France and Gambia

Presentation

Political relations

  • Meeting of Mr Darboe, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr Sanneh, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, with Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (24 May 2018).
  • Meeting of Mr Tambadou, Minister of Justice of Gambia, with Mr Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (8 September 2017).
  • Meeting of Mr Fatty, Minister of the Interior of Gambia, with Mr Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad (24 March 2017).
  • Official visit to France by Adama Barrow (14-16 March 2017).
  • President Barrow participated in the Bamako Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence on 13 and 14 January 2017 where he met with President François Hollande.

Economic relations

Trade between Gambia and France remains limited. France is the country’s 15th-largest supplier and 15th-largest customer. French imports are exclusively agrifood products (peanuts and by-products) while exports mainly concern equipment and intermediary goods.

Our exports stood at €8 million in 2016, with imports at €5 million, made up almost entirely of food oils.

There are few French companies working in Gambia. The Total Group has a network of service stations. In 2009, the Castel Group took over a beer and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturing plant. CFAO maintains a vehicle dealership. CMA CGM and AGS are working in the transport and logistics sectors, Eiffage in public works, and Bolloré in logistics. The electricity sector, particularly renewable energy (solar and wind power), and water treatment may offer many opportunities. A delegation of businesspeople based in Dakar visited Banjul on 15 and 16 May 2017.

At the French Interministerial Committee on International Cooperation and Development (CICID) meeting of 8 February 2018, chaired by the Prime Minister, Gambia was added to the list of 19 priority countries for French development assistance. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) already supports the Gambia River Basin Development Organization and can provide non-sovereign loans in Gambia via its subsidiary PROPARCO. The addition of Gambia to the list of priority countries opens up new prospects for activities in the form of project grants.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cultural cooperation mainly aims to promote bilingualism in Gambia with a view to regional integration. Although Gambia’s official language is English, French has an important place given the country’s geopolitical position. Since being bilingual in French and English is seen as a factor for economic development, Gambian authorities have made it an objective of their education policy.

The Banjul French school has some 100 students, including around 20 French nationals. As the only foreign cultural centre in Gambia, the Alliance Française branch in Banjul is the cornerstone of our cultural action in the country. It was founded in 1949 and has a library of more than 3,000 books and multimedia and an educational resource centre that French teachers can consult free of charge. Linguistic and educational cooperation could resume from this year, particularly in the area of teaching French.

In order to support ongoing reforms in Gambia, a seminar on “transitional justice” was organized in October 2017. Cultural events on this theme were organized in April that year.

Security and defence cooperation

From 2012 onwards, France had no further security and defence cooperation with Gambia. In response to the positive outcome of the electoral crisis, it has enabled itself, since 2017, to initiate new activities, such as in the field of training Gambian military personnel. Several projects have been launched: support for security sector reform (a French expert, an adviser to the Minister of the Interior, was appointed in November 2017), consolidation of the rule of law, and language training.

Updated: 3 July 2018