Gambia: Preserving Gambia’s Recent Gains & Reviving Economy After Covid-19 Will Depend On Strengthening Resilience


BANJUL, The Gambia, March 18, 2021– Following two years of strong growth, at 6.1% in 2019 and 7.2% in 2018, The Gambia’s economy has been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to stagnate in 2020 due to trade disruption and the fall in tourism, according to the first World Bank Economic Update for The Gambia released today. Declining incomes, rising food prices, and school closures resulting from the health crisis took a toll on the livelihoods of many households. The economy is expected to gradually rebound in 2021 if the pandemic recedes and the global economy starts to recover.

The report, Preserving the Gains, notes that overall fiscal deficit was the lowest in a decade pre-COVID, reaching 2.5% of GDP in 2019, but rose in the first half of 2020 to accommodate pandemic-related spending pressures. On agriculture, the report says favorable rainfall, good access to inputs, and few pest outbreaks have resulted in a strong turnaround in the sector. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the earnings of Gambians in the diaspora, official remittances grew at record pace in the second quarter of 2020, perhaps due to travel restrictions closing informal channels. This has positively affected the country’s international reserves, which continued to rise in 2020. The report concludes that global pandemic has put downward pressure on inflation, which had previously been increasing.

“The Gambian sustained economic expansion in recent years has contributed to reduce poverty rates,” said Feyi Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative. “However, the recent economic downturn threatens this progress. The government has deployed several initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable households but scaling up its support will be crucial to strengthen resilience.”