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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Guinea-Bissau

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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. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

One of the five poorest countries in the world, guinea-bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years, and the country now ranks sixth in cashew production. guinea-bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. rice is the major crop and staple food. however, intermittent fighting between senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998; the civil war led to a 28% drop in gdp that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2002. before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under imf sponsorship. the tightening of monetary policy and the development of the private sector had also begun to reinvigorate the economy. because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources is not a near-term prospect. offshore oil prospecting is underway in several sectors but has not yet led to commercially viable crude deposits. the inequality of income distribution is one of the most extreme in the world. the government and international donors continue to work out plans to forward economic development from a lamentably low base. in december 2003, the world bank, imf, and undp were forced to step in to provide emergency budgetary support in the amount of $107 million for 2004, representing over 80% of the total national budget. government drift and indecision, however, resulted in continued low growth in 2002-06. higher raw material prices boosted growth to 3.7% in 2007.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing

Government Type



1,503,182 (july 2008 est.)


Western africa, bordering the north atlantic ocean, between guinea and senegal


Total: 36,120 sq km land: 28,000 sq km water: 8,120 sq km

Slightly less than three times the size of connecticut

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of guinea-bissau conventional short form: guinea-bissau local long form: republica da guine-bissau local short form: guine-bissau former: portuguese guinea


Name: bissau geographic coordinates: 11 51 n, 15 35 w time difference: utc 0 (5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18 years of age for selective compulsory military service (2006)

International Disputes

In 2006, political instability within senegal's casamance region resulted in thousands of senegalese refugees, cross-border raids, and arms smuggling into guinea-bissau

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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