macrohistory & world report

Republic of Guinea-Bissau

Map of Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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."

Estimated per capita GDP (2010 US dollars)
2010: $1,100

Labor force in agriculture
2000: 82%

Corruption Perception Index
2010: 2.1

Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births) 2011: 96.23 (ranks 7th)
2005: 107.17

Average life expectancy at birth
2011: 48.7
2005: 46.9


July 2013: 1.66 million

Living in an urban area
2010: 30%

Birth and death rates per 1,000 population
2011: Births 35.15, deaths 15.27

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

Literacy (age 15 and over)
2003: males 42%, females 27.4%


Western Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. Tropical, generally hot and humid. Slightly smaller in area than three times the size of Connecticut.


A military coup occurred in April 2012

The president is elected by popular vote to five-year terms with no term limits. The legislature – the National People's Assembly – has 199 members elected by popular vote to four-year terms.

Capital: Bissau.

Recent History

Independence from Portugal in 1974. Independence began with rule by a single political party and state commanded economy.

A military coup in 1980 put Joao Vieira in power and began a move to a market economy and freedom for a variety of political parties to function. Vieira survived a number of coup attempts in the 1980s and early 90s. Vieira became president following the country's first free election in 1994.

1998: An attempted  military coup civil war is followed by Vieira's removal in 1999.

In September 2003 a bloodless coup ousted another elected president, Kumba Yala. 

April 2012: The military takes power. Major General Mamadu Ture Kuruma (or N'Krumah) (born 26 April, 1947) led the coup. On May 18, 2012, the UN Security council adopted a resolution on the travel ban for members of the Military Command, including N'Krumah.

The World Factbook

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