Guinea Bissau

Guinea Bissau ALERT: Radio sta...

Guinea Bissau ALERT: Radio stations ordered to close down

Guinea Bissau’s privately-owned radio stations were on March 2, 2009 ordered by the country’s authorities to cease broadcasting. Media Foundation...

GUINEA-BISSAU-SENEGAL: Assassinations breed uncertainty in neighbouring Casamance

The recent assassinations of Guinea-Bissau’s president and army chief have cast a deep uncertainty over Senegal’s restive Casamance region, where a...
GUINEA-BISSAU: Military reform...

GUINEA-BISSAU: Military reform more important than ever

Reforming Guinea-Bissau’s army and police units is now more pressing than ever to avoid instability say UN officials and government representatives. ...

GUINEA-BISSAU: Coup attempt highlights vulnerability

DAKAR Monday, November 24, 2008 (IRIN) - An apparent coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau on 23 November has underscored the country’s chronic political...

6 Guinea-Bissau troops arrested in attempted coup

Guinea-Bissau's government says six soldiers have been arrested in the West African country a day after armed men attacked the president's...

Senegal troops for Bissau border

Senegal is sending troop reinforcements to the border with Guinea-Bissau, after the weekend attack on its President Joao Bernardo Vieira. Senegal's...

National name: Républica da Guiné-Bissau


Capital: Bissau
Major Towns: Catio, Cacheu, Bafata, Gabu
Location (geographical coordinates/latitude and longitude): 11°52'N, 15°36'W
Time Zone: GMT (UTC+0)
Size (Land and Sea): 36,120 sq km
Borders with Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m

Head of State: President: João Bernardo Vieira (2005), Prime Minister: Martinho Ndafa Kabi (2007)
Form of Government: Republic
Independancy (from Portugal): September 24 1973
Currency: CFA franc (XOF)

Main industries: Agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Natural resources: fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Agriculture: rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish

Population and People 

Population: 1,472,780 (July 2007 est.)
Population density per sq mi: 136
Growth rate: 2.1%
Birth rate: 36.81 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.79 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 103.3/1000
Religion: Indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%
Languages: Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
Ethnic groups / Tribes: African 99% (includes Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
Age Structure: 0-14 years: 41.2% (male 302,408/female 303,786); 15-64 years: 55.8% (male 394,799/female 427,055); 65 years and over: 3% (male 18,463/female 26,269) (2007 est.)
Life expectancy: 47.2
Literacy (definition: age 15 and over can read and write): Total population: 42.4%; male: 58.1%; female: 27.4% (2003 est.)

  • One of the smallest nations in continental Africa
  • Former Portuguese colony
  • The islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau (the Bijagos Archipelago) are of exceptional beauty
  • Home of Turtles, sharks, manatees, and a very special and very rare form of hippopotamus that lives mostly in salt-water
  • The interior of Guinea-Bissau was not explored until the nineteenth century although Portuguese colonisation at the coast started in 17th century
  • Orango is one of the Bijagós Islands and inhabitants developed a number of distinct matrimonial traditions which are unique with respect to the role played by women: Orango is run by a matriarchy, in which the women choose their husbands, making each spouse-to-be a single plate of food (often a traditional fish eye platter). Agreement is marked by the eating of the fish.
  • The calabash is the primary musical instrument of Guinea-Bissau
  • Bissau, the capital, has a Portuguese quarter with winding streets and Mediterranean-style houses, Museum of African Artefacts and a covered central market.
  • The River Zoo Farm, a 200-hectare (500-acre) area which is bordered by two freshwater rivers and a lake, has thousands of birds, big mammals and other native fauna which are living freely