Africa :: GUINEA-BISSAU
  • Introduction :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian General Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite eventually setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country's first free, multiparty election. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was overthrown in a bloodless military coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was reelected, pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009, but he passed away in January 2012 from a long-term illness. A military coup in April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau's second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA's successor - from taking place. Following mediation by the Economic Community of Western African States, a civilian transitional government assumed power in 2012 and remained until Jose Mario VAZ won a free and fair election in 2014. A long-running dispute between factions in the ruling PAIGC party has brought the government to a political impasse; there have been five prime ministers since August 2015.
  • Geography :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
    12 00 N, 15 00 W
    Africa
    total: 36,125 sq km
    land: 28,120 sq km
    water: 8,005 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 138
    slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
    total: 762 km
    border countries (2): Guinea 421 km, Senegal 341 km
    350 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
    mostly low-lying coastal plain with a deeply indented estuarine coastline rising to savanna in east; numerous off-shore islands including the Arquipelago Dos Bijagos consisting of 18 main islands and many small islets
    mean elevation: 70 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed elevation in the eastern part of the country 300 m
    fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
    agricultural land: 44.8%
    arable land 8.2%; permanent crops 6.9%; permanent pasture 29.7%
    forest: 55.2%
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    250 sq km (2012)
    approximately one-fifth of the population lives in the capital city of Bissau along the Atlantic coast; the remainder is distributed among the eight other, mainly rural, regions
    hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
    deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland
  • People and Society :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 1,792,338 (July 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    noun: Bissau-Guinean(s)
    adjective: Bissau-Guinean
    Fulani 28.5%, Balanta 22.5%, Mandinga 14.7%, Papel 9.1%, Manjaco 8.3%, Beafada 3.5%, Mancanha 3.1%, Bijago 2.1%, Felupe 1.7%, Mansoanca 1.4%, Balanta Mane 1%, other 1.8%, none 2.2% (2008 est.)
    Crioulo (lingua franca), Portuguese (official; largely used as a second or third language), Pular (a Fula language), Mandingo
    Muslim 45.1%, Christian 22.1%, animist 14.9%, none 2%, unspecified 15.9% (2008 est.)
    Guinea-Bissau’s young and growing population is sustained by high fertility; approximately 60% of the population is under the age of 25. Its large reproductive-age population and total fertility rate of more than 4 children per woman offsets the country’s high infant and maternal mortality rates. The latter is among the world’s highest because of the prevalence of early childbearing, a lack of birth spacing, the high percentage of births outside of health care facilities, and a shortage of medicines and supplies.
    Guinea-Bissau’s history of political instability, a civil war, and several coups (the latest in 2012) have resulted in a fragile state with a weak economy, high unemployment, rampant corruption, widespread poverty, and thriving drug and child trafficking. With the country lacking educational infrastructure, school funding and materials, and qualified teachers, and with the cultural emphasis placed on religious education, parents frequently send boys to study in residential Koranic schools (daaras) in Senegal and The Gambia. They often are extremely deprived and are forced into street begging or agricultural work by marabouts (Muslim religious teachers), who enrich themselves at the expense of the children. Boys who leave their marabouts often end up on the streets of Dakar or other large Senegalese towns and are vulnerable to even worse abuse.
    Some young men lacking in education and job prospects become involved in the flourishing international drug trade. Local drug use and associated violent crime are growing.
    0-14 years: 39.03% (male 349,256/female 350,327)
    15-24 years: 20.18% (male 179,389/female 182,242)
    25-54 years: 32.77% (male 292,736/female 294,526)
    55-64 years: 4.57% (male 32,156/female 49,761)
    65 years and over: 3.46% (male 22,574/female 39,371) (2017 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 80.4
    youth dependency ratio: 75.2
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
    potential support ratio: 19.3 (2015 est.)
    total: 20 years
    male: 19.5 years
    female: 20.5 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    1.9% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    32.5 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    13.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    approximately one-fifth of the population lives in the capital city of Bissau along the Atlantic coast; the remainder is distributed among the eight other, mainly rural, regions
    urban population: 50.8% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 3.69% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    BISSAU (capital) 492,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.62 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    549 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    total: 87.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 96.9 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 77.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    total population: 50.6 years
    male: 48.6 years
    female: 52.7 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    4.09 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    16% (2014)
    5.6% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    improved:
    urban: 98.8% of population
    rural: 60.3% of population
    total: 79.3% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 1.2% of population
    rural: 39.7% of population
    total: 20.7% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 33.5% of population
    rural: 8.5% of population
    total: 20.8% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 66.5% of population
    rural: 91.5% of population
    total: 79.2% of population (2015 est.)
    3.1% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    36,000 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    2,000 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
    6.3% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    17% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    2.2% of GDP (2013)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 59.9%
    male: 71.8%
    female: 48.3% (2015 est.)
    total number: 226,316
    percentage: 57% (2010 est.)
  • Government :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • conventional long form: Republic of Guinea-Bissau
    conventional short form: Guinea-Bissau
    local long form: Republica da Guine-Bissau
    local short form: Guine-Bissau
    former: Portuguese Guinea
    etymology: the country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; "Bissau," the name of the capital city, distinguishes the country from neighboring Guinea
    semi-presidential republic
    name: Bissau
    geographic coordinates: 11 51 N, 15 35 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama/Bijagos, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali
    24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
    Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
    history: promulgated 16 May 1984; note - constitution suspended following military coup in April 2012 and restored in 2014
    amendments: proposed by the National People’s Assembly if supported by at least one-third of its members, by the Council of State (a presidential consultant body), or by the government; passage requires approval by at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly; constitutional articles on the republican and secular form of government and national sovereignty cannot be amended; amended 1991, 1993, 1996 (2017)
    mixed legal system of civil law, which incorporated Portuguese law at independence and influenced by early French civil code and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: yes
    citizenship by descent: yes
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Jose Mario VAZ (since 17 June 2014)
    head of government: Prime Minister Umaro SISSOCO Embalo (since 18 November 2016)
    cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 13 April 2014 with a runoff on 18 May 2014 (next to be held in 2019); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the National People's Assembly
    election results: percent of vote in first round - Jose Mario VAZ (PAIGC) 41%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM (independent) 25.1%, other 33.9%; Jose Mario VAZ elected president in second round - Jose Mario VAZ 61.9%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM 38.1%
    description: unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (102 seats; members directly elected in 2 single- and 27 multi-seat constituencies by closed party-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 13 April 2014 (next to be held in 2018)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 48.0%, PRS 30.8%, other 21.2%; seats by party - PAIGC 57, PRS 41, other 4
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Suprema da Tribunal Justica (consists of 9 judges and organized into Civil, Criminal, and Social and Administrative Disputes Chambers); note - the Supreme Court has both appellate and constitutional jurisdiction
    judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Higher Council of the Magistrate, a major government organ responsible for judge appointments, dismissals, and judiciary discipline; judges appointed by the president for life
    subordinate courts: Appeal Court; regional (first instance) courts; military court
    African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde or PAIGC [Domingos SIMOES PEREIRA]
    Democratic Convergence Party or PCD [Vicente FERNANDES]
    New Democracy Party or PND [Mamadu Iaia DJALO]
    Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Alberto NAMBEIA]
    Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]
    Union for Change or UM [Agnelo REGALA]
    Chamber of Commerce of Agriculture, Industry, and Services [Braima CAMARA]
    ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CPLP, ECOWAS, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: none; note - Guinea-Bissau does not have official representation in Washington, DC
    the US Embassy suspended operations on 14 June 1998 in the midst of violent conflict between forces loyal to then President VIEIRA and a military-led junta; the US Ambassador to Senegal is accredited to Guinea-Bissau
    two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; there is a black five-pointed star centered in the red band; yellow symbolizes the sun; green denotes hope; red represents blood shed during the struggle for independence; the black star stands for African unity
    note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the flag design was heavily influenced by the Ghanaian flag
    black star; national colors: red, yellow, green, black
    name: "Esta e a Nossa Patria Bem Amada" (This Is Our Beloved Country)
    lyrics/music: Amilcar Lopes CABRAL/XIAO He
    note: adopted 1974; a delegation from then Portuguese Guinea visited China in 1963 and heard music by XIAO He; Amilcar Lopes CABRAL, the leader of Guinea-Bissau's independence movement, asked the composer to create a piece that would inspire his people to struggle for independence
  • Economy :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • Guinea-Bissau is highly dependent on subsistence agriculture, cashew nut exports, and foreign assistance. Two out of three Bissau-Guineans remain below the absolute poverty line. The legal economy is based on cashews and fishing. Illegal logging and trafficking in narcotics also play significant roles. The combination of limited economic prospects, weak institutions, and favorable geography have made this West African country a way station for drugs bound for Europe.
    Guinea-Bissau has substantial potential for development of mineral resources, including phosphates, bauxite, and mineral sands. Offshore oil and gas exploration has begun. The country’s climate and soil make it feasible to grow a wide range of cash crops, fruit, vegetables, and tubers; however, cashews generate more than 80% of export receipts and are the main source of income for many rural communities.
    With renewed donor support following elections in April-May 2014 and a successful regional bond issuance, the Government of Guinea-Bissau began to make progress paying salaries, settling domestic arrears, and gaining more control over revenues and expenditures, but it was deposed by the president in August 2015. A political stalemate since then has resulted in weak governance and reduced donor support.
    The country is participating in a three-year, IMF extended credit facility program that was suspended because of a planned bank bailout. The program was renewed in 2017, but the major donors of direct budget support (the EU, World Bank, and African Development Bank) have halted their programs indefinitely. Diversification of the economy remains a key policy goal, but Guinea-Bissau’s poor infrastructure and business climate will constrain this effort.
    $2.878 billion (2016 est.)
    $2.736 billion (2015 est.)
    $2.603 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 188
    $1.155 billion (2016 est.)
    5.2% (2016 est.)
    5.1% (2015 est.)
    1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    $1,700 (2016 est.)
    $1,700 (2015 est.)
    $1,600 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 214
    14% of GDP (2016 est.)
    9.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    household consumption: 92.2%
    government consumption: 11.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 6.1%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 20.7%
    imports of goods and services: -30.4% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 45%
    industry: 13.3%
    services: 41.7% (2016 est.)
    rice, corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
    agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
    0.7% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    731,300 (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    agriculture: 82%
    industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
    NA%
    67% (2015 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 28% (2002)
    revenues: $171.3 million
    expenditures: $212.7 million (2016 est.)
    14.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    -3.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    calendar year
    1.5% (2016 est.)
    1.5% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    4.75% (31 December 2008)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    15% (31 December 2016 est.)
    15% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    $537.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $454.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    $596.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $514.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    $255.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $206.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
    $NA
    $31 million (2016 est.)
    -$6 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    $163.2 million (2016 est.)
    $202.9 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    fish, shrimp; cashews, peanuts, palm kernels, raw and sawn lumber
    India 64.6%, Vietnam 9.4%, Belarus 9.4%, Nigeria 4.7% (2016)
    $196.8 million (2016 est.)
    $199.5 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 206
    foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
    Portugal 44.2%, Senegal 19.2%, China 7.2%, Pakistan 6.7%, Netherlands 4.4% (2016)
    $1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
    605.7 (2016 est.)
    591.45 (2015 est.)
    591.45 (2014 est.)
    494.42 (2013 est.)
    510.53 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • population without electricity: 1,300,000
    electrification - total population: 21%
    electrification - urban areas: 37%
    electrification - rural areas: 6% (2013)
    34 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    31.62 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
    39,000 kW (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    99% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
    1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    2,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    2,423 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    500,000 Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
  • Communications :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • total subscriptions: 0
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    total: 1,285,835
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 73 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 156
    general assessment: small system including a combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and mobile cellular communications
    domestic: fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile cellular teledensity is roughly 70 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 245 (2015)
    1 state-owned TV station and a second station, Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTP) Africa, is operated by Portuguese public broadcaster (RTP); 1 state-owned radio station, several private radio stations, and some community radio stations; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
    .gw
    total: 66,169
    percent of population: 3.8% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 181
  • Transportation :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • J5 (2016)
    8 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    total: 2
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2017)
    total: 6
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m: 3 (2013)
    total: 3,455 km
    paved: 965 km
    unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    (rivers are partially navigable; many inlets and creeks provide shallow-water access to much of interior) (2012)
    major seaport(s): Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
  • Military and Security :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 1.76% of GDP (2015)
    1.94% of GDP (2014)
    2.11% of GDP (2013)
    2.46% of GDP (2012)
    1.58% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, National Air Force (Forca Aerea Nacional); Presidential Guard (2012)
    18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service (Air Force service is voluntary); 16 years of age or younger, with parental consent, for voluntary service (2013)
  • Transnational Issues :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • a longstanding low-grade conflict continues in parts of
    refugees (country of origin): 8,572 (Senegal) (2017)
    current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a source country for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the extent to which adults are trafficked for forced labor or forced prostitution is unclear; boys are forced into street vending in Guinea-Bissau and manual labor, agriculture, and mining in Senegal, while girls may be forced into street vending, domestic service, and, to a lesser extent, prostitution in Guinea and Senegal; some Bissau-Guinean boys at Koranic schools are forced into begging by religious teachers
    tier rating: Tier 3 - Guinea-Bissau does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; despite enacting an anti-trafficking law and adopting a national action plan in 2011, the country failed to demonstrate any notable anti-trafficking efforts for the third consecutive year; existing laws prohibiting all forms of trafficking were not used to prosecute any trafficking offenders in 2014, and only one case of potential child labor trafficking was under investigation; authorities continued to rely entirely on NGOs and international organizations to provide victims with protective services; no trafficking prevention activities were conducted (2015)
    increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine en route to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations due to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography near the capital facilitates drug smuggling