Flag of The Gambia

The Gambia celebrates Independence Day, 18 February 2023

By Joy Osiagwu

The Republic of Gambia is one of the West African region’s countries with an area of 10,689 square kilometers. It is the smallest of the countries within mainland Africa surrounded by Senegal. It is situated on both sides of the lower reaches of The Gambia River that flows through the centre of the Gambia, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Banjul is the capital of the country with the largest metropolitan area. Serekunda and Brikama are the largest cities in the country. The Gambia has a population of 1,857,181.

Dawda Jawara, 1st Prime Minister of the Gambia

The Portuguese established trading centres along the Gambian river in 1455 and became the first Europeans to settle there. But these trade stations were not performing significant trade. As a result, the British made the Gambia a part of its empire in 1765. The current boundaries of Gambia were set by an agreement between Britain and France in 1889. However,  Gambia became a British protectorate in 1894, gained Independence on February 18, 1965, with Dawda Jawara as Prime Minister, and became a republic in 1970 following a referendum.

He ruled the nation until 1994, when he was ousted in a bloodless coup led by Lieutenant Yaya Jammeh.

Adama Barrow became the third president in January 2017 after winning the December 2016 elections.

Jammeh, who had accepted defeat, initially rescinded, and refused to leave the seat of power, which led to a constitutional catastrophe and military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). As a result, he was removed from office.

The Gambia is a member of the Commonwealth and the Economic Community of West African States. The Economy is mainly agricultural, with a critical mass of the population engaging in farming, fishing, and tourism. English is the official language of the country.

Adama Barrow -President of The Gambia. Photo: Wikipedia

Current Governance Structure

The Gambia operates a multi-party democratic system. The President of the Republic is elected by universal adult suffrage and is the Head of State with executive power. The Legislative Authority bestowed on a unicameral parliament is the National Assembly. The nation operates an independent judiciary under the constitution, with the Supreme Court as the highest judicial body. Adama Barrow, a Gambian politician and real estate developer, has served as President of the Gambia since 2017.

 Trending News from the Gambia.

Airport charges go up in the Gambia.

The Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said it had received approval from the government to increase passenger service and security charges at the airport and the introduction of a passenger safety levy. The Gambian Standard news reports that the GCAA, in a letter to stakeholders, said the latest charges would come into effect from May 1, 2023- followed by a consultative meeting with stakeholders.

Banjul International Airport. Getty Images


Joy Osiagwu

Joy Osiagwu is a Project Officer with Black History Ottawa. She has over two decades of experience as a broadcast journalist in Nigeria and North America. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Cumbria in the United Kingdom, plus a post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Performing Arts from the Columbia Academy, Vancouver, British Columbia.