Guinea-Bissau Flag Icon

Guinea-Bissau Country Guide

Explore Guinea-Bissau in Africa

Guinea-Bissau with the capital city Bissau is located in Africa (Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean). It covers some 36,121 square kilometres (slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut) with 1,503,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Guinea-Bissau

The topography includes mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east. The average density of population is approximately 42 per km². The notable climate conditions in Guinea-Bissau can be described as tropical with generally hot and humid, monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds, dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds. Possible natural disasters include hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season or brush fires.

To reach someone in Guinea-Bissau dial +245 prior to a number. There are 4,800 installed telephones. And there are 560,300 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".gw". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Guinea-Bissau

Two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; there is a black five-pointed star centered in the red band; yellow symbolizes the sun; green denotes hope; red represents blood shed during the struggle for independence; the black star stands for African unity
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the flag design was heavily influenced by the Ghanaian flag.

Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo ''Nino'' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country''s first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA''s ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was overthrown in a bloodless military coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009, but he passed away in January 2012 from an existing illness. A military coup in April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau''s second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA''s successor - from taking place.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Senegal, Guinea
Capital: Bissau
Size 36,120 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 13,946 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Population 1,503,000
Currency Name: Franc, Currency Code: XOF
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .gw
Telephone Country Prefix +245
Mobile Phone Connections 560,300
Landline Phone Connections 4,800

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 36,125 (sq km) 138

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 1,660,870 152
Population growth rate 1.95 (%) 56
Birth rate 34.28 (births/1,000 population) 30
Death rate 14.77 (deaths/1,000 population) 5
Maternal mortality rate 790.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 6
Infant mortality rate 92.66 (deaths/1,000 live births) 5
Life expectancy at birth 49.50 (years) 221
Total fertility rate 4.37 (children born/woman) 32
Health expenditures 8.50 (% of GDP) 52
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 2.50 (%) 26
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 22,000 75
HIV/AIDS - deaths 1,200 65
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 4.90 (%) 159
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 17.20 (%) 43


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 1,963,000,000 193
GDP - real growth rate -1.50 (%) 204
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,200 212
Labor force 632,700 154
Taxes and other revenues 15.5 (% of GDP) 186
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -4.00 (% of GDP) 137
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 6.40 (%) 167
Central bank discount rate 4.75 (%) 73
Commercial bank prime lending rate 15.00 (%) 42
Stock of narrow money 323,800,000 171
Stock of broad money 414,300,000 180
Stock of domestic credit 150,800,000 184
Industrial production growth rate 4.70 (%) 66
Current account balance -151,400,000 72
Exports 125,000,000 187
Imports 254,100,000 203
Debt - external 1,095,000,000 156


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 65,000,000 (kWh) 202
Electricity - consumption 60,450,000 (kWh) 203
Electricity - installed generating capacity 21000 (kW) 196
Electricity - from fossil fuels 100.0 (% of total installed capacity) 31
Refined petroleum products - consumption 2,922 (bbl/day) 182
Refined petroleum products - imports 2,578 (bbl/day) 174
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 461,700 (Mt) 180


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 5,000 210
Telephones - mobile cellular 869,100 157
Internet hosts 90 212
Internet users 37,100 177


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 8 161
Roadways 3,455 (km) 161


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 4.30 (% of GDP) 22

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

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