Guinea Bissau. According to Countryaah.com, the political crisis that characterized 2016 continued this year as well. In May, the UN Security Council called on President José Mário Vaz to appoint a prime minister to be accepted by the State-carrying African Independence Party of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). Vaz belongs to PAIGC himself but has ended up in a collision course with strong forces within the party and therefore sought support from the opposition when he wanted to replace the prime minister. In September 2015, an agreement was concluded with the help of the West African cooperation organization ECOWAS, which meant that a cooperation government would be formed and then govern the country for two years. Umaro Sissoco Embaló was then appointed new Prime Minister, but PAIGC has refused to approve him because the party was not asked for his appointment. The political stalemate still existed in October when a thousand opposition supporters gathered in the capital Bissau to demand the resignation of the government. Through efforts by the country’s security forces, the protesters were prevented even more. In December, the opposition rejected a crisis plan proposed by President Vaz and a few days later threatened ECOWAS with sanctions if Guinea-Bissau did not resolve the political crisis within two months.
In May, President Vaz temporarily halted all sales of cashew nuts, one of the country’s most important export goods. The reason was that international buyers proved to pay at least twice as much for cashew nuts in Senegal. When the trade was allowed again, the buyers paid record high prices, which in combination with increased exports gave growers large revenue increases and the country needed much economic growth. Since the vast majority of all exported cashews are sold in untreated condition, Guinea-Bissau could profit even more from the trade. But then investments are required that make it possible to refine the raw material in the country.
In September, salary payments were suspended to one-third of the country’s public employees. In total, there were about 4,000 suspected so-called ghost workers who are on the payrolls without really working for the state. These persons may be deceased, have retired or for other reasons no longer perform their duties.