Guinea-Bissau

Flag of Guinea-Bissau

Cashew Trees in Guinea-Bissau

 

PRAYING FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ONE COUNTRY AT A TIME – This week we are praying for Guinea-Bissau, which is on the western coast of Africa, just south of Senegal. It was once part of the Mali Empire, and then in the 15th century the Portuguese arrived and the area became an important in the slave trade. Guinea-Bissau (GB) gained its independence in 1974 after about twenty years of violence. After independence, the country suffered a series of military coups and other political struggles which have continued until now. For example, in a little over a year, they put in office the fifth prime minister in November 2016. As a result, the country’s development has been stunted as international investments and donations are halted by the instability. Contributing to the country’s woes are a weak and ineffective administrative state. It has a weak banking sector. Starting up businesses is difficult. The judiciary are poorly trained, weak and easily corrupted. Most people are employed either in the public sector or in the informal economy. Cashews are the chief exports.

By the mid-1980’s, about ¾ of the mangrove areas were lost forever. Only about 79% of city dwellers and 49% of those living in rural areas have access to pure drinking water. About 36% of their renewable water resources are used for farming activity. Only 46% of the population have access to adequate sanitation. Droughts and erosion have led to soil acidification and salinization, damaging the soil for agriculture, an important part of the GB economy. Pygmy hippopotamus and the West African manatees are on the endangered list. Fire remains one of the most significant environmental problems in GB. This country also suffers from the scourge of human trafficking, including children.