Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its population suffers. According to 1991 estimates, 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The GDP per capita was estimated to be US$850 at purchasing power parity in 2000. Although the World Factbook estimated in 1991 that the poorest 10 percent of the population controlled 0.5 percent of the GDP and the richest 10 percent controlled 42.4 percent.

    Economic development has been hampered by both low quality and poor coverage of education. Although education is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 13, barely half of the children in that age group attend school regularly. Health in Guinea-Bissau is in a state of crisis. About 90 percent of the needed funding comes from abroad, though this money is often diverted through corruption and does not reach its intended recipients.