GUINEA-BISSAU

Republic of Guinea-Bissau
República da Guiné-Bissau

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Guinea-Bissau lies on the west coast of Africa, with Senegal to the north and Guinea to the east and south. With a total area of 36,120 square kilometers (13,946 square miles), the country is a bit less than 3 times the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut. It has about 300 kilometers (186 miles) of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. Guinea-Bissau also controls a set of islands, named Bolama, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) off the coast. The capital and largest city, Bissau, is located on the coast and has the only international airport in the country.

POPULATION.

The United Nations estimated that in 1997 the population stood at 1.1 million. As of July 2001, the World Factbook estimated the population to be 1,315,822. United Nations estimates put population growth at 2.7 percent in the years 1975 to 1997. By 2001, the World Factbook had estimated population growth to have dropped to 2.23 percent. The average woman in Guinea-Bissau has more than 5 children.

The population is composed of many ethnic groups, with the largest being the Balanta (30 percent), followed by the Fula (20 percent), Manjaca (14 percent), and Mandinga (13 percent). Other groups include Cape Verdean expatriates, Syrian Lebanese, and some Portuguese. Nearly half (45 percent) of the population is Muslim, and the Muslim community dominates the commercial sector and, increasingly, the government.

About 20 percent of the population was estimated to live in or near Bissau. The rest of the population lives as agriculturists in 8 mainly rural regions.

MONEY

Guinea-Bissau since 1997 has been a member of the 8-member UEMOA, and the currency is the CFA franc. The BCEAO issues currency notes and regulates credit expansion throughout the region. Since 1999, the CFA franc has been tied to the euro at 655.959:1 given that France has joined the European Monetary Union.

DEPENDENCIES

Guinea-Bissau has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Economist Intelligence Unit Country Profile: Guinea-Bissau. London: EIU, 2000.

Forrest, Joshua. Guinea-Bissau: Power, Conflict, and Renewal in a West African Nation. Boulder: Westview Press, 1992.

"Guinea-Bissau." World Yearbook. London: Europa Publications,2000.

Hodd, M. "Guinea-Bissau." The Economies of Africa. Aldershot:Dartmouth, 1991.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/pu.html> . Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Guinea-Bissau, April 1994. <http://www.state.gov/> . Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Guinea-Bissau: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2000. <http://www.state.gov/> . Accessed October 2001.

Jack Hodd

CAPITAL:

Bissau.

MONETARY UNIT:

Communauté Financiére Africaine franc (CFA Fr). The CFA franc is tied to the French franc at an exchange rate of CFA Fr50 to Fr1. One CFA franc equals 100 centimes. There are coins of 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500ÊCFA francs and notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000ÊCFA francs.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, and sawn lumber.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, and petroleum products.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$1.1 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$80 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.). Imports: US$55.2 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.).

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