Guinea-Bissau Economics and Business


According to COUNTRYAAH, Guinea-Bissau’s business is dominated almost entirely by agriculture. The industry that exists is little developed and mainly focuses on food production. Large trade deficits and large external debt have made the country highly dependent on international aid and loans.

Guinea-Bissau GDP (Nominal, $USD) 2003-2017

At independence, Guinea-Bissau introduced planning economics and formulated an investment program where industry was prioritized. The economy, which was adversely affected by the liberation war, continued the downward trend during the 1970s. In the early 1980s, therefore, extensive economic liberalization was implemented, which created a certain upturn. However, continuing problems led Guinea-Bissau to introduce a recovery program in 1987-90 aimed at strengthening the private sector by deregulating trade and removing price controls. The civil war in the late 1990s meant that much of the infrastructure was destroyed and almost all economic activity ceased; In 1998, GDP fell by about 28 percent. At the beginning of the 1990s, the economic problems continued; among other things, the world market price of cashew nuts fell, which is the country’s most important export commodity, at the same time as Guinea-Bissau’s most important trading partner India has increasingly begun to buy cashew nuts from its own growers. However, during the latter part of the 1990s, Guinea-Bissau’s economy grew by just over 3 percent annually and the most recent growth has been above 5 per cent for several years.

Agriculture and natural resources

Agriculture (including fishing and forestry) is Guinea-Bissau’s most important economic sector. Rice is the most important food crop and is grown mainly in the southern parts of the country. Recurring dry periods and insect infestation have periodically affected production negatively. Other important food crops are corn, beans, millet and sweet potatoes. The most important export crops are cashews, peanuts, palm oil and cotton. Most of the export crops are grown in the northeastern part of the country. The farming methods are often simple, and the majority of farming units are small. Livestock management is also important in the hinterland, and some hides are exported.

Guinea-Bissau has a lot of fish-rich waters, and in the 1980s the importance of the fishing industry increased. Fishing licenses are sold to foreign countries and companies. However, the domestic fishermen, who are engaged in small-scale coastal fishing, have found it more difficult to manage as the stocks have decreased as a result of overfishing. There is also extensive illegal fishing off the coast of the country.

A large part of Guinea-Bissau is covered by forest and the country now exports timber. However, the majority of the forest being harvested is used as firewood.

No mineral extraction occurs, but large deposits of bauxite are found at Boé as well as phosphate at Cacheu and Oio. Oil exploration is ongoing on the continental shelf.

Foreign trade

Guinea-Bissau’s exports are dominated by fishery and agricultural products and imports of manu- facture and food. The country has a large deficit in its trade. Imports mainly come from Portugal, Senegal and China. Guinea-Bissau exports mainly to India and Vietnam.

  • According to AllCityPopulation, the capital city of Guinea-Bissau is Bissau with a population of 558,000 (estimate 2018). Other major cities include Gabú, Bafatá.

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