GUINEA-BISSAUAN Facts & Figures
Size: 13,948 square miles
Currency: West African CFA franc
Weather / Climate:
Guinea-Bissau lies mostly between latitudes 11° and 13°N (a small area is south of 11°), and longitudes 13° and 17°W.
At 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi), the country is larger in size than Taiwan, Belgium, or the U.S. state of Maryland. This small, tropical country lies at a low altitude; its highest point is 300 metres (984 ft). The interior is savanna, and the coastline is plain with swamps of Guinean mangroves. Its monsoon-like rainy season alternates with periods of hot, dry harmattan winds blowing from the Sahara. The Bijagos Archipelago extends out to sea.
Guinea-Bissau is warm all year around and there is little temperature fluctuation; it averages 26.3 °C (79.3 °F). The average rainfall for Bissau is 2,024 millimetres (79.7 in) although this is almost entirely accounted for during the rainy season which falls between June and September/October. From December through April, the country experiences drought.
Taken from wikipedia
Only 14% of the population speaks the official language, Portuguese. A plurality of the population (44%) speaks Kriol, a Portuguese-based creole language, and the remainder speak native African languages. The main religions are African traditional religions and Islam, and there is a Christian (mostly Catholic) minority.
The official language of Guinea-Bissau is Portuguese, despite being spoken by only 14% of the population. Kriol is spoken by 44% of the population. French is also learned in schools, as the country is surrounded by French-speaking countries and is a full member of the Francophonie as well as the CPLP.
Culture of Guinea Bissau is diverse and varied. Bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east and with the Atlantic Ocean to its west, Guinea-Bissau is a popular holiday destination in western Africa. Before getting to Guinea Bissau, it would be necessary to know something about the unique Culture of Guinea Bissau.
Music of Guinea Bissau
The Music of Guinea Bissau is usually connected with the polyrhythmic Gumbe genre, the primary musical export of the country. The main musical instrument of the country is the calabash. It is used in extremely swift and rhythmically complex dance music. Apart from Gumbe, Tina and Tinga are other popular genres, while extent folk traditions include ceremonial music used in funerals, initiations and other rituals as well as Balanta brosca and kussunde, Mandinga djambadon and the kundere sound of the Bijagos islands.
Languages of Guinea Bissau
The official language of Guinea Bissau is Portuguese. In addition to this, Criolo and African languages are extensively used.
Economy of Guinea Bissau
The economy of the country is primarily based on agriculture along with good prospects for forestry and fishery development. Rice is the staple food in the country and the chief export crops include peanuts, cashews, palm products, timber and seafood. Indigenous hardwoods are the major forestry export. Fishing potential is calculated at nearly 250,000 metric tons per year.
Traditions of the country are still kept alive by the Bjango people. Masks are made that represent animals such as sharks, sawfish, hippos and bulls.
40% of Guinea Bissau population is Muslim. Most of the others follow traditional beliefs.
Public Holidays in Guinea – Bissau 2012
January 1 New Year
March 6 Independence Day
May 1 Labour Day
May 25 Africa Day
July 1 Republic Day
September 21 Founder's Day
1st Friday in December Farmers' Day1
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day
It covers 36,125 km² (nearly 14,000 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,600,000.
Guinea-Bissauwas once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were part of the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. It then became the Portuguese colony of Portuguese Guinea in the 19th century. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with the bordering Republic of Guinea.
Guinea-Bissau is a member of the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Latin Union, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, La Francophonie and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.
The population of Guinea-Bissau is ethnically diverse and has many distinct languages, customs, and social structures. Guinea-Bissauans can be divided into the following ethnic groups: Fula and the Mandinka-speaking people, who comprise the largest portion of the population and are concentrated in the north and northeast; the Balanta and Papel people, who live in the southern coastal regions; and the Manjaco and Mancanha, who occupy the central and northern coastal areas. Most of the remainder are mestiços of mixed Portuguese and African descent, including a Cape Verdean minority.
Portuguese natives comprise a very small percentage of Guinea-Bissauans. This deficit was directly caused by the exodus of Portuguese settlers that took place after Guinea-Bissau gained independence. The country has also a tiny Chinese population, including those of mixed Portuguese and Chinese ancestry from Macau, a former Asian Portuguese colony.
Guinea-Bissau is positioned on the west coast of Africa and is bordered to the north by Senegal, the east and southeast by Guinea and west southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the fact that Guinea Bissau is a country that has ocean opening the most common dish is fresh fish but also fruits and vegetables. Usually, as in more or less all cultures, the cuisine of Guinea Bissau uses a combination of locally available fruits, grains, and vegetables, milk and meat products. In some parts of this country, the traditional Guinea Bissau diet has a predominance of milk, curd, and whey.
You can find rice all over the Guinea Bissau, most often imported, sometime local. It is anchored in the food habitué since the colonial days. During that period the Portuguese pressed the Guinea Bissau to produce peanuts and import the rice from Asia. Cuisine of this exotic place reflects indigenous traditions, as well as influences from Arabs, Europeans, and Asians.
A typical Guinea-Bissau meal is concentrated with starchy substance, light on meat and generous on fat. Fufu, a semi-solid starchy mass alike to mashed potatoes or polenta, is served with soups and stews, such as egusi. Fufu is frequently made from starchy root vegetables such as yams, coco yams, or cassava, but as well from cereal grains or plantains.
Another characteristic of Guinness cuisine is the hot spices, including peppers and chiles. Seeds of Guinea pepper, Aframomum melegueta which are also called grains of paradise are a native West African plant, which is used to prepare traditional sauces.
In real meaning, the local cuisine and recipes of Guinea Bissau continue to remain intensely ingrained in the local society and traditions, with ingredients like rice, peanuts, Bambara Groundnut and Hausa Groundnut, black-eyed peas, and root vegetables such as yams, coco yams, sweet potatoes, and cassava. Guinea Bissau cuisine also includes Pork meat and fish. cereals are making a strong entrance into Guinness cuisine and are consumed in the morning or evening. The dishes basic ingredient is the couscous de mil which means couscous of millet because it represents a village tradition.
Cooking techniques of Guinea Bissau often combine fish and meat, counting dried fish. Flaked and dried fish is often fried in oil, and sometimes cooked with Chicken, yam, onions, various spices and water to prepare a highly flavored stew. In some areas, Beef, and mutton are not preferred due to poor quality of the meat, particularly toughness. It is common to have a preponderance of seafood and the seafood, as earlier stated, is sometimes also mixed with other meat products. Eggs and chickens are also preferred. Guinness cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes, like portugese or French. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Guinea Bissau regions.
Guinea Bissau Food Traditions and Festivals
Like in many others countries here are many public festivals and holidays where the inhabitants eat special foods and have special parties. One of the most important festivals is National Day on September 12 which means Amilcar Cabral's birthday, when peoples eat yassa, which is a version of Chicken. The pieces of Chicken, brushed with mustard, marinade in some citron, and cooked with lots of Onion are often served at this festival.
Other important festivals are Colonization Martyr's Day, August third, Readjustment Movement Day at November, Independence Day, September twenty four, Mocidade Day, December firs and New Year Day.
Taken from http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Guinea_Bissau_Cuisine
Places to go in GUINEA-BISSAU
Arquipélago Dos Bijagós
With swaying palms, cooling breezes and powdery, white-sand beaches, the Bijagós islands exert a singular spell. Protected by swift tides and treacherous sandbanks, the island’s largely matriarchal people eluded Portuguese control until the 1930s. Now the entire archipelago, including its rich marine life, has been declared a biosphere reserve, while two island groups form national parks.
Travellers should note that transport to and between the islands is difficult. Also, low tides reveal kilometres-long mud flats, limiting beach going. Finally, telephone service – including mobile service – is unreliable.
Despite ruined monuments, cavernous potholes and regular blackouts, Bissau has its charms. The sleepy, crumbling colonial heart boasts wide, mango-shaded streets, some attractive, pastel-coloured buildings, and lively cafés where the country’s elite gather day after day. Best of all, there’s a distinct absence of crime or hustle.
Lively if unattractive, Gabú offers a range of accommodation, making it a convenient stopover on your way to/from Guinea.
Ilha de Bubaque
At the centre of the Bijagós, Bubaque is home to the archipelago’s largest town, which serves as its major transport ‘hub’. If you can’t make it to remoter islands, Bubaque makes a comfortable place to unwind. There’s a range of accommodation in and around the main town (also called Bubaque).
OrangoIslands National Park
Home to rare saltwater species of hippo and crocodile, Ilha de Orango and the surrounding islands together make up the Orango Islands National Park. The island is also the burial site of the Bijagós kings and queens.
Travelling northeast from Bissau, the flat, wet coastal regions give way to drier and hillier land that serves as the transition into the Sahel. There is little to detain the traveller, although the forests and rivers are popular with hunters and fishermen, and the road between the Gabú and the Guinean border winds through pretty hills as high as 300m – the highest point in the country.
Doing business in GUINEA-BISSAU
Guinea-Bissau's GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, and its Human Development Index is also one of the lowest on earth. More than two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line. The economy depends mainly on agriculture; fish, cashew nuts and ground nuts are its major exports. A long period of political instability has resulted in depressed economic activity, deteriorating social conditions, and increased macroeconomic imbalances.
Guinea-Bissauhas started to show some economic advances after a pact of stability was signed by the main political parties of the country, leading to an IMF-backed structural reform program. The key challenges for the country in the period ahead would be to achieve fiscal discipline, rebuild public administration, improve the economic climate for private investment, and promote economic diversification. After becoming independent from Portugal in 1974 due to the Portuguese Colonial War and the Carnation Revolution, the exodus of the Portuguese civilian, military and political authorities brought tremendous damage to the country's economic infrastructure, social order and standard of living.
After several years of economic downturn and political instability, in 1997, Guinea-Bissau entered the CFA franc monetary system, bringing about some internal monetary stability. The civil war that took place in 1998 and 1999 and a military coup in September 2003 again disrupted economic activity, leaving a substantial part of the economic and social infrastructure in ruins and intensifying the already widespread poverty. Following the parliamentary elections in March 2004 and presidential elections in July 2005, the country is trying to recover from the long period of instability despite a still-fragile political situation.
Beginning around 2005, drug traffickers based in Latin America began to use Guinea-Bissau, along with several neighboring West African nations, as a transshipment point to Europe for cocaine. The nation was described by a United Nations official as being at risk for becoming a "narco-state".The government and the military did almost nothing to stop this business. In 2009 nearly all transports via Guinea Bissau have been stopped and translocated to Mali.
Guinea-Bissauis a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Taken from wikipedia