Guinea-Bissau Social Condition Facts

Social conditions

Most of the population lives in rural areas under scarce conditions. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the social gaps have widened and, according to the UN Food Program, WFP, more than two-thirds of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Periodically, there has been a shortage of food, something that affects women and children to a great extent.

In the UNDP Development Index, which takes into account such things as income, literacy, life expectancy and child mortality, GuineaBissau in 2014 was ranked 178 out of 188 countries.

  • Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Guinea-Bissau, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.

Nevertheless, there have been improvements in a number of areas, albeit at a slow pace. Between 1980 and 2014, life expectancy has increased by almost ten years.

Child mortality is high, in 2015 nine children of 100 died before they were five years old. Many of the children who die have been affected by malaria, various diarrheal diseases or pneumonia. It is also common for women to die during childbirth.

Guinea-Bissau Social Condition Facts

There are major shortcomings in health care, and the two hospitals – one general and one run by the military – that exist in the country are both located in Bissau.

According to the legislation, gender equality prevails, but women are often discriminated against, especially in rural areas. Few women are found in leading positions in political parties, public administration and business.

However, the status of women varies depending on the ethnic group to which they belong. For example, in some ethnic groups, women have no inheritance rights and do not have the right to own land. Among the population of the Bijagós, women traditionally have an unusually strong position.

About half of all women aged 15-49 had until 2012, according to data from the UN Children’s Fund Unicef, been subjected to genital mutilation. Since then, the procedure has been prohibited. Several initiatives have been taken to counteract genital mutilation, including by offering alternative rituals.


Infant Mortality: 54 per 1000 births (2018)

Percentage of HIV infected: 3.5 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young women

1.4 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.9 percent (2018)

Proportion of population with access to clean water: 69.2 percent (2015)

Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 20.5 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.9 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on health care per person: $ 39 (2016)

Proportion of women in parliament: 14 percent (2018)


The road network is in poor condition and during the rainy season many roads cannot be used. The best roads are in the northern part of the country and connect Guinea-Bissau with Senegal. Travel inland often takes minibuses, called toca-toca. In Bissau, taxis serve as buses, where many travel in common and everyone pays for their seat.

Larger vessels also reach the most important communities inland via the wide-branched system of deep rivers. The lighter boat traffic reaches even further. The most important port is in Bissau, where a new fishing port that can accommodate four vessels was inaugurated in 2011.

There are regular ferry services to the larger islands of the Bijagósarkipelagen.

There is an international airport outside Bissau, but flight connections are only to Cape Verde, Senegal and Morocco.



Army chief is released after pressure from the European Commission

On December 23, the former army commander Induta and several other soldiers are released. This is done after pressure from the European Commission which has threatened to withdraw part of its aid to the country.


US cancels military support

At the end of the month, Antonio Indjai is appointed new Army Chief. The US is suspending its military support for the country and questioned whether the government could control the military. The United States has previously demanded that soldiers involved in drug trafficking be dismissed. José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto is also re-elected as Chief of the Navy.


The Prime Minister’s position is weakened

President Sanhá does not appear to have been involved in the revolt, but he chooses to tone down the events. However, the power struggle between the military and Gomes is not over. The Prime Minister’s position is weakened by his failing health and for a time he is cared for in a hospital in Cuba. In Parliament, the opposition, led by former President Kumba Yalá, demands his resignation. It is only through pressure from the outside world that he manages to remain. Indjai seems to have retained its position in the military. Bubo Na Tchuto is also reported to be on the loose.

Gomes is released

The leader of the revolts, General António Indjai says that this is not a coup but an internal conflict within the military. Prime Minister Gomes is released shortly after, while Induta remains in the military’s custody. Indjai, it is said later, is backed by former Chief of the Navy José Américo Bubo Na Tchuto who is considered to play an important role in drug trafficking via Guinea-Bissau.

Militants are arrested after revolt

A new military revolt begins and army chief José Zamora Induta, Prime Minister Gomes and a dozen other people, most of the military are arrested.