Geographic and Governmental Profile of Guinea-Bissau

Background
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. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009, but he passed away abruptly in January 2012. A military coup on 12 April 2012 prevented Guinea-Bissau's second-round presidential election - to determine SANHA's successor - from taking place.
Location
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates
12 00 N, 15 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
36,125 sq km
rank:
138
land:
28,120 sq km
water:
8,005 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly less than three times the size of Connecticut
Land boundaries
total:
724 km
border countries:
Guinea 386 km, Senegal 338 km
Coastline
350 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
Terrain
mostly low coastal plain rising to savanna in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
unnamed elevation in the eastern part of the country 300 m
Natural resources
fish, timber, phosphates, bauxite, clay, granite, limestone, unexploited deposits of petroleum
Land use
arable land:
8.31%
permanent crops:
6.92%
other:
84.77% (2005)
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Irrigated land
250 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
31 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.18 cu km/yr (13%/5%/82%)
per capita:
113 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season; brush fires
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; overfishing
Environment - international agreements
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
Geography - note
this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland
Country name
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
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Bissau
geographic coordinates:
11 51 N, 15 35 W
time difference:
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
9 regions (regioes, singular - regiao); Bafata, Biombo, Bissau, Bolama, Cacheu, Gabu, Oio, Quinara, Tombali; note - Bolama may have been renamed Bolama/Bijagos
Independence
24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
Constitution
16 May 1984; amended several times
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil law (influenced by the early French Civil Code) and customary law
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
[Transitional] President Manuel Serifo NHAMADJO (since 11 May 2012)
in the aftermath of the April 2012 coup that deposed the government, an agreement was reached between ECOWAS mediators and the military junta to name NHAMADJO as transitional president with a one year term
head of government:
[Transitional] Prime Minister Rui Duarte BARROS (since 16 May 2012)
cabinet:
NA
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 18 March 2012 with a runoff between the two leading candidates scheduled for 22 April 2012; prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
election results:
with no candidate receiving a minimum 50% of the vote in the first round, a runoff between the two leading candidates is scheduled for 22 April 2012; percent of vote (first round) - Carlos GOMES JUNIOR 49.0%, Kumba YALA 23.4%, others 27.6%
Legislative branch
unicameral National People's Assembly or Assembleia Nacional Popular (100 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 16 November 2008 (next to be held in 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
Judicial branch
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)
Political parties and leaders
African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Carlos GOMES Junior]; 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 [Lancuba INDJAI]; New Democracy Party or PND; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Sory DJALO]; Progress Party or PP; Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]; Union of Guinean Patriots or UPG [Francisca VAZ]; Union for Change or UM [Amine SAAD]; United Platform or UP (coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB); United Popular Alliance or APU; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Francisco FADUL]
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU (suspended), CPLP, ECOWAS, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
none; note - Guinea-Bissau does not have official representation in Washington, DC
Diplomatic representation from the US
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
Flag description
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; yellow symbolizes the sun; green denotes hope; red represents blood shed during the struggle for independence; the black star stands for African unity
uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the flag design was heavily influenced by the Ghanaian flag
National anthem
name:
"Esta e a Nossa Patria Bem Amada" (This Is Our Beloved Country)
lyrics/music:
Amilcar Lopes CABRAL/XIAO He
adopted 1974; a delegation from Portuguese Guinea visited China in 1963 and heard music by XIAO He; Amilcar Lopes CABRA, the leader of Guinea-Bissau's independence movement, asked the composer to create a piece that would inspire his people to struggle for independence
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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