Guinea Bissau

 

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.

 

Geography:
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Senegal
Geographic coordinates: 12 00 N, 15 00 W
People:
Population: 1,628,603 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 40.4% (male 321,889/female 323,202)

15-64 years: 56.4% (male 435,986/female 465,117)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 19,975/female 30,508) (2011 est.)

Government:
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)

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 5,000 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 594,100 (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 8 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: People’s Revolutionary Armed Force (FARP): Army, Navy, National Air Force (Forca Aerea Nacional); Presidential Guard (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 18-25 years of age for selective compulsory military service (Air Force service is voluntary); 16 years of age or younger, with parental consent, for voluntary service (2010)

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: in 2006, political instability within Senegal’s Casamance region resulted in thousands of Senegalese refugees, cross-border raids, and arms smuggling into Guinea-Bissau
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 7,480 (Senegal) (2010)