Region: Western Africa
Population: 10,211,437 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 245,857 sq km
Currency: Guinean franc (GNF)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $1,100 (2007 est.)
Guinea has had only two presidents since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Lansana Conte came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after the death of the first president, Sekou Toure. Guinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. Conte (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected in 1998 and again in 2003, though all the polls have been marred by irregularities. Guinea has maintained its internal stability despite spillover effects from conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia. As those countries have rebuilt, Guinea's own vulnerability to political and economic crisis has increased. Declining economic conditions and popular dissatisfaction with corruption and bad governance prompted two massive strikes in 2006; a third nationwide strike in early 2007 sparked violent protests in many Guinean cities and prompted two weeks of martial law. To appease the unions and end the unrest, Conte named a new prime minister in March 2007.
Economy – Overview:
Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country has almost half of the world's bauxite reserves and is the second-largest bauxite producer. The mining sector accounts for over 70% of exports. Long-run improvements in government fiscal arrangements, literacy, and the legal framework are needed if the country is to move out of poverty. Investor confidence has been sapped by rampant corruption, a lack of electricity and other infrastructure, a lack of skilled workers, and the political uncertainty due to the failing health of President Lansana Conte. Guinea is trying to reengage with the IMF and World Bank, which cut off most assistance in 2003, and is working closely with technical advisors from the U.S. Treasury Department, the World Bank and IMF, seeking to return to a fully funded program. Growth rose slightly in 2006-07, primarily due to increases in global demand and commodity prices on world markets, but the standard of living fell. The Guinea franc depreciated sharply as the prices for basic necessities like food and fuel rose beyond the reach of most Guineans. Dissatisfaction with economic conditions prompted nationwide strikes in February and June 2006.
Major Export Commodities: bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 160 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $102.89 million. Major development partners include France, the United States, and the IDA.
Total External Debt: US $3.307 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
United Nations membership date: 12 December 1958
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guinea to the United Nations,
140 East 39th Street, New York, N.Y. 10016
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008