Capital: Banjul – 436,000 (2009)
Population: 1,840,454 (July 2012 est.)
Languages: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars
People Groups: African 99% (Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%), non-African 1% (2003 census)
Religions: Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 2%
The constitution protects the rights of citizens to practice any religion that they choose. The Christian community, situated mostly in the west and south of the country, is predominantly Roman Catholic; there are also several Protestant groups including Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and various small evangelical denominations. In 1963 was formed The Gambia Christian Council as an ecumenical association of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches. Bishop Solomon Tilewa Johnson (b. 27.02.1954, Bathurst) is the current Anglican Bishop of Gambia and is the first Gambian national to hold the post.
Sunni Muslims constitute more than 90 percent of the population of The Gambia. The vast majority are Malikite Sufis, of which the main orders represented are Tijaniyah, Qadiriyah. Except for the Ahmadiyya, Sufi orders pray together at common mosques. A small percentage of Muslims, predominantly immigrants from South Asia, do not ascribe to any traditional Islamic school of thought.
Intermarriage between Muslims and Christians is common. In some areas, Islam and Christianity are syncretized with animism. There are few atheists in the country. Although most Gambians are Muslim, some suggest that Islam is usually syncretized with the old Traditional African religion such as the Serer religion. Christians also syncretize Christianity with the old Traditional African religion. The Serer religion, or Fat Roog (“the way of the Divine”) is the original religious beliefs, practices and teachings of the Serer people of Senegal in western Africa. The Serer people believe in a universal Supreme deity called Roog (or Rog). Amongst the Cangin languages, Roog is referred to as Koox. The Serer people are found throughout the Senegambia Region. Serer religious beliefs encompass ancient chants and poems, veneration of and offerings to deities as well as spirits called pangool, astronomy, initiation rites, medicine, cosmology and the history of the Serer people. There is a very interesting article on the Serer religion in Wikipedia which suggest possible points of entry for the gospel such as the possibility of forgiveness. Foreign missionary groups operate in the country.
Branches: Executive: chief of state: President Yahya JAMMEH (since 18 October 1996); note – from 1994 to 1996 he was chairman of the junta; – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
Note: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 24 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
Legislative: unicameral National Assembly (53 seats; 48 members elected by popular vote, 5 appointed by the president; members to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 29 March 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
Judicial: Supreme court
Living conditions: 69.58 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy: male: 61.52 years
female: 66.18 years (2012 est.). Literacy (definition: age 15 and over can read and write)
total population: 50% male: 60% female: 40.4% (2010 est.)
The Gambia has sparse natural resource deposits and a limited agricultural base, and relies in part on remittances from workers overseas and tourist receipts. About three-quarters of the population depends on the agricultural sector for its livelihood and the sector provides for about one-third of GDP. The agricultural sector has untapped potential – less than half of arable land is cultivated. Small-scale manufacturing activity features the processing of peanuts, fish, and hides.
History: The history of the Gambier is similar to other West African countries with an early prominence in the slave trade, conversion of the majority of the population to Islam, discovery by Portugal but subsequent colonization with struggles for domination between England and France. Independence was granted in 1964 and, apart from a military coup in 1994 when the current president came to power, the Gambier has been mainly peaceful.
On 22 August 2012, the president announced he will execute all death-row convicts, 42 men and 2 woman, by September 2012. (several of these headed an alleged coup in 2006 to replace the president). The country had not executed anyone in the past 30 years but the first 7 were executed within days in spite of condemnation by human rights groups.
- People of Peace.
- The Serer religion believers.
- The remaining death row prisoners.
http://www.rccggambia.org/vision.html suggests possibilities.