Guinea-Bissau

Region: Western Africa

Capital: Bissau

Population:1,547,100 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area:36,120 sq km

Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

GDP per capita: purchasing power parity US $1,100 (2011-CIA est.)

Background:
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 ousted by the military in a bloodless 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.

Economy – Overview
One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau’s legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but trafficking in narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade. 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 crops have increased remarkably in recent years; low rainfall hindered cereals and other crops in 2011. 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 government is successfully implementing a three-year $33 million extended credit arrangement with the IMF that runs through 2012. In December 2010 the World Bank and IMF announced support for $1.2 billion worth of debt relief. Guinea-Bissau made progress with debt relief in 2011 when members of the Paris Club opted to write-off much of the country’s obligations. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber

Remittances:52 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011:  176 out of 187 countries (UNDP 2011)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:Net ODA: US $141 million AfDf, E.U. Institutions,IDA, Portugal, IMF Concessional Funds.

Total External Debt: US $$1.095 billion (31 December 2010) CIA

Environmental Indicators:

                                               Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 5

                                               Forested Area (percentage of land area): 72.6

                                               CO2 Emissions(tonnes per capita): 0.2

                                               (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations Membership date: 17 September 1974

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, Suite 400F
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: (917) 770-5598
Fax: (212) 856-9820

Sources:

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov

World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org

Human Development Report 2011. United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org

 

Updated July 2012