Guinea-Bissau

Driving Directions Guinea-Bissau

GUINEA-BISSAU, formerly a Portuguese territory but granted inde­pendence in 1974, is located south of Senegal on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. The republic’s territory includes over 60 coastal islands, including the archipelago of Bijagós.

It is a country of stunning scenery with the deeply indented and island-fringed coastline and a low, marshy plain, rising slightly to a plateau and hills on the border with neighbor­ing Guinea. Mangrove swamps and tropical jungles cover the land near the coast, giving way to savannah-type grassland on the plateau.

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The climate is tropical, with abundant rain from June to November but hot, dry conditions for the rest of the year. The forests contain commercially valuable trees, but the majority of the people are engaged in subsistence farming. The country’s principal aim is to become self- sufficient in food, and the main crops grown by its subsistence farmers are rice, groundnuts, cassava, sugar cane, plantains, maize, and coconuts.

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Fishing is an important export industry, although cashew nuts are the principal export. Peanuts, palm products, and cotton are also a source of export revenue. Years of Portuguese rule and civil war have left Guinea-Bissau impoverished, and it is one of the poorest states in West Africa.

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