Gambia Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Culture of business dealings

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public holidays

Introduction

English is the language used in business negotiations in The Gambia.

The importance of acquaintances and personal contacts is essential for closing deals.

When dealing with business (as well as other) matters at the authorities, you have to expect a relatively high level of bureaucracy and corruption.

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Addressing

Social customs are governed by general principles of decency in the conservative Islamic Gambian society. Greeting culture plays an important role – most people will be offended if they do not greet visitors before starting a conversation. A polite greeting can be a crucial key to establishing/breaking a relationship (at all levels). In business dealings, greetings must be made using a professional or formal title (Mr., Mrs., Mr. Director, Mrs. General Secretary, etc.).

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The most common way to enter the Gambian market is to find a person interested in goods or services, or those interested in representation or distribution.

A personal presence in Banjul is recommended to find a partner and establish functional working relationships. If you have any questions, you can contact the Honorary Consul, see chapter 6. contacts, or the Gambian Chamber of Commerce.

Business meeting

In order to develop business projects in The Gambia, a personal meeting is essential, ideally in the presence of a reliable local partner with knowledge of the local environment. Gambian society is still very hierarchical, respecting the hierarchy of your counterparts will contribute to the successful course of negotiations. Good practice includes exchanging gifts (for example, Czech glass). If you do not know for 100% that your counterpart consumes alcohol, it is recommended to drink in moderation, if not at all in business meetings. Dress-code is business standard, local men also wear traditional African brocade dresses.

Gambian specifics include the perception of time. No one is de facto expected to arrive on time (“In Shallah Time”…). Social enterprises almost exclusively start late, children also go to school late, local transport operates irregularly, administration works without time rules, etc. The higher the status of the visitor, the greater the delay is expected from him. At business meetings in private companies, the situation is a little better than in the state administration, but even here, delays must be expected. The standard, majority excuse is traffic or the weather (or a joke about “GMT”/”Gambia Maybe Time”; or “WATT”/West African International Time).

Communication

Gambians are believers in indirect communication. The substantive conversation is preceded by a mandatory (roughly five-minute) conversation about life, family, work, weather, etc. (essentially a mandatory part of the greeting). It is expected that concerns or unpleasant events will not be communicated, and it is very unusual for someone to immediately ask something (for example, if someone asks for a “gift” directly, it is a joke).

Gambians are mostly pleasant, non-confrontational people (it’s not for nothing that The Gambia was nicknamed the “Laughing Coast” in ancient history). In case of disputes, “mediators”, third parties, still work today.

Gambian conversation is usually very emotional. People react excitedly to both good and bad news – they sigh, make facial expressions, and often repeat statements. Very small distances between the discussants are usual (larger only between persons of the opposite sex). You can even see couples of men holding hands – as a sign of friendship. On the contrary, married couples do not show mutual affection in public, they usually do not even sit next to each other.

To absolute spol. taboos also include asking about personal matters and staring. Calling another person rude or dishonest is not acceptable. It is unacceptable to raise the fingers of the hands (it is necessary to raise the whole arm when hitchhiking). Photographing members of the armed forces is punishable (the photographer risks confiscation of the camera and physical punishment).

Recommendation

Business cards must be handed exclusively with the right hand (you cannot greet, pay or eat with the left hand).

Bargaining is part of the local culture. Visit Allunitconverters for more information about Gambia culture and traditions.

Public Holidays

Public holidays – fixed date

-1. January (New Year)
-18. February (Independence Day)
-2. April (Good Friday)
-5. April (Easter Monday)
-1. May (Labor Day)
-25. May (Africa Liberation Day)
-22. July (Revolution Day)
-15. August (Ascension)
-25. December (Christmas)

Public holidays – flexible term

-12.-13. May (Korité / Aid el-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan) –
20. July (Tabaski / Aid el-Kebir, Feast of Sacrifice)
-19. August (Yawmul Ashura, Day of Mourning)
-19. October (Moloud Nabi, birth of the Prophet)

Contacts

Subchapters:

  • Contacts to Czech embassies in the territory
  • Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firefighters, information lines, etc.)
  • Important Internet links and contacts

Contacts at the embassies of the Czech Republic in the territory

Embassy of the Czech Republic in Senegal

37, rue Jacques Bugnicourt
BP 6474 Dakar-Plateau, Sénégal
Tel.: +221 338 214 576
E-mail: [email protected]

Note: The Embassy shares premises with the Embassy of the Netherlands
Ambassador: Marek Skolil
Territorial jurisdiction of the ZÚ: Senegal, Gambia, Guinea.

Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic

Kerr Toro Apartments (off Bertil Gardiny Highway)
Kololi, KSMD POB 667 Banjul, The Gambia
Tel.: +220 44 60 934 / +220 44 65 304
E-mail: [email protected]

Honorary Consul

Dr. Adama Ahmadou Sallah
Tel. residence: +220 44 62 777, mobile: +220 996 44 18 / +220 720 29 29
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)

Police: 117 / +220 422 72 48

Medical emergency: 116

Firefighters: 118 / + 220 449 5824

Important web links and contacts

Office of the President website: https://www.op.gov.gm/

Portal of practical information about The Gambia: www.accessgambia.com

Gambia Trade Information Portal: www.gambiatradeinfo.org

Gambia Culture of Business