Country profile

Amilcar Lopes Cabral, leader of the nationalist movement of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde Islands.

Guinea-Bissau, officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, is a country in western Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. The name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's official name in order to prevent confusion between itself and the Republic of Guinea.

Guinea-Bissau won independence from Portugal in 1974 after a long struggle spearheaded by the left-wing African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC).

The country is divided into 8 regions and 1 autonomous sector, and are subdivided into 37 sectors. The regions include: Bafata, Biombo, Bissau (autonomous sector), Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara and Tombali.

The population of Guinea-Bissau is ethnically diverse and has many distinct languages, customs, and social structures. Nearly 99% of Guineans can be divided into the following three catergories:

- The Fula and the Mandinka - who comprise the largest portion of the population and are concentrated in the north and northeast; 
- The Balanta and Papel people, who live in the central and southern coastal regions; 
- The Manjaco and Mancanha, who occupy the central and northern coastal areas. Most of the remaing 1% are mestiços of mixed Portuguese and black descent.

Guinea-Bissau is among the 20 poorest countries of the world; One of the country's important income sources is cashew nuts.


Main data 

Independence Date: 24 September 1973 (unilaterally proclaimed); 10 September 1974 (recognized by Portugal)

Date Admission In United Nations: 17 September 1974

Area: 36.125 square kilometers (including the Bijagos Archipelagos)
Capital: Bissau

Nationality: Name and adjective: Guinean (s), Guinean (s) of Bissau

Population: 1,700,000 (World Development Report)

Ethnic groups: Balanta (24.7%), Fula (25.4%), Mandingo (13.7%), Manjaca (9.3%), papel (9%), and Biracial Caucasian (less than 1%)

Religion: Muslim, Christian, Animist, others

Languages: Official - Portuguese; Local - Creole, French, various indigenous languages
Literacy rate (adults) total population: 42% male: 57%, female: 28% (2002)
Literacy rate (adults) total population: 55,3 %
Total fertility rate (births per woman): 5,0
Maternal mortality ratio: 790/100 000 (2013)
Infant under five mortality rate: 129/1000
Mortality rate (adults): Female 352/1000 adults; Male 405/1000 adults
Life expectancy at birth: 54,3
Life expectancy (years) : Female 49,5; Male 46,7
Population annual growth rate: 2.4% .
Homicide rate: 20.2/100 000
Refugees in: 1.200
HIV / AIDS (% ages 15-49) prevalence rate: 3.9

Source UNDP HDR 2014

Head of State: José Mário Vaz (PAIGC), since May 2014

President of the National Assembly: Cipriano Cassama (PAIGC), since July 2019

Prime Minister: Aristides Gomes (PAIGC), since July 2019

Foreign Minister: Suzy Carla Barbosa, since July 2019

National Institutions: The Constitution was adopted in 1984 and amended in 1991.

Legislative Branch: 102 members of the unicameral National Assembly elected for a term of four years, the last elections held November 16, 2008.

Executive Power: A President elected by popular vote for a term of five years and a Prime Minister appointed by the President, taking into account the results of the legislative elections and the most voted party and after consultations with party leaders in the National Assembly. Elections were held on April/May 2014 marking the return to constitutional order after the 12 April 2012 coup. The last presidential elections took place in 29 december 2019

Judiciary: Supreme Court of Justice. The office of President is mandated to 2 terms of 5 years each.

Main Political Parties: (Ordered according to the results of the last parliamentary elections in April 2014): The African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) won 57 seats in a total of 102 in the National Assembly; the Party of former President Yala, the Party for Social Renewal (PRS) obtained 41 seats; the Union for Change (UM), 2 seats; the Party for New Democracy, 1 seat; and the Party for Democratic Convergence (PCD), 1seat.


GNI per capita: 1,090
GDP : $ 1,9 billions
GDP per capita: $ 1.164
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (% of GDP) : 2.0
Private capital flows (% of GDP): - 2.6
Remittances (% of GDP): Inflows: 4.74
Employment to population ratio (% ages 25 and older): 77.8
Child labor (% ages 5-14): 38
Internet users (%): 2

Guinea-Bissau's GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, as well as its Human Development Index (2014 UNDP HDR Ranking, 177 out of 185: 0,396). More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The economy depends mainly on agriculture: cashew nuts and ground nuts are its major exports; also fish. A long period of political instability has resulted in depressed economic activity, deteriorating social conditions and macroeconomic imbalances.