Guinea Bissau. According to COUNTRYAAH, Guinea-Bissau has a population of 1.874 million (2018). The year was marked by political tensions, with the military continuing to interfere in politics. On April 1, a group of soldiers, loyal to Deputy Army Chief António Indjai, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior and Army Chief José Zamora Induta, and several other soldiers took hostages. Hundreds of people demonstrated and demanded that the Prime Minister be released. Indjai threatened to kill the head of government if the protests did not stop, he at the same time denied that it was a coup attempt. Prime Minister Gomes was later released during the day, while Induta remained in captivity. He was first released on December 22 pending trial.
- Abbreviation Finder: Check to see how the two letter abbreviation of PU stands for the country of Guinea-Bissau in geography.
The actions of the military were condemned by the African Union (AU), the United States, Portugal and France. General Indjai was supported by the former commander of the Navy, José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto, who the year before returned from Gambia where he had moved in connection with a coup attempt in 2008. Bubo Na Tchuto had until now been at the UN premises in Bissau. According to several analysts, among other things, a dissatisfaction within the military lay with a planned defense reform, which would mean that many soldiers were dismissed, behind the events.
According to softwareleverage, President Malam Bacai Sanhá of Guinea-Bissau tried to downplay what had happened and it aroused a stir when he appointed Indjai as new army chief in June. Later, Bubo Na Tchuto regained responsibility for the Navy. This happened despite the fact that the United States had designated him, along with Air Force Commander Ibraima Camara, to be involved in drug smuggling between Latin America and Europe via Guinea-Bissau. The US now stopped all support for Guinea-Bissau’s defense reform. Shortly thereafter, the EU did the same. In September, however, the EU decided to continue its work in the country after the government agreed that the ECOWAS regional cooperation organization and the Portuguese-speaking countries’ organization CPLP (Comunidade de Paises de Língua Portuguesa) should send a stabilizing force to the country.
In mid-December, the IMF decided to write off $ 1.5 billion of Guinea-Bissau’s debt as part of the World Bank and IMF’s so-called HIPC programs for particularly poor countries.
With a per capita income of US $ 230 per year, Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world and continues to suffer from very serious economic hardship. The production situation remained disastrous even in the years following independence (1974), marked by the attempt to create a collectivist type of production, and only starting from the mid-1980s, thanks to a structural adjustment program adopted by the government and supported by international bodies, it began to record small signs of growth: according to World Bank estimates, in the last ten years, GDP had an average annual increase in real terms by 3, 8 %.
The country’s main activity continues to be agriculture, which – together with farming, forestry and fishing – contributes just over half of the GDP, employing over four-fifths of the active population. Subsistence crops prevail (rice, maize, cassava, vegetables), which, however, cannot cover the internal needs, while there are few crops destined for export (peanut, cashew).
Despite the fact that there are reserves of bauxite and phosphates in the subsoil, the mining sector is underdeveloped; in 1989, the extraction of oil from three offshore fields began. The industry, apart from a few plants that process agricultural products, is inconsistent, even if the state planning aims to create a widespread fabric of small and medium-sized companies.
Requested since 1986, the integration of Guinea-Bissau in the CFA franc area, it was officially sanctioned on March 31, 1997, after the country’s entry (January 2, 1997) into the Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA). In May of the same year, the gradual replacement of the old national currency unit, the Guinean peso, by the CFA franc began.