About
Nonprofit Tools
Contact
Help

Search by country

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau

Summary

The small coastal country of Guinea-Bissau has a bloody, tumultuous political history, and a high turnover rate of public office in recent years. The country has the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in the world, and is notorious for poor healthcare and infrastructure. The economy is largely dependent on the cashew industry, which is responsible for the creation of 85% of jobs for Guinea-Bissau’s labor force.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pu.html

Demographics

Nationality
Bissau-Guinean
Population
1,660,870 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Guinea-Bissau Subcases

Click and view Guinea-Bissau subcases and learn more about our Guinea-Bissau

Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

Major threats to Guinea-Bissau’s environment include deforestation, fires, soil erosion, overfishing, and overgrazing.1 One specific concern is the prevalence of slash-and-burn agriculture, practiced widely throughout Guinea, which has led to soil degradation and erosion.2 Guinea-Bissau is in the process of integrating climate change mitigation methods and adaptation scenarios into their national policies and frameworks. 3 Another threat to the coastal region of Guinea-Bissau is overfishing by other countries that know the local governments lack the power to enforce national fishing laws.4

Family

Families tend to be large in Guinea-Bissau. Arranged marriage is commonly practiced and bride prices are a cultural expectation of marriage arrangements. Polygamy is accepted in Bissau-Guinean society, which some believe contributes to higher rates of abandonment and neglect of children.1-2 Guinea is considered one of the deadliest places to give birth on earth, due to poor maternal care and limited access to health facilities. Domestic violence is a prevalent issue, a protest was held for 16 days in early 2017 to bring awareness to the problem.3. Additionally, many women in Guinea-Bissau undergo genital mutilation; nearly 45% of women between the ages of 14 and 49 undergo the operation. 81% of the women in the country believe that the practice should be stopped4

Human Rights

Years of coups, attempted coups, and political unrest have left Guinea-Bissau’s history littered with human rights violations. Political repression and limitations on expression have forced many citizens to either go into hiding or live in fear.1 Reports of extrajudicial executions have circulated, as well as other violent abuses of power by soldiers and citizens alike.2 Power struggles and extreme violence are undermining state control, and the authorities are usually the ones committing violence against their citizens. The extreme poverty of the majority of the citizens only increases tensions.3 There are reports of political officials being expelled from the National Assembly’s Parliament Commission for not supporting certain programs. Rights abuses are rampant in prisons; detainees have to rely on their families to bring them food and Read More water.4 Show Less

Education

Spending on education constitutes only 2.2% of Guinea-Bissau’s GDP.1 The education system continues to suffer from shortages in facilities, staff, and educational resources.2 60% of the population is literate and enrollment in primary education is very low. The most recent survey in 2013 revealed that only 59% of children complete their primary education.3 Attempts at education reforms have not been successful because of the political instability that continually undermines any potential changes. Teachers frequently go on strike and education spending decreases each year.4

Poverty

Approximately 67% of Guinea-Bissau’s population lives under the poverty line.1 Guinea-Bissau’s economy is highly dependent on foreign aid, and domestic wealth creation is severely undermined by the poor quality of education.2 Political instability and violence have exacerbated poor economic conditions, further entrenching poverty in society.3 Furthermore, high levels of poverty continue to hinder families’ ability to provide for children and prevent the country from further development.4 The economy and job security is highly dependent on the cashew industry; 85% of Bissau-Guinean jobs are related to the industry.5

Religion

The constitution of Guinea-Bissau supports religious freedom. Institutions are expected to register with the state, and in general there were no reports of bias in acceptance of these applications. Approximately 40% of the population is Muslim, 31% follow indigenous religious practices, and 20% are Christian.1

Clean Water

98% of the urban population in Guinea-Bissau has access to clean water, and this statistic drops to 60% in rural areas.1 Furthermore, only 20% of the total population has access to sanitation facilities, and this number falls to 8.5% in rural settings.2 Additionally, many of the wells that provide villages with clean water are contaminated and there are not adequate measures in place to sanitize them.3

Economy

Corruption, restrictive labor, limited entrepreneurial freedom, and inflation are major impediments to economic growth in Guinea-Bissau.1 Corruption and weak enforcement measures directly undermine growth and economic freedom.3 The legal economy of Guinea-Bissau is largely based on fishing and farming; particularly, cashew farming. The majority of the country’s trade relationships are with India, Portugal, and Senegal. Narcotics trafficking is the most lucrative business in the country. 67% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the public debt is 46.3% of GDP.4

Government

Guinea-Bissau ranks 168th out of 176 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The public scores their government a low 16 out of 100.1 One major source of corruption is the country’s lucrative illicit drug trade. Additionally, judicial officials are poorly trained and paid and are highly susceptible to corruption and political pressure.2 Guinea-Bissau’s government has been plagued by military coups and instability, and government elections are frequently delayed. The armed forces of the country are not adequately controlled and they are often the perpetrators of human rights abuses.3

Health

The health indicators for the citizens of Guinea-Bissau are some of the worst in the entire African continent. The lack of adequate care, facilities, staff, and medical resources prevent many Guinean citizens from accessing even the most basic care. 1 Guinea-Bissau has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in all of Africa, disquietingly high child mortality rates and alarmingly high death rates from curable diseases like malaria and diarrheal diseases.2 The life expectancy is 51 years. 17% of children under the age of five are malnourished. Infant mortality is the fourth highest in the world at85.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate is the 18th highest internationally, with 549 deaths per 100,000 live births.3

Children

Child trafficking continues to be a serious problem in Guinea-Bissau. Children may be kidnapped or sold and forced to beg on behalf of institutions, commercially sexually exploited, or forced into other forms of exploitative labor. Children comprise the majority of Guinea’s trafficking victims. Young girls are at a particular risk of being forced into domestic servitude in families.1 Polygamy and the AIDS crises have led to increased child abandonment and neglect, which makes children increasingly vulnerable to poverty, malnourishment, and trafficking.2 17% of children under the age of five are underweight.3 22% of children in Guinea-Bissau are married by the time they are 18 years old.4

Animals

The coastal environment and tropical climate of the Afrotropical zone is home to the most developed patch of Mangrove trees in western Africa. In addition, the pygmy hippopotamus, West African manatee, and a variety of migratory birds have habitats in the small country. The largest threats facing the mangrove trees are agricultural practices, deforestation, and urban development.1

Guinea-Bissau

News

Loading...