Definition of Youth

There is no official definition of youth. The African Economic Outlook (2013) for Guinea Bissau uses 15-35 as reference group for poverty and 15-24 for unemployment among young people.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • --
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • --
  • --

  • No data for marriage age with parental consent. Forced and early marriages of girls below 15 years is prevalent in poor rural areas. No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGAUN Child Rights Periodic Report (2013)

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 80.85% Male (15-24) %
  • 73.71% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 10.85%Male %
  • 6.10% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 11.50% Male (13-15) %
  • 10.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Guinea-Bissau has no compre­hensive dedicated national youth policy yet.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle on the 26th June 2013, representatives of youth organisations and the head of the National Institute of Youth (NIY) express the need for a national youth policy to solve the problems that affect young people and increase the government’s responsibility towards youth. The article states that a regulatory document of youth policy for Guinea-Bissau was expected in September 2013, yet by March 2014 such a policy had not been launched. Yet, the article notes that the NIY – an institution for research on and development of public policies for youth – lacks expertise, as well as financial resources to fulfill its task. Guinea-Bissau is a party to the African Youth Charter, which addresses key issues affecting youth, including employment and youth participation.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
According to IFZ, Guinea-Bissau has seen frequent changes of government in the past ten years. All of them, including the transition government that has been in office since June 2013, have had a Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports. The Ministry has been a member of the Conference of Francophone Ministers of Youth and Sports (CONFEJES) since 1988.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council of Guinea Bissau (CNJ) is an umbrella organisation of youth associations. According to its statutes of 2007, CNJ has the objective to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange to its members, promote the development of youth, and represent young people towards the authorities in all matters them. However, according to an interview with Deutsche Welle on the 26th June 2013, youth in Guinea-Bissau “are only remembered during election campaigns, but then not taken into account in the development of the country” and therefore discouraged from participating in politics. The CNJ is a member of the World Assembly of Youth.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation on the budget for youth in Guinea-Bissau could be found online. The World Bank lists no data on public spending on education in Guinea-Bissau for the last ten years.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

From the BBC Country Profile for Guinea Bissau (2014),
Once hailed as a potential model for African development, Guinea-Bissau is now one of the poorest countries in the world. It has a massive foreign debt and an economy that relies heavily on foreign aid. Compounding this, the country experienced a bitter civil war in the late 1990s in which thousands were killed, wounded or displaced.
From the YEN Report (2007),
A civil war in the late 1990s severely disrupted most public services such as health and education, and recovery since then has been slow. In 2004, the majority of children in Guinea Bissau were not enrolled in primary school and only 9% were enrolled in secondary school. Conflict and political instability has led to poor economic performance and limited employment opportunities.
From the African Economic Outlook for Guinea-Bissau (2013),
The major obstacles faced by government services in Guinea-Bissau are lack of institutions, an inadequate legal and regulatory framework, untrained or unsuitable staff, low motivation amongst civil servants and lack of a career-advancement plans. Their efficiency is also hampered by poor use of administrative systems and procedures and incompetent personnel. Rules for recruiting, paying and promoting civil servants are vague and this greatly harms transparency. About 80% of poor people were aged between 15 and 35, and poverty was more likely in large families. The risk was however less if the family head had schooling, secondary education being a means to escape poverty. The government has no unemployment data, but DENARP II [the poverty reduction strategy paper] says 10.6% of youths between 15 and 24 and 4.6% of women were jobless in 2009. The overall rate is probably about 30% when youth unemployment under- employment is included. The government’s priorities are guided by the poverty reduction strategy paper (DENARP), which was drawn up with the participation of all sectors of society in identifying problems, priorities and aspirations, seeking solutions and devising strategy, but delays in drafting the key documents … combined with the April 2012 military coup have so far prevented its official publication and implementation.
From the UN Child Rights Periodic Report (2013),
Birth registration has declined from 39 per cent in 2006 to 24 per cent in 2010, and … 61.1 per cent of children under 5 years of age are not registered.