For More...

Facts


Population: Estimate 1,924,530 for move visit Worldpopulationreview
Area: 36 125 km²
Capital City: Bissau

 

Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa that covers 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,815,698. Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonized as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognized in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country’s name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea). Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term. Only 14% of the population speaks non colorized Portuguese, established as both the official and national language. Portuguese exists in creole continuum with Crioulo, a Portuguese creole spoken by half the population (44%) and an even larger number speaks it as second tongue. The remainder speak a variety of native African languages. There are diverse religions in Guinea-Bissau with no one religion having a majority. The CIA World Fact book (2018) states there are about 40% Muslims, 22% Christians, 15% Animists and 18% unspecified or other. The country’s per-capital gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world. The sovereign state of Guinea-Bissau is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, La Francophonie and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, and was a member of the now-defunct Latin Union.


Currency


Climate

Guinea-Bissau is warm all year around and there is little temperature fluctuation; it averages 26.3 °C (79.3 °F). The average rainfall for Bissau is 2,024 millimeters (79.7 in) although this is almost entirely accounted for during the rainy season which falls between June and September/October. From December through April, the country experiences drought.

 

Cuisine

Rice is a staple in the diet of residents near the coast and millet a staple in the interior. Fruits and vegetables are commonly eaten along with cereal grains. The Portuguese encouraged peanut production. Vigna subterranea (Bambara groundnut) and Macrotyloma geocarpum (Hausa groundnut) are also grown. Black-eyed peas are also part of the diet. Palm oil is harvested. Common dishes include soups and stews. Common ingredients include yams, sweet potato, cassava, onion, tomato and plantain. Spices, peppers and chilis are used in cooking, including Aframomum melegueta seeds (Guinea pepper).


Economy

Guinea-Bissau’s GDP per capital is one of the lowest in the world, and its Human Development Index is one of the lowest on earth. More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The economy depends mainly on agriculture; fish, cashew nuts and ground nutsare its major exports. A long period of political instability has resulted in depressed economic activity, deteriorating social conditions, and increased macroeconomic imbalances. It takes longer on average to register a new business in Guinea-Bissau (233 days or about 33 weeks) than in any other country in the world except Suriname. Guinea-Bissau has started to show some economic advances after a pact of stability was signed by the main political parties of the country, leading to an IMF-backed structural reform program. The key challenges for the country in the period ahead are to achieve fiscal discipline, rebuild public administration, improve the economic climate for private investment, and promote economic diversification. After the country became independent from Portugal in 1974 due to the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution, the rapid exodus of the Portuguese civilian, military, and political authorities resulted in considerable damage to the country’s economic infrastructure, social order, and standard of living. After several years of economic downturn and political instability, in 1997, Guinea-Bissau entered the CFA franc monetary system, bringing about some internal monetary stability. The civil war that took place in 1998 and 1999, and a military coup in September 2003 again disrupted economic activity, leaving a substantial part of the economic and social infrastructure in ruins and intensifying the already widespread poverty. Following the parliamentary elections in March 2004 and presidential elections in July 2005, the country is trying to recover from the long period of instability, despite a still-fragile political situation. Beginning around 2005, drug traffickers based in Latin America began to use Guinea-Bissau, along with several neighboring West African nations, as a transshipment point to Europe for cocaine. The nation was described by a United Nations official as being at risk for becoming a “narco-state”. The government and the military have done little to stop drug trafficking, which increased after the 2012 coup d’état.

 

Ethnic Groups

Guinea-Bissau present-day settlement pattern of the ethnic groups. The population of Guinea-Bissau is ethnically diverse and has many distinct languages, customs, and social structures. Bissau-Guineans can be divided into the following ethnic groups:
  • Fula and the Mandinka-speaking people, who comprise the largest portion of the population and are concentrated in the north and northeast;
  • Balanta and Papel people, who live in the southern coastal regions; and
  • Manjaco and Mancanha, who occupy the central and northern coastal areas.

Most of the remainder are mestiços of mixed Portuguese and African descent, including a Cape Verdean minority. Portuguese natives comprise a very small percentage of Bissau-Guineans. After Guinea-Bissau gained independence, most of the Portuguese nationals left the country. The country has a tiny Chinese population. These include traders and merchants of mixed Portuguese and Chinese ancestry from Macau, a former Asian Portuguese colony.

 

Foreign Relations

Guinea-Bissau follows a nonaligned foreign policy and seeks friendly and cooperative relations with a wide variety of states and organizations.

 

Language

Despite being a small country Guinea-Bissau has several ethnic groups which are very distinct from each other, with their own cultures and languages. This is due that Guinea-Bissau was a refugee territory due to migrations within Africa. Colonization and miscegenation brought Portuguese and the Portuguese creole, the Kriol or crioulo. Although perceived as one of the national languages of Guinea-Bissau since independence, Standard Portuguese is spoken mostly as a second language, with few native speakers and often confined to the intellectual and political elites. It is the language of government and national communication as a legacy of colonial rule. Portuguese is the only language with official status; schooling from primary to university levels is conducted in Portuguese although only 67% of children have access to any formal education. Data suggested the number of Portuguese speakers ranges from 11 to 15%. The Portuguese creole is spoken by 44% which is effectively the national language of communication among distinct groups for most of the population. The Creole is still expanding, and it is understood by the vast majority of the population. However, decreolization processes are occurring, due to undergoing interference from Standard Portuguese and the creole forms a continuum of varieties with the standard language, the most distant are basilects and the closer ones, acrolects. A post-creole continuum exists in Guinea-Bissau and Crioulo ‘leve’ (‘soft’ Creole) variety being closer to the Portuguese-language norm.

 

Politics

Guinea-Bissau is a republic. In the past, the government had been highly centralized. Multi-party governance was not established until mid-1991. The president is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government. Since 1974, no president has successfully served a full five-year term. At the legislative level, a unicameral Assembleia Nacional Popular (National People’s Assembly) is made up of 100 members. They are popularly elected from multi-member constituencies to serve a four-year term. The judicial system is headed by a Tribunal Supremo da Justiça (Supreme Court), made up of nine justices appointed by the president; they serve at the pleasure of the president. The two main political parties are the PAIGC (African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde) and the PRS (Party for Social Renewal). There are more than 20 minor parties.


Health

The WHO estimates there are fewer than 5 physicians per 100,000 persons in the country, down from 12 per 100,000 in 2007. The prevalence of HIV-infection among the adult population is 1.8%. Only 20% of infected pregnant women receive anti retroviral coverage to prevent transmission to newborns. Malaria kills more residents; 9% of the population have reported infection, It causes three times as many deaths as AIDS. In 2008, fewer than half of children younger than five slept under antimalaria nets or had access to antimalarial drugs. The WHO’s estimate of life expectancy for a female child born in 2008 was 49 years, and 47 years for a boy. Despite lowering rates in surrounding countries, cholera rates were reported in November 2012 to be on the rise, with 1,500 cases reported and nine deaths. A 2008 cholera epidemic in Guinea-Bissau affected 14,222 people and killed 225. The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Guinea Bissau was 1000. This compares with 804.3 in 2008 and 966 in 1990. The under-5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births, was 195 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under-5 mortality was 24. The number of midwives per 1,000 live births was 3; one out of eighteen pregnant women die as a result of pregnancy. According to a 2013 UNICEF report, 50% of women in Guinea Bissau had undergone female genital mutilation. In 2010, Guinea Bissau had the seventh-highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

 

Religion

In 2010, a Pew Research survey found that Christianity is practiced by 62% of the country’s population, with Muslims making up the remaining 38%. Most of Guinea-Bissau’s Muslims are of the Sunni denomination with approximately 2% belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect. Many residents practice syncretic forms of Islamic and Christian faiths, combining their practices with traditional African beliefs. Muslims dominate the north and east, while Christians dominate the south and coastal regions. The Roman Catholic Church claims most of the Christian community. Other estimates claim that Christianity is not the dominant religion as there are 45% Muslims, 31% Animists and 22% Christians. However, according to Worldatlas Christianity is considered to be growing in the country, especially among the followers of traditional religions.

Comments are closed.