Photos of Guinea-Bissau



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 trades were lucrative to local African leaders, and the Portuguese were slowly able to 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 president, 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, a civilian transitional government assumed power. In 2014, Jose Mario VAZ was elected president after a free and fair election. In June 2019, VAZ became the first president in Guinea-Bissau’s history to complete a full presidential term. Umaro Sissoco EMBALO was elected president in December 2019, but he did not take office until February 2020 because of a prolonged challenge to the election results.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



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

comparison ranking: total 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: Dongol Ronde 277 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


2,078,820 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 151


noun: Bissau-Guinean(s)

adjective: Bissau-Guinean

Ethnic groups

Balanta 30%, Fulani 30%, Manjaco 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%, unspecified smaller ethnic groups 6% (2015 est.)


Portuguese-based Creole, Portuguese (official; largely used as a second or third language), Pular (a Fula language), Mandingo


Muslim 46.1%, folk religions 30.6%, Christian 18.9%, other or unaffiliated 4.4% (2020 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 as of 2020. 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: 42.51% (male 444,214/female 439,517)

15-64 years: 54.38% (male 545,116/female 585,284)

65 years and over: 3.11% (2023 est.) (male 26,890/female 37,799)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 76.6

youth dependency ratio: 71.6

elderly dependency ratio: 5

potential support ratio: 20.1 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 18.3 years (2023 est.)

male: 17.7 years

female: 18.9 years

comparison ranking: total 217

Population growth rate

2.54% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 18

Birth rate

36.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 11

Death rate

7.3 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Net migration rate

-3.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 188

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: 45.5% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

664,000 BISSAU (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

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

15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

725 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 5

Infant mortality rate

total: 47.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 53.4 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 41.8 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 22

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 64.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 61.8 years

female: 66.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 206

Total fertility rate

4.65 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Gross reproduction rate

2.29 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 90.6% of population

rural: 59.1% of population

total: 73.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 9.4% of population

rural: 40.9% of population

total: 26.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

8.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.2 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 62.4% of population

rural: 7.6% of population

total: 31.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 37.6% of population

rural: 92.4% of population

total: 68.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

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

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

9.5% (2016)

comparison ranking: 144

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 3.21 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.98 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.54 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 1.28 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 108

Tobacco use

total: 9% (2020 est.)

male: 17% (2020 est.)

female: 0.9% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 139

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

18.8% (2019)

comparison ranking: 22

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 8.1%

women married by age 18: 25.7%

men married by age 18: 2.2% (2019 est.)

Education expenditures

2.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 168


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 52.9%

male: 67%

female: 39.9% (2021)


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


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: 45.5% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

9.24% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 4

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 179

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 34.85 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.29 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.46 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

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

Major aquifers

Senegalo-Mauritanian Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 140 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

31.4 billion cubic meters (2020 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 Sissoco 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 inaugurated himself with only military leadership present, 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 Rui Duarte DE BARROS (since 27 December 2023); note - on 4 December 2023 the president dissolved the parliament

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 up to 2 consecutive 5-year terms; 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

election results: 2019: 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% (2019)

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 (Africa 1, Europe 1); all members serve 4-year terms)

last held on 4 June 2023 (next to be held on 30 June 2027); note - on 4 December 2023 the president dissolved the parliament with new elections to be held at a future date

election results:
percent of vote by party - PAIGC 39.4%, Madem G-15 21.1%, PRS 14.9%, other 12.5%; seats by party - PAIGC 54, Madem G-15 29, PRS- 12, other 7; composition as of February 2024 - men 92, women 10, percentage women 9.8%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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 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

chief of mission: Ambassador Michael RAYNOR (since 20 April 2022)

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

extremely poor West African economy; ethnically diverse labor force; increasing government expenditures; slight inflation due to food supply disruptions; major cashew exporter; systemic banking instabilities and corruption; vulnerable to oil price shocks

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$3.906 billion (2022 est.)
$3.774 billion (2021 est.)
$3.636 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 186

Real GDP growth rate

3.5% (2022 est.)
3.8% (2021 est.)
-2.4% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 123

Real GDP per capita

$1,900 (2022 est.)
$1,800 (2021 est.)
$1,800 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 209

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.634 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

9.39% (2022 est.)
2.24% (2021 est.)
1.14% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 152

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 50% (2017 est.)

industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)

services: 36.9% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 217; industry 191; agriculture 4

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

Industrial production growth rate

-0.7% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 177

Labor force

705,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 154

Unemployment rate

3.24% (2022 est.)
3.81% (2021 est.)
3.72% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 50

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 12.8% (2021 est.)

male: 11.6%

female: 14.2%

comparison ranking: total 135

Population below poverty line

47.7% (2018 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

34.8 (2018 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 104

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.3%

highest 10%: 27.6% (2018 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


10.9% of GDP (2022 est.)
12.58% of GDP (2021 est.)
12.22% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $222 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $278 million (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 87

Public debt

53.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
57.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 93

Taxes and other revenues

9.46% (of GDP) (2019 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 190

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$14.128 million (2021 est.)
-$38.683 million (2020 est.)
-$127.41 million (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 72


$334.904 million (2021 est.)
$232.536 million (2020 est.)
$291.805 million (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 196

Exports - partners

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

Exports - commodities

cashews, natural gas, mackerel, fish, scrap vessels (2021)


$518.162 million (2021 est.)
$439.386 million (2020 est.)
$502.204 million (2019 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 201

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.)

comparison ranking: 170

Debt - external

$1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

Exchange rates

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
623.76 (2022 est.)
554.531 (2021 est.)
575.586 (2020 est.)
585.911 (2019 est.)
555.446 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: 1 million (2020)

electrification - total population: 35.7% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 60.5% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 15.8% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 28,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 76.458 million kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 6 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 202; transmission/distribution losses 14; imports 183; exports 176; consumption 199

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 97.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 2.4% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 2,200 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 177

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 199

Refined petroleum products - imports

2,625 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 186

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

342,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 342,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 193

Energy consumption per capita

2.46 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 184


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4,800 (2009 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2009 est.) less than 1

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 204

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,236,511 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 109 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 147

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 country's 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 just over 109 per 100 persons (2021)

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

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: 735,000 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 35% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 159

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,383 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 198



7 (2024)

comparison ranking: 170


total: 4,400 km

paved: 453 km

unpaved: 3,947 km (2016)

comparison ranking: total 153


1,367 km (2022) major rivers Geba- 550km, Corubal 560 km, Cacheu 257 km (rivers are partially navigable; many inlets and creeks provide shallow-water access to much of interior)

comparison ranking: 56

Merchant marine

total: 20 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 3, general cargo 12, other 5

comparison ranking: total 147

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 (2023)

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

1.6% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 83

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 4,000 active troops, including a few hundred air and naval personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FARP is armed mostly with Soviet-era equipment, much of which is reportedly unserviceable (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service for men and women (Air Force service is voluntary); 16 years of age or younger, with parental consent, for voluntary service (2023)

Military - note

the FARP is focused on external security, but also has some internal security duties, and it has been influential in the country’s politics since independence was gained in 1974, having staged at least nine coups as well as several mutinies; FARP members were suspected of coup plotting as recently as 2021, and the military has been accused of involvement in narcotics trafficking; since the 2000s, the FARP has undergone various attempts at defense and security sector reforms with limited success under the auspices of the African Union, the EU, the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), and the UN 

from 2012-2020, 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 (2023)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Guinea-Bissau - Senegal: there are no border disputes and the frontier is relatively stable although some rebels conducting a longstanding low-grade insurgency in the southern Casamance region of Senegal have used Guinea-Bissau as a safe haven

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 7,757 (Senegal) (2022)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Guinea-Bissau does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Guinea-Bissau remained on Tier 3; despite the lack of efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including implementing procedures in its National Referral Mechanism to refer child victims to services from civil society organizations, providing anti-trafficking training to border officials, and conducting a public awareness radio campaign; however, Guinea-Bissau has never convicted a trafficker and failed to prosecute any alleged traffickers for the fourth consecutive year; the government continued to lack adequate victim identification and services and resources and political will to comprehensively combat trafficking (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Guinea-Bissau and Bissau-Guineans abroad; forced child begging is the most prevalent form of trafficking, with many victims exploited by corrupt Quranic teachers or associated traffickers; the corrupt teachers send large numbers of Bissau-Guinean boys to Senegal, as well as some to Guinea, Mali, and The Gambia; they also force boys from Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia to beg in Bissau; 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 Guinea, Senegal and The Gambia; women are recruited and exploited in domestic servitude abroad; girls, and to a lesser extent boys, are exploited in child sex tourism in the Bijagos, an archipelago off the coast of Guinea-Bissau that is largely devoid of government and law enforcement presence; Cuban nationals in Guinea-Bissau may have been forced to work there by the Cuban Government (2023)

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