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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Guinea-Bissau
Flag of Guinea-Bissau
Map of Guinea-Bissau
Introduction Guinea-Bissau
In 1994, 20 years after independence from Portugal, the country's first multiparty legislative and presidential elections were held. An army uprising that triggered a bloody civil war in 1998, created hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. The president was ousted by a military junta in May 1999. An interim government turned over power in February 2000 when opposition leader Kumba YALA took office following two rounds of transparent presidential elections. Guinea-Bissau's transition back to democracy will be complicated by its crippled economy devastated in the civil war.
Geography Guinea-Bissau
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates:
12 00 N, 15 00 W
Map references:
total: 36,120 sq km
water: 8,120 sq km
land: 28,000 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:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 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 location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m
Natural resources:
fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use:
arable land: 10.67%
permanent crops: 1.78%
other: 87.55% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
170 sq km (1998 est.)
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying further inland
People Guinea-Bissau
1,345,479 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.9% (male 281,394; female 282,641)
15-64 years: 55.2% (male 353,755; female 388,968)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 17,130; female 21,591) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.23% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
38.95 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
15.05 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-1.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
108.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.8 years
female: 52.2 years (2002 est.)
male: 47.47 years
Total fertility rate:
5.13 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
2.5% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
14,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,300 (1999 est.)
noun: Guinean (s)
adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups:
African 99% (Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%
Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 34%
male: 50%
female: 18% (2000 est.)
Government Guinea-Bissau
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Guinea-Bissau
conventional short form: Guinea-Bissau
local short form: Guine-Bissau
local long form: Republica da Guine-Bissau
former: Portuguese Guinea
Government type:
republic, multiparty since mid-1991
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 (unilaterally declared by Guinea-Bissau); 10 September 1974 (recognized by Portugal)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
16 May 1984, amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and 1996
Legal system:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Kumba YALA (since 18 February 2000)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 28 November 1999 and 16 January 2000 (next to be held NA 2004); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
election results: Kumba YALA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Kumba YALA (PRS) 72%, Malan Bacai SANHA (PAIGC) 28%
cabinet: NA
head of government: Prime Minister Mario PIRES (since 17 November 2002)
Legislative branch:
unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve a maximum of four years)
elections: last held 28 November 1999 (next to be held 20 April 2003)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PRS 37, RGB 27, PAIGC 25, 11 remaining seats went to 5 of the remaining 10 parties that fielded candidates
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica (consists of nine justices who are 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 over $1,000); 24 Sectoral Courts (judges are not necessarily trained lawyers; they hear civil cases under $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases)
Political parties and leaders:
African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Francisco BENANTE]; Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea or FLING [Francois MENDY]; Guinea-Bissau Resistance-Ba Fata Movement or RGB-MB [Helder Vaz LOPES]; Guinean Civic Forum or FCG [Antonieta Rosa GOMES]; International League for Ecological Protection or LIPE [Alhaje Bubacar DJALO, president]; National Union for Democracy and Progress or UNDP [Abubacer BALDE, secretary general]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Social Renovation Party or PRS [Kumba YALA]; Union for Change or UM [Jorge MANDINGA, president, Dr. Anne SAAD, secretary general]; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Victor Sau'de MARIA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Henrique Adriano DA SILVA
chancery: 1511 K Street NW, Suite 519, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 347-3950
FAX: [1] (202) 347-3954
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; for the time being, US embassy Dakar is responsible for covering Guinea-Bissau: telephone - [221] 823-4296; FAX - [221] 822-5903
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 10 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 1999-2001. 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. However, unexploited offshore oil reserves could provide much-needed revenue in the long run. 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.
purchasing power parity - $1.2 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $900 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 54%
industry: 15%
services: 31% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1%
highest 10%: 42% (1991) (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 82% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA
agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate:
2.6% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
60 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
55.8 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
$80 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
cashew nuts 70%, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports - partners:
India 51.4%, Italy 2.7%, South Korea 2.0%, Belgium 2.0% (2000)
$55.2 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Portugal 30%, Senegal 14.6%, Thailand 8.5%, China 5.7% (2000)
Debt - external:
$931 million (1999 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$115.4 million (1995) (1995)
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States; previously the Guinea-Bissau peso (GWP) was used
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997)
note: as of 1 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau adopted the XOF franc as the national currency; since 1 January 1999, the XOF franc is 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:
10,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
0 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: small system
domestic: combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and cellular communications
international: NA
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2002)
49,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
NA (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2002)
Internet users:
4,000 (2002)
Transportation Guinea-Bissau
0 km
total: 4,400 km
paved: 453 km
unpaved: 3,947 km (1996)
several rivers are accessible to coastal shipping
Ports and harbors:
Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
Merchant marine:
none (2002 est.)
28 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 20 (2002)
Military Guinea-Bissau
Military branches:
People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force), paramilitary force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 313,573 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 178,404 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$5.6 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.8% (FY01)
Transnational Issues Guinea-Bissau
Disputes - international:
Senegalese separatists disrupt legal border trade with smuggling, cattle rustling, and other illegal activities

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003