Guinea is at a turning point after decades of authoritarian rule since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Guinea held its first free and competitive democratic presidential and legislative elections in 2010 and 2013 respectively, and in October 2015 held a second consecutive presidential election. Alpha CONDE was reelected to a second five-year term as president in 2015, and the National Assembly was seated in January 2014. CONDE's first cabinet is the first all-civilian government in Guinea. The country held a successful political dialogue in August and September 2016 that brought together the government and opposition to address long-standing tensions. Likewise, President CONDE’s election as AU chairperson has instilled confidence in Guinea. Previously, Sekou TOURE ruled the country as president from independence to his death in 1984. Lansana CONTE came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after TOURE's death. Gen. CONTE organized and won presidential elections in 1993, 1998, and 2003, though all the polls were rigged. Upon CONTE's death in December 2008, Capt. Moussa Dadis CAMARA led a military coup, seizing power and suspending the constitution. His unwillingness to yield to domestic and international pressure to step down led to heightened political tensions that culminated in September 2009 when presidential guards opened fire on an opposition rally killing more than 150 people, and in early December 2009 when CAMARA was wounded in an assassination attempt and exiled to Burkina Faso. A transitional government led by Gen. Sekouba KONATE paved the way for Guinea's transition to a fledgling democracy.
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone
bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish, salt
Population - distribution
areas of highest density are in the west and south; interior is sparsely populated
CONAKRY (capital) 1.936 million (2015)
- Conventional long form
- Republic of Guinea
- Conventional short form
- Local long form
- Republique de Guinee
- Local short form
- Geographic coordinates
- 9 30 N, 13 42 W
- Time difference
- UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Guinea is a poor country of approximately 12.9 million people in 2016 that possesses the world's largest reserves of bauxite and largest untapped high-grade iron ore reserves, as well as gold and diamonds. In addition, Guinea has fertile soil, ample rainfall, and is the source of several West African rivers, including the Senegal, Niger, and Gambia. Guinea's hydro potential is enormous and the country could be a major exporter of electricity. The country also has tremendous agriculture potential. Gold, bauxite, and diamonds are Guinea’s main exports. International investors have shown interest in Guinea's unexplored mineral reserves, which have the potential to propel Guinea's future growth.
- External debt stocks
- US$ 1,389,380,000
- Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
- Real Interest Rate
- Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
- Current Account Balance
- US$ -1,160,950,000
- Labor Force, Total
- Employment in Agriculture
- Employment in Industry
- Employment in Services
- Unemployment Rate
- Imports of goods and services
- US$ 2,866,182,203
- Exports of goods and services
- US$ 1,518,850,029
- Total Merchandise Trade
- FDI, net inflows
- US$ 85,000,000
- Commercial Service Exports
- US$ 100,330,000
rice, coffee, pineapples, mangoes, palm kernels, cocoa, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes; cattle, sheep, goats; timber
bauxite, gold, diamonds, iron ore; light manufacturing, agricultural processing
- bauxite, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
- India 22.1%, Spain 8.2%, Ireland 7.3%, Germany 6.3%, Belgium 5.5%, Ukraine 5.3%, France 4.1% (2015)
- petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs
- China 20.5%, Netherlands 5.4%, India 4.4% (2015)
- Country Risk Rating
- A high-risk political and economic situation and an often very difficult business environment can have a very significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is very high.
- Business Climate Rating
- The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
- One third of the world's bauxite reserves
- Still largely unexploited deposits of iron, gold, diamonds, uranium, and oil
- Considerable hydroelectric potential
- Dependence on mining outputs and energy prices
- Lack of infrastructures especially in the electricity sector
- Difficult business climate
Growth should continue to be positive thanks to the return of investors and the resumption of large-scale projects initially planned before the Ebola epidemic. The mining and agriculture sectors look likely to be the main engines of growth. In the mining sector, bauxite production, which is rising strongly, should boost exports because of the quality of the extracted bauxite. The sector is also set to benefit from investment in the framework of the Simandou project, which aims to provide access to one of the world's largest unexploited deposits of high-quality iron, and to build a new railway linking south-eastern Guinea to the coast and a new deepwater port. Nonetheless, investors' risk aversion might hamper or even delay these projects, as they argue that supply is excessive; this attitude is epitomised by Rio Tinto's withdrawal from the Simandou project (its shares were sold to a Chinese industrial company). Public investment should enable growth in the agricultural sector by improving the country's productive capacities and targeting the production of profitable crops, like cashew nuts. Unlike the mining sector, which generates few jobs (foreign companies, such as those from China, tend to bring in their own workers), the growth of the country's agricultural sector should stimulate consumption thanks to a rise in employment and therefore incomes.
Inflation is predicted to fall but remain high because of the effects of the strong depreciation in the price of imports in 2016. Nonetheless, its downward trend should benefit Guineans' purchasing power.
The budget deficit is expected to fall in 2017 thanks to an improvement in tax collection, the rise in VAT and tax revenues generated by the mining sector. A rise in capital expenditure may result in a slight rise in spending overall. The debt level should also fall slightly as a result of the fiscal consolidation. Nonetheless, it will be worth monitoring the risk of overindebtedness due to the country's vulnerability to external shocks, especially in raw materials.
The large current account deficit is predicted to shrink slightly in 2017 thanks to good mining results, as with bauxite exports (92% of exports), which should continue to rise, and a moderate growth in imports. Imports look set to rise because of slightly stronger domestic demand and the continuity of projects requiring imports of electronic and electric equipment, intermediate products and oil and gas. The deficit in services will likely remain high because of the high costs, linked to imports, of transport and insurance, and the growing demand for technical services (know-how, technology, R&D, etc.).
Outgoing president Alpha Condé has the backing of a large parliamentary majority and enjoys relatively broad-based popular support. The make-up of Mr Condé's cabinet, featuring a number of technocrats, underlines the president's belief that a rapid kick-starting of the economy to mark the end of the Ebola crisis will be crucial in preserving social harmony. Concerning domestic political stability, the recent improvements in relations between the regime and opposition parties should herald a more prosperous period. The agreement between these two parties on the date of local elections in 2017 helped calm social relations.
The President is also building closer diplomatic and trading ties with Gulf states and China, emphasised by a series of Chinese and Emirate investments in the mining sector in particular. Lastly, despite efforts made in terms of quality and regulation, the country still suffers from very difficult governance issues and a very strained business climate (Guinea is ranked 163rd out of 190 countries in the 2017 Doing Business survey).