Education is compulsory only at the elementary school
level. It starts at the age of seven and lasts for six
years. The supplementary education starts at the age of 13
and comprises five years, divided into a three-year middle
school and a two-year higher secondary school. About 75% of
children attend school, but many quit prematurely. The
proportion of girls in primary school is almost as high as
the proportion of boys. There are two universities in the
capital Bissau, one state and one private. In addition, two
Portuguese universities have branches in the country.
The illiteracy of the adult population (over 15 years)
was previously one of the highest in the world, but since
independence it has declined and in 2009, literacy was
estimated at a total of 52% (67% for men and 38% for women).
Immediately before a state visit to Portugal in December
2009, President Sanhá fainted. He was brought to Senegal and
on to France, where the diagnosis was diabetic. However,
after lengthy visits and treatments, the president died in
January 2012. The post was taken over by Raimundo Pereira.
He had since 2008 chaired the People's Assembly.
Two weeks before Sanha's death, in December 2011, Admiral
Jose Americo Bubo Na Tchuto conducted a new coup attempt.
Army Chief Antonio Indjai was reportedly arrested and Prime
Minister Gomes sought refuge at Angola's embassy. After a
few hours, however, loyal troops intervened and the picture
reversed. Na Tchuto was arrested for coup attempt.
Sanhá died on January 9, 2012, and in accordance with the
constitution that provided for new presidential elections
within 90 days, an election was held in April.
2012 Military Cup
On April 12, 2012, the military took power in a coup,
ousted the president and instead deployed a National
Transitional Council to lead the country to new elections.
The coup was conducted between the 1st and 2nd round of
presidential elections in the country, and in May the
military deployed Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo as transitional
president. He had been a candidate in the election and had
received the 3rd most votes.
The military coup was a direct consequence of the 1st
round of elections won by PAIGC's Carlos Gomez Júnior, who
had been prime minister until January. He had previously
spoken out in favor of military reform, which had made him
thoroughly unpopular within this institution. The military
was deeply involved in anesthesia smuggling through the
country and individual officers did not want to lose the
The military coup was condemned both regionally and
internationally, although the military tried to give it
legitimacy by forming a unifying government and involving
both PAIGC and the opposition. The stabilizing troops Angola
and the UN had in the country were withdrawn in June. In
October, a new minor military coup attempt was conducted,
which was turned down. At the end of the year, among other
things, the North American DEA that drug traffic through
Guinea-Bissau was increased in the second half of the year.
The country's economy was further weakened during 2013 as
a result of the political crisis and falling prices of
cachewood - an important export product. The country's
teachers went on strike several times throughout the year in
protest of the lack of payroll payments and health workers
conducted a similar 7-day strike in June. The UN envoy to
the country described it as dangerously close to being a
failed state. Attempts to implement military reforms
initiated in 2012 were suspended with the military coup in
After many postponements, presidential and parliamentary
elections were held in April/May 2014. It was won by PAIGC
and its presidential candidate José Mário Vaz. PAIGC
received 48.0% of the vote, but due to the design of the
electoral system, it reached 57 seats and thus a majority in
the 102-seat parliament. However, there was a decline of 10
seats as compared to the 2008 elections. In the first round
of elections, José Mário Vaz got 40.9% of the vote, while
independent candidate Nono Gomez Nabiam got 24.8%. In the
second round in May, Vaz got 61.9%, while Nabiam had to
settle for 38.1%. The turnout was high. 89.3% in the first
round and 78.2% in the second. Vaz had been Minister of
Finance in the Sanha government in 2009, but had been ousted
by the coup in 2012 and exiled in Portugal. He inaugurated
Domingos Simões Pereira in July 2014 as his prime minister.
At its deployment, Vaz promised to focus on reducing poverty
and investment in agricultural production.