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Infrastructure blog

How Guinea-Bissau is boosting investment into infrastructure by getting clear on its needs

19 December 2023

This case study highlights how Guinea-Bissau's development plan sets out what it needs to address infrastructure gaps.

How Guinea-Bissau is boosting investment into infrastructure by getting clear on its needs
The African Development Bank is boosting investment into Guinea-Bissau’s renewables infrastructure to address its energy access gaps. Image credit: Shutterstock

Investment is critical to deliver the infrastructure that countries need for their citizens to thrive.

But to obtain this investment, countries must be clear on what financial support they need.

Guinea-Bissau is a country that has outlined where exactly it requires financial support to meet its infrastructure needs.

It’s done so by setting out its long-term development objectives.

Principle 6 of the Enabling Better Infrastructure 12 guiding principles recognises that ‘an infrastructure strategy needs to cover all aspects of implementation’.

This includes setting up long-term funding and financing arrangements to help address infrastructure gaps.

Guinea-Bissau's development plan showcases how establishing clear socio-economic goals can highlight where investment is needed and attract external support.

Guinea-Bissau's need for infrastructure investment

Guinea-Bissau faces a wide range of development challenges such as ongoing political instability and increasing pressure from inflation.

Government spending on basic services is at an all-time low, representing less than 10% of the State Budget in 2021.

The energy sector is the worst affected by this. Access to energy is limited and costly, meaning that a large proportion of the population can’t power their homes.

Guinea-Bissau’s transport system is also poorly connected. Only 10% of its road network is tarred, and there’s no railway system.

This has had a negative impact on society, as access to healthcare and education services is limited.

Identifying areas for improvement

To address its challenging socio-economic conditions, Guinea-Bissau identified its strategic objectives in a national development plan, published in 2020.

This set out its long-term economic, social and environmental goals, which included:

  • Promoting economic reform, growth and employment
  • Developing productive economic sectors and infrastructure
  • Preserving biodiversity, combat climate change, and enhance natural capital

These goals provide a clear vision of what the government wanted to achieve.

Infrastructure investment: a springboard for development

The African Development Bank has recognised Guinea-Bissau’s vision for long-term development, as outlined in its national development plan.

By laying out its strategic objectives, the country clearly demonstrated where support was needed from external financers and investors.

To help Guinea-Bissau achieve its vision, the bank has put together a strategy to promote economic diversification and sustainable growth through infrastructure investment.

This is detailed in the Country Strategy Paper 2022-2026.

Specifically, the bank has committed to increasing energy efficiency and developing renewable energy, with a particular focus on solar streetlamps.

It has also promised to help develop Guinea-Bissau’s transport infrastructure to strengthen regional connectivity.

These actions will play a key role in tackling the country’s widespread lack of access to essential services.

How Guinea-Bissau can continue to invest in its infrastructure

Guinea-Bissau’s publication of its national development plan marked a pivotal turning point in its infrastructure journey.

By consolidating its long-term objectives, it provided clarity on what was needed to fill its infrastructure gaps and from external funding.

This played a key role in attracting external guidance and investment from the African Development Bank.

The bank’s plans to improve access to basic services by investing in Guinea-Bissau’s energy and transport sectors will help the country to bridge its infrastructure gaps.

Steps to identify where further external financing is needed can help Guinea-Bissau attract other investors moving forward, including the private sector.

The private sector also plays a key role in delivering an infrastructure strategy and could provide valuable opportunities for Guinea-Bissau, as outlined in our Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) guidance.

To find out more, read our EBI report.

To learn more about broadening funding and finance opportunities for infrastructure, please visit our Enabling Better Infrastructure report.

  • Adina Nembhardt, EBI programme researcher at ICE