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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January, 2004
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2004.

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

Map of Guinea-Bissau

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Guinea-Bissau
Definition Field Listing
Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable upheaval. The founding government consisted of a single party system and command economy. In 1980, a military coup established Joao VIEIRA as president and a path to a market economy and multiparty system was implemented. A number of coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him and in 1994 he was elected president in the country's first free elections. A military coup attempt and civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIERA's ouster in 1999. In February 2000, an interim government turned over power when opposition leader Kumba YALA took office following two rounds of transparent presidential elections. YALA was ousted in a bloodless coup in September 2003, and Henrique ROSA was sworn in as President. Guinea-Bissau's transition back to democracy will be complicated by its crippled economy, devastated in the civil war.
   Geography    Guinea-Bissau
Definition Field Listing
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
12 00 N, 15 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 36,120 sq km
land: 28,000 sq km
water: 8,120 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 724 km
border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
Definition Field Listing
350 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Definition Field Listing
tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
Definition Field Listing
mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 10.67%
permanent crops: 8.82%
other: 80.51% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
170 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying further inland
   People    Guinea-Bissau
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,388,363 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 41.7% (male 288,760; female 289,975)
15-64 years: 55.4% (male 367,728; female 400,996)
65 years and over: 2.9% (male 17,570; female 23,334) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18.9 years
male: 18.3 years
female: 19.5 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.99% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38.03 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16.57 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-1.57 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 108.72 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 119.37 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 97.74 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 46.98 years
male: 45.09 years
female: 48.92 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,200 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
typhoid fever, malaria, yellow fever, schistosomiasis
overall degree of risk: very high (2004)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Guinean(s)
adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
African 99% (Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
Definition Field Listing
indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%
Definition Field Listing
Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.4%
male: 58.1%
female: 27.4% (2003 est.)
   Government    Guinea-Bissau
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
republic, multiparty since mid-1991
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos
Definition Field Listing
24 September 1973 (unilaterally declared by Guinea-Bissau); 10 September 1974 (recognized by Portugal)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
Definition Field Listing
16 May 1984, amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and 1996
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Henrique ROSA (interim; since 28 September 2003); note - a September 2003 coup overthrew the elected government of Kumba YALA; General Verissimo Correia SEABRA served as interim president from 14 to 28 September 2003
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos GOMES Junior (since 9 May 2004)
cabinet: NA
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%
note: a bloodless coup led to the dissolution of the elected government of Kumba YALA in September 2003; General Verissimo Correia SEABRA served as interim president from 14 September 2003 until stepping aside on 28 September 2003 with the establishment of a caretaker government
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve a maximum of four years); note - President YALA dissolved the National People's Assembly in November 2002, elections for a new legislature were scheduled to fall in February 2003 but were then postponed to April, then July, then September, and were last scheduled to occur in March 2004
elections: last held 28 March 2004 (next to be held NA 2009)
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Carlos GOMES Junior]; 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 Platform or UP [coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB]; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Francisco Jose FADUL]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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; US embassy Dakar is responsible for covering Guinea-Bissau: telephone - [221] 823-4296; FAX - [221] 822-5903
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 1999-2002. 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. 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 from a lamentably low base. Government drift and indecision, however, have resulted in low growth in 2002-03 and dim prospects for 2004.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $1.063 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-7% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 62%
industry: 12%
services: 26% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
480,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 82% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (1998)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: NA
expenditures: NA, including capital expenditures of NA
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
Definition Field Listing
agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
55 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
51.15 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$54 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
India 76.8%, Nigeria 12.1%, Italy 5.1% (2003)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$104 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Senegal 18.1%, India 14.6%, Portugal 14.6%, China 9.7%, Italy 9%, Spain 4.9% (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$941.5 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$115.4 million (1995)
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 581.2 (2003), 696.988 (2002), 733.039 (2001), 711.976 (2000), 615.699 (1999)
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:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Guinea-Bissau
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10,600 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,300 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: small system
domestic: combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and cellular communications
international: country code - 245
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2002)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
NA (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
19,000 (2003)
   Transportation    Guinea-Bissau
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,400 km
paved: 453 km
unpaved: 3,947 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
4 largest rivers are navigable for some distance; many inlets and creeks give shallow-water access to much of interior (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
28 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 20 (2003 est.)
   Military    Guinea-Bissau
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP; includes Army, Navy, and Air Force), paramilitary force
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 326,864 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 185,801 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$8.4 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.8% (2003)
   Transnational Issues    Guinea-Bissau
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
attempts to stem refugees and cross-border raids, arms smuggling, and political instability from a separatist movement in Senegal's Casamance region

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004

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