Living in The Gambia

I get pleasure from touring round West Africa, particularly round culturally wealthy areas mixing nature with trendy infrastructural developments. Each my air and street travels round this ECOWAS subregion within the final 15 years has been each instructive and enriching for me. I’ve been culturally immersed with variety in languages, faith, tradition, meals, structure, local weather, financial life, wildlife.

The information acquired, can’t be quantified in financial phrases, and i’ll advocate this instructional excursions to our youths to allow them respect and tolerate different cultures, thus lowering conflicts and disputes amongst neighboring nations. Someplace else, i’ve written and held a number of seminars on working and dwelling in Ghana about 11 years in the past.

Right now, the success story of Ghana is clear to all and this nation Ghana, has emerged as among the best economies within the subregion. Once more, i’m introducing one other rising nice financial system to you, The Gambia.

Earlier than the entire world flood right here, and you will be neglected, why not take my advise severely and make investments, work, reside or vacation on this lovely nation to expertise what I am speaking about? I like this peaceable nation blessed with hospitable folks. Gambians welcome you with pure inspiring smiles. The Gambia is bounded spherical by an historic river, wealthy in pure assets of sea meals, animals and therapeutic powers. Welcome to The Gambia, the smiling coast of West Africa.

From the pure great thing about Makasutu Village, historic websites of Kunta Kinteh village, James Island, Kachikally Crocodile pool, Kanilai Farm, and so many different websites to the seashores and folks, you’ll hardly need to depart. Little surprise, there are such a lot of repeat vacationers coming to The Gambia for the previous 10-15 years that I’ve met. They arrive from throughout Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa. On the seashore, the great thing about the Sea, the sand and solar will remind you of Mom Africa.

How in regards to the funding local weather, very favorable and investor pleasant.With a secure financial system with a single digit inflation fee and foreign money change of US$1.0= GMD26 (As at ninth April, 2010). The Gambia is a multicultural nation with lots of immigrants from West Africa, Europe, America, Center East and Asia completely dwelling as buyers, working with a number of NGOs, some retired buyers whereas many others are engaged in importation companies and owned a number of procuring malls.The Gambia is house to buyers, volunteers, professionals pursuing their profession, and vacation makers who has made this peaceable nation their vacation spot. Welcome to The Gambia, the place there is no such thing as a discrimination primarily based on faith, creed, colour, race, gender, social standing, incapacity and with zero tolerance to corruption. Learn on! Alsamadeh!

The most important markets are in Banjul, Serrekunda and Brikama. Right here, you possibly can store for staple meals like fish, meat, greens, clothings, jeweleries and trend equipment. The locals welcome folks with pure smiles after exchanging the spiritual greetings: “Asalamalekun”, that means, peace be unto you. Historically, Gambian girls go to market each day to purchase what to prepare dinner.They are often seen with the plastic baskets with holders thronging to the busy markets to buy contemporary fish, meat, greens and take time to greet one another asking after every others’ households, relations and get up to date about present social occasions and different girls gossips. Among the elites, nonetheless, desire to buy in procuring malls round Kairaba Avenue, and purchase meals in massive portions to retailer at house.

Mini-markets, or what some name supermarkets are everywhere in the Larger Banjul space competing with the standard markets. There are additionally the neighborhood outlets, known as “Fulah Retailers”, owned principally by Mauritanian residents and in some instances by Guineans. That is the place to get the regionally made bread known as, “Tapalapa”. That is often an extended banana formed clay oven baked bread that’s often transported on bicycles by the suppliers early within the morning, mid-day and sundown time. I desire shopping for this, when contemporary, it is delicate and extra interesting than the stale hardened and uninviting ones. A full one goes for D5 and the half is D2.50. The bread is often bought with a pleasant unfold of butter, mayonnaises, egg, potato and spiced with jumbo or Maggi sauce relying on the client’s preferences.

There’s additionally “Senfu”, which has a crumb nature and less expensive, being bought for D3 for a full roll. Nonetheless, i seen the “Senfu” is just not as filling because the “Tapalapa” that may maintain me going for the entire day, like a bowl of “Fufu”, which is the energiser for many Nigerians, Ghanaians and Sierra- Leoneans in The Gambia. The native “Fufu” in contrast to those present in Ghana and Nigeria are created from “Saddam Rice”, as it’s known as regionally, by milling it into powder and cooked right into a stable paste in a pot. The most well-liked lunch meal, amongst Gambians, is the jollof rice, regionally known as ” Benechin”. Several types of stew are ready to eat the rice meal like”Plasas”, “Tremendous ganja”, “Damoda”,and many others. I benefit from the Gambia breakfast meal of “Thura Girthe”, which could be very wealthy in protein. It is a combination of effectively pounded rice cooked with milled groundnut and eaten with a variety of yogurt “Bitter Milk”.

Gambians eat collectively. Small teams of between 5-8 individuals are often seen consuming from the identical bowl, and but, when a customer seems, she or he is beakoned to nonetheless be part of them and share out of it. That is the real love, i am but to see wherever. In case you assume there is no such thing as a free meal wherever, you are mistaken; come to The Gambia! This clarify the rationale for very low or non-existent crime fee. At the least, a lunch meal is assured for anybody dwelling in The Gambia. Meals is shared, nobody goes house hungry. The ladies additionally waste lots of meals by at all times making ready rather a lot anticipating guests to affix them when serving their meals. They package deal the rice meals in massive large bowls with a canopy and wrap it in a standard method with material, that can safe the meals from spilling and carry to their husbands at their respective working locations for them to eat with colleagues. Generally, they go journey lengthy distances, to ship the meals, like a household dwelling in Lamin and the husband working in Serrekunda.


The official working hours is 8am- 4pm from Monday to Thursday. Friday is half day. Most of Gambians are Muslims, and so they go for the Friday Particular prayers within the afternoon. Though, the “African time” idea remains to be prevalent among the many folks, that is widespread with the federal government staff, the non-public sector is healthier. Most critical enterprise appointments begin from 9am, despite the fact that, they’re scheduled for 8am.

The most important purpose generally for arriving at work late, might be on account of unavailability of business autos to move staff to their respective locations of labor. Even, at locations of labor, Gambians don’t forget to take their Chinese language natural tea known as ” Atire”.


A primary time customer, to The Gambia will assume the sport of soccer has it is origin from right here, due to the love and fervour connected to this recreation. There are fairly quite a lot of playgrounds which might be by no means saved idle due to the teeming youths that religiously prepare and play each day matches, particularly within the evenings after work or college. Equally, on weekends, very first thing within the morning, you’ll discover everybody exercising or enjoying the sport they love most; soccer.

The discussions of most of those youths that represent half of the nation’s inhabitants is centered on the European matches. Groups like Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester Metropolis, Arsenal, Barcelona, Actual Madrid, AC Milan and different large groups have passionate followers in The Gambia.

There are numerous Soccer Viewing facilities which might be making a fortune exhibiting the reside matches to most Gambian. Though, a few of these youths may not know the capital of Nigeria, they typically inform me it is Lagos, however they actually know all of the European Membership Managers, first line ups and transfers of those key gamers, to not discuss in regards to the newest scores within the premiership or championship.

The Gambia’s nationwide workforce, known as the “Scorpion” is adored and also you dare not say something dangerous in opposition to this workforce so as to not incur the wrath of my soccer lovers. A loss in recreation when “Scorpions” play, will flip your complete nation right into a grave yard, “a mourning interval”. However with a win; the Brazilian samba dancers will envy the dance steps of each the younger girls and boys singing: “ho, ho ho ho, ha,ha,ha,ha..haleyomii”. Subsequently, to make associates with Gambians is very easy, simply choose up a soccer subject!


The weather conditions of The Gambia is barely completely different from different ECOWAS nations. There is just one cycle of rainfall which begins round June and ends round October. It’s often scorching throughout the raining intervals, in contrast to different nations that have chilly intervals.

The Hamattan interval begins from November to February. Nonetheless, the climate experiences erratic adjustments generally. The seashores are clear and supply succor to visiting vacationers that need to expertise the great thing about the solar, the ocean and the sand of The Gambia.

There are a number of seashores to go to. From Banjul seashore to Palma Rima, Senegambia and as much as Sanyang. There are such a lot of non-public seashores alongside this line. Most white vacationers known as “Toubabs” are often welcome at these seashores which have enticing conventional bars with pure juice, canned drinks, barbecue and particular packages for guests.

The menace of “bumsters” have been curtailed and there are vacationer police patrolling many of the busy seashores to discourage the “unsolicited associates”. The seashores are besieged by nearly all Gambians throughout festive intervals or throughout main musical live shows or exhibits.


A customer arriving The Gambia round Easter or Christmas will assume all Gambians are Christians, with the celebration and partying. Equally, across the Muslim festivals of “Koriteh or Tobaski” will give one the impression that there is no such thing as a single Christian on the town.

That is the wonder and variety of the Gambian hospitality and tolerance of different religions in The Gambia. The folks get pleasure from good music. The native artists are adored, a few of whom are Jalibah Kuyateh, Titi Kololi, Freakie Joe, Asan Njie, Olugander and Sambou to say just a few.

The ladies, each younger and outdated, get pleasure from dancing. The very bodily dances of leaping and kicking the air is widespread and that i typically surprise the place the ladies get the additional power and power from. Some younger males that aren’t used to those dances, dare not problem these girls in a dancing competitors, if they don’t need to be hospitalized.

The leisure business is subsequently very vibrant. Most individuals calm down by watching Nigerian, Senegalese and Ghanaian house movies. There are a number of video rental outlets to select the most recent Nigerian movies from. A lot of the banks and lodges present overseas channels like DSTV, CNN, AlJAZEERA, EUROSPORT and many others.


Aside from ECOWAS nationals, which might be allowed to work freely in some key authorities sectors like Training and Judiciary, different nationals are solely allowed to work as expatriate and should undergo a scrutiny and get approval from the immigration division, earlier than they are often permitted to work with the federal government.

Nonetheless, buyers are allowed to herald their work power, offered they abide by the immigration legal guidelines of acquiring a piece/residential allow. Openings exist all yr spherical for certified lecturers in Senior secondary colleges everywhere in the nation.

A lot of the vacancies are often crammed by Nigerians, Ghanaians, Senegalese, Sierra-Leoneans, Liberians and a handful of different ECOWAS nationals. Openings additionally exist for lecturers in College of The Gambia, a number of skilled coaching institutes and different tertiary institutes like Administration Improvement Institute (MDI), Gambia School and Gambia Technical Coaching Institute (G.T.T.I).

Though, the non-public institutes remuneration is larger than the federal government pay scale. A lot of the secondary colleges within the provinces are in want of lecturers, most lecturers reasonably desire to switch to the city cities leaving the agricultural villages with out certified instructing power.

Authorities sponsored colleges remuneration package deal for non-Gambian lecturers are between D3,500-D4,000 per shift (Morning or afternoon) relying on the entry degree expertise and qualification. The non-public colleges pay between D4,500-D10,000, relying on the varsity and expertise of the trainer.

Most colleges desire lecturers which have gathered “Gambian expertise”, that means, they will need to have taught in The Gambia for some years to grasp the system. Combining each shifts means extra revenue. Most authorities colleges desire to pay full wage for the morning shift and half wage for the afternoon shift. There are different a number of alternatives of revenue incomes, by organizing research courses for the scholars after shut of faculty by some lecturers. Most lecturers typically change college to these paying extra, and each time period witnesses a mass drift of lecturers round.

The coveted colleges are: Marina Worldwide, SBEC, Zenith, SOS, Scanaid and West African Worldwide. Linguistics and sciences are the popular topics typically in excessive demand. English language, English Literature, Arithmetic, Additional Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Agric Science, Utilized Electrical energy and many others, are “scorching cake” topics for most faculties.
ECOWAS certified lecturers (M.Sc, B.Sc & HND holders within the topics listed above) are often being employed in secondary colleges in The Gambia.

Different professionals wanted to work within the non-public sectors are:

1. Legal professionals with LL.b diploma which have efficiently accomplished Regulation college and known as to Bar to work as
Magistrates/Judges with the Ministry of Justice.
2. Skilled Graphic & Web site Designers.
3. Skilled Advertisers.
4. Desktop & Laptop computer Restore Technicians.
5. Car Technicians.
6. Theater Arts & Dramatic artists.
7. Movie Administrators & Producers.
8. Skilled Actors & Actresses.
9. Radio & T.V Programme Presenters.
10. Fish Breeding & Farming
11. Aquarium Making & Gold Fish Rearing.
12. Management Improvement Trainers.
13. Trainers in distinctive abilities & vocations.
14. Cottage Trade set-up trainers ( Physique lotions, soaps, cartons, shoe polish and many others.)

The monetary business has witnessed an exceptional development with addition of extra banks becoming a member of the league lately, bringing the overall variety of banks to 14 in The Gambia. Most of those Nigerian banks are opening up branches and can want extra employees.

Though, it’s far cheaper to rent the locals than expatriate by the banks, due to the particular tax paid for not hiring Gambians. The identical rule applies to the Resort and Tourism business. The Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs are allowed to herald their personnel.

Volunteers are additionally welcome in The Gambia. Volunteers can have a cultural immersion and achieve worldwide expertise on this peaceable nation. For vacation makers, i’ll advocate visiting this small however distinctive nation for these in the hunt for a Peaceable, Inexpensive and Memorable African Retreat (PAMAR!)



The federal government welcome funding in all sectors, particular consideration is, nonetheless, given to Agriculture due to the significance of meals safety to any nation. Different sectors like Actual Property & Properties, Mining Trade, Resort & Tourism, Well being, Training, Manufacturing and Agro- allied Sectors are key areas to enter and get authorities incentive, in tax reduction and whole help.

ECOWAS residents get pleasure from free motion of individuals and items inside the 16 nations block, the required capital wanted to re-locate to the Gambia to work, reside, make investments or vacation is way lower than what’s required to quiet down in different ECOWAS nations. With the electrical energy tariffs coming down (due to the federal government initiative), NAWEC, the electrical energy firm is doing her finest to ensure secure provide of electrical energy and lots of companies solely depend on this secure electrical energy provide.

Incidences of armed theft assault are very uncommon. I’ve not seen or witness or hear about armed theft assaults within the final six years. I solely learn in one of many newspapers, one or two occasions, about such assaults within the provinces some few years in the past. Individuals transfer about with out concern of molestation or assault. Petty cell phone theft are often widespread.

The residential homes are inexpensive, and rents of 1 to a few months advance funds, are demanded. The individuals are heat and hospitable. For as little as D500 per 30 days, a room might be rented across the busy areas like Brikama, Latrikunda, Lamin,Tabokoto, Wellingara and Coastal street areas.

The two-bed room residences with all of the conveniences goes for between D1,500-D2,500 per 30 days in these areas relying on the completed style and proximity to the busy highways. ECOWAS residents can enter and settle within the nation with alternatives to begin small companies.

For these sensible residents within the nation, there are a number of companies to select from and do effortlessly on this funding pleasant nation. Anybody coming to The Gambia for the primary time, should initially plan and put together, realizing what to do and the place to remain and having satisfactory details about the tradition and enterprise local weather.


The particular areas, sensible buyers, can rush into to speculate presently, from our detailed analysis findings are:
A) Organising a non-public College with residential campus to draw all ECOWAS residents.
B) Eateries like MacDonald’s, Rooster George, Mr. Briggs, Candy Sensation, Tantalizers, TFC, and many others
C) Botanical Backyard/ Love Backyard across the Vacationer areas.
D) Constructing low Price Properties to be bought or rented out to folks.
E) Floor nut processing manufacturing facility.
F) Feed Mill for Poultry, Rabbitry and Turkey Manufacturing.
G) Cashew Processing Manufacturing facility (CNS Oil, brake oil, glue, rubber,electrical wires and many others).
H) Pure Juice canning manufacturing facility ( Fruits like mangoes, orange, lime and many others abound).
I) Recent Flower manufacturing and export.
J) Fish Canning/ Meals packaging for export.

There are different 90 companies we’ve got surveyed to be potential prompt cash earners for sensible buyers to tackle. Kindly request for an in depth mission profile on this. The Gambia Funding Promotion and Free Zones Company, (GIPFZA) welcome buyers with distinctive provides of tax reduction, authorities help and non-bureaucratic processing of crucial paperwork to permit for fast set-up and funding in The Gambia.

To have a good concept of the enterprise local weather, i like to recommend that each one potential buyers learn the most recent enterprise listing (The Gambia Enterprise Listing).


The Gambia, although small, however has a strong financial system with fourteen business banks, 4 GSM firms, a very good variety of airways plying the subregion and the surface world. There are greater than 5 each day newspapers, round eight radio stations and lots of lodges of worldwide requirements together with the 5-star Sheraton Resort.

The most important roads from the airport to most busy business facilities like Kairaba, Brufut, West Area, Senegambia, Brikama, Latrikunda and Banjul are all tarred with effectively lighted avenue lights. Clear, contemporary and handled pipe borne water is accessible to most properties 24hrs uninterrupted.

Communication and web providers are fairly cheaper than most different nations. The price of beginning a enterprise in The Gambia is way cheaper each within the quick time period and long run. The true property enterprise is having fun with an incredible increase with 30% return yearly on investments, and the Meltdown phenomenon is just not simply noticeable in The Gambia.

The Gambia is a vacationer vacation spot and repeated guests are widespread on this great and peace loving smiling coast of The Gambia. Though, The Gambia is a tax primarily based financial system, the federal government makes substantial earnings from Tourism and exportation of agricultural commodities like Groundnut, Fishes, Cotton and stable minerals.

It’s necessary for each resident to have a TIN quantity(Tax Identification Quantity) earlier than a checking account might be opened. New buildings are arising each day and it’s common sight,to see many of the property homeowners promoting their cellphone contacts for these fascinated with renting or leasing these properties from excessive rise buildings in Senegambia axis, Kairaba, Fajara, West Area, Tallinding, Tabokoto, Abuko, Lamin, Yundum and many others.

Gambians in diaspora are speeding house to speculate on this excessive yielding property sector. A customer that final visited the nation a yr in the past, will discover a exceptional distinction on this infrastructural developments. The Gambia is a clear nation, particularly with the introduction of the month-to-month cleansing workout routines, known as “SETSETAL”, which is a particular cleansing day for everyone on the final Saturday of the month between the hours of 8-1pm and thereafter there’s free motion.

Municipal officers go round to make sure the wastes are correctly disposed and guarantee compliance to the legislation, that each one outlets and companies most be closed and no motion of business autos, till the top of the cleansing train.

Well being sensible, it’s protected to reside in The Gambia, as a result of the well being supply system could be very environment friendly and effectively geared up with the perfect medical personnel in The world. There are numerous well being facilities, effectively unfold across the nation with ambulances standing by to rapidly evacuate emergencies to Royal Victoria Educating Hospital, RVTH, Banjul the place difficult instances are often taken.

Guests coming for the primary time, subsequently, are suggested to take the suitable vaccinations advisable. ECOWAS residents should take vaccinations in opposition to yellow fever, meningitis, Polio and many others and guarantee these are stamped on their Yellow Card, that is even taken extra severely, when touring by street via Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal to The Gambia. Not having a legitimate Yellow Card might price you a fortune in fines you will be requested to Pay!

Medical providers is free to Gambians, besides the registration card which is D5 solely. ECOWAS residents are, nonetheless, required to pay for price of remedy and hospitalization, relying on the remedy. Vacationer visiting The Gambia are suggested to have a Journey Insurance coverage when visiting

Transportation inside the nation is inexpensive. Shifting from one location to a different is sort of simple. There are three classes of business street transportation. One, is the business Bus, that solely enable most of three passengers on a row which is handy, in contrast to 4 on a row in a number of different nations. Such a buses go across the main locations like Banjul to Serrekunda (D6), Banjul to Tabokoto (D10), Banjul to Brikama (D15), Serrekunda to Senegambia (D5) and many others.

The second class is the yellow and inexperienced painted taxis that take folks for D5 a drop or chartered providers for many vacationers and locals, known as “City Journey”. The final class, are the inexperienced painted and branded “Vacationer Taxis” for vacationers from and to the airport, resort areas, most seashores and historic websites for brand spanking new guests. They’re costlier than the yellow painted ones.

Besides when it is rather vital, first time guests are, nonetheless, inspired to keep away from going out across the rush hours, like 7-8am and 4-6pm, particularly when commuters are going to or coming back from work. From Tabokoto, Lamin, West subject, Serrekunda and Brikama within the morning to Banjul and returning again house within the night is at all times very hectic and costly to take a taxi. The bus-stops are often congested and the visitors chaotic round these intervals.

There are numerous effectively organized tour operators with luxurious air conditioned buses to select from and to the airport all guests and vacationer that organize their visits via them. Additionally they associate with most lodges on excursions to historic websites and across the cities.

There space ferry providers accessible to move folks throughout the River Gambia. From Barra to Banjul is D25 solely. Guests can are available to the nation both by land via The Gambian border with Senegal at Hamdallah, or from Guinea and Cassamace, Senegal via Basse. By air is thru the one airport at Yundum. The Banjul Worldwide Airport, among the best within the subregion with the longest run-way and trendy radial services put in.

The airport is just not at all times busy and vacationers ought to at all times inform somebody to select them on the airport, particularly throughout the weekends when business actions are low. Nonetheless, vacationer taxis can be found at any time for between D500-D800 relying on the space, often between 15-30km from the airport.

There’s a Bureau de Change on the airport to vary cash from different currencies like Euro, {dollars}, kilos and CFA to Dalaisi. For Visa Card carriers, there’s ECO Financial institution ATM on the airport. Financial institution PHB and Belief financial institution even have their ATMs on the airport.

On arrival within the nation, while you hear “Nagadef?”, that means how are you, simply reply “Jamarek”, that means i am nice. After a hand shake, say “Jerejef”, that means thanks.
Jerejef, Jarama, Baraka (that means thanks in 3 completely different native languages).