Country FilesWestCountry Profile 2014: GUINEA-BISSAU

Fri,24Nov2017

Posted on Sunday, 09 February 2014 11:29

Country Profile 2014: GUINEA-BISSAU

The military’s shadow looms large

 

Guinea-Bissau’s political future rested on the holding of national elections on 24 November and another round of attempts to get the military to respect civilian authority. The country has been under an arms embargo and its leadership has been under sanctions and was unrecognised – except by the Economic Community of West African States – since the 12 April 2012 military coup. As The Africa Report went to press, the government postponed elections until at least March 2014 due to organisational and financial problems.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

TOP GUINEA-BISSAU COMPANIES

TOP GUINEA-BISSAU BANKS

 

ar-infographie-guinea-bissau-2014The military’s shadow looms large

 

National elections due in November 2013 were delayed until March 2014

The population relies on the cashew industry, which is poorly managed

Guinea-Bissau’s political future rested on the holding of national elections on 24 November and another round of attempts to get the military to respect civilian authority. The country has been under an arms embargo and its leadership has been under sanctions and was unrecognised – except by the Economic Community of West African States – since the 12 April 2012 military coup. As The Africa Report went to press, the government postponed elections until at least March 2014 due to organisational and financial problems.

The government relies on donor funds for about 80%of its budget, and Bissau’s international partners were not forthcoming with the funds needed for the polls. In September, the government had a bout $1.5m of the $15m necessary to organise presidential and legislative elections. To make matters worse, the government had not begun the electoral registration process, making it likely that elections would be pushed back to 2014.

BEGRUDGING SUPPORT

General António Indjai is seen as the power behind the transitional government, which has been led by President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo and the prime minister, Rui Duarte de Barros. Indjai, who the United States government claims is a major cog in the international drug trade and is the subject of an international arrest warrant, is opposed to Carlos Gomes Júnior, the former prime minister who was leading in the 2012 presidential elections that the coup interrupted. Indjai and his allies in the armed services are hostile to anyone who seeks to impose civilian rule on the military or interfere with the drug trade between the country and Latin America. In June2013, after the international community increased pressure on the government, Gomes Júnior and his Partido Africano da Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde compromised and gave their begrudging support to the transitional government but opposed attempts to implement an amnesty programme for the coup’s backers.

All is not calm within the military either. Indjai’s Balanta ethnic group dominates the army and security forces, and he has been replacing top leaders with his ethnic brethren. Indjai promoted about a dozen Balanta army officials to the level of general in September 2013. There are about 4,500 troops in the armed forces, but Guinea-Bissau’s international partners insist that the number must be reduced to 3,500 soldiers.

The dysfunctions of the justice system are another point of tension. Impunity reigns and there have been no trials related to the assassinations of President João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, General Batista Tagména Waie and deputies Baciro Dabó and Hélder Proença in 2009.

REMATCH

Several politicians have called for the holding of a national conference in order to give the country’s politics a new foundation, an idea that the late President Malam Bacai Sanhá had proposed.

Gomes Júnior remains in Portugal and his return to Guinea-Bissau could stoke tensions. His principal opponent in the 2012 presidential elections, Kumba Yalá, is set to run again for the presidency. Yalá claimed that there was fraud in the first round of the April 2012 polls. He is Balanta and one of Indjai’s political allies.

Meanwhile, the country has seen weak 2012 and 2013 cashew seasons, contributing to poor economic growth. The economy is dependent on the export of cashew nuts, which account for 90% of total exports and 17% of government revenue, making the country open to external shocks and shifts in the price of cashews. The finance ministry says that the sector employs 80% of the population and covers 47% of arable land.

There are now growing signs of food insecurity in the interior of the country, especially after the African Development Bank suspended its food security programme in April 2012. In addition, the state water and electricity companies had difficulties supplying the capital city throughout 2013. There is demand for 20MW of electricity, but the country struggles to produce 9MW, according to government statistics.

The April 2012 coup has weakened economic reforms. The treasury has been making off-books payments, and military spending has risen by about 1% of gross domestic product.

 

GUINEA-BISSAU'S TOP COMPANIES

 

No companies from Guinea Bissau featured in The Africa's Report's Top 500 Companies in Africa 2013.

 

GUINEA-BISSAU'S TOP BANKS

 

No banks from Guinea Bissau featured in The Africa's Report's Top 200 Banks in Africa 2012.





Subscriptions Digital EditionSubscriptions PrintEdition

FRONTLINE

NEWS

POLITICS

HEALTH

SPORTS

BUSINESS

SOCIETY

TECHNOLOGY

COLUMNISTS

Music & Film

SOAPBOX

Newsletters

Keep up to date with the latest from our network :

subscribe2

Connect with us