The population of Guinea-Bissau is estimated at around 2 million in 2022. Guinea-Bissau appears to be among the 20 least developed countries in the world, ranking 177thon the Human Development Index. Poverty is estimated at 65% by the African Development Bank (2020-21 data) and over 21% of the population lives below the poverty line with less than 2.15 USD a day according to the World Bank (2018 data).
The country’s fragile economy depends mainly on agriculture and fishing, which respectively represent two-thirds and one-seventh of exports. The Country’s climate and soil make it feasible to grow a wide range of cash crops, fruit, vegetables, and tubers; however, cashew nuts generate more than 80% of export receipts and are the main source of income for many rural communities. The intensive monoculture of cashew trees endangers the Country’s food security. The production of rice is neglected and only covers a quarter of the needs of the population even though it is the main food.
The Country owns mineral resources (oil, bauxite and phosphates) though these are not exploited due to lack of infrastructure and investments.
The economy was overall badly affected by the civil war of 1998-1999. The country has accumulated an external debt of 806 USD million (2020 data) and is currently involved in a program of structural interventions financed by the International Monetary Fund. Political instability, the aftermath of the 1999 civil war, and obsolescent infrastructure discourage investors and therefore development opportunities.
The World Bank, Guinea-Bissau data Guinea-Bissau | Data (worldbank.org)
African Development Bank, Guinea-Bissau Economic Outlook Guinea-Bissau Economic Outlook | African Development Bank – Building today, a better Africa tomorrow (afdb.org)
United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2021-22 hdr2021-22pdf_1.pdf (undp.org)