Economy of Guinea-Bissau

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Guinea-Bissau > Map Economy History

Guinea-Bissau is among the world's least developed nations and depends mainly on agriculture and fishing. Guinea-Bissau exports some fish and seafood, along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. License fees for fishing provide the government with some revenue. Rice is the major crop and staple food. Because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources is not a near-term prospect. However, unexploited offshore oil reserves may possibly provide much-needed revenue in the long run.

The military conflict that took place in Guinea-Bissau from June 1998 to early 1999 caused severe damage to the country's infrastructure and widely disrupted economic activity. Agricultural production is estimated to have fallen by 17% during the conflict, and the civil war led to a 28% overall drop in GDP in 1998. Cashew nut output, the main export crop, declined in 1998 by an estimated 30%. World cashew prices dropped by more than 50% in 2000, compounding the economic devastation caused by the conflict. Before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under IMF sponsorship. Under the government’s post-conflict economic and financial program, implemented with IMF and World Bank input, real GDP recovered in 1999 by almost 8%. In December 2000 Guinea-Bissau qualified for almost $800 million in debt-service relief under the first phase of the enhanced HIPC initiative and is scheduled to submit its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper in March 2002. Guinea-Bissau will receive the bulk of its assistance under the enhanced HIPC initiative when it satisfies a number of conditions, including implementation of its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.1 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 7.6% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $850 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  54%
industry:  15%
services:  31% (1997 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 480,000
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 78%
Industries: agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks
Industrial production growth rate: 2.6% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 55 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1999)
Agriculture - products: rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish
Exports: $80 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: cashew nuts 70%, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber (1996)
Exports - partners: India 59%, Singapore 12%, Italy 10% (1998)
Imports: $55.2 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, petroleum products (1996)
Imports - partners: Portugal 26%, France 8%, Senegal 8%, Netherlands 7% (1998)
Debt - external: $921 million (1997 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $115.4 million (1995)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States; previously the Guinea-Bissau peso (GWP) was used

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Guinea-Bissau > Map Economy History