The Republic of The Gambia is a country in West Africa that is entirely surrounded by Senegal except for its coastline on the Atlantic Ocean at its western end. With a geographical area that extends along the Gambia river, it is the smallest country in mainland Africa. The Gambia has a liberal, market-based economy characterized by traditional subsistence agriculture.
The Internet penetration rate was over 18% in 2017. The country has over 140 per 100 persons combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity, aided by multiple mobile-cellular providers.
The state-owned incumbent operator is charged with the task of overseeing the provision of telecommunications and internet service in the Gambia. The mobile market includes four players freely competing, including the incumbent’s mobile brand. The Gambian Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is the regulatory body of the telecommunications industry in the Gambia.
The Gambian government has invested in the agriculture sector because three-quarters of the population depends on the sector for its livelihood and agriculture provides for about one-third of GDP, making The Gambia largely reliant on sufficient rainfall. The agricultural sector has untapped potential – less than half of arable land is cultivated and agricultural productivity is low. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of cashews, groundnuts, fish, and hides. The Gambia’s reexport trade accounts for almost 80% of goods exports and China has been its largest trade partner for both exports and imports for several years.
Economic progress depends on sustained bilateral and multilateral aid, on responsible government economic management, and on continued technical assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. The country faces a large fiscal deficit and a high domestic debt burden that has crowded out private sector investment and driven interest rates to new highs. The government has committed to taking steps to reduce the deficit, including through expenditure caps, debt consolidation, and reform of state-owned enterprises.
Gamtel, or (Gambia Telecommunications Services Company), is the principal telecommunications company of the Gambia. It is a state company, charged with the task of overseeing the provision of telecommunications and internet service in the country. In association with Gamtel’s internet company, Gamnet, it has built Gambia’s internet infrastructure. The company was established in 1990 by an act of parliament as the single licensed telecommunications services provider in the country, with its stock 99% owned by the government of the Gambia, and the remaining 1% owned by the Gambia Port Authority. In 2007 Gamtel was partially privatized with 50% of its equity sold to Spectrum Group, a telecommunications company of Lebanon, due to financial problems at Gamtel. However, the merger came to an end after only one year, when Gamtel declined to renew the Spectrum management contract.
*None reported as of October, 2017