The Statesman’s Yearbook Online

edited by Dr Barry Turner

Adama Barrow

Image courtesy of wikipedia





Adama Barrow took office as president on 19 Jan. 2017. A property developer with no prior experience in public office, his election came as a shock in a country that had been governed by his incumbent opponent, Yahya Jammeh, since 1994.


Barrow was born on 16 Feb. 1965 near the eastern market town of Basse. After finishing high school in Banjul, he started a career in business. He moved to the UK in the early 2000s, where he worked as a security guard in London to finance his studies in property management. On returning to The Gambia in 2006 he founded his own estate agency.

In Sept. 2016 he entered the political limelight when Ousainou Darboe, head of the United Democratic Party (UDP) of which Barrow was treasurer, was jailed. Barrow succeeded him as leader but resigned in Nov. to lead a coalition of opposition parties (including the UDP) in the presidential elections. Campaigning on a platform of change, he emphasized his support for an independent judiciary and a free press.

In the elections held on 1 Dec., Barrow gained 43·3% of the vote against 39·6% for Jammeh and 17·1% for Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress. Jammeh refused to accept the result, triggering a constitutional crisis. Barrow took refuge in neighbouring Senegal, while thousands of his countrymen also fled their homes. On 18 Jan. 2017, a day before Barrow’s scheduled inauguration, parliament extended Jammeh's term of office. Barrow was nonetheless sworn in at The Gambia’s embassy in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, the next day. The threat of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States to uphold the results of the election forced Jammeh to leave The Gambia on 21 Jan. and Barrow returned to the country on 26 Jan.


On coming to power, Barrow promised to introduce legislation that would limit leaders' time in office. He also pledged to stimulate the country's weak economy.

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