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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... See More



 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 (Rank: 129)

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 coastal plain rising to savanna in east

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: 8.31%
Permanent crops: 6.92%
Other: 84.77% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 250 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 31 cu km (2003)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 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, 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

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 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%


 Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages


 Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%


 1,596,677 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 40.4% (male 321,889/female 323,202)
15-64 years: 56.4% (male 435,986/female 465,117)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 19,975/female 30,508) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 19.5 years
Male: 18.9 years
Female: 20 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.988% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 35.15 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 15.27 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 30% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 BISSAU (capital) 302,000 (2009)

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: 0.66 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 1,000 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 96.23 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 106.11 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 86.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 48.7 years
Male: 46.8 years
Female: 50.67 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 4.51 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 8.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.045 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.96 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 83% of population
Rural: 51% of population
Total: 61% of population
Urban: 17% of population
Rural: 49% of population
Total: 39% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 49% of population
Rural: 9% of population
Total: 21% of population
Urban: 51% of population
Rural: 91% of population
Total: 79% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 2.5% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 22,000 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 1,200 (2009 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
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 17.2% (2008)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 42.4%
Male: 58.1%
Female: 27.4% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 9 years (2006)

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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)


 16 May 1984; amended several times

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 Malam Bacai SANHA (since 8 September 2009)

Head of government: Prime Minister Carlos GOMES Junior (since 25 December 2008)

Cabinet: NA

Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 28 June 2009 with a runoff between the two leading candidates held on 26 July 2009 (next to be held by 2014); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature

Election results: Malam Bacai SANHA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Malam Bacai SANHA 63.5%, Kumba YALA 36.5%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 16 November 2008 (next to be held in 2012)

Election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 49.8%, PRS 25.3%, PRID 7.5%, PND 2.4%, AD 1.4%, other parties 13.6%; seats by party - PAIGC 67, PRS 28, PRID 3, PND 1, AD 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]; Democratic Alliance or AD [Victor MANDINGA]; Democratic Social Front or FDS [Rafael BARBOSA]; Electoral Union or UE [Joaquim BALDE]; 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 [Lancuba INDJAI]; New Democracy Party or PND; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Sory DJALO]; Progress Party or PP; Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]; Union of Guinean Patriots or UPG [Francisca VAZ]; Union for Change or UM [Amine SAAD]; United Platform or UP (coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB); United Popular Alliance or APU; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Francisco FADUL]

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 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 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

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Economy - Overview:

 One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau's legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but trafficking narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years. 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. 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. 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $1.784 billion (2010 est.)
$1.724 billion (2009 est.)
$1.674 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $837 million (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 3.5% (2010 est.)
3% (2009 est.)
3.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,100 (2010 est.)
$1,100 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 55.2%
Industry: 12.8%
Services: 32% (2010 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 / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.9%
Highest 10%: 28% (2002)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 Refugees (country of origin): 7,454 (Senegal) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 12.7% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $NA
Expenditures: $NA

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 19.2% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -2.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.5% (2010 est.)
-1.7% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 15% (31 December 2010 est.)
15% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $171.2 million (31 December 2008)
$142.5 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $17.99 million (31 December 2008)
$12.04 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $238.5 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$192.1 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $258.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$209.3 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $95.33 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$42.56 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish


 Agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 4.7% (2003 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 70 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 100%
Hydro: 0%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 65.1 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 3,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 2,565 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$82.6 million (2010 est.)
-$120.1 million (2009 est.)


 $126 million (2010 est.)
$117.5 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Fish, shrimp; cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber

Exports - Partners:

 India 76.9%, Nigeria 16.6% (2010)


 $206.1 million (2010 est.)
$202.3 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products

Imports - Partners:

 Senegal 21.8%, Portugal 20.5%, Brazil 5.6%, Cuba 4.1% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $NA (31 December 2010 est.)
$168.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $941.5 million (2000 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert CFA Franc (BCEAO) to Any Currency

Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar -
495.28 (2010)
472.19 (2009)
493.51 (2007)
522.59 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 5,000 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 594,100 (2010)

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 reached 35 per 100 in 2009

International: country code - 245 (2008)

Broadcast Media:

 1 state-owned TV station and a second station, RTP Africa, is operated by Portuguese public broadcaster Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTP); 1 state-owned radio station, several private radio stations, and some community radio stations; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (2007)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 82 (2010)

Internet Users:

 37,100 (2009)

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 9 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
Over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 3 (2010)


 Total: 3,455 km
Paved: 965 km
Unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)


 (rivers are navigable for some distance; many inlets and creeks give shallow-water access to much of interior) (2009)

Ports and Terminals:

 Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim

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Military Branches:

 People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, National Air Force (Forca Aerea Nacional); Presidential Guard (2011)

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 (2010)

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:

 3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)

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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

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

Trafficking in Persons:

 Current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a country of origin 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

Tier rating: Tier 3 - Guinea-Bissau is not making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government acknowledged that human trafficking is a problem in the country and took steps to enact legislation outlawing all forms of trafficking; Guinea-Bissau did not increase efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders; the government did not take steps to proactively identify victims and lacked resources to provide victim services directly, but provided some resources to NGOs that care for victims (2011)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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