General information: In 1994, 20 years after Guinea-Bissau gained independence (until 1974 – a colony of Portugal), the country held its first multi-party legislative elections and the first presidential elections. In 1998, an army uprising sparked a bloody civil war that displaced hundreds of thousands of people. In May 1999, the president was overthrown by a military junta. The interim government resigned in February 2000 when opposition leader Koumba YALLA came to power after two rounds of fair presidential elections. Guinea-Bissau’s return to democracy will be complicated by the deplorable state of the economy, devastated by the civil war, and the relentless desire of the military to interfere in the affairs of the government.
Location: West Africa, Atlantic coast, between Guinea and Senegal.
Geographic coordinates: 12° 00′ N. latitude, 15° 00’W
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 36,120 square kilometers; land surface area: 28,000 km2; water surface area: 8,120 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than three times the area of the state of Connecticut.
Land borders: total length: 724 km; with neighboring states: with Guinea 386 km, with Senegal 338 km.
Coastline: 350 km.
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical; predominantly hot and humid; the monsoon rainy season (from June to November), when the southwest wind blows; the dry season (December to May) when the northeast wind ‘harmattan’ blows.
Terrain: mostly coastal lowlands, uplands (savannah) in the east.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: unnamed hill in the far north-east of the country 300 m.
Natural resources: fish, timber, phosphates, bauxites, untapped oil resources.
Land use: arable land: 11%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 38%; forests and plantations: 38%; others: 12% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 17 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty ‘harmattan’ winds that reduce visibility during the dry season; Forest fires.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; soil erosion; excessive grazing; uncontrolled fishing.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Desertification, Endangered species, Law of the sea, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: no.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 1,315,822 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 42.09% (male 276,312; female 277,536); 15 to 64 years old: 55.05% (male 344,493; female 379,889); over 65: 2.86% (male 16,850; female 20,742) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 2.23% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 39.29 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 15.33 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.66 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; up to 15 years: 1 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 0.91 male/female; over 65: 0.81 male/female; for the general population: 0.94 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 110.4 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 49.42 years; men: 47.12 years; women: 51.78 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 5.2 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 2.5% (1999).
Number of people infected with HIV: 14,000 (1999).
AIDS deaths: 1,300 (1999).
Nationality: noun: Guinean; adjective: Guinean.
Ethnic groups: Africans 99% (Balante 30%, Fulbe 20%, Mandyak 14%, Mandinge 13%, Papel 7%), Europeans and mulattoes – less than 1%.
Believers: adherents of local beliefs 50%, Muslims 45%, Christians 5%.
Language(s): Portuguese (official), Creole, African languages.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 53.9%; men: 67.1%; women: 40.7% (1997 est.). State 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
State structure: republic with a multi-party system (since mid-1991). See a2zgov.com to know more about Guinea-Bissau government and politics.
Administrative division: 9 regions (ge-giao): Bafata, Biombu, Bissau, Bolama, Gabu, Quinara, Cashew, Oyo, Tombali; note: Bolama may be renamed to Bolama-Bizhagos.
Independence: since September 24, 1973 (unilaterally declared by Guinea-Bissau); since September 10, 1974 (recognized by Portugal).
National holiday: Independence Day, 24 September (since 1973).
Constitution: adopted May 16, 1984, amended May 4, 1991, December 4, 1991, February 26, 1993, June 9, 1993, and 1996.
Legal system: NA.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Koumba YALLA (since 18 February 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Faustino IMBALI (since 20 March 2001);
Government: no data; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections last held 28 November 1999 and 16 January 2000 (next to be held in 2004); the prime minister is appointed by the president after formal consultation with the leaders of the parties represented in the legislature; election results: Koumba YALLA elected president; percentage of votes (in the second round) – Koumba YALLA (PRS) 72%, Malan Bakai SANHA (PAIGC) 28%.
Legislature: unicameral National People’s Assembly (Assembleia Na-cional Popular) (100 members elected by popular vote; maximum term of office – four years); elections: last held 28 November 1999 (next to be held in 2003); election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – PRS 37, RGB 27, PAIGC 25, 11 remaining seats went to candidates from 5 out of 10 other parties.
Judicial branch: The Supreme Court, composed of nine judges appointed by the president and serving for as long as he wishes, is the highest court of appeal in all criminal and civil cases; regional courts, one in each of the nine regions; they are the first instance of appeal in relation to local courts, they consider any criminal cases and civil cases with the amount of claims above $1,000; 24 local courts whose judges are not necessarily qualified lawyers; consider civil cases with claims below $1,000 and criminal cases for minor offenses.
Political parties and leaders: African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) (Francisco BENANTE); Front for the Liberation and Independence of Guinea (FLING) (Francois MENDY); Guinea-Bissau Resistance Movement – Ba Fata (RGB-MB) (Helder Vaz LOPES); Guinean Civic Forum (FCG) (Antonieta Rosa GOMES); International League for Environmental Protection (LIPE) (Alhaje Buba-car DJALO, President); National Union for Democracy and Progress (UNDP) (Abubacer BALDE, General Secretary); Party for Democratic Convergence (PCD) (Victor MANDINGA); Public Renewal Party (PRS) (Koumba YALLA); Union for Change (UM) (Jorge MANDINGA, President, Dr. Anne SAAD, Secretary General);
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACCT (associate), ACP, AfDB, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: head of mission: Ambassador Mario LOPES DA ROSA (Mario LOPES DA ROSA); office: Suite 519.1511 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005; phone:  (202) 347-3950; fax: [\] (202) 347-3954.
US Diplomatic Mission: The US embassy closed on June 14, 1998 due to a violent conflict that erupted between troops loyal to the then President VIEIRA (VIEIRA) and junta troops.
Description of the flag: two equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red stripe near the hoist; in the middle of the red stripe is a black five-pointed star; The colors of the Ethiopian flag, which are popular throughout Africa, are used.