Country profile Guinea – Canada Today

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Map of Guinea

Guinea’s natural resources make it possibly one of the richest countries on the continent, but its population is among the poorest in West Africa.

Experimentation with socialism and the two-year junta rule took its toll on development prospects. The 2010 elections ushered in a decade of civilian rule but also resulted in violent ethnic clashes.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone have weighed on Guinea’s ailing economy.

The instability has fueled mistrust and ethnic tensions — as well as accusations between neighbors of attempted destabilization and border attacks.

  • Capital city: Conakry

  • Area: 245,857 km²

  • Population: 13.2 million

  • Languages: French, as well as Arabic, English, Susu, Pular, Maninka and others

  • Life expectancy: 61 years (men) 62 years (women)

Military leader: Mamady Doumbouya

The leader of Guinea Mamady Doumbouya

The Lt. Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, the commander of the country’s special forces, overthrew President Alpha Conde in a coup in September 2021. He accused the president of rampant corruption, human rights violations and mismanagement.

The Lt. Colonel Doumbouya established the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development with himself as president, ordered the release of political prisoners and announced an 18-month transition to democracy.

Alpha Conde, a veteran opposition politician, became president in 2010 in Guinea’s first democratic elections since independence. He was re-elected in 2015 but faced protests four years later when he amended the constitution to run for a third term.

In September 2022, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) imposed sanctions on individual members of the military government in response to the coup.

The adult literacy rate in Guinea is steadily increasing but still accounts for about half of the population

Several dozen newspapers appear regularly in Guinea, although most of them have a small circulation. More than 60 private radio stations and some private TV stations compete with the state broadcaster. Most of the population accesses information through radio.

Media pluralism is a reality in Guinea and journalists enjoy a certain freedom of expression. But the civilian government has often failed to maintain this standard in practice.

It remains to be seen whether the interim government installed after the September 2021 coup will deliver on press freedom issues.

As of December 2021, there were 2.5 million internet users, which is 18% of the population (Internetworldstats.com).

  • Radiodiffusion-Television Guinenne (RTG) – run by the state, in French, English and local languages; operates community Radio Rurale stations

  • Radio Nostalgia Guinea – private

  • Liberte FM – private

  • Soleil FM – private

  • Familia FM – private

Guinea’s first President, Sekou Toure, was a key figure in Africa’s decolonization effort

Some important dates in the history of Guinea:

Modern Guinea was located on the fringes of some West African empires.

300-1100 – The Empire of Ghana. During this period, Islam entered the region through North African traders.

12th century – After the collapse of the Ghana empire, the Sosso empire flourishes.

13-15 century – The Mali Empire defeats the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina, c. 1235. The empire is finally replaced by its vassal states in the 15th century.

1460s – The Songhai Empire surpasses the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It was ravaged by civil war and conquered by invaders from Morocco in the 1580s, but then split into smaller kingdoms.

Several kingdoms existed in present-day Guinea after the fall of some West African empires.

17th century – European merchants arrive

1850s – Increased French military activities in the region.

1891 – France declares Guinea a separate colony from Senegal.

1898 – French forces defeat the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa (or Emperor) of the State of Ouassoulou, giving France control of present-day Guinea and adjacent territories.

1958 – Guinea becomes independent, with Ahmed Sekou Toure as President.

2003 – President Lansana Conte wins a third mandate in elections boycotted by the opposition.

2008 – The military takes power after President Conte dies. The coup is condemned internationally, but most Guineans support the army’s move.

2010 – Return to civilian rule. Alpha Conde declared winner of the presidential runoff.

2014 – Outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in southern Guinea. It spreads to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and has killed 11,300 people in two years.

2021 – President Conde is overthrown by a coup d’état.

An outbreak of the Ebola virus has had a major impact on Guinea

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