Guinea-Bissau( Africa )

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Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country's first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was overthrown in a bloodless military coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009, but he passed away in January 2012 from an existing illness. A military coup in April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau's second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA's successor - from taking place.
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
Area comparative:
slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
total: 724 km
border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation in the eastern part of the country 300 m
Natural resources:
fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use:
arable land: 8.3%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 84.78% (2011)
Irrigated land:
225.6 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
31 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic or industrial or agricultural):
total: 0.18 cu km/yr (18%/6%/76%)
per capita: 135.7 cu m/yr (2005)
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, Hazardous Wastes, 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 and Society
noun: Bissau-Guinean(s)
adjective: Bissau-Guinean
Ethnic groups:
African 99% (includes Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%
1,693,398 (July 2014 est.)
Age structure:
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: 3.2% (male 21,236/female 34,364) (2014 est.)
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 79.1 %
youth dependency ratio: 73.9 %
elderly dependency ratio: 5.2 %
potential support ratio: 19.3 (2014 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.8 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 20.3 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.93% (2014 est.)
Birth rate:
33.83 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate:
14.54 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
urban population: 43.9% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 3.59% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas population:
BISSAU (capital) 423,000 (2011)
Sex ratio:
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.)
Infant mortality rate:
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.)
Maternal mortality rate:
790 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.87 years
male: 47.87 years
female: 51.93 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.3 children born/woman (2014 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
14% (2010)
Health expenditures:
6.3% of GDP (2011)
Physicians density:
0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density:
1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source:
improved: urban: 96.1% of population
rural: 55.5% of population
total: 73.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 3.9% of population
rural: 44.5% of population
total: 26.4% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved: urban: 33.5% of population
rural: 8.5% of population
total: 19.7% of population
unimproved: urban: 66.5% of population
rural: 91.5% of population
total: 80.3% of population (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS adult prevalence rate:
3.9% (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS people living with HIV or AIDS:
41,300 (2012 est.)
HIV or AIDS deaths:
2,300 (2012 est.)
Obesity adult prevalence rate:
4.9% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
16.6% (2008)
Education expenditures:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 55.3%
male: 68.9%
female: 42.1% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years (2006)
Child labor children ages 5-14:
total number: 226,316
percentage: 57 % (2010 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
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:
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
24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
National holiday:
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)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of civil law (influenced by the early French Civil Code) and customary law
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Josse Mario VAZ (since 17 June 2014)
head of government: transitional Prime Minister Rui Duarte BARROS (since 16 May 2012)
cabinet: NA
elections: president elected by absolute majority vote in two rounds for a 5-year term (no term limits); election - first round held on 13 April 2014; prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the National People's Assembly
election results: 13 April 2014 first round results - Jose Mario VAZ 41%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM 25.1%, other 33.9%; Jose Mario VAZ elected in second round on 18 May 2014 with 61.9%, Nuno Gomez NABIAM 38.1%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (102 seats including 2 seats reserved for diaspora; members elected by popular vote to serve four-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
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 9 judges and organized into Civil, Criminal, and Social and Administrative Disputes Chambers)
note - the Supreme Court has both appellate and constitutional jurisdiction
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the Higher Council of the Magistrate, a major government organ responsible for judge appointments, dismissals, and discipline of the judiciary; judges appointed by the president with tenure for life
subordinate courts: Appeal Court; regional (first instance) courts; military court
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 [Victor MANDINGA]
New Democracy Party or PND [Iaia DJALO]
Party for Social Renewal or PRS [vacant]
Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]
Union for Change or UM [Agnelo REGALA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
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:
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 Lewis LUKENS, 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; 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):
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 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 overview:
Guinea-Bissau's legal economy is based on farming and fishing, but trafficking in narcotics is probably the most lucrative economic activity. The combination of limited economic prospects, a weak and faction-ridden government, and favorable geography have made this West African country a way station for drugs bound for Europe. Cashew nuts are the main source of income for rural communities and the country's main export crop. Cashew sector performance helps to determine the overall macroeconomic situation of the country and food security status of rural areas. In 2013 cashew production and exports were disrupted as a result of the March 2012 coup. Guinea-Bissau is heavily reliant on foreign aid, which has not recovered to pre-coup levels.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.005 billion (2013 est.)
$1.937 billion (2012 est.)
$1.965 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$880 million (2013 est.)
GDP real growth rate:
3.5% (2013 est.)
-1.5% (2012 est.)
5.3% (2011 est.)
GDP per capita (PPP):
$1,200 (2013 est.)
$1,200 (2012 est.)
$1,300 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
Gross national saving:
GDP composition, by end use:
household consumption: 81.3%
government consumption: 13%
investment in fixed capital: 12.9%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 25.5%
imports of goods and services: -32.7%
(2013 est.)
GDP composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 58%
industry: 13.5%
services: 28.5% (2013 est.)
Agriculture products:
rice, corn, beans, cassava (manioc, tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate:
1.2% (2013 est.)
Labor force:
632,700 (2007)
Labor force by occupation:
agriculture: 82%
industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 28% (2002)
Distribution of family income Gini index:
revenues: $142 million
expenditures: $157.7 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
16.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus or deficit:
Public debt:
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.9% (2013 est.)
2.1% (2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2013 est.)
15% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$242.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$264.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money:
$338.1 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$327.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$173.3 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$171.8 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Current account balance:
-$47.3 million (2013 est.)
-$47.4 million (2012 est.)
$147.6 million (2013 est.)
$127.9 million (2012 est.)
Exports commodities:
fish, shrimp; cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports partners:
India 56.5%, Nigeria 27.1%, Togo 5.9% (2012)
$206.4 million (2013 est.)
$189.8 million (2012 est.)
Imports commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports partners:
Portugal 28.8%, Senegal 17.5%, US 7.3%, China 5% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Debt external:
$1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment at home:
Stock of direct foreign investment abroad:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
500.7 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
495.28 (2010 est.)
472.19 (2009)
447.81 (2008)
Electricity production:
67 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity consumption:
62.31 million kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity exports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity imports:
0 kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity installed generating capacity:
26,000 kW (2010 est.)
Electricity from fossil fuels:
100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from hydroelectric plants:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity from other renewable sources:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil production:
0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil imports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products production:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products consumption:
2,922 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Refined petroleum products imports:
2,661 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Natural gas production:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas consumption:
0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas exports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas imports:
0 cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
459,800 Mt (2011 est.)
Telephones mobile cellular:
1.1 million (2012)
Telephone system:
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)
Telephones main lines in use:
5,000 (2012)
Broadcast media:
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)
Internet country code:
Internet users:
37,100 (2009)
Internet hosts:
90 (2012)
8 (2013)
Airports with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
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: 3,455 km
paved: 965 km
unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)
Merchant marine:
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
Military branches:
People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, National Air Force (Forca Aerea Nacional); Presidential Guard (2012)
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 (2013)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 370,790
females age 16-49: 372,171 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 205,460
females age 16-49: 212,277 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 17,639
female: 17,865 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.85% of GDP (2012)
1.81% of GDP (2011)
1.85% of GDP (2010)
Transnational Issues
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): 8,445 (Senegal) (2013)
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 are transported to southern Senegal for forced manual and agricultural labor; girls may be subjected to forced domestic service and child prostitution in Senegal and Guinea; both boys and girls are forced to work as street vendors in cities in Guinea-Bissau and Senegal
tier rating: Tier 3 - the government of Guinea-Bissau does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; despite enacting an anti-trafficking law and finalizing and adopting a national action plan in 2011, authorities have not conducted any investigations or prosecutions of trafficking offenses; the government has not provided adequate protection to identified trafficking victims, conducted any tangible prevention activities in 2012, or made progress on the implementation of its national action plan (2013)