Country Profile

Country Profile - Guinea Bissau

Country Profile Of Guinea-Bissau

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 ousted by the military in a bloodless 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; new elections are to take place in June 2009.


Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal

Capital: Bissau

Head of State: chief of state: [Transitional] President Manuel Serifo NHAMADJO (since 11 May 2012)
note: in the aftermath of the April 2012 coup that deposed the government, an agreement was reached between ECOWAS mediators and the military junta to name NHAMADJO as transitional president with a one-year term; the transitional government has scheduled a presidential election for 24 November 2013
head of government: [Transitional] Prime Minister Rui Duarte BARROS (since 16 May 2012)

Independence: 24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)  

Population (million): 1,660.870 July 2013

Population growth rate : 1.98 % 2013

Ethnic group: African 99% (includes Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%

Religions: Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%

Languages:Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages

Natural resources:fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum  

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF)

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