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Guinea-Bissau Country Information

 
Guinea-Bissau
Flag of Guinea-Bissau
Map of Guinea-Bissau
Introduction Guinea-Bissau
Background:
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 ousted by the military in a bloodless 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.
Geography Guinea-Bissau
Location:
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates:
12 00 N, 15 00 W
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 36,120 sq km
land: 28,000 sq km
water: 8,120 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 724 km
border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
Coastline:
350 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
Terrain:
mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m
Natural resources:
fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use:
arable land: 8.31%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 84.77% (2005)
Irrigated land:
250 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
31 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.18 cu km/yr (13%/5%/82%)
per capita: 113 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland
People Guinea-Bissau
Population:
1,503,182 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41% (male 307,353/female 308,726)
15-64 years: 55.9% (male 404,747/female 436,245)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 18,819/female 27,292) (2008 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.2 years
male: 18.6 years
female: 19.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.035% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
36.4 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
16.05 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 101.64 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 111.74 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 91.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 47.52 years
male: 45.71 years
female: 49.39 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.72 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
10% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
17,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,200 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis (2008)
Nationality:
noun: Guinean(s)
adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups:
African 99% (includes Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
Religions:
Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%
Languages:
Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.4%
male: 58.1%
female: 27.4% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 5 years
male: 7 years
female: 4 years (2001)
Education expenditures:
5.2% of GDP (1999)
Government Guinea-Bissau
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
Government type:
republic
Capital:
name: Bissau
geographic coordinates: 11 51 N, 15 35 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos
Independence:
24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
Constitution:
16 May 1984; amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and in 1996
Legal system:
based on French civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA (since 1 October 2005)
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos CORREIA
cabinet: NA
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held 24 July 2005 (next to be held in 2010); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
election results: Joao Bernardo VIEIRA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Joao Bernardo VIEIRA 52.4%, Malam Bacai SANHA 47.6%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 28 March 2004 (next to be held 16 November 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 31.5%, PRS 24.8%, PUSD 16.1%, UE 4.1%, APU 1.3%, 13 other parties 22.2%; seats by party - PAIGC 45, PRS 35, PUSD 17, UE 2, APU 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica (consists of nine justices appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure; final court of appeals in criminal and civil cases); Regional Courts (one in each of nine regions; first court of appeals for Sectoral Court decisions; hear all felony cases and civil cases valued at more than $1,000); 24 Sectoral Courts (judges are not necessarily trained lawyers; they hear civil cases valued at less than $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases)
Political parties and leaders:
African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Carlos GOMES Junior]; Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Kumba YALA]; Democratic Social Front or FDS; Electoral Union or UE; Guinea-Bissau Civic Forum/Social Democracy or FCGSD [Antonieta Rosa GOMES]; Guinea-Bissau Democratic Party or PDG; Guinea-Bissau Socialist Democratic Party or PDSG [Serifo BALDE]; Labor and Solidarity Party or PST [Iancuba INDJAI]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Progress Party or PP [Ibrahima SOW]; Union for Change or UM [Amine SAAD]; Union of Guinean Patriots or UPG [Francisca VAZ]; United Platform or UP (coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB); United Popular Alliance or APU; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD
Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA
International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AU, CPLP, ECOWAS, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW (signatory), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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:
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
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; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
Economy Guinea-Bissau
Economy - overview:
One of the five poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years, and the country now ranks sixth in cashew production. 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. Before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under IMF sponsorship. The tightening of monetary policy and the development of the private sector had also begun to reinvigorate the economy. Because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources is not a near-term prospect. Offshore oil prospecting is underway in several sectors but has not yet led to commercially viable crude deposits. The inequality of income distribution is one of the most extreme in the world. The government and international donors continue to work out plans to forward economic development from a lamentably low base. 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. Government drift and indecision, however, resulted in continued low growth in 2002-06. Higher raw material prices boosted growth to 3.7% in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$826.4 million (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$343 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.7% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 62%
industry: 12%
services: 26% (1999 est.)
Labor force:
480,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 82%
industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
NA%
Population below poverty line:
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.8% (2007 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
Industries:
agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate:
4.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
60 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
55.8 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
2,480 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
2,463 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
-$6 million (2007 est.)
Exports:
$133 million f.o.b. (2006)
Exports - commodities:
cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports - partners:
India 76.5%, Nigeria 19%, South Korea 0.9% (2007)
Imports:
$200 million f.o.b. (2006)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Portugal 21.5%, Senegal 16.8%, France 6%, Pakistan 4.7% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient:
$79.12 million (2005)
Debt - external:
$941.5 million (2000 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA
Currency (code):
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code:
XOF; GWP
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003)
note: since 1 January 1999, the XOF franc has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF francs per euro
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Guinea-Bissau
Telephones - main lines in use:
4,600 (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
296,200 (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: small system
domestic: combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and cellular communications; fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity reached 7 per 100 in 2005
international: country code - 245
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2001)
Radios:
49,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
NA (2005)
Televisions:
NA
Internet country code:
.gw
Internet hosts:
0 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2002)
Internet users:
37,000 (2006)
Transportation Guinea-Bissau
Airports:
27 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 24
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 19 (2007)
Roadways:
total: 3,455 km
paved: 965 km
unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)
Waterways:
rivers are navigable for some distance; many inlets and creeks give shallow-water access to much of interior (2007)
Ports and terminals:
Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
Military Guinea-Bissau
Military branches:
People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, Air Force; paramilitary force
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for selective compulsory military service (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 344,087
females age 16-49: 347,886 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 188,605
females age 16-49: 195,429 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 16,634
female: 16,841 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Guinea-Bissau
Disputes - international:
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 and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 7,454 (Senegal) (2007)
Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a source country for children trafficked primarily for forced begging and forced agricultural labor to other West African countries
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for the second year in a row, Guinea-Bissau is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, as evidenced by the continued failure to pass an anti-trafficking law and inadequate efforts to investigate or prosecute trafficking crimes or convict and punish trafficking offenders (2008)
Illicit drugs:
increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine enroute to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations thanks to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling

This page was last updated on 2 October, 2008


 

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