Living in Guinea Bissau guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Guinea Bissau.

About Guinea Bissau

Due to its colonial history, the official language of the country is Portuguese, although only about 14% of the population (mainly the educated elite) can speak the language today. As a result, the use of Portuguese is concentrated around the capital of Bissau. The lingua franca of the country is Guinea-Bissau Creole, known as Crioulu, which is a Portuguese-based creole. Crioulu is used in parliament, on public services, and for entertainment purposes. Interestingly, many public schools teach French as a second language due to its proximity to French-speaking countries, and Guinea-Bissau belongs to the International Organisation of La Francophonie, which represents countries where French is an important part of the culture. Mauritanian traders also have a significant presence in the country, so you can often speak French in markets.

As a result of its ethnic diversity, many other native languages are spoken throughout Guinea-Bissau, but each of these is thought to have less than 50,000 speakers. About half of the population has adopted Islam in the past century, while most of the remainder continue to practice indigenous belief systems, such as animism.

The jewels in the country's crown are the tropical islands that make up the Arquipélago dos Bijagós (Bijagos Archipelago), which is home to a matriarchy community called the Bijagós, as well as adorable mammals such as dolphins, manatees, and hippos. But note that transport to and from the islands is either difficult or costly.

Guinea-Bissau may be a tiny country that is mainly composed of mangroves, wetlands, sandy bays, and islands, but it rapidly evolved into a cocaine hub between South America and Europe at the start of the 21st century, and the UN dubbed it to be Africa's 'first narco-state'. Once hailed as a potential model for African development, the country is now one of the poorest countries in the world, and it ranked 178th out of 188 countries on the UN's 2016 Human Development Report. Although the country ranks fourth in Africa for cashew nut production ' exports account for about 60% of the national income and provide a modest living for most of the country's farmers ' the country still has a massive foreign debt and an economy that relies heavily on foreign aid.

The main employment for expatriates is ostensibly in the NGO sector and with the UN. However, there are also some employment opportunities for expatriates in the tourism sector.

In 2015, international donors pledged more than USD 1.1 billion to help revive Guinea-Bissau's economy, and many expatriates are working tirelessly to help achieve this goal.

Quick Information

Official Languages : Portuguese
Currency : Franc
Area : 36120 Km2
Population : 1565126
Calling Code : +245
Timezone : Africa/Bissau

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