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Guinea-Bissau country facts

Republic of Guinea-Bissau Africa Bissau 1,693,398 inhabitants 36,125 sq km 46.88 inhabitants/sq km Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) population evolution



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

Area (sq km)

total: 36,125 sq km
land: 28,120 sq km
water: 8,005 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut

Land boundaries (km)

total: 724 km
border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km

Coastline (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 (m)

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 (sq km)

225.6 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources (cu km)

31 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/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%

Languages (%)

Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages

Religions (%)

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


1,693,398 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

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.)

Age structure in Guinea-Bissau

Median age (years)

total: 19.8 years
male: 19.3 years
female: 20.3 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate (%)

1.93% (2014 est.)

Birth rate (births/1,000 population)

33.83 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate (deaths/1,000 population)

14.54 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate (migrant(s)/1,000 population)

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Urbanization (%)

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 (male(s)/female)

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.)

Maternal mortality rate (deaths/100,000 live births)

790 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

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.)

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: 49.87 years
male: 47.87 years
female: 51.93 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

4.3 children born/woman (2014 est.)

Health expenditures (% of GDP)

6.3% of GDP (2011)

Physicians density (physicians/1,000 population)

0.07 physicians/1,000 population (2009)

Hospital bed density (beds/1,000 population)

1 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Drinking water source (% of population)

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 (% of population)

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/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)

3.9% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

41,300 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

2,300 (2012 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, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2013)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate (%)

4.9% (2008)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight (%)

16.6% (2008)

Education expenditures (% of GDP)


Literacy (%)

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) (years)

total: 9 years (2006)


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 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

GDP - composition, by sector of origin (%)

agriculture: 58%
industry: 13.5%
services: 28.5% (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)


revenues: $142 million
expenditures: $157.7 million (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues (% of GDP)

16.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) (% of GDP)

-1.8% of GDP (2013 est.)

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


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.)

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)

External debt ($)

$1.095 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$941.5 million (31 December 2000 est.)

Exchange rates

Currency converter
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)

Fiscal year

calendar year


Electricity - production (kWh)

67 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption (kWh)

62.31 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - imports (kWh)

0 kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity (kW)

26,000 kW (2010 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels (% of total installed capacity)

100% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources (% of total installed capacity)

0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)

Crude oil - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - imports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves (bbl)

0 bbl (1 January 2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption (bbl/day)

2,922 bbl/day (2011 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports (bbl/day)

0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports (bbl/day)

2,661 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Natural gas - production (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - consumption (cu m)

0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - imports (cu m)

0 cu m (2011 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves (cu m)

0 cu m (1 January 2013 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy (Mt)

459,800 Mt (2011 est.)


Telephones - main lines in use

5,000 (2012)

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)

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 hosts

90 (2012)

Internet users

37,100 (2009)



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)

Roadways (km)

total: 3,455 km
paved: 965 km
unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)

Waterways (km)

(rivers are navigable for some distance; many inlets and creeks give shallow-water access to much of interior) (2012)

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 (years of age)

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 (% of GDP)

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)

Illicit drugs

increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine en route to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations thanks to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling

Largest cities of Guinea-Bissau

These are the 50 largest cities of Guinea-Bissau ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population
1 Bissau 388,094
2 Bafatá 22,521
3 Gabú 14,430
4 Bissorã 12,688
5 Bolama 10,769
6 Cacheu 10,490
7 Bubaque 9,941
8 Catió 9,898
9 Mansôa 7,821
10 Buba 7,779
11 Quebo 7,072
12 Canchungo 6,853
13 Farim 6,792