Guinea-Bissau’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 1.8 million, making it the smallest country in West Africa. The majority of Guinean citizens identify as Muslims, with a sizeable minority of Christians also present. The Guinean economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and fishing, with these two industries accounting for nearly two-thirds of the country’s GDP. Other exports include cashews and timber. Guinea-Bissau has strong trade ties with its West African neighbours, particularly Senegal and Guinea, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Guinea-Bissau is a unitary presidential republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 José Mário Vaz was the President after winning reelection in 2014. In foreign relations, Guinea-Bissau is a member of both the United Nations and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its West African neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Guinea-Bissau and Senegal over maritime border disputes. See ehealthfacts for Guinea-Bissau in the year of 2005.
Guinea Bissau. According to COUNTRYAAH, Bissau is the capital of Guinea-Bissau which is located in Western Africa. Cooperation difficulties between President José Mário Vaz and Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira led to a prolonged government crisis during the year. In June, the prime minister was put before a vote of confidence in Parliament in which he received massive support from the members. In August, however, Vaz disbanded the government, which he accused of corruption and nepotism. Instead of Simões Pereira, the president appointed former Minister of Defense Baciro Djá as head of government. The week before the appointment, Djá had been excluded from Parliament’s largest party PAIGC (African Independence Party for Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde), which both Vaz and Simões Pereira also represent. In early September, however, Djá resigned after the Supreme Court declared that his appointment was contrary to the Constitution.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Guinea-Bissau country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
After Vaz asked PAIGC to submit a proposal for a new head of government, in September Carlos Correia was appointed prime minister, a position held by Correia on three previous occasions in 1991–2009. Vaz refused to approve the government that Correia presented in October with the argument that it was too large, but also because too many of the ministers were in Simões Pereira’s government. In the government approved later in the month, there were also two small parties with a few mandates represented in the National Assembly.
In March, the EU resumed all cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, including direct financial support. This had been withheld since the military revolt in the country in 2010. The EU’s decision to resume cooperation was made after the 2014 elections, which were considered free and credible.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 3,171,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||5.90%|
|GDP per capita||1,900 USD|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||–|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||0.70%|
|National debt||53.90% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves|
On the international level, Vieira tried in recent years to get the country out of isolation, aiming to establish relations of economic cooperation. The main interlocutor was Portugal with which an agreement was stipulated in 1996 aimed at improving relations especially in the defense sector; a further rapprochement between the two countries took place in January 1998. On the other hand, relations with Senegal were more difficult, with which a dispute over the sovereignty of some maritime border areas, considered rich in oil fields and important fishing reserves, had been ongoing since 1989. The detente between the two countries, sanctioned by the agreement reached in 1993, which provided for a common management of the economic resources present in the disputed areas, risked being compromised by the raids carried out in 1995 by the Senegalese air force on some villages of the Guinea-Bissau located in the border area considered by the government of Dakar as a refuge for the guerrillas of the separatist movement of Casamance (the southern province of Senegal). The dialogue, however, was not interrupted and was resumed in the following years.
The internal situation deteriorated sharply in June 1998, when following the mutiny of General Ansumane Mane, dismissed from the position of Chief of Staff because he was considered involved in the arms trafficking directed to the Senegalese separatists of Casamance, the country fell into a bloody civil war. The rebel general, supported by the army and the Muslim population of the north of the country, took control of the airport and the main road junctions of the capital, calling for Vieira’s resignation and new elections. Despite the dispatch of troops from Senegal and Guinea, the government forces were unable to quell the revolt and in the following months Bissau was marred by bloody clashes. The Portuguese mediation allowed the start of peace talks in September,1999) and the withdrawal of troops from Senegal and Guinea (carried out in March). In May 1999, however, Ansumane Mane took power and dismissed Vieira, forcing him to flee to Portugal. In his place, Malam Bacai Sanhá was appointed president, entrusted with the task of calling new elections. In July, Parliament approved a new Constitution that provided for only two presidential terms, abolished the death penalty and excluded citizens born to non-resident parents from key public office.