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 dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite 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 elections. 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 re-elected president 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 an existing illness. A military coup in April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau's second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA's successor - from taking place.

Geography ::Guinea-Bissau

People and Society ::Guinea-Bissau

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
    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, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama-Bijagos
    24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
    Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
    16 May 1984; amended several times
    mixed legal system of civil law (influenced by the early French Civil Code) and customary law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: [Transitional] President Manuel Serifo NHAMADJO (since 11 May 2012)
    note: in the aftermath of the April 2012 coup that deposed the government, an agreement was reached between ECOWAS mediators and the military junta to name NHAMADJO as transitional president with a one-year term; the transitional government has scheduled a presidential election for 24 November 2013
    head of government: [Transitional] Prime Minister Rui Duarte BARROS (since 16 May 2012)
    cabinet: NA
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 18 March 2012 with a runoff between the two leading candidates scheduled for 22 April 2012; prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
    election results: with no candidate receiving a minimum 50% of the vote in the first round, a runoff between the two leading candidates was scheduled for 22 April 2012; percent of vote (first round) - Carlos GOMES Junior 49.0%, Kumba YALA 23.4%, others 27.6%
    unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 16 November 2008 (legislative elections scheduled for 24 November 2013)
    election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 49.8%, PRS 25.3%, PRID 7.5%, PND 2.4%, AD 1.4%, other parties 13.6%; seats by party - PAIGC 67, PRS 28, PRID 3, PND 1, AD 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (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 discipline of the judiciary; judges appointed by the president with tenure for life
    subordinate courts: Appeal Court; regional (first instance) courts; military court
    African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Rui Dia de SOUSA]
    Democratic Alliance or AD [Victor MANDINGA]
    New Democracy Party or PND
    Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Sory DJALO]
    Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]
    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 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
    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 Portuguese Guinea visited China in 1963 and heard music by XIAO He; Amilcar Lopes CABRA, 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

    One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau's legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but trafficking in narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade. The combination of limited economic prospects, a weak and faction-ridden government, and favorable geography have made this West African country a way station for drugs bound for Europe. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years; low rainfall hindered cereals and other crops in 2011. Guinea-Bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. Rice is the major crop and staple food. However, intermittent fighting between Senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998; the civil war led to a 28% drop in GDP that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2002. In December 2003, the World Bank, IMF, and UNDP were forced to step in to provide emergency budgetary support in the amount of $107 million for 2004, representing over 80% of the total national budget. The government is successfully implementing a three-year $33 million extended credit arrangement with the IMF that runs through 2012. In December 2010 the World Bank and IMF announced support for $1.2 billion worth of debt relief. Guinea-Bissau made progress with debt relief in 2011 when members of the Paris Club opted to write-off much of the country''s obligations.
    $1.963 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    $1.992 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.891 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $870 million (2012 est.)
    -1.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    5.3% (2011 est.)
    3.5% (2010 est.)
    $1,200 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    $1,300 (2011 est.)
    $1,200 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    household consumption: 86.3%
    government consumption: 12.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 12.9%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 21.9%
    imports of goods and services: -33.9%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 55.7%
    industry: 13.2%
    services: 31% (2012 est.)
    rice, corn, beans, cassava (manioc), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
    agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
    0.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    632,700 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    agriculture: 82%
    industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 28% (2002)
    revenues: $129.1 million
    expenditures: $153.4 million (2012 est.)
    14.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    -2.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    calendar year
    2.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    5% (2011 est.)
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    4.75% (31 December 2008)
    15% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    15% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $266.1 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    $308.7 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $414.3 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    $364.5 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $170.2 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    $122.4 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    -$151.4 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    -$95.9 million (2011 est.)
    $139.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $244.6 million (2011 est.)
    fish, shrimp; cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
    India 56%, Nigeria 28.4%, Togo 6.6% (2012)
    $237 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    $327.6 million (2011 est.)
    foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
    Portugal 27.8%, Senegal 16.8%, US 7.1%, China 4.8%, Cuba 4.2% (2012)
    $1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    $941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)
    Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
    510.53 (2012 est.)
    471.87 (2011 est.)
    495.28 (2010 est.)
    472.19 (2009)
    447.81 (2008)

Energy ::Guinea-Bissau

Communications ::Guinea-Bissau

    5,000 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    869,100 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    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 50 per 100 persons
    international: country code - 245 (2011)
    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)
    90 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    37,100 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 177

Transportation ::Guinea-Bissau

Military ::Guinea-Bissau

Transnational Issues ::Guinea-Bissau

    in 2006, political instability within Senegal's Casamance region resulted in thousands of Senegalese refugees, cross-border raids, and arms smuggling into Guinea-Bissau
    refugees (country of origin): 7,700 (Senegal) (2012)
    current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a country of origin and destination for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the scope of the problem of trafficking women or men for forced labor or forced prostitution is unknown; boys reportedly are transported to southern Senegal for forced manual and agricultural labor; girls may be subjected to forced domestic service and child prostitution in Senegal and Guinea; both boys and girls are forced to work as street vendors in cities in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal
    tier rating: Tier 3 - the government of 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 finalizing and adopting a national action plan in 2011, authorities have not conducted any investigations or prosecutions of trafficking offenses; the government has not provided adequate protection to identified trafficking victims, conducted any tangible prevention activities in 2012, or made progress on the implementation of its national action plan (2013)
    increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine en route to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations thanks to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling