Skip to content
Key findings
  • More than six in 10 Gambians (62%) say floods have become more severe in their region over the past decade. Half as many (31%) say the same about droughts. o Rural residents and poor citizens are significantly more likely to report worsening floods and droughts than their urban and better-off counterparts.
  • A slim majority (56%) of Gambians say they have heard of climate change, a 12- percentage-point decrease compared to 2021.
  • Among those who are aware of climate change: o Eight in 10 (80%) say it is making life in the Gambia worse. o Most believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change (86%) and want the government to take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive, causes job losses, or takes a toll on the economy (83%). o Overwhelming majorities call for “a lot more” action to limit climate change by the government (89%), business and industry (84%), traditional leaders (81%), developed countries (79%), and ordinary citizens (77%).
  • Only a quarter (24%) of citizens think the government is doing a good job of addressing climate change, while 53% say it is handling the issue “fairly badly” or “very badly.”

Agriculture and tourism combine for almost half of the Gambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) (Gambia Bureau of Statistics, 2022), and both are highly vulnerable to increasingly frequent and severe climate-related disasters that have plagued the country, including droughts, floods, windstorms, bushfires, soil intrusion, and coastal erosion. Climate change poses substantial risks to property, productive assets, livelihoods, and health, impeding the country’s progress toward its development objectives (Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, 2022; Republic of the Gambia, 2022). 

The Gambia ranks 148th out of 182 countries on the Notre-Dame Global Adaptation Initiative’s (2021) Country Index, which rates both vulnerability to climate change and resilience. 

In response to the climate crisis, the government ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in 2021 formulated The Gambia’s Long-Term Climate Neutral Development Strategy 2050. The strategy aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with strengthened adaptive capacities in agriculture, energy, infrastructure, health, coastal management, and other sectors. 

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 questionnaire to explore Gambians’ experiences and perceptions of climate change.  

Findings show that a majority of Gambians say flooding has become more severe in their region over the past decade – perceptions that are especially common among rural and poor citizens.  

Among the slim majority of Gambians who have heard of climate change, most say it is making life in the country more difficult. And almost unanimously, they demand greater efforts by the government and other stakeholders to address the threat. 

Baboucarr Fatty

Baboucarr Fatty is data manager for the Afrobarometer project at the Center for Policy, Research and Strategic Studies.

Maame Akua Amoah Twum

Maame is the communications coordinator for North and Anglophone West Africa at Afrobarometer