Region: Western Africa

Capital: Bissau

Population: 1,693,398 (July 2014 CIA est.)

Surface area: 36,125 sq km

Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

GDP per capita: purchasing power parity US $1,200 (2013 CIA est.)

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. (CIA 2014)

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. (CIA, 2014)

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

Remittances inflows: US $46 million (World Bank 2012 est.)

Human Development Index 2013: 176 out of 186 countries (UNDP 2013)

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners:
Net ODA US $78,870,000. (OECD 2012);
AfDf, E.U. Institutions,IDA, Portugal, IMF Concessional Funds.

Total External DebtUS $1.095 billion (31 December 2010 CIA est.)

Environmental Indicators:
Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 5.7
Forested Area (percentage of land area): 71.9
CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 0.2
(UNDP 2013)

United Nations Membership date: 17 September 1974

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations
866 UN Plaza, Suite 481
New York, N.Y. 10017 USA
Telephone: (212) 896-8311
Fax: (212) 896-8313

CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
World Development Indicators. World Bank
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Human Development Report 2013. United Nations Development Programme.

Updated January 2015