flag Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Guinea Bissau’s economic performance remains highly dependent on the prices of cashew nuts, which account for almost 70% of employment and 80% of exports (the so-called “green oil” of Guinea Bissau). Prices for raw cashews, which were already under pressure from excess supply in the last few years, tumbled as a consequence of the Covid-19-induced crisis, which slowed processing activities and caused a contraction in demand. As a result, GDP growth slowed down to 1.5% in 2020 according to IMF latest estimates. It rebounded to 3.8% in 2021, owing to higher cashew nut production, public investment in critical externally financed infrastructure, the gradual lifting of Covid-19 containment measures, and a gradual improvement in business confidence (IMF). Economic growth is forecast to further strengthen to 4% in 2022 and 5% in 2023 (IMF).

In 2021, Guinea Bissau’s economy started to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the strategic cashew nut sector. The overall fiscal deficit decreased from 10% GDP in 2020 to an estimated 5.4% GDP in 2021, due to the unwinding of pandemic-related effects, greater revenue mobilization and expenditure controls (IMF). Fiscal consolidation is expected to continue in 2022. The IMF initially projected public debt to gradually decrease from 79.3% GDP in 2020 to 79.1% GDP in 2021, 78.1% GDP in 2022 and 76.1% GDP in 2023. However, recent analysis forecast public debt to slightly increase in 2021, mainly because of domestic currency depreciation and the rephasing of the clearance of legacy arrears (IMF). Inflation increased from an estimated 1.5% in 2020 to 1.9% in 2021, and is expected to remain stable at 2% in 2022 and 2023 (IMF). In July 2021, the IMF approved a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP), which supports the government’s program of reforms aimed at stabilizing the economy, improving competitiveness, and strengthening governance. Guinea Bissau’s authorities may benefit from an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement in 2022 if the SMP’s implementation is satisfactory.

The World Bank classifies Guinea Bissau as a low-income country (GDP per capita PPP was estimated at USD 1,948 in 2020). About 69% of the population live in poverty and 25% suffer from chronic malnutrition (UN). Data from to the World Bank show that the unemployment rate in the country was around 6.7% for 2020. The dimensions of the informal economy, as well as trafficking in narcotics are hard to assess, but they play an important role in the country's economic activities. In fact, the country struggles with South American drug traffickers, who are sometimes linked to the army. The UNDP ranked Guinea Bissau 175th out of 189 countries in the world in its 2020 Human Development Index.

Main Indicators 20202021202220232024
GDP (billions USD) 1.521.701.621.691.83
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 839918857874927
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 76.578.582.080.377.7
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -0.04-0.05-0.11-0.08-0.08
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.7-3.2-6.5-4.7-4.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GBP 800.68749.15741.42731.88737.93

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Main Sectors of Industry

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 60.5 8.6 30.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 30.9 13.5 50.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) -0.8 -0.7 -4.3

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 779,105800,827792,581

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 72.87%72.90%72.89%
Men activity rate 79.17%79.11%78.98%
Women activity rate 67.01%67.11%67.19%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
allAfrica.com, Guinea-Bissau news
afrolcNews, Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau News
Guinea-Bissau Newspapers
Useful Resources
Ministry of Finance (in Portuguese)
Official web site of the Parliament of Guinea-Bissau (in Portuguese)
Central Bank of the West African States

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Latest Update: February 2023

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