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Background:  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

Location:  Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between
Guinea and Senegal

Geographic coordinates:  12 00 N, 15 00 W

Map references:  Africa

Area:  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

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

Coastline:  350 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season
(June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May)
with northeasterly harmattan winds

Terrain:  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: 11% permanent crops: 2% other: 87% (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;

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

Population:  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:   52.2 years (2002 est.)  male: 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.)

Nationality:  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%

Religions:  indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%

Languages:  Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages

Literacy:  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
 Guine-Bissau local long form:
Government type:  republic, multiparty since mid-1991

Capital:  Bissau

Administrative divisions:  9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao);
Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali;
note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos

Independence:  24 September 1973 (unilaterally declared by Guinea-Bissau);
10 September 1974 (recognized by Portugal)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 24 September (1973)

Constitution:  16 May 1984, amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26
February 1993, 9 June 1993, and 1996

Legal system:  NA

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:   President Kumba YALA (since 18 February 2000)
elections:  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 Alamara Intchia NHASSE (since 7 December 2001)

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 NA 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:  NA

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, ECA, ECOWAS,
IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW (signatory), UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
(vacant); Charge d'Affaires Henrique Adriano DA SILVA chancery: c/o
P. O. Box 33813, Washington, DC 20033-3813 telephone: [1] (301) 947-3958
FAX: [1] (391) 947-3958

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: [221] 823-4296

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.

GDP:  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:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  480,000

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 82% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $NA expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures
of $NA

Industries:  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

Exports:  $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)

Imports:  $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)

Currency:  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:  XOF; GWP

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:  NA

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)

Radios:  49,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  NA (1997)

Televisions:  NA

Internet country code:  .gw

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2002)

Internet users:  1,500 (1999)

Transportation Guinea-Bissau

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 4,400 km paved: 453 km unpaved: 3,947 km (1996)

Waterways:  several rivers are accessible to coastal shipping

Ports and harbors:  Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  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 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 25 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 4 under 914 m: 20 (2001)

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 1 January 2002




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