Gambia and The Dalasi

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The Gambia (named after the river) has a population of 1.7M and is one of the smaller countries in West Africa. English is widely spoken and taught in the majority of schools. The population is made up of 90% Muslim with 10% Christian. All people live in harmony together. The economy of The Gambia is small in scale with 75% of the population reliant on livestock and crops for their livelihood.

The local currency is the Dalasi. The current exchange rate is 62.12GMD to the British Pound. Average wages in The Gambia are around £50 per month. The Gambian economy is reliant on bilateral agreements and the export of peanuts or ground nuts.

There is also a thriving port industry with the catching and smoking of fish being integral to the livelihoods of Gambians.

In The Gambia they often talk of GMT – Not ‘Greenwich Mean Time’ but that of ‘Gambia Maybe Time’. The economy is much the same way in nature with a relaxed attitude. Major infrastructure projects need to be initiated along with strict Government control of income and expenditure. The major export markets for The Gambia are the UK and EU followed by Asia. In turn, 60% of imports to The Gambia come from the UK and EU. The Gambia borders that of Senegal and there is some trade done between the two countries and also Ghana. As one might expect, for a country with a wonderful climate and beaches tourism plays a key role in the economy.

What does the future hold for The Gambia? Well, we think it’ll be many years before there will be any sort of economy there. There is widespread poverty and like many African nations very poor infrastructure that hampers any kind of development at any kind of accelerated pace that would be worthwhile.

Various logistic companies are now seeing The Gambia as a market worth entering as there is ample room for development projects. It is nowhere near that of an ‘emerging market’ and probably not even a ‘frontier market’ at present. However, there are opportunities there. The Dalasi is not widely traded outside of The Gambia as there is no real market for it. Indeed, businesses in The Gambia are happy to accept The British Pound and they can then convert back to the local currency through one of the many Bureau de Exchange’s located in Banjul, the capital or one of the resort areas.

Any small shift in movement by GBP disproportionately affects GMD. Thus as money flow has moved out of emerging markets and into safe havens as a consequence of the US’ tapering of Quantitative Easing, the GMD has weakened by almost 25% from a low of 48.09GMD to GBP£1 to it now sitting at 61.12. We are expecting it to hit in the region of 70 by the middle of the year.

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Gambia and The Dalasi

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