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Africa :: Guinea-Bissau
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  • 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 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 free and fair elections took place in 2014 won by Jose Mario VAZ.
  • Geography :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
    12 00 N, 15 00 W
    total: 36,125 sq km
    land: 28,120 sq km
    water: 8,005 sq km
    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
    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.)
    225.6 sq km (2003)
    31 cu km (2011)
    total: 0.18 cu km/yr (18%/6%/76%)
    per capita: 135.7 cu m/yr (2005)
    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

  • noun: Bissau-Guinean(s)
    adjective: Bissau-Guinean
    Fula 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 90.4%, Portuguese 27.1% (official), French 5.1%, English 2.9%, other 2.4%
    note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2008 est.)
    Muslim 45.1%, Christian 22.1%, animist 14.9%, none 2%, unspecified 15.9% (2008 est.)
    1,693,398 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 39.8% (male 336,053/female 337,270)
    15-24 years: 20.2% (male 169,574/female 172,221)
    25-54 years: 32.1% (male 270,432/female 273,053)
    55-64 years: 4.7% (male 29,112/female 50,083)
    65 years and over: 3.3% (male 21,236/female 34,364) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 79.1%
    youth dependency ratio: 73.9%
    elderly dependency ratio: 5.2%
    potential support ratio: 19.3% (2014 est.)
    total: 19.8 years
    male: 19.3 years
    female: 20.3 years (2014 est.)
    1.93% (2014 est.)
    33.83 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    14.54 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 48.5% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 4.13% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    BISSAU (capital) 473,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    560 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 90.92 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 100.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 80.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 49.87 years
    male: 47.87 years
    female: 51.93 years (2014 est.)
    4.3 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    14.2% (2010)
    5.5% of GDP (2013)
    0.1 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
    urban: 96.1% of population
    rural: 55.5% of population
    total: 73.6% of population
    urban: 3.9% of population
    rural: 44.5% of population
    total: 26.4% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 33.5% of population
    rural: 8.5% of population
    total: 19.7% of population
    urban: 66.5% of population
    rural: 91.5% of population
    total: 80.3% of population (2012 est.)
    3.74% (2013 est.)
    41,400 (2013 est.)
    2,300 (2013 est.)
    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 (2013)
    6.3% (2014)
    18.1% (2010)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 59.9%
    male: 71.8%
    female: 48.3% (2015 est.)
    total: 9 years
    male: NA
    female: NA (2006)
    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
    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)
    promulgated 16 May 1984; amended several times, last in 1996; note - constitution suspended following military coup in April 2012 (2013)
    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
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Jose Mario VAZ (since 23 June 2014)
    head of government: Prime Minister Domingos Simoes PEREIRA (since 25 June 2014)
    cabinet: Cabinet; appointed by the president
    elections: president directly elected by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 13 April 2014 and 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: first round results - Jose Mario VAZ 41%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM 25.1%, other 33.9%; Jose Mario 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 multi-seat constituencies by 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 47.3%, PRS 31.1%, other 21.6%; seats by party - PAIGC 57, PRS 41, other 4
    highest court(s): Supreme Court or Suprema 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 with life tenure
    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 [Victor MANDINGA]
    New Democracy Party or PND [Iaia DJALO]
    Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Filomeno Mendes PEREIRA]
    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]
    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, currently Ambassador James P. ZUMWALT, 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 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

  • Guinea-Bissau is highly dependent on subsistence agriculture, cashew nut exports, and foreign assistance. The legal economy is based on farming and fishing, but illegal logging and trafficking in narcotics are also important economic activities. 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 while trade in illegal logging, food, and fishing is also significant. Two out of three Bissau-Guineans remain below the absolute poverty line. Guinea-Bissau has substantial potential for development of mineral resources including phosphates, bauxite, and mineral sands. 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% 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 new government of Guinea-Bissau has made progress paying salaries, settling domestic arrears, and gaining more control over revenues and expenditures. The IMF noted that the new government has taken the positive step of developing a long-term economic plan, while implementing sensitive economic reforms in the wake of the 2012 coup.
    $2.502 billion (2014 est.)
    $2.438 billion (2013 est.)
    $2.43 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $1.04 billion (2014 est.)
    2.6% (2014 est.)
    0.3% (2013 est.)
    -2.2% (2012 est.)
    $1,400 (2014 est.)
    $1,400 (2013 est.)
    $1,500 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 218
    6.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    1.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    2.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 87.4%
    government consumption: 11.3%
    investment in fixed capital: 12.3%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 20.8%
    imports of goods and services: -31.9%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 45%
    industry: 7.5%
    services: 47.5% (2014 est.)
    rice, corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
    agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
    0.5% (2014 est.)
    632,700 (2007 est.)
    agriculture: 82%
    industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.9%
    highest 10%: 28% (2002)
    revenues: $142.5 million
    expenditures: $177.6 million (2014 est.)
    13.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -3.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
    calendar year
    -0.5% (2014 est.)
    0.7% (2013 est.)
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    4.75% (31 December 2008)
    15% (31 December 2014 est.)
    15% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $384.8 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $330 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $480.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $393 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $215.2 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $185.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $-39.4 million (2014 est.)
    $-44.9 million (2013 est.)
    $179.9 million (2014 est.)
    $143.7 million (2013 est.)
    fish, shrimp; cashews, peanuts, palm kernels, raw and sawn lumber
    India 55.6%, Nigeria 28.1%, China 7.1%, Togo 5.8% (2013)
    $236.2 million (2014 est.)
    $184 million (2013 est.)
    foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
    Portugal 27.4%, Senegal 24.1%, India 4.4% (2013)
    $1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)
    Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
    491.2 (2014 est.)
    494.04 (2013 est.)
    510.53 (2012 est.)
    471.87 (2011 est.)
    495.28 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 55 million kWh (2011 est.)
    51.15 million kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    26,000 kW (2011 est.)
    100% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    3,020 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    2,661 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    460,100 Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 5,000 (2012)
    1.1 million (2012)
    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)
    AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2001)
    1 (2007)
    90 (2012)
    37,100 (2009)
  • Transportation :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 8 (2013)
    total: 2
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    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)
    (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 :: GUINEA-BISSAU

  • 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)
    males age 16-49: 370,790
    females age 16-49: 372,171 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 205,460
    females age 16-49: 212,277 (2010 est.)
    male: 17,639
    female: 17,865 (2010 est.)
    1.85% of GDP (2012)
    1.81% of GDP (2011)
    1.85% of GDP (2010)
  • 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): 8,601 (Senegal) (2014)
    current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a source country 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 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 Senegal and Guinea
    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; anti-trafficking efforts have stalled under the transitional government; despite enacting an anti-trafficking law and adopting a national action plan in 2011, authorities still have not taken action against trafficking offenders, provided protection to identified victims, or conducted any prevention activities; no progress has been made in implementing the national action plan (2014)
    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