Guinea-Bissau, one of West Africa's most populous countries with a population of about 1.9 million, has had to cast its military shadow for decades. African country and recently hit the heart of its economic and security situation.
The country borders Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and has 1.8 million inhabitants and an archipelago of more than 100 islands. The capital Bissau is located at a large estuary that winds through the center of the Länder. Bounded by Senegal from north to south and south to east, it has an average size of about 2,000 square kilometres. The reserves in Guinea-Bissau include the Guinea National Park, which houses the world's largest collection of waders, as well as some of Africa's most diverse animal species.
Other important border posts are Bissau and the capital Dakar, Senegal, as well as other major cities in the country. The UK and US embassies in Senegal are accredited in Guinea - BISSau, as are the US embassy in Doha, Qatar, the US embassy in London, UK, the US consulate in Guelph, Canada and the UK consulate general in Paris, France. Individuals and visa seekers are asked to apply for a "Guinea Bissao Visa" by filling out an online application form. Citizens of Ecowas, nationals of other countries in Guinea-Bisau, must present proof of citizenship, such as a passport, driving licence or passport number.
Many Western nations do not have a diplomatic presence in Guinea-Bissau, which means that they have a much harder time with visa-free travel to other Ecowas countries, such as the United States.
Guinea - Bissau has been designated by the White House as one of the top destinations for cocaine traffickers from Latin America to transport cocaine to Western Europe. The Colombian presence, the estimates are different, but one observer estimates that it accounts for up to 30% of the total cocaine trade in the United States. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 32 mules carrying cocaine were brought to Guinea-Côte d'Ivoire from Colombia in 2010, while 32 of them were transporting cocaine from Guinea-Bissau.
Guinea - Bissau's armed forces and politicians are believed to be deeply involved in the drug trade, and army officials are known to be involved in the trade. Latin American cocaine on its way to Europe, Guinea-Bissai is the second largest supplier of cocaine to the United States after Colombia, according to U.S. authorities.
Guinea - endemic corruption in Bissau has been exacerbated by political instability on the many offshore islands that have made the country an attractive destination for drug traffickers. The fact that it is controlled by a single government, with little control over its own security forces, has exposed the country as a safe haven for organised crime networks.
Guinea - The cocaine scandal in Bissau began when a fisherman found a package of white powder washed up on the beach on one of the islands. Another development highlighted by the DEA and UNODC is the use of anti-drug operations to target Asian-African cartels that smuggle heroin across the Atlantic in the opposite direction to the US. Last year, DEA police in Chicago tracked down nine West Africans from various West African countries who were transporting heroin from Southeast Asia to Central America, where they were transporting cocaine.
Guinea - Bissau was once part of the Kingdom of Gabu, one of the largest and most powerful kingdoms in Africa. The country, now called Guinea BISSau, was once named Gabo, a kingdom that was part of the larger Mali empire. Part of this kingdom existed until the 18th century, but was overrun by the Malian Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In 1956, armed uprisings began, but it was not until 1974 that the Portuguese finally accepted the independence of Guinea - Bissau. After a period of military rule, the former president of Gabo, Jose Eduardo Vieira, was elected president in 2000. During his 19-year rule, he was criticized for failing to alleviate the country's economic and social problems, as well as its political and military problems.
Guinea-Bissau is divided into 37 sectors and divided into three major regions: the capital, the provinces of Guyana and Gabo, and the city of Porto. Unlike other Portuguese colonies, the country has no military bases or facilities, and no significant settler population. Most of Guinea's population - Ivory Coast and its neighbouring countries - live in rural areas, with the exception of a few towns in southern Guinea.
It will also be of the utmost importance to focus international attention on Guinea-Bissau. Minimum political conditions must be created to reintegrate the UNODC, to support the Liberian Government in its efforts to prevent and combat drug trafficking and organised crime. IFAD has supported four programmes and projects in Guinea-Bissau, investing US $27.6 million and directly supporting more than 155,000 rural households. The UNNodC has also supported the development of a new strategy to combat trafficking in human beings in the country and has improved cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security and the National Police in the fight against drug smuggling, trafficking in human beings and other organised crime, as well as in the fight against terrorism and trafficking in human beings.