The Government of The Gambia does not discriminate against U.S. investments, companies or representatives. American companies seeking to invest in The Gambia must work through a local lawyer and be open and transparent in all their dealings. The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) provides a one-stop-shop for investors and is responsible for attracting foreign direct investment.
There are opportunities for investment in various sectors of the economy including renewable energy such as solar power. However, eight sectors have been identified as “priority sectors,” which attract a Special Investment Certificate (SIC) that provides a number of incentives including duty waivers and tax holidays. The eight sectors are agriculture, forestry, skills development, energy (solar, wind, biomass, and hydro energy), fisheries, manufacturing, tourism, minerals exploration and exploitation, and other services. With regard to minerals exploration and exploitation, two American companies have been issued licenses for the preliminary exploration of onshore and offshore oil based on findings in neighboring Senegal which have been encouraging. The two companies are Africa Petroleum and Erin Energy Corporation.
The list of priority sectors and incentives for investors are available on the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) website – www.giepa.gm
Several bans have been placed on food items which have affected U.S. food imports in the past, but as of December 2014, all bans affecting US exporters were lifted.
1. Do your research:
Visit the export.gov page on The Gambia to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.
Access the U.S. Commercial Service’s Market Intelligence containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.
The Library Includes:
- Country Commercial Information ( “Doing Business In” guides)
- Industry Overviews*
- Market Updates*
- Multilateral Development Bank Reports*
- Best Markets*
- Industry/Regional Reports*
Review the Investment Climate Statement for relevant information regarding up-to-date information on the business climate of The Gambia, the role of the Government in the private sector, rules and regulations and additional useful information.
2. Consult the experts:
The U.S. Commercial Service offers assistance to U.S. companies looking to expand. Commercial specialists can help you identify trade opportunities, find trading partners, launch your company locally, and obtain market research reports.
The Foreign Agriculture Service is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides trade contacts for Gambian buyers looking for U.S. food and beverage products, market briefs to help U.S. firms enter and compete in the international food market, promotional materials for U.S. foods, and additional trade show assistance for U.S. suppliers. The Foreign Agriculture Service is also responsible for agricultural trade issues such as agricultural policy, food aid and biotechnology.
Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDCs). Starting a business can be a challenge, but there is help for you in your area. Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are partnerships primarily between the government and colleges/universities administered by the Small Business Administration and aims to provide educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
3. Make the Connections:
Potential investors should contact in-country business support organizations such as the Embassy Banjul or the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) – The Gambia for more information and additional, individualized support.
American Chamber of Commerce
54 Kairaba Avenue, KSMD, The Gambia
Phone: + 220-357-6000/ 752-3648
The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), provides information on the steps to set up a business, the procedures for investing in The Gambia and the incentives on offer. The agency can also support applications for land for new investments.
Working in The Gambia
In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.
For information on obtaining a visa to visit The Gambia, please visit The Embassy of The Gambia in the United States located at 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Georgetown Plaza, Suite 240, Washington, DC, 20007. Tel: (202) 785-1399 / 785-1379 / 785-1425,
US citizens in foreign countries should contact the nearest Gambian diplomatic mission or visit the website of the Gambia Immigration Department.
Residency and Work Permits:
American citizens who expect to work in The Gambia must obtain the following documents:
1) Alien ID card costing 1,500 dalasis (about $33) for both the principal and dependents aged 18 and above;
2) Residential and Work Permit – Type B – costing 1,800 dalasi (about $40)
Retired foreign nationals and international students are issued Type A residential permit costing 1,100 dalasi (about $24).
Both the ID card and the residential/work permit are renewed annually.
All businesses in The Gambia that employ foreign nationals are required pay a Payroll Tax (also known as Expatriate Quota) of 10,000 dalasi (about $217) per person per year. Employers are allowed to employ specialized professional employees whose skills are needed by their company or organization but they shall not employ non-Gambians in excess of 20% of their total staff strength.
Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory for The Gambia.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets. The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business. These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.
More information on the FCPA can be found here: http://www.fcpa.us/
A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue. Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA. Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.
More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found