The industrial sector is small and mainly deals with the processing of wood products and food and the manufacture of building materials and textiles.
Guinea-Bissau usually has a significant deficit in trade with the outside world. The current account deficits are also large. The most important export commodity is cashew nuts, which accounted for about 82 percent of export income in 2010. Cotton, peanuts, hides, skins, timber, fish and seafood are also exported on a small scale. Exports of fish have increased during the 2000s.
Most of the exports go to India (almost 87 percent in 2009), but in recent years Indian companies have started to buy more and more cashew nuts from Indian growers. For several years in the 1990s, world market prices were low, but they rose from 2009. However, part of the harvest is smuggled to Senegal. In recent years, China has shown an interest in buying cashew nuts from Guinea-Bissau, which may further increase revenues.
Oil accounts for about half of imports. Almost all industrial goods, machinery and fuel, and large quantities of food, especially rice, must be imported.
FACTS – FOREIGN TRADE
US $ 339 million (2017)
US $ 291 million (2017)
US $ 4 million (2017)
Commodity trade’s share of GDP
46 percent (2018)
Main export goods
cashews, fruits, crude oil, fish
Largest trading partner
India, Portugal, Singapore, Vietnam
Tourism could be an important source of income, but the uncertain situation hinders such development. The Bijagos Archipelago, with its pristine beaches, could become an attractive tourist destination. Some activities with deep sea fishing and diving are there. Bolama, which was the capital during the colonial era, is also considered to be able to attract tourists.
The lack of transport both to and within the country has also hampered the tourism industry.
FACTS – TOURISM
Number of foreign visitors per year
US $ 17 300,000 (2015)
The share of tourist income from exports
6.0 percent (2015)
Lack of money delays elections
The transitional government postpones the planned elections at short notice until mid-March 2014. This is due to lack of money to conduct the elections. After that, Nigeria and East Timor promise financial support for the upcoming elections.
Rejects a bill that would have given the leaders of the 2012 Cup amnesty;
Cholera prevalent among Guineans
More than 700 guineas have suffered from cholera during the year, of which 21 died from the disease, according to information from the UN Children’s Fund Unicef.
Renovation of the government
At the beginning of the month, a refurbishment was announced by the government, where several smaller parties were now represented. Rui Duarte Barros remains as prime minister and the military may retain responsibility for the Ministry of Defense and the Interior.
Elections before the end of the year are promised
At the end of the month, Interim President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo promises elections before the end of the year.
New power struggles in Bissau
Rumors are emerging that the arrests triggered new power struggles in Bissau. The head of the internal security service is dismissed from his post, but Indjai remains, despite strong external pressure. However, the army has promised to cooperate with the United States in the criminal investigation. It is reported that US drones on reconnaissance missions have been seen in the country. Several previous legal processes surrounding the drug trade have been reopened, including that of former Prime Minister Aristides Gomes.
Weapons in exchange for cocaine
According to media reports, the prosecution is about the Guineans providing the Colombian Farc guerrilla with weapons used as anti-aircraft robots in exchange for cocaine. In the indictment, General António Indjai is identified as a leading force in the business. Several civilian politicians in the transitional government are also suspected to be involved.
Prosecution of drug smuggling
At the beginning of the month, Bubo Na Tchuto and four other men are arrested on a boat off the Cape Verde Islands, and taken to the United States where drug trafficking is awaiting trial.
West African leaders extend the transitional government’s mandate to the end of the year.
East Timor’s former president new envoy
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appoints former East Timorese President José Ramos Horta as his new special envoy for Guinea-Bissau.