Economic Conditions and Trade

Page Editor is Joe Hackett. Please email me with suggestions, comments, or compliments!

Economic Conditions and Trade




Farmer harvesting peanuts in Bissau.                                                     Source:


One of the five 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 fifth 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.




Economic Statistics


- Gross Domestic Product: (2009): $826 million.


- Annual growth rate: (2009): 3%.


- Gross Dosmestic Product per capita: (2009): $512.


- Natural resources: Fish and timber. Bauxite and phosphate deposits are 

  not exploited; offshore petroleum.


- Foreign aid: Guinea-Bissau is desperately poor, (ranked 173rd out of 182 )

with huge foreign debt and an economy that limps along thanks to foreign aid.


- Agriculture: (62% of GDP): Products--cashews, tropical fruits, rice, peanuts, 

  cotton, palm oil. Arable land--11%. Forested--38%.


- Industry: (12% of GDP): Cashew processing. Very little industrial capacity 

  remains following the 1998 internal conflict.


- Major suppliers: (2009)--Portugal 24.5%, Senegal 17.2%, Pakistan 4.8%, 

France 4.6%.


Top Five Imports and Exports

Major Illicit Trade Types

1. Drug Trafficking:  

An estimated 50 tons of illicit drugs, worth almost US$2 billion, pass through the region each year,

according to UN reports, which approximate that some 27% of the cocaine consumed annually in Europe

transits through West Africa.


2.  Child Trafficking:

Child trafficking from Guinea-Bissau to Senegal is on the decline, partly due to better collaboration among

local residents, civil society groups and government.


3.  Bush Meat sales:

Unsustainable levels of bushmeat hunting could threaten both wildlife populations and the people who

depend on bushmeat for food or income.  


The Future of Guinea-Bissau


Future of Guinea-Bissau depends on how it handles challenges like drug and child 

trafficking, large-scale poverty, corruption and heavy external debt. Fishing as an industry 

can propel Guinea-Bissau’s economy, but illegal fishing poses a few problems for that sector.