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Africa :: Guinea-Bissau
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Guinea-Bissau
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Location of Guinea-Bissau
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Introduction ::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. He was assassinated in March 2009; new elections are to take place in June 2009.
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Geography ::Guinea-Bissau
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Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
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12 00 N, 15 00 W
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total: 36,125 sq km
country comparison to the world: 137
land: 28,120 sq km
water: 8,005 sq km
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slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
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total: 724 km
border countries: Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
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350 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
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mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location in the northeast corner of the country 300 m
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fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
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arable land: 8.31%
permanent crops: 6.92%
other: 84.77% (2005)
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250 sq km (2003)
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31 cu km (2003)
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total: 0.18 cu km/yr (13%/5%/82%)
per capita: 113 cu m/yr (2000)
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hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
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deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland
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People ::Guinea-Bissau
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1,533,964 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
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0-14 years: 40.8% (male 312,253/female 313,609)
15-64 years: 56.1% (male 414,924/female 445,639)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 19,191/female 28,348) (2009 est.)
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total: 19.3 years
male: 18.7 years
female: 19.8 years (2009 est.)
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2.019% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
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35.97 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
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15.79 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
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urban population: 30% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 99.82 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 10
male: 109.89 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 89.45 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 47.9 years
country comparison to the world: 210
male: 46.07 years
female: 49.79 years (2009 est.)
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4.65 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
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1.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
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16,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84
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1,100 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
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noun: Guinean(s)
adjective: Guinean
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African 99% (includes Balanta 30%, Fula 20%, Manjaca 14%, Mandinga 13%, Papel 7%), European and mulatto less than 1%
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Muslim 50%, indigenous beliefs 40%, Christian 10%
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Portuguese (official), Crioulo, African languages
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.4%
male: 58.1%
female: 27.4% (2003 est.)
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total: 5 years
male: 7 years
female: 4 years (2001)
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5.2% of GDP (1999)
country comparison to the world: 60
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Government ::Guinea-Bissau
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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
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republic
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name: Bissau
geographic coordinates: 11 51 N, 15 35 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos
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24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
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Independence Day, 24 September (1973)
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16 May 1984; amended 4 May 1991, 4 December 1991, 26 February 1993, 9 June 1993, and in 1996
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based on French civil law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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18 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Malam Bacai SANHA (since 8 September 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos GOMES Junior (since 25 December 2008)
cabinet: NA
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held 28 June 2009 with a runoff between the two leading candidates held on 26 July 2009 (next to be held by 2014); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
election results: Malam Bacai SANHA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Malam Bacai SANHA 63.5%, Kumba YALA 36.5%
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unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 16 November 2008 (next to be held 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAIGC 49.8%, PRS 25.3%, PRID 7.5%, PND 2.4%, AD 1.4%, other parties 13.6%; seats by party - PAIGC 67, PRS 28, PRID 3, PND 1, AD 1
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Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica (consists of nine justices appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure; final court of appeals in criminal and civil cases); Regional Courts (one in each of nine regions; first court of appeals for Sectoral Court decisions; hear all felony cases and civil cases valued at more than $1,000); 24 Sectoral Courts (judges are not necessarily trained lawyers; they hear civil cases valued at less than $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases)
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African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Carlos GOMES Junior]; Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Kumba YALA]; Democratic Alliance or AD [Victor MANDINGA]; Democratic Social Front or FDS [Rafael BARBOSA]; Electoral Union or UE [Joaquim BALDE]; Guinea-Bissau Civic Forum/Social Democracy or FCGSD [Antonieta Rosa GOMES]; Guinea-Bissau Democratic Party or PDG; Guinea-Bissau Socialist Democratic Party or PDSG [Serifo BALDE]; Labor and Solidarity Party or PST [Iancuba INDJAI]; New Democracy Party or PND; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Progress Party or PP; Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]; Union for Change or UM [Amine SAAD]; Union of Guinean Patriots or UPG [Francisca VAZ]; United Platform or UP (coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB); United Popular Alliance or APU; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Frnacisco FADUL]
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NA
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ACP, AfDB, AU, CPLP, ECOWAS, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: none; note - Guinea-Bissau does not have official representation in Washington, DC
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the US Embassy suspended operations on 14 June 1998 in the midst of violent conflict between forces loyal to then President VIEIRA and military-led junta; the US Ambassador to Senegal is accredited to Guinea-Bissau
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two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; there is a black five-pointed star centered in the red band; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
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Economy ::Guinea-Bissau
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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 fifth 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 in 2007 and 2008.
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$904.2 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 203
$876.2 million (2007 est.)
$853.1 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$461 million (2008 est.)
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3.2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
2.7% (2007 est.)
1.8% (2006 est.)
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$600 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 224
$600 (2007 est.)
$600 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 62%
industry: 12%
services: 26% (1999 est.)
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632,700 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 147
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agriculture: 82%
industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
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NA%
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NA%
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lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 28% (2002)
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revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
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3.8% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
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4.75% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
4.25% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 160
$142.5 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 170
$12.04 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 169
$46.44 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
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agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
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4.7% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
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65 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
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60.45 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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3,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
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0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
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2,545 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 130
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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$-6 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
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$133 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 186
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cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
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India 74.8%, Nigeria 20.5%, Pakistan 0.7% (2008)
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$200 million (2006)
country comparison to the world: 200
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foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
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Portugal 24.6%, Senegal 17.3%, Pakistan 4.8%, France 4.6%, Cuba 4% (2008)
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$941.5 million (2000 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
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Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 447.81 (2008 est.), 493.51 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)
note: since 1 January 1999, the West African CFA franc (XOF) has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro; West African CFA franc (XOF) coins and banknotes are not accepted in countries using Central African CFA francs (XAF), and vice versa, even though the two currencies trade at par
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Communications ::Guinea-Bissau
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4,600 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 214
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500,200 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 155
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general assessment: small system
domestic: combination of microwave radio relay, open-wire lines, radiotelephone, and cellular communications; fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity approached 35 per 100 in 2008
international: country code - 245 (2008)
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AM 1 (transmitter out of service), FM 4, shortwave 0 (2001)
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1 (2007)
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.gw
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82 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 202
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37,100 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 176
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Transportation ::Guinea-Bissau
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9 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 160
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total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 3 (2009)
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total: 3,455 km
country comparison to the world: 162
paved: 965 km
unpaved: 2,490 km (2002)
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rivers are navigable for some distance; many inlets and creeks give shallow-water access to much of interior (2008)
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Bissau, Buba, Cacheu, Farim
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Military ::Guinea-Bissau
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People's Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, Air Force; paramilitary force
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18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service; 16 years of age or younger with parental consent, for voluntary service (2009)
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males age 16-49: 344,087
females age 16-49: 347,886 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 194,110
females age 16-49: 200,660 (2009 est.)
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male: 16,957
female: 17,172 (2009 est.)
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3.1% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
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Transnational Issues ::Guinea-Bissau
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in 2006, political instability within Senegal's Casamance region resulted in thousands of Senegalese refugees, cross-border raids, and arms smuggling into Guinea-Bissau
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refugees (country of origin): 7,454 (Senegal) (2007)
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current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a source country for children trafficked primarily for forced begging and forced agricultural labor to other West African countries
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - for the second year in a row, Guinea-Bissau is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, as evidenced by the continued failure to pass an anti-trafficking law and inadequate efforts to investigate or prosecute trafficking crimes or convict and punish trafficking offenders (2008)
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increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine enroute to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations thanks to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling
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