TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Country Info: Guinea Bissau

Economic Background

[Guinea Bissau regained AGOA beneficiary status per official US proclamation on 23 December 2014]

One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau's legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but trafficking in narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade. The combination of limited economic prospects, a weak and faction-ridden government, and favorable geography have made this West African country a way station for drugs bound for Europe.

Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years; low rainfall hindered cereals and other crops in 2011. 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; the civil war led to a 28% drop in GDP that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2002.

In December 2003, the World Bank, IMF, and UNDP were forced to step in to provide emergency budgetary support in the amount of $107 million for 2004, representing over 80% of the total national budget.

The government is successfully implementing a three-year $33 million extended credit arrangement with the IMF that runs through 2012. In December 2010 the World Bank and IMF announced support for $1.2 billion worth of debt relief. Guinea-Bissau made progress with debt relief in 2011 when members of the Paris Club opted to write-off much of the country's obligations. (Source: World Factbook, 2013)

Related News

South Sudan, Gambia dropped from AGOA, Guinea Bissau reinstated

South Sudan, Gambia dropped from AGOA, Guinea Bissau reinstated

The White House announced on Tuesday that South Sudan (and Gambia) have been removed from the list of sub-Saharan African countries enjoying special trade status with the United States. According to a proclamation signed by US president Barack Obama, he has determined that South Sudan along with Gambia, "are not making continual progress in meeting the requirements" under...

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Obama withdraws AGOA preferences from Mali and Guinea-Bissau, confirms addition of South Sudan

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US President Barack Obama on Thursday stripped Mali and Guinea-Bissau of their US trade privileges, citing backtracking from democracy in the two countries. In an annual assessment of benefits conferred by the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme, Obama added the fledgling nation of South Sudan to the list of African nations enjoying preferential trade...

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Text of presidential proclamation regarding Mali and Guinea-Bissau losing AGOA preferences

Text of presidential proclamation regarding Mali and Guinea-Bissau losing AGOA preferences

Presidential Proclamation - African Growth and Opportunity Act TO TAKE CERTAIN ACTIONS UNDER THE AFRICAN GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY ACT AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES     BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION 1. Section 506A(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the "1974 Act") (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(1)), as added by section 111(a) of the...

20 December, 2012
Guinea Bissau: Cashew nuts a new hope for exports?

Guinea Bissau: Cashew nuts a new hope for exports?

Near a field sown with ageing anti-personnel mines, dozens of women scraping, sorting and vacuum-packing cashew nuts in a new tin-roofed factory may be part of the solution to Africa's economic woes. From Cape to Cairo, the world's poorest continent is blessed with verdant plains, forests of valuable hardwood trees and deep veins of ores. But it's largely bereft of skilled...

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