Republica da Guiné-Bissau (Republic of Guinea-Bissau)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Bissau

  • Population estimate, 2015: 1.84 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 1,362

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.420/178

  • Internet domain extension: .gw

Civil Aviation

There is an international airport serving Bissau (Osvaldo Vieira). In 2010 there were scheduled flights to Conakry, Dakar, Lisbon and Praia.


The tropical climate has a wet season from June to Nov., when rains are abundant, but the hot, dry Harmattan wind blows from Dec. to May. Bissau, Jan. 76 °F (24.4 °C), July 80 °F (26.7 °C). Annual rainfall 78″ (1,950 mm).

Constitution and Government

A new constitution was promulgated on 16 May 1984 and has been amended five times since, most recently in 1996. The Revolutionary Council, established following the 1980 coup, was replaced by a 15-member Council of State, while in April 1984 a new National People’s Assembly was elected comprising 150 representatives elected by and from the directly-elected regional councils for 5-year terms. The sole political movement was the Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde (PAIGC), but in Dec. 1990 a policy of ‘integral multi-partyism’ was announced, and in May 1991 the National Assembly voted unanimously to abolish the law making the PAIGC the sole party. The President is Head of State and Government and is elected for a 5-year term. The National Assembly now has a maximum of 102 members. In the wake of the coup of April 2012 the military junta suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament (although it was resumed in Nov. 2012), and defied international demands for the constitution’s restoration.


In May 1997 Guinea-Bissau joined the French Franc Zone, and the peso was replaced by the franc CFA at 65 pesos = one franc CFA. The franc CFA (XOF) has a parity rate of 655.957 francs CFA to one euro.


There is selective conscription. In 2012 defence expenditure totalled US$26 m., with spending per capita US$16. The 2012 expenditure represented 2.9% of GDP.


In 2012 agriculture accounted for 38.7% of GDP; followed by commerce, 18.5%; food processing, 11.3%; public administration services, 7.9%; transport and telecommunications, 5.0%.


The labour force in 2010 was 648,000 (52.7% males). Guinea-Bissau had 12,000 people living in slavery according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2013 Global Slavery Index.


There are no daily newspapers. In 2008 there were six non-daily papers, which had a combined weekly circulation of 10,000 copies.


In 2010 there were an estimated 680,000 Muslims, 470,000 followers of folk religions and 300,000 Christians according to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.


In 2009 there were about 4,400 km of roads, of which 10% were paved. In 2008 there were 42,200 passenger cars in use (27 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2007) and 9,300 lorries and vans.


The main port is Bissau; minor ports are Bolama, Cacheu and Catió.

Social Statistics

2008 births (estimates), 65,000; deaths, 27,000. Estimated rates per 1,000 population, 2008: births, 41.2; deaths, 17.2. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 2.4%. Life expectancy, 2013: male, 52.8 years; female, 55.8. Infant mortality, 2010, 92 per 1,000 live births; fertility rate, 2008, 5.7 births per woman.


There were an estimated 5,000 fixed telephone lines in 2010 (3.3 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 402,000 mobile phone subscriptions in 2011 (or 259.8 per 1,000 inhabitants). There were 24.5 internet users per 1,000 inhabitants in 2010. Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 699 in 2009 (0.5 per 1,000 inhabitants).

Territory and Population

Guinea-Bissau is bounded by Senegal in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and by Guinea in the east and south. It includes the adjacent archipelago of Bijagós. Area, 36,125 km2 (13,948 sq. miles). 2009 census population, 1,520,830 (783,196 females); density, 42.1 per km2. In 2011, 30.2% of the population were urban. The largest ethnic group are the Balanta (nearly a third of the population), Fulani, Manjaco and Mandinga. Portuguese remains the official language, but Crioulo is spoken throughout the country.


In 2007, 30,000 non-resident tourists arrived by air.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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