Economy of Guinea-Bissau

Economy - overview:One of the 10 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 sixth 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. However, offshore oil prospecting has begun and could lead to much-needed revenue in the long run. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$1.249 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$292.9 million (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:2.1% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):$900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 62%
industry: 12%
services: 26% (1999 est.)
Labor force:480,000 (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 82%
industry and services: 18% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:NA%
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):4% (2002 est.)
Budget:revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA
Agriculture - products:rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
Industries:agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate:4.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:58.02 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:53.96 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:2,500 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:0 bbl
Natural gas - production:0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:0 cu m (2004 est.)
Exports:$116 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber
Exports - partners:India 72.4%, Nigeria 17.2%, Ecuador 4.1% (2006)
Imports:$176 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products
Imports - partners:Senegal 22.6%, Portugal 17.7%, Italy 12.2%, Pakistan 4.3% (2006)
Debt - external:$941.5 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:$115.4 million (1995)
Currency (code):Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code:XOF; GWP
Exchange rates:Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002)
note: since 1 January 1999, the XOF franc has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF francs per euro
Fiscal year:calendar year

Guinea-Bissau Quickstats

  • Population: 1,472,780 (July 2007 est.)
  • Area: 36,120 sq km
  • Density: 44 /km² (154th)
  • GDP (total): $1.167 billion (165th)
  • GDP (per capita): $736 (177th)
  • Literacy: 42.4%

Languages of Guinea-Bissau

Useful to know

  • Currency: CFA franc (XOF)
  • Dial code: +245

International Trade

External sites

More Resources

Recent blog posts