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Guinea-Bissau Economy

    Economy—overview: One of the 20 poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau depends mainly on farming and fishing. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years, and the country now ranks sixth in cashew production. Guinea-Bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. Rice is the major crop and staple food. However, intermittent fighting between Senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998. Before the war, trade reform and price liberalization were the most successful part of the country's structural adjustment program under IMF sponsorship. The tightening of monetary policy and the development of the private sector had also begun to reinvigorate the economy. Inflation dropped sharply in the first quarter of 1997. Membership in the WAMU (West African Monetary Union), begun in May 1997, was expected to support 5% annual growth and contribute to fiscal discipline. Because of high costs, the development of petroleum, phosphate, and other mineral resources was not a near-term prospect.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$1.2 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3.5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 54%
    industry: 11%
    services: 35% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 48.8% (1991 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 0.5%
    highest 10%: 42.4% (1991)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 25.6% (1997)

    Labor force: 480,000

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget: $NA

    Industries: agricultural products processing, beer, soft drinks

    Industrial production growth rate: 2.6% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 40 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 40 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: rice, corn, beans, cassava (tapioca), cashew nuts, peanuts, palm kernels, cotton; timber; fish

    Exports: $25.8 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

    Exports—commodities: cashews 95%, fish, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn lumber (1994)

    Exports—partners: Spain 35%, India 30%, Thailand 10%, Italy 10% (1995)

    Imports: $63 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, transport equipment, petroleum products, machinery and equipment (1994)

    Imports—partners: Portugal 29.2%, Thailand 8.4%, Netherlands 8.4%, US 7.5% (1996)

    Debt—external: $953 million (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $115.4 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes; note—on 1 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau adopted as its currency the CFA franc following its membership into the BCEAO

    Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1—566.65 (January 1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); Guinea-Bissauan pesos (PG) per US$1— 26,373 (1996), 18,073 (1995), 12,892 (1994)
    note: as of 2 May 1997, Guinea-Bissau has adopted the CFA franc as the national currency following its membership in BCEAO

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)