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Guinea-Bissau Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Former prime minister Umaro Sissoko Embaló, of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Alternative-Group of 15 (MADEM-G15), inaugurated himself as president in February 2020 despite an ongoing challenge at the Supreme Court of Justice – which also serves as the Constitutional Court – by the PAIGC; he was formally recognised as president by regional body ECOWAS in April. A new government was formed in March 2020, supported by MADEM-G15, the Party for Social Renewal (PRS), and two members of the Assembly of the People United–Democratic Party of Guinea-Bissau (APU-PDGB). The APU party leader, Nuno Nabiam, was picked as head of government.However, ECOWAS is calling for constitutional reforms via a referendum within six months to deal with recurrent political instability, while calling on Embaló to appoint a new government and prime minister in line with the constitution and electoral results in the 2018 legislative elections after failing to meet the May 2020 deadline to do so.MADEM-G15's stable parliamentary support from other opposition parties, the approval of a government programme, and limited discipline among PAIGC members of parliament mean there is low risk of legislative blockages during the passage of key bills and spending reviews led by the PAIGCIHS Markit projects the economy will contract by 2.1% in 2020 given the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and significantly lower revised real global growth estimates. This is compounded by the difficult agricultural season in the country in 2019, with lower cashew exports.IHS Markit expects the CFA franc to depreciate slightly against the US dollar in 2020 as bond yields rise. The euro's stance vis-à-vis the US dollar will drive this trend. The euro is expected to retreat to USD1.08 in in the year ahead, before recovering to USD1.12 during the European Central Bank's monetary policy normalisation from the mid-2020s onward.
Last update: August 12, 2020

Operational Outlook

Guinea-Bissau has attracted higher levels of foreign investment and development pledges since 2014, mainly in offshore oil and gas exploration, mining, fishing, and the cashew nut industry. It has also set up a one-stop shop for foreign investors. Despite this, inefficient bureaucracy and protracted political instability have marred these prospects. Public-sector strike action has surged, with unpaid salaries being the main complaint, and the private sector has also been affected by demands for wage increases. The infiltration of cocaine traffickers has served to raise corruption risks in state institutions.

Last update: August 13, 2020

Terrorism

Elevated

The domestic terrorism threat remains low despite the arrest of two men suspected of links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Bissau in 2016 and 2019. Organised crime and drug trafficking by high-ranking army elements constitute the main threats, posing a high threat to security and to regime stability. There are reports of links between militant groups in Guinea-Bissau and the AQIM, MUJAO, and Ansar al-Din terrorist group; recurrent political instability in Guinea-Bissau presents suitable conditions for a safe haven and operational centre for transnational terrorism.

Last update: August 13, 2020

Crime

Guinea-Bissau has a well-established drug-trafficking economy, which has a major effect on national society and institutional stability. The country is neither the origin nor the destination of illicit commodities, but the value of cocaine transshipment and an emerging processing industry now overshadow the total formal economy. With security officials poorly and infrequently paid, there is a danger that traffickers will strengthen their grip on state institutions, aided by the ongoing political instability. Small-arms trading, human trafficking, and illegal fishing are also major concerns with an international element.

Last update: August 13, 2020

War Risks

War risks are likely to increase if ECOWAS decides to conduct a phased withdrawal of the ECOMIB peacekeeping troops. The ECOMIB peacekeeping mission was extended to 30 September 2019 in tandem with the deadline given by ECOWAS to national authorities to implement the provisions of the Conakry Agreement. Army factions implicated in drug trafficking are also likely to resist the planned five-year, USD270-million security-sector reform that would reduce the military's size, influence, and therefore ability to control the lucrative cocaine trade. Moreover, any effective security-sector reform will be highly contingent on ending political instability and the election of a new government.

Last update: August 13, 2020

Social Stability

Very high

There has been widespread protest and strike action associated with political paralysis, and more recently focusing on the government's inability to conduct the electoral census and ensure that the legislative elections were held as initially scheduled. Triggers such as hikes in the prices of basic goods or fuel are likely to cause violent protests in major cities, leading to confrontations with security forces. The run-up to the legislative and presidential elections is highly likely to worsen political tensions, creating politically motivated civil unrest and protests. Security-sector reform is also likely to contribute to short-term unrest due to resistance from the military.

Last update: August 13, 2020

Health Risk

Extreme

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Finally, the monsoon season lasts from May to November. Torrential rains often hit the country between July and September and can cause significant damage to infrastructure, including roads.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Elevated

There are no direct flights between Guinea-Bissau and continental Europe.

Roads are generally poorly maintained and seldom lit, even in the capital, although improvements are underway. Due to these planned infrastructure projects, traffic jams are frequent, especially on Avenue des Combatentes da Liberdade da Patri in the center of Bissau.

It is not recommended to drive at night. Drivers should stay on the main paved roads, both in the capital and throughout the country.

During the rainy season (June to October), remain vigilant; some roads can become impassable and urban traffic can be highly disrupted.

There is no public transportation in Bissau. Travelers should take care in selecting a taxi and driver.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

There are frequent cuts in the supply of water and electricity.

Payments by credit card and bank check are not accepted in Bissau.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Guinea-Bissau's climate is wet and tropical, particularly along the coast, with a period of heavy rain from June until November and a dry season lasting from December until May. During the rainy season, ocean winds often bring heavy rains to the entire country and floods are common. High levels of humidity in combination with high temperatures often make conditions uncomfortable. During the dry season days are hot and sunny while nights are cool. Weather conditions are much drier when the Harmattan, a hot and dry trade wind from the Sahara, passes through the country.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +245

There are no emergency services in Guinea-Bissau.

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019