This paper provides an analysis of the modes of livelihood of Guinea-Bissau’s population. The country is poor and highly dependent on agriculture and extractive activities such as fishing. Yet beyond such general statements, it is useful to describe in qualitative terms the main activities that take place both in rural areas at the regional level, and in urban areas through mostly informal employment. This is done on the basis of fieldwork carried out in the country in early 2005. In addition, the paper provides a brief quantitative empirical analysis of the main income sources of households, and a more detailed analysis of two key sectors of the economy that could form the basis of a poverty reduction strategy: cashew nuts and fishing.