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Colonial town of Bafata in Guinea-Bissau
Colonial old town of Bafata, the capital of Bafatá Region in Guinea-Bissau. It was the birthplace of Amílcar Cabral, poet and one of Africa's foremost anti-colonial leaders.
Image: jbdodane
Flag of Guinea-Bissau
Flag of Guinea-Bissau
Location map of Guinea-Bissau. Where in Africa is Guinea-Bissau?
Location map of Guinea-Bissau

A virtual travel guide to Guinea-Bissau, a tropical nation with a coastline at the Atlantic Ocean in West Africa, situated between Senegal and Guinea. The country consists of a larger continental part and a smaller insular part that includes the Bijagós Archipelagos.

In former times the region of today Guinea-Bissau was part of the Kaabu Empire, a Mandinka kingdom (1537–1867) and a former province of the Mali Empire. The entire country became a Portuguese colony in the 19th century, known as Portuguese Guinea. In September 1973 the country declared independence as Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau covers an area of 36,125 km², making it somewhat smaller than Switzerland or somewhat larger than the US state of Maryland.

Guinea-Bissau has a population of about 1.54 million people (in 2016), capital and largest city is Bissau (pop. 390,000). Spoken languages are Portuguese (official), several West African languages, and Guinea-Bissau Creole, the lingua franca of the country.

Republic of Guinea-Bissau | República da Guiné-Bissau

Country Profile

Guinea-Bissau was the only country in West Africa to have fought its way to independence. The war with Portugal ended in 1974, but since the country has been plagued by coups and political unrest.

In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president, VIEIRA was a key figure in struggle against Portuguese colonial rule. 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 returned from asylum to win presidential election pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation. In March 2009 President VIEIRA was killed in an assassination attack. He was replaced by an elected leader (Malam Bacai Sanhá).
Guinea-Bissau is a major transit point for Latin American cocaine headed for Europe and some army officials are known to have become involved in the trade.

In April 2012 Guinea-Bissau troops staged a coup attempt, attacking the prime minister's residence, arresting politicians and taking over the national radio station and the ruling party headquarters. This took place short before the second round of Guinea-Bissau's presidential election and short after Angola's mission to support the military reform in the West African country (MISAANG) has ended.

related countries: Cape Verde, Portugal


Official Name:
República da Guiné-Bissau
short form: Guiné-Bissau
int'l long form: Republic of Guinea-Bissau
int'l short form: Guinea-Bissau
formerly: Portuguese Guinea (until 1974)

ISO Country Code: gw, GNB

Local Time = UTC (no GMT time offset)
Actual Time: Tue-July-16  20:49

Country Calling Code: +245

Capital City: Bissau

Other Cities: Bolama (former capital of Portuguese Guinea until 1941) Bafata, Gabu, Canchungo, Farim, Cacheu.

Type: Republic, multi-party since 1991.
Independence: 24 September 1973 (proclaimed unilaterally); 10 September 1974 (de jure from Portugal).

Location: Western Africa, between Guinea and Senegal, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean.
Area: (including Bijagós Archipelago): 36,000 km² (14,000 sq. mi).
Regions: Oio, Tombali, Cacheu, Bolama, Quinara, Biombo, Bafata, Gabu.
Terrain: Almost all of Guinea-Bissau is low-lying and bathed daily by tidal waters that reach as much as 62 miles (100 kilometres) inland; savanna in the east.

Climate: Tropical; generally hot and humid; rainy season (Jun - Nov)

Nationality: Bissau-Guinean(s).
Population: 1.54 million (2016)
Ethnic groups: Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%, others 16%.
Religions: Indigenous beliefs 50%, Muslim 45%, Christian 5%.
Languages: Portuguese (official), Crioulo, French, many indigenous languages: Balanta-Kentohe 26%; Pulaar 18%; Mandjak 12%; Mandinka 11%; Pepel 9%; Biafada; Mancanha; Bidyogo; Ejamat; Mansoanka; Bainoukgunyuno; Nalu; Soninke; Badjara; Bayote%; Kobiana; Cassanga, Basary.
Literacy: 40%

Natural resources: Fish and timber. Deposits of bauxite and phosphate are not exploited; offshore petroleum.

Agriculture products: Cashews, tropical fruits, rice, peanuts, cotton, palm oil.

Industries: Very little industrial capacity.

Exports - commodities: bauxite, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products

Exports - partners: India 22.5%, Spain 8.2%, Ireland 7.3%, Germany 6.2%, Belgium 5.5%, Ukraine 5.3%, France 4.1% (2015)

Imports - commodities: petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs

Imports - partners: China 20.4%, Netherlands 5.4%, India 4.4% (2015)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)
National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau
National People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau, the parliament building in Bissau.
Image: Colleen Taugher

Political system
Guinea-Bissau is a unitary semi-presidential republic, and since 1991 with a multi-party system. Head of state is the president, head of government is the prime minister. But a long-running dispute between factions in the ruling PAIGC party has brought the government to a political impasse; there have been five prime ministers since August 2015. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the unicameral National People's Assembly. The judicial system is headed by a Supreme Court.

Official Sites of Guinea-Bissau

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Government of Guinea-Bissau
Official website of Guinea-Bissau's government.

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to the United Nations
Website is under construction.
Botschaft Guinea-Bissau in Berlin
Embassy of Guinea-Bissau in Germany.


Map of Guinea-Bissau
Political map of Guinea-Bissau.
Administrative Map of Guinea-Bissau
Map of Guinea-Bissau showing its administrative regions.

Google Earth Google Earth Guinea-Bissau
Searchable map and satellite view of Guinea-Bissau.
Google Earth Google Earth Bissau
Searchable map and satellite vie of the capital city of Guinea-Bissau.

Political Map of Africa
The 54 countries of Africa.
Map of Africa
A Relief Map of Africa.



Agência de Notícias da Guiné - ANG
Guinea-Bissau News agency (in Portuguese)

International News Sources Guinea Bissau
Recent news from the West Africa republic.

Gazeta de Noticias
Some old news.

News from Guinea-Bissau provided by the UN news agency.

Notícias Lusófonas: Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau related news (in Portuguese)

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Arts & Culture

Imagens de Bissau - Images of Bissau.

Radio Cobiana
Music of Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau - Bijagós Archipelago
Guinea-Bissau Bijagós Archipelago
Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau
Agriculture in Guinea-Bissau
Image: LVIA

Business & Economy

Guinea-Bissau's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is one of the lowest in the world. Its economy is based mainly on agriculture, fish, cashew nuts and ground nuts are the main export products (more than 90%). Latin American-based drug traffickers are using Guinea Bissau and several other West African nations as a trans-shipment point for cocaine into Europe.

Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (BCEAO)
Central Bank of West African States of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA)
West African Economic and Monetary Union (in French)., le portail de la Zone Franc CFA
Information about business and investment in the Western African countries within the monetary system of the Franc Zone - CFA. (in French)

Varela beach Guinea-Bissau
Varela beach within Varela National Park, Guinea-Bissau, just south east of Cap Skiring in Senegal.
Image: Pis bus

Travel and Tour Consumer Information

Destination Guinea-Bissau - Travel and Tour Guides

Discover Guinea-Bissau: Bissau, Lagoas Cufada Natural Park, Bijagos Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, Parc Naturel des Mangroves du Fleuve Cacheu, Saltinho Waterfalls, Bijagós Archipellago (nice group of 80 plus islands, some with resorts).

Wikivoyage Guinea-Bissau
Travel information for Guinea-Bissau by Wikivoyage.

Guinea-Bissau Travel Information
Lonely Planet Destination Guide abou Guinea-Bissau

Guiné-Bissau: CONTRIBUTO
A website dedicated to Guinea-Bissau (in Portuguese)

Images of Guinea-Bissau
Website with images of Guinea-Bissau.

School kids in Biombo Region of Guinea-Bissau
School kids in Biombo Region of Guinea-Bissau.
Image: ora international


Universidade Amílcar Cabral
The only public university in the country is located in Bissau. (no website by now, July 2017)

Guinea-Bissau still way behind on education
IRIN news article about education in Guinea-Bissau.
Archipelago Bolama-Bijagos, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Archipelago Bolama-Bijagos in Guinea-Bissau is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Image: Powell.Ramsar

Environment & Nature

World Database of Protected Areas: Guinea-Bissau
List of National Parks and protected areas in Guinea-Bissau.

Birds and birding in Guinea Bissau
Site provides also information about Fauna and Flora of Guinea-Bissau.

Boloma Bijagos
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Information about the archipelago of 88 islands located on the coast of Guinea-Bissau.

Instituto da Biodiversidade e das Areas Protegidas (IBAP)
Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas in Guinea-Bissau. (in Portuguese)


History of Guinea-Bissau
Wikipedia entry for Guinea-Bissau's history.

Sources and additional Information on Guinea-Bissau

Amnesty International: Guinea-Bissau

BBC Country Profile: Guinea-Bissau

FAO: Guinea-Bissau

GlobalEDGE: Guinea-Bissau

The Heritage Foundation: Guinea-Bissau

Human Rights Watch: Guinea-Bissau

OEC: Guinea-Bissau

Reporters Without Borders:Guinea-Bissau

Wikipedia: Guinea-Bissau

The World Factbook -- Guinea-Bissau
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