This small, coastal West African country – officially the Republic of Guinea Bissau - is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east. Once a Portuguese colony (when it was known as Portuguese Guinea), Guinea Bissau gained independence in 1974 following a protracted war of independence. In the late 1990s a bloody civil war raged through the country, damaging the economy and infrastructure. The war ended in 1999 but political instability continued with a series of coups and the death (from natural causes) of President Sanha in January 2012.
Today, Guinea Bissau remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The main source of foreign exchange is from the growing of cashew nuts. This humble crop is responsible for generating around 20% of the country’s income and supporting 85% of all jobs. Currently relying on fairly traditional agricultural methods, it is thought that with the introduction of more modern equipment, the fertile land is capable of producing much higher yields.