Gambia, Senegal ranked among world’s poorest

Friday, June 29, 2018

The Gambia and neighbouring Senegal are among the poorest countries in the world, according to a recent official review published and seen by The Point Newspaper. The study is conducted and based on general World Bank data and gross national income per capita.

Even though such classification varies, identification method is also based on factors such as purchasing power, parity and GNI per capita PPP. So far, The Gambia is currently considered the 12th poorest nation.

According to the records, The Gambia’s economy is one of the ‘‘smallest in the world’’ with a GDP of about a Euro 1 billion. Economic growth is also not keeping pace with its population growth. Accordingly, the country’s population has also expanded by 20 percent in the last decade which is also alarming.

Consequently, its GNI per capita fell from Euro 1,600 in the mid 2010 to Euro 1,800 in 2016.

The figure is a drop of about 5.2 percent. Life expectancy is currently 61 years at birth. It is also one of the few countries on the list of poor nations that has gotten even poorer in the last decade.

Furthermore, another factor is the fact that the country has limited range of exportable agricultural product especially groundnut, combined with poor soil quality.

Factors also vary and usually the poor countries share similar or common traits. Known familiarities are colonialism; civil war; natural disaster; rampant corruption amongst others. Countries are also dependent on subsistence agriculture, lack of economy activity which in turn is affecting public health and life expectancy. 

Our correspondent also learnt in a similar communiqué that Senegal is currently the ‘‘22nd poorest’’ country in the world with a GNI per capita of slightly over Euro 2,000.  

Even though agriculture accounts for about 18 percent of the country’s GDP and accounts for just 5 percent of global economic output, the country is reportedly improving.

Senegal, has a GDP of over Euro 14 billion and has also been recommended for investing heavily in education and infrastructure to improve quality and access.

It has been revealed that the Senegalese government spent 25 percent of its budget on education four years ago compared to the 14 percent allocation globally.

In addition, its GDP is Euro 14 billion and GNI per capita is Euro 2,299 respectively; with life expectancy of 67 years at birth similar to that of The Gambia.

It is interesting to note that the Central African Republic, a country supposed to be one of the richest in the continent, is now rank as the poorest country in the world.

Even though, it has all the resources to be a rich nation, it has a GNI per capita of Euro 500 and constantly in turmoil or war. The country’s instability includes ethnic and religious conflict displacing thousands of people.

Central African Republic had an attractive economy but currently it is ‘’largely dependent on agriculture’’ which accounts for about 42 percent of the GDP. The country’s GDP is around Euro 1.8 billion with a life expectancy at 52 years at birth.

Jason Walker, Economic development specialist told The Point that ‘‘even though The Gambia has a long way to go... pledges and assurances from the international and donor community could be a remedy.

He also added that The Gambia’s new government with the ambition to eradicate rampant corruption and abuse of office by the former regime of Yahya Jammeh, he is optimistic and confident that the country will soon emerge as a frontrunner.

Senegal on the other hand, Walker noted has currently embarked on a nationwide economic development and general construction work which is essential and crucial in uplifting its growth.

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent