A false-color satellite image of the Guinea-Bissau coastline shows numerous offshore islands, part of the Bissagos Islands. Plains and Guinean mangroves, various kinds of trees and shrubs adapted to thrive in the saline coastal sediment habitats, dominate the coastline of Guinea-Bissau. In the shallow waters, silt - carried into the Atlantic Ocean by the Geba and other rivers - is deposited in various complex patterns. Image courtesy of USGS.
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For much of its history, Guinea-Bissau was under the control of the Mali Empire and the Kaabu kingdom. In the 16th century, Portugal began establishing trading posts along Guinea-Bissau’s shoreline. Initially, the Portuguese were restricted to the coastline and islands. However, the slave and gold trade was lucrative to local African leaders, and the Portuguese were slowly able expand their power and influence inland. Starting in the 18th century, the Mali Empire and Kingdom of Kaabu slowly disintegrated into smaller local entities. By the 19th century, Portugal had fully incorporated Guinea-Bissau into its empire.

Since gaining independence in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established General Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. VIEIRA's regime suppressed political opposition and purged political rivals.  Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In May 1999, a military mutiny and civil war led to VIEIRA's ouster. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA. In September 2003, a bloodless military coup overthrew YALA and installed businessman Henrique ROSA as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was reelected pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. In June 2009, Malam Bacai SANHA was elected, but he passed away in January 2012 from a long-term illness. In April 2012, a military coup prevented the second-round of the presidential election from taking place. Following mediation from the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS), a civilian transitional government assumed power. In 2014, Jose Mario VAZ won a free and fair election. In June 2019, VAZ became the first president in Guinea-Bissau’s history to complete a full presidential term. After winning the 2019 presidential elections, Umaro SISSOCO EMBALO was sworn in as president.

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Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal

Geographic coordinates

12 00 N, 15 00 W


total: 36,125 sq km

land: 28,120 sq km

water: 8,005 sq km

country comparison to the world: 137

Area - comparative

slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries

total: 762 km

border countries (2): Guinea 421 km, Senegal 341 km


350 km

Maritime claims

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


highest point: unnamed elevation in the eastern part of the country 300 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 70 m

Natural resources

fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum

Land use

agricultural land: 44.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 6.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 29.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 55.2% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

250 sq km (2012)

Major aquifers

Senegalo-Mauritanian Basin

Population distribution

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 as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires

Geography - note

this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland

People and Society


noun: Bissau-Guinean(s)

adjective: Bissau-Guinean

Ethnic groups

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.)


Portuguese-based Creole, 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.)

Demographic profile

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.

Age structure

0-14 years: 43.17% (male 417,810/female 414,105)

15-24 years: 20.38% (male 192,451/female 200,370)

25-54 years: 30.24% (male 275,416/female 307,387)

55-64 years: 3.12% (male 29,549/female 30,661)

65 years and over: 3.08% (male 25,291/female 34,064) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Guinea-Bissau. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 81.2

youth dependency ratio: 76

elderly dependency ratio: 5.2

potential support ratio: 19.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 18 years

male: 17.4 years

female: 18.6 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 214

Birth rate

36.64 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Death rate

7.69 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Net migration rate

-3.72 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Population distribution

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 as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 44.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.22% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

621,000 BISSAU (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.9 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female

total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

667 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

Infant mortality rate

total: 50.44 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 56.33 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 44.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 63.26 years

male: 61.04 years

female: 65.55 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 207

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 91.2% of population

rural: 60.3% of population

total: 73.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 8.5% of population

rural: 39.7% of population

total: 26.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.13 physicians/1,000 population (2016)

Hospital bed density

1 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 66.5% of population

rural: 13.4% of population

total: 36.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 33.5% of population

rural: 86.6% of population

total: 63.8% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 59.9%

male: 71.8%

female: 48.3% (2015)


Environment - current issues

deforestation (rampant felling of trees for timber and agricultural purposes); soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 27.12 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.29 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.46 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds

Land use

agricultural land: 44.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 8.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 6.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 29.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 55.2% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)


urban population: 44.6% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 3.22% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 289,514 tons (2015 est.)

Major aquifers

Senegalo-Mauritanian Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 34.1 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 11.9 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 144 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

31.4 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

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

Government type

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)

etymology: the meaning of Bissau is uncertain, it might be an alternative name for the Papel people who live in the area of the city of Bissau

Administrative divisions

9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama/Bijagos, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali


24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 24 September (1973)


history: promulgated 16 May 1984; note - constitution suspended following military coup April 2012, restored 2014; note - in May 2020, President EMBALO established a commission to draft a revised constitution

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

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law, which incorporated Portuguese law at independence and influenced by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), African Francophone Public Law, and customary law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Umaro Sissoko EMBALO (since 27 February 2020); note - President EMBALO was declared winner of the 29 December 2019 runoff presidential election by the electoral commission. In late February 2020, Embalo seized power with the help of the military without being officially inaugurated, even though the Supreme Court of Justice had yet to rule on an electoral litigation appeal lodged by his political rival Domingos Simoes PEREIRA.

head of government: Prime Minister Nuno NABIAM (since 27 February 2020)

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; election last held on 24 November 2019 with a runoff on 29 December 2019 (next to be held in 2024); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the National People's Assembly; note - the president cannot apply for a third consecutive term, nor during the 5 years following the end of the second term

election results: Umaro Sissoco EMBALO elected president in second round; percent of vote in first round - Domingos Simoes PEREIRA (PAIGC) 40.1%, Umaro Sissoco EMBALO (Madem G15) 27.7%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM (APU-PDGB) 13.2%, Jose Mario VAZ (independent) 12.4%, other 6.6%; percent of vote in second round - Umaro Sissoco EMBALO 53.6%, Domingos Simoes PEREIRA 46.5%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (102 seats; 100 members directly elected in 27 multi-seat constituencies by closed party-list proportional representation vote and 2 elected in single-seat constituencies for citizens living abroad (1 for Africa, 1 for Europe); all members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 10 March 2019 (next to be held in March 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 35.2%, Madem G-15 21.1%, PRS 21.1%, other 22.6%; seats by party - PAIGC 47, Madem G-15 27, PRS 21, other 7; composition - men 88, women 14, percent of women 13.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal de 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: Appeals Court; regional (first instance) courts; military court

Political parties and leaders

African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde or PAIGC [Domingos SIMOES PEREIRA]
Democratic Convergence Party or PCD [Vicente FERNANDES]
Movement for Democratic Alternation Group of 15 or MADEM-G15 [Braima CAMARA]
National People’s Assembly – Democratic Party of Guinea Bissau or APU-PDGB [Nuno Gomes NABIAM]
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]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: none; note - Guinea-Bissau does not have official representation in Washington, DC

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US Embassy suspended operations on 14 June 1998; the US Ambassador to Senegal is accredited to Guinea-Bissau

mailing address: 2080 Bissau Place, Washington DC  20521-2080

email address and website:


Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

black star; national colors: red, yellow, green, black

National anthem

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


Economic overview

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.

The government was deposed in August 2015, and since then, a political stalemate 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.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.64 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$3.73 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$3.56 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 186

Real GDP growth rate

5.9% (2017 est.)

6.3% (2016 est.)

6.1% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

Real GDP per capita

$1,800 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$1,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$1,900 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 215

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.339 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.2% (2019 est.)

0.3% (2018 est.)

1.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 29

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 50% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)

services: 36.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 83.9% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 4.1% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 26.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -26.5% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, cashew nuts, roots/tubers nes, oil palm fruit, plantains, cassava, groundnuts, vegetables, coconuts, fruit


agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 82%

industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 28% (2002)


revenues: 246.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 263.5 million (2017 est.)

Public debt

53.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

57.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$27 million (2017 est.)

$16 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75


$290 million note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$380 million note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 202

Exports - partners

India 50%, Belgium 28%, Cote d'Ivoire 8% (2019)

Exports - commodities

cashews, gold, fish, lumber, aluminum ores (2019)


$500 million note: data are in current year dollars (2019 est.)

$460 million note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 203

Imports - partners

Portugal 31%, Senegal 20%, China 10%, Netherlands 7%, Pakistan 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, wheat products, soups/broths, malt extract (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$356.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)

$349.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 163

Debt - external

$1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

$941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)

country comparison to the world: 164

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

605.3 (2017 est.)

593.01 (2016 est.)

593.01 (2015 est.)

591.45 (2014 est.)

494.42 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 28% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 56% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 7% (2019)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 0 (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 223

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,913,858 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 97.25 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 152

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: small system including a combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and mobile cellular communications; 2 mobile network operators; one of the poorest countries in the world and this is reflected in the countries telecommunications development; radio is the most important source of information for the public (2020)

domestic: fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile cellular teledensity is roughly 83 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 245; ACE submarine cable connecting Guinea-Bissau with 20 landing points in Western and South Africa and Europe (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

1 state-owned TV station, Televisao da Guine-Bissau (TGB) 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 (2019)

Internet users

total: 250,000 (2020 est.)

percent of population: 3.93% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,383 (2020)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 193


Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2019)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 3 (2013)


total: 4,400 km (2018)

paved: 453 km (2018)

unpaved: 3,947 km (2018)

country comparison to the world: 150


(rivers are partially navigable; many inlets and creeks provide shallow-water access to much of interior) (2012)

Merchant marine

total: 8

by type: general cargo 5, other 3 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 162

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim

Military and Security

Military and security forces

People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, Air Force; Ministry of Internal Administration: Guard Nacional (a gendarmerie force), Public Order Police, Border Police, Rapid Intervention Police, Maritime Police (2021)

note - the Public Order Police is responsible for maintaining law and order, while the Judicial Police, under the Ministry of Justice, has primary responsibility for investigating drug trafficking, terrorism, and other transnational crimes

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2019)

1.4% of GDP (2018)

1.4% of GDP (2017)

1.3% of GDP (2016)

country comparison to the world: 76

Military and security service personnel strengths

the People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP) has approximately 4,000 total active troops, including about 300 Navy and 100 Air Force (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FARP is poorly armed with an inventory consisting of Soviet-era equipment, much of which is reportedly unserviceable; the only reported deliveries of military equipment to  since 2015 were patrol boats from Spain in 2017 and non-lethal equipment from China in 2015; Guinea-Bissau has also discussed acquiring military equipment with Indonesia (2020)

Military service age and obligation

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 (2019)

Military - note

from 2012-2020, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) deployed a security force to Guinea-Bissau to manage the post-coup transition, including protecting key political figures and public buildings, restoring civil institutions, and re-establishing the rule of law; at the height of the deployment, the force, known as the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau (ECOMIB), deployed nearly 700 military and police personnel from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Senegal

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

a longstanding low-grade conflict continues in parts of Casamance, in Senegal across the border; some rebels use Guinea-Bissau as a safe haven

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 7,757 (Senegal) (2021)

Trafficking in persons

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 were 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 2 Watch List — Guinea-Bissau does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; efforts include identifying forced child begging victims, cooperating with Moroccan authorities on international crime investigations, and approving a new action plan; yet, the government has not convicted a trafficker, identified fewer trafficking victims, and lacked resources or the political will to fight trafficking or to enact its action plan, which would meet minimum standards; Guinea-Bissau was granted a waiver under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act from downgrade to Tier 3 (2020)

Illicit drugs

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