The Gambia is a West African country surrounded by Senegal. It’s the smallest country on the mainland of Africa with a population of just over 2 million, of which up to a tenth live abroad for work. Remittances from these expatriates contribute more than 20 percent of GDP. Tourism normally accounts for a third of the economy but the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the sector.
From 1994 to 2016, The Gambia was ruled by President Yaya Jammeh, who was regularly accused of human rights violations and limiting freedom of speech. With his defeat to Adama Barrow in the 2016 presidential elections, The Gambia experienced its first successful democratic transition of power in more than 20 years. In December of 2021, President Barrow was elected for a second term through free and fair elections.
In the context of this important transition away from authoritarianism, USAID focuses its work in the areas of democracy, governance, the rule of law, and human rights. This support is professionalizing civil society organizations, and improving the performance of partner government institutions.