For hundreds of years, the area in West Africa
that today is Guinea-Bissau has been exposed to ruthless
Portuguese exploitation. From the 1950s, the liberation
movement fought the PAIGC colonial army and in 1974
Portugal recognized the country's independence. But the
country was soon drawn into a vicious circle of coups,
revolts and civil disputes. In 2014, a democratically
elected government could take over the country,
following the recent coup two years earlier. However,
power struggles came to paralyze political life for
Brief profiles of Guinea-Bissau, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Guinea-Bissau, which on the surface is
slightly larger than Belgium, lies north of the equator
on the west coast of Africa.
The lowland coastal area is characterized by
marshlands and mangrove swamps. The hinterland is
dominated by a wooded savanna landscape. At the Boëk
Hills in the southeast, near the border with Guinea, the
country reaches its highest point, about 300 meters
above sea level. The most fertile soils are in the
south. Through the landscape several deep rivers cut,
which overflow during the rainy season.
The islands of the Bijagós archipelago give the coast
its own character.
Around 70 percent of the country, according to the
World Bank figures, consists of forest.
The climate is hot and humid. The rainfall is rich
across the country, but it rains most on the coast. The
rain and dry periods are formed in the interplay between
the Atlantic winds and the proximity to the Sahel, which
is a dry area south of the Sahara. April and May are the
hottest months, but even in the coolest months the
average temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees. Most
of the rain comes from June to October.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
36 125 km2 (2018)
Swedish - 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of residents
Bissau 558,000 (estimated 2018)
Other major cities
Cachaeau, Mansoa, Geba, Corubal
Bissau 0 mm (May), 700 mm (Aug)
Bissau 27 °C (July), 24 °C (Jan)
Induta is released after incorrect arrest
José Zamora Induta is released, after the Supreme Court ruled that the
military court that had ordered him to be arrested had no right to do so.
Old ministers in new government
A few weeks later, a new government is presented, which is approved by decree
from President Vaz. This time too, several of the old ministers are in the team
lineup. Alongside PAIGC, ministers from the Democratic Alliance (Partido da
Convergęncia Democrática, PCD) and the Union for Change (União para a Mudança,
UM) are also included in the government. For now, the President is responsible
for natural resources and home affairs. Pereira and former Foreign Minister
Mário Lopes da Rosa, who were on Correia's first list, are given no ministerial
The president does not accept a new government
The crisis continues as President Vaz at the beginning of the month refuses
to approve Correia's new government. He claims that it is too large (34
ministers) and that most of the ministers had also been members of Pereira's
ministry, and that several of them are subject to judicial proceedings due to
suspicions of corruption.
Induta suspect for coup attempt
Former army chief José Zamora Induta, who has been in house arrest since
returning to Portugal from home in July, is arrested. He is suspected of being
involved in a coup attempt in 2012 (see October 2012)
Correia is appointed as a compaction candidate
Vaz commands PAIGC to appoint a compromise candidate, which will make
81-year-old Carlos Correia to become new prime minister. He participated in the
country's liberation struggle and has previously been the country's head of
government on three occasions. President Vaz confirms the appointment via decree.
Appointment is contrary to the Constitution
Djá resigns two days later after a ruling in the Supreme Court. Eight out of
twelve judges state that the president's appointment of him contravenes the
constitution. This is because Vaz had not consulted the largest party in
Parliament, ie PAIGC, or consulted with the other parties before making his
decision. Shortly thereafter, the president calls a meeting to try to resolve
PRS gets ministerial posts
On 7 September, President Vaz, with the support of the largest opposition
party PRS, appoints a new government under Djá's leadership. Among other things,
the PRS is rewarded with five ministerial posts.
Criticism against monitoring the crisis
Djá has previously dismissed the head of state radio and TV. He then
criticizes him for partial monitoring of the latest political crisis.
Members choose political methods against the president
However, MEPs appear to be choosing political methods to persuade the
president to replace the new prime minister. On August 24, 75 members adopted a
resolution expressing their dissatisfaction with the presidential nomination. If
Vaz does not act, they intend to forward the matter to the Supreme Court. Gambia
President Yahya Jammeh offers to mediate in the conflict.
Criticism against new head of government
Instead, on August 20, Baciro Djá is appointed new head of government. The
appointment draws criticism from many PAIGC members who call it a
"constitutional coup" and call for protests. However, they were stopped by
police because of concerns that they would cause unrest. The week before the
appointment, Djá was excluded from PAIGC.
Simões Pereira is nominated as new head of government
The PAIGC government nominates Simões Pereira to return to the post of head
of government and says it intends to push the issue forward by any means if the
president rejects the proposal.
The entire government is dismissed
President José Mário Vaz dismisses the entire government after a period of
collaboration difficulties with Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira.
According to the president, the two party comrades have had different views on a
number of issues, including the appointment of a new army chief. Vaz also
criticizes the government for corruption and nepotism , for hindering the
transparency of public procurement and for interfering in the work of the
judiciary. Others note that shortly before Pereira decided to initiate a review
of the contracts in agriculture, mining, telecommunications and the forestry
sector signed under the two-year transitional regime 2012–2014.
Voting in the National Assembly
Prime Minister Domingos Simões Pereira wins a vote of confidence in the
National Assembly. The whole House is behind his government. Earlier, the
Council of Ministers has accused the judiciary of bias in the investigation of
corruption charges against Foreign Minister Mário Lopes da Rosa.
Support for strengthening the country's democracy
The EU resumes all cooperation with Guinea-Bissau and promises EUR 160
million in support, among other things, to strengthen democracy, the rule of law
and boost the economy.