Guinea-Bissau is a small independent republic which lies on the bulge of Africa to the north of Guinea and forms part of the West African Region.
The capital city is Bissau. Other major towns are Nova Lamego and Gabu and the ports of Bubaque and Abu. The official language is Portugese but Crioulo is widely spoken. The local currency is the Guinea peso. (US$ / Peso – current exchange rate).
The international time zone for Guinea-Bissau is GMT and the international dialing code is +245. The principal airline flying to Guinea-Bissau is Air Portugal. A number of regional airlines also serve the international airport at Bissau. As at January 1996 all nationals except those of Nigeria and Cape Verde require visas in order to visit Guinea-Bissau.
Malaria , hepatitis A, typhoid fever, yellow fever (regional), cholera, typhoid fever and schistosomiasis may be contracted while travelling in Guinea-Bissau. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation. Travellers should be aware that advance payment for medical services may be required. Prescription medicines and prescriptions should be carried in their original containers. Vaccinations should be obtained before entering Guinea-Bissau.
Agriculture is the basis of Guinea-Bissau’s economy. Cashew nuts and groundnuts are the main export crops while tobacco, coconuts, sugar and palm kernels are also grown for export. Food crops include rice, plantains, maize, cassava, sorghum, millet, sweet potatoes and beans, most of which are produced by subsistence farmers. Livestock are also kept in the areas of higher altitude. Although fish and timber are exported at present, both industries hold potential for growth. GDP in 2002 of US$215.8 million was made up of agriculture 58.1%, industry 12.2% and services 29.7%. FDI in 2001 amounted to US$30.1 million.
In 2001, no economic growth was recorded due to weak demand associated with the fall of cashew exports prices and a sizable loss of foreign assistance. An urgent need to establish a sustainable program for government finances, strengthen the revenue base, regain control over public expenditures, and move forward with the programs for demobilization and for the settlement of domestic arrears in an accountable and transparent manner.
The Guinea-Bissau oil industry is dependent on the importation of all petroleum products. There is a fledgling mining industry which offers some investment potential. Although there is potential for gold, phosphate, bauxite and oil mining, at present the costs of exploration are more than the country can afford.
Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility Electricidade et Aguas de Guinee Bissau.
Political disruptions and fighting disrupted the country’s economy in 1998. Prior to this, an IMF structural adjustment program was being implemented, bringing reforms in trade and liberalization of prices.
The military conflict that took place in Guinea-Bissau from June 1998 to May 1999 caused severe damage to the infrastructure and disrupted economic activity.
Economic Community of West African States, International Finance Corporation, World Trade Organisation, West African Economic and Monetary Union, Union monétaire ouest-africaine
Becude, Block 2 – Guinea Bassau, Block 3 – Guinea Bassau, Croix du Sud Block – Guinea Bassau, Dome Flore Block – Guinea Bassau, Farim
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