards as binding and enforceable by entry as a judgment upon application to the High Court of The Gambia.
Judgments of foreign courts are also enforceable in The Gambia under the Foreign Judgments Reciprocal Enforcement Act. The Act enforces judgments from foreign countries that provide reciprocity to Gambian court decisions. Judgments of the United Kingdom and other parts of the Commonwealth are enforceable in The Gambia by virtue of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments Act. The United States does not have reciprocity with The Gambia.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Gambia has a bankruptcy law, which is regulated by the Insolvency Act. The Act consolidates and amends the law relating to company insolvency and the insolvency and bankruptcy of individuals, the regulation of insolvency practice, the public administration of insolvency, and the licensing of insolvency practitioners.

Creditors have the right to file a petition for bankruptcy or liquidation. Creditors have a right to present a petition in respect of a debtor (individual) to an official trustee who shall consider the petition.

The Companies Act of 2013 also provides for a creditor’s bankruptcy where a company is insolvent. In such a case, a creditor may apply to the court for a company to be declared bankrupt if it is insolvent.

Investment Incentives

To encourage sustainable investment into priority sectors and regions of The Gambia, GIEPA offers a variety of incentives for investors. These include a Special Investment Certificate (SIC), Export Processing Zone License (EPZL) and a variety of individual incentives. In accordance with the GIEPA Act 2015, the following priority sectors and regions of The Gambia are eligible to receive incentives:
agriculture, fisheries, tourism, forestry, manufacturing, energy and other services. Priority regions are the west coast, lower river region, north bank, central river region, upper river region.

Special Investment Certificate (SIC)

The SIC is the Gambian government’s main incentive scheme and is available for domestic and foreign investors if they invest a minimum of, respectively, $100,000, and $250,000 in a priority sector and/or in a priority area, employ a minimum number of Gambians set by the regulations, or create value addition.

Fiscal incentives include exemption from income tax for five years for priority sectors and eight years for priority regions; annual allowance at the rate of 15% for the depreciation of buildings, including structural improvements and notwithstanding the rate provided in Schedule III of the Income and Value Added Tax (VAT) Act (2012); exemption from import duty with respect to capital goods; and an exemption from import VAT for five years.

Export Processing Zone License Incentives

Export incentives schemes are available for enterprises operating within or outside of an export processing zone. Investors operating in export processing zones shall be allowed to do so for a maximum period of ten years.

An Export Processing Zone License (EPZL) holder exporting at least 80% of its outputs shall benefit from the following incentives under GIEPA:

  • Corporate or Turnover Tax
  • Withholding Tax on Dividends
  • Value Added Tax on Imported Direct Inputs
  • Depreciation Allowance
  • Import Duty on Imported Direct Inputs
  • Excise Duty on Imported Direct Inputs
  • Waiver on Municipal Tax

Export Processing Zone License (EPZL) holders exporting at least 30% of its outputs can benefit from the following incentives under GIEPA:

  • Ten percent concession on corporate/turnover tax for 5 years
  • Financial planning services and advice

Individual Incentives

All investors are strongly encouraged to apply for the SIC, but investors who are not eligible for an SIC or who only wish to receive certain incentives may also apply individually.

For more information please visit: 

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The Gambia has several export processing zones (EPZs) and industrial parks which provide benefits to foreign and local investors seeking to establish or expand operations in the country. EPZ enterprises are exempted from import duties and excise duties, as well as corporate income tax and municipal taxes. Enterprises located outside an EPZ exporting at least 30% of their products are eligible for a 10% reduction in annual corporate or turnover tax liability for up to five years.

July 22nd Business Park

GIEPA developed the July 22nd Business Park GIEPA as the country’s first export processing zone. The July 22nd Business Park, located at the Banjul International Airport in Yundum on 168-hectares of land, offers opportunities through private sector participation for the development of commercial office space, industrial sites, hotels and resorts, and other real estate opportunities. The Business Park is open to foreign investors for additional expansion.

Business Park facilities:

  • Electricity-1-2MW generator
  • Industrial water connection
  • Telecommunication & waste management services infrastructure
  • Fuel depot
  • Access roads
  • Customs house
  • Security fencing
  • Attractive landscaping

Business activities within the Business Park:

  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Agribusiness
  • Labelling, packaging, and repackaging
  • Warehousing
  • Information, communication, and technology activities
  • Financial and offshore services


Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The government mandates local employment, excluding senior management and boards of directors. Foreigners can represent no more than 20% of the total number of employees of a company, with no distinction between management personnel and workers.

It is not difficult to obtain visas, residence and work permits, or other requirements inhibiting mobility of foreign investors and their employees. The recruitment of foreigners is subject to annually renewed applications and payment of an expatriate quota tax, which varies for West African and non-West African employees. There are no restrictions on foreign investment in The Gambia apart from defense-related industries, and general guidance in GIEPA that says: “a person shall not invest in or operate an investment enterprise which is prejudicial to national security, detrimental to the natural environment, public health, or public morality, or which contravenes the laws of The Gambia.”

There is no known legislation in the investment policy of The Gambia that follows “forced localization” production methods. There are no enforcement procedures for performance requirements. The Consumer Protection Act of 2014 prevents companies from freely transmitting customer or other business-related data outside The Gambia.

There are no known laws that require foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to encryption to the local government. As mandated by the Competition Act of 2007 and the Consumer Protection Act of 2014, the GCCPC is the agency responsible for the enforcement of rules on local data storage within the country/economy. It also undertakes critical review of the Competition Act; subsidiary legislation and the GCCPC guidelines; performs all in-house legal advisory work required in the execution of GCCPC’s functions and represents GCCPC in all court and appeal proceedings. The GCCPC Enforcement Committee provides the agency with all the legal and enforcement expertise necessary for it to fulfill its mission of championing competition for growth and choice. Specifically, the Legal Committee Division leads enforcement actions and applies rigorous legal analysis in all investigations and notifications under the Competition Act.

Real Property

Property rights and interests are enforced by adjudicatory bodies in The Gambia (such as the High Court, Magistrates Courts, and District Tribunals) to determine land ownership and to make declarations of title to land.

The High Court of The Gambia established under section 131 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia has unlimited jurisdiction and can determine ownership of land and make declarations of title to land. The Magistrates Court determines actions for possession of immoveable property of $16,000 (~1 million Dalasi) in value or less. The District Tribunals have jurisdiction pursuant to the District Tribunal Act to determine issues of title to land or any interest in land.

Property rights and interests are available regardless of gender. Section 22 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia which is under Part IV on Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, provides for protection from deprivation of property. It states “No property of any description shall be taken possession of compulsorily, and no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of The Gambia except where …. conditions are satisfied.’’

The Mortgages Act regulates the law of mortgages and related matters in The Gambia. This Act governs all mortgages of immoveable property. Section 4 of the Act provides “… every transaction which is in substance a mortgage of immoveable property, whether expressed as a mortgage charge, pledge of title documents, outright conveyance, trust for sale on condition, lease, hire purchase, conditional sale, sale with right of repurchase or in any other manner, shall be deemed to be a mortgage of immoveable property and shall be governed by this Act.”

Mortgages are registered in the Deeds Registry under the Registrar General’s department at the Attorney General’s chambers. The Registry is established under the Lands (Registration of Deeds) Act. This register is open to the public and may be consulted upon payment of the prescribed fee.

There are specific regulations regarding land lease or acquisition by foreign and/or non-resident investors. In 2007, the Ministry of Lands and Regional Government established the Lands Commission Act.
Non-Gambians have slight restrictions on land ownership under the Act. They are only deemed to be a lessee of a residential land if (a) the land is not within 1.5 kilometers of the high-water mark in an area designated by the minister and (b) of no more than 2,500 square meters of land in any one city, town or village within an area designated as state land. If a non-Gambian acquires state land contrary to the above provisions, they will be deemed to be tenants at will and may at any time be dispossessed of the land.
A company registered under the Laws of The Gambia is, upon registration, able to lease or own land. A foreign company that has submitted required documents to the Registrar has the same power to lease or own lands in The Gambia, as if it were a company incorporated under the Lands Commission Act.
Most land in the greater Banjul area is owned by the state. Land outside the Banjul area is generally held under customary tenure and/or under the custody of district authorities for the districts of their respective regions. Disputes over land ownership and succession, partly due to poor recordkeeping the Lands Office, are a major problem in The Gambia particularly in rural areas. Most conflicts occur when community leaders sell a plot of land to multiple buyers.
Land title registration differs depending on the land type. Customary land is allocated by alkalos, or community chiefs, for which ownership claims pre-date the existence of The Gambia in its current legal form, is generally not registered. State land is usually registered when it is leased. The leases granted by the state are registered at the Deeds Registry in the Ministry of Justice.
Section 17 of the Limitation Act states that making a claim to land held by another person must be filed within 12 years of the date on which the right of action accrued. If an owner knows that other people lay claim to their land but does not exercise their right to land recovery, they may relinquish their right to the property.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Gambia maintains a standard legal framework for protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), but its institutional capacity to implement and enforce IPR laws is constrained. The Gambia’s IPR legislation complies with international norms.

The process of protection and enforcement starts with registration. The Industrial Property Office under the Ministry of Justice registers industrial property rights while the Copyright Office under the National Centre for Arts and Culture registers copyright and related rights.

In an effort to strengthen IPR enforcement, The Gambia developed the Intellectual Property Policy and Strategy Plan for (2018-2023).

Intellectual property laws, currently before the National Assembly, will streamline the administration of intellectual property administration under one roof by merging the Industrial Property and Copyright offices under the Ministry of Justice. The new IP laws will domesticate all the major IP treaties and protocols of the World Intellectual Property Organization and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization.

Since 2019, there have been four court orders for the seizure of allegedly IPR-infringing goods. The fine of IP infringement is $8,000 (~500,000 Dalasi) or 3 years imprisonment.

The country is not listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 report or notorious market report.

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

The Central Bank of Gambia (CBG) promotes the development of financial markets in The Gambia. The government welcomes foreign investment. However, The Gambia’s capital market is relatively underdeveloped, with no secondary market for capital market transactions. The country does not have its own stock market. There is no effective regulatory system to encourage and facilitate portfolio investment, or policies to facilitate the free flow of financial resources into the products and factor markets. Credit is allocated on market terms. Foreign investors can get credit from the local market. The private sector has access to a variety of credit instruments. The government respects the IMF Article obligations for member countries, including refraining from restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions.

Money and Banking System

The country’s financial sector regulatory authority is the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG). Foreign banks or branches can establish operations in The Gambia subject to the CBG’s regulations. There are 13 commercial banks. Most are foreign owned with branch outlets in the country. Foreign banks or branches are subject to the banking regulations of The Gambia. No correspondent banking relationships were lost in the past three years.

There are no restrictions on foreigners opening a bank account. A of June 2022, the banking sector is stable and resilient with a robust liquidity ratio of 27.8 percent and capital adequacy ratios, of 27.8 percent. All the banks met the minimum capital and liquidity requirements of 10 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

The banking industry’s asset base expanded by 19.7 percent (year-on-year) in June 2022, benefiting largely from higher cash holdings, government bonds and parastatal debt securities, and private sector loans and advances. Letters of credit and guarantees were also significant contributors to the asset growth of the industry. Customer deposits continues to be the largest source of funding for banks. It grew by 14.7 percent (year-on-year) and accounted for 66.8 percent of total funding at end-June 2022, supported by higher government spending, remittances, and deposit mobilization from private sector.

Mobile money financial services expanded their customer base but declined in transaction volume. Year-on-year, the value of cash-in and cash-out transactions decreased by 20.8 and 20.7 while number of account holders surged by 93.8 percent.

Currently, the total number of banking customers in The Gambia stands at 772,101 and only 14 percent use E-Banking. The Gambia currently has 80 branches and 208 point-of-sale (POS) terminals. The banking system has been resilient to shocks, and this includes challenges posed by COVID-19.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

There are no restrictions on foreign investors converting or repatriating funds in The Gambia.
Funds associated with any form of investment can be freely converted into any world currency.
The Gambian Dalasi has a floating exchange rate.

The domestic foreign exchange market is generally stable, supported by improved foreign exchange liquidity conditions and confidence. The performance of the external sector, the return of market confidence, and the improved transparency in the exchange rate policy are major contributing factors to the stability of the exchange rate of the Dalasi.

The transaction volume of the domestic foreign exchange market, measured by aggregate purchases and sales of foreign currency in 2021, increased to $2.6 billion from $2.4 billion in 2022. Supply of foreign currency increased by 7.6 percent (year-on-year) to $1.3 billion during the period. Demand for foreign currency also increased by 10.0 percent to $1.3 billion, driven by imports of food and energy as well as telecommunication and construction sectors.

Remittance Policies

There have been no recent changes or plans to change investment remittance policies in The Gambia. There are no time limitations on remittances. There are no plans to tighten access to foreign exchange for investment remittances. Investors may repatriate profits and dividends through commercial banks or licensed money transfer agencies at prevailing exchange rates.

Inflows of private remittances continued to be the main supply source of foreign currency in the domestic foreign exchange market in 2021. Private remittance inflows, quarter-on-quarter increased to $184.6 million but current transfers declined by 8.7 percent (year-on-year) to a net inflow of $259.7 million in the first half of 2022.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Neither the host government nor a government-affiliate maintains a Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The Gambia has made significant progress in reforming State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), including the passage of the State Owned Enterprise Act in 2023. According to the World Bank, major efforts are still required to make the sector sound, efficient, and financially sustainable. SOEs are facing a wide range of issues, from insolvency, weak accounting systems, and overstatement of assets to conflicting commercial and socio-economic objectives, and corporate governance issues. As a result, SOEs made minor contributions to government’s revenue in recent years but required significant budget support and posed sizable fiscal risks.

The Gambia has majority ownership in 13 State Owned Enterprises that operate in key economic sectors. Seven of the SOEs are commercial and operate more independently from the government, while six are public corporations or institutions, some providing regulatory functions. While the president appoints the CEO/Director Generals and full boards of most of the SOEs, they are under the supervision of line ministries such as agriculture, power generation, energy, and gas. There are also SOEs in the information and telecommunications, aviation, and finance industries. SOE revenues are not projected in budget documents. The Gambia’s Supreme Audit Institution audits the public sector and SOEs.

Private enterprises compete with public enterprises under the same terms and conditions with respect to access to markets, credit, and other business operations, such as licenses and supplies. There is a published list  of SOEs on the Ministry of Finance website. The State-Owned Enterprises Unit at the Ministry of Finance monitors SOEs.

Privatization Program

The Government of The Gambia is currently not engaged in any forms of privatization programs.

The notion of corporate social responsibility is not well known in The Gambia and only some SOEs and 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 its potential for income for the country. There has been no recent high profile, controversial instances of private sector impact on human rights or resolution of such cases in the past year. 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. In 2015, the Director General of The Standards Bureau established the first Technical Committee (TC) on food which reviewed and adopted ten (10) standards on food and related matters in The Gambia.

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, installation of electrical lines, and other sectors. 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 reducing the impact of environmental damage.

According to the section 42 of 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. However, the banks and mobile phone companies often use such donations for publicity and marketing reasons. The Gambian public often views these firms favorably. 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.

There are no reports or concern relating to RBC in The Gambia that are of concern specifically to foreign businesses.

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; the Gambian government 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 budding extractives industry, but the government 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.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

The government finalized “The Gambia 2050 Climate Vision” in 2021. The document lays out The Gambia’s aspiration “to be a climate-resilient, middle-income country through green economic growth supporting sustainable, low emissions development, contributing its fair share to global efforts to address climate change.” The climate plan calls for input from private sector entities. The government has also identified specific plots of land that are protected as nature preserves.

The government pledged to control emissions to comply with the Paris Agreement in 2015. Since then, it has introduced policies favoring renewable energy, restoration of depleted agricultural land, and reforestation. The Gambia aims to reduce emissions by 2.7% by 2030 below business-as-usual (BAU) and, conditional on international financial support, aims for a target of 45.4% reduction by 2030.

The Gambia’s anti-corruption framework is a work in progress. The political transition in 2017 is generally seen as a fresh start for anti-corruption efforts in The Gambia. While the new government has made an encouraging start towards good governance, many of its promises are yet to be fulfilled. The Anti-Corruption Bill and the draft Constitution are two significant draft laws that have not yet been enacted. The Janneh Commission has investigated and documented grand corruption during the Jammeh era, but it is unclear how the government will address the Commission’s recommendations.

Since President Adama Barrow’s administration took office in 2017, there have been numerous allegations of petty corruption made by the media and civil society groups, usually accusing government officials of corruption or misusing public funds in their respective institutions.

Barrow’s administration introduced the Anti-Corruption bill at the National Assembly in December 2019. The new draft will update the 2012 Act and establish a new national anti-corruption commission. The bill is pending as of March 2023.

There are several civil society organizations in The Gambia that engage in anti-corruption advocacy. The Gambia Participates is the leading Gambian NGO working on government transparency and anti-corruption measures through advocacy, grass-roots engagement, and policy dialogue. One of its recent achievements is a victory in the Supreme Court, where it challenged the constitutionality of a loan scheme in the national budget for the personal benefit of parliamentary members and staff.

On March 8, 2023, a Gambian court convicted a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources for accepting bribes from a fishing company. This conviction, which is reportedly the first of an official under President Adama Barrow for public misconduct, represents a major victory in the fight against what is thought to be widespread corruption in The Gambia. The Office of the Attorney General is presently pursuing legal action in several other cases involving fraud and corruption.

At least one U.S. firm complained in 2016 of corruption as an obstacle to FDI. This was reported in the water resource management sector and involved a commercial dispute between the Gambian government and a U.S. firm. The firm has since indicated that the new administration is taking steps to resolve the matter.

Resources to Report Corruption
Commanding Officer, Fraud & Commercial Crime Unit
Gambia Police Force
Police Headquarters,
ECOWAS Avenue,
The Gambia (+220) 4223015 / 4222307

Although political rallies are common in the months leading up to elections, public protests, demonstrations, and strikes are rare, and require a permit. Americans should avoid large political gatherings, as peaceful gatherings can turn violent quickly. Opposition parties may or may not be issued permits, potentially resulting in unapproved rallies. There have been no examples of damage to projects and/or installations caused by people.

As of 2021, the total labor force in The Gambia stood at 907,836, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators. Total labor force comprises people ages 15 and older who meet the International Labor Organization definition of the economically active population: all people who supply labor to produce goods and services during a specified period. It includes both the employed and the unemployed. While national practices vary in the treatment of groups such as the armed forces and seasonal or part-time workers. In general, the labor force includes the armed forces, the unemployed and first-time job seekers, but excludes homemakers and other unpaid caregivers and workers in the informal sector.

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 has taken extraordinary steps 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. There are no additional/different labor law provisions in special economic zones, foreign trade zones or free ports compared to the economy. No new labor related laws were enacted during the last year.

Depending on how the person’s wage is paid, one or two months or weeks’ notice is required under section 55 of the Labor Act 2007. In Gambia, there is no unemployment insurance, though laid-off workers are entitled to a portion of their social security contributions.

In Gambia, collective bargaining is uncommon. The Gambia has no organized trade unions. As a result, there is no data for The Gambia in ILOSTAT for Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and Trade Union Density, even though The Gambia has ratified Convention 98. The DOL plans to hold a public awareness campaign about the importance of collective bargaining at the enterprise and sectoral levels.

The Gambian Department of Labor (DOL) settles individual and collective conflicts by inviting parties to a tripartite 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 (Sections 90, 91 & 92 of the Labor Act 2007).

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, the government must submit a report on the implementation of these Conventions.

The Department of Labor has reviewed all labor laws that are pending National Assembly approval for more than ten years. This includes the labor bill, the trade union bill, the factory bill, and the compensation for injuries bill. The labor migration strategy, pre-departure training manual, and ethical recruitment guidelines are all new developments.

The United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has a limited presence in The Gambia. DFC has a program to develop an integrated waste to energy and water purification plant for the Government of The Gambia to sustainably fund essential services – clean water, renewable energy and environment clean-up. There is potential in the following sectors: agriculture (rice, processing fruits), energy (oil exploitation, renewable energies) fisheries, infrastructure (internet and communications technology, light manufacturing, roads) and tourism. A DFC agreement exists between The Gambia and the United States.


Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) N/A N/A  2021 $2.04

Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A N/A N/A UNCTAD data available at  

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Data not available.

Daniel Capone
Political and Economic Officer
U.S. Embassy Banjul. P.M.B. 19. Banjul, The Gambia

Samuel J. Sarre
Economic and Commercial Specialist
U.S. Embassy Banjul, P.M.B. 19. Banjul, The Gambia

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Economic Overview
    2. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
    3. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    4. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    5. Business Facilitation
    6. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Anti-Trust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
      4. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
      1. Special Investment Certificate (SIC)
      2. Export Processing Zone License Incentives
      3. Individual Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
      1. July 22nd Business Park
      2. Business Park facilities:
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
      3. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: The Gambia
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