Republic of Guinea

République de Guinée (French)
Motto: "Travail, Justice, Solidarité" (French)
"Work, Justice, Solidarity"
Anthem: Liberté  (French)
Location of Guinea (dark blue) – in Africa (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union (light blue)
Location of Guinea (dark blue)

– in Africa (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union (light blue)

Location of Guinea
and largest city
9°31′N 13°42′W / 9°31′N 13°42′W / 9.517; -13.700
Official languagesFrench
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Alpha Condé
Ibrahima Kassory Fofana
LegislatureNational Assembly
• from France
2 October 1958
• Total
245,836 km2 (94,918 sq mi) (77th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
12,395,924[2] (81st)
• 2014 census
• Density
40.9/km2 (105.9/sq mi) (164th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$26.451 billion[3]
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate
• Total
$9.183 billion[3]
• Per capita
Gini (2012)33.7[4]
HDI (2017)Increase 0.459[5]
low · 175th
CurrencyGuinean franc (GNF)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
Driving sideright
Calling code+224
ISO 3166 codeGN

Guinea (i/ (About this soundlisten)), officially the Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée), is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea (French: Guinée française), the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.[6][7][8][9] Guinea has a population of 12.4 million and an area of 245,860 square kilometres (94,927 sq mi).[10]

The sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president who is directly elected by the people; this position is both head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, and its members are also directly elected by the people. The judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country.[11]

The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches north through the forested tropical regions and ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples south of the Senegal River, in contrast to the 'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.

Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population.[12][13][6] Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, and the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are also spoken.

Guinea's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mineral production.[14] It is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.[15] The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, and abuse of women and children (e.g. female genital mutilation) were ongoing abuses of human rights.[16]


The land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.[17][18][19]

For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea (region) § Etymology.

West African empires and Kingdoms in Guinea

What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires. The earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but ultimately fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period that Islam first arrived in the region by way of North African traders.

The Sosso kingdom (12th to 13th centuries) briefly flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa (Emperors), the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was ultimately supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century.

The most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and eventually surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582. The weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later. The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom effectively, however, and it split into many small kingdoms.

Samori Toure was the founder of the Wassoulou Empire, an Islamic state in present-day Guinea that resisted French colonial rule in West Africa from 1882 until Touré's capture in 1898.

After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in what is now Guinea. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers. The Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived (1878–1898) empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali (Wassoulou). It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French.

Colonial era

The slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade.

Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa (or Emperor) of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.

France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony (now Guinea-Bissau), and Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea.

Independence and post-colonial rule (1958–2008)

In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies, especially Indochina and Algeria. The founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence. The French withdrew quickly, and on 2 October 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic, with Sékou Touré as president.

President Ahmed Sékou Touré was supported by the Communist bloc states and in 1961 visited Yugoslavia.

France's withdrawal resulted in punitive economic reprisals, including the end of all French aid and investment. Guinea subsequently quickly aligned itself with the Soviet Union and adopted socialist policies. This alliance was short-lived, however, as Guinea moved towards a Chinese model of socialism. Despite this, however, the country continued to receive aid and investment from capitalist countries such as the United States.

By 1960, Touré had declared the PDG the country's only legal political party and for the next 24 years, the government and the PDG were one. Touré was reelected unopposed to four seven-year terms as president, and every five years voters were presented with a single list of PDG candidates for the National Assembly. Advocating a hybrid African Socialism domestically and Pan-Africanism abroad, Touré quickly became a polarising leader, and his government became intolerant of dissent, imprisoning thousands and stifling the press.

Throughout the 1960s the Guinean government nationalised land, removed French-appointed and traditional chiefs from power, and had strained ties with the French government and French companies. Touré's government relied on the Soviet Union and China for infrastructure aid and development but much of this was used for political and not economic purposes (such as the building of large stadiums to hold political rallies). Meanwhile, the country's roads, railways and other infrastructure languished and the economy stagnated.

Monument to commemorate the 1970 military victory over the Portuguese raid. The only objective not accomplished by the Portuguese raid was the capture of Ahmed Sékou Touré.

On 22 November 1970, Portuguese forces from neighboring Portuguese Guinea staged Operation Green Sea, a raid on Conakry by several hundred exiled Guinean opposition forces. Among their goals, the Portuguese military wanted to kill or capture Sekou Toure due his support of the PAIGC, an independence movement and rebel group that carried out attacks inside Portuguese Guinea from their bases in Guinea.[20] After fierce fighting, the Portuguese-backed forces retreated, having freed several dozen Portuguese prisoners of war that were being held by the PAIGC in Conakry but without having ousted Touré. In the years after the raid, massive purges were carried out by the Touré government and at least 50,000 people (1% of Guinea's entire population) were killed. Countless others were imprisoned, faced torture, or, often in the case of foreigners, were forced to leave the country (sometimes after having had their Guinean spouse arrested and their children placed into state custody).

A declining economy, mass killings, a stifling political atmosphere, and a ban on all private economic transactions led in 1977 to the "Market Women's Revolt," anti-government riots that were started by women working in Conakry's Madina Market. This caused Touré to make major reforms. Touré vacillated from supporting the Soviet Union to supporting the United States. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw some economic reforms but Touré's centralized control of the state remained. Even the relationship with France improved; after the election of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as French president, trade increased and the two countries exchanged diplomatic visits.

Sékou Touré died on 26 March 1984 after a heart operation in the United States, and was replaced by Prime Minister Louis Lansana Beavogui, who was to serve as interim president pending new elections. The PDG was due to elect a new leader on 3 April 1984. Under the constitution, that person would have been the only candidate for president. However, hours before that meeting, Colonels Lansana Conté and Diarra Traoré seized power in a bloodless coup. Conté assumed the role of president, with Traoré serving as prime minister until December.

Conté immediately denounced the previous regime's record on human rights, released 250 political prisoners and encouraged approximately 200,000 more to return from exile. He also made explicit the turn away from socialism. This did little to alleviate poverty and the country showed no immediate signs of moving towards democracy.

In 1992, Conté announced a return to civilian rule, with a presidential poll in 1993 followed by elections to parliament in 1995 (in which his party—the Party of Unity and Progress—won 71 of 114 seats.) Despite his stated commitment to democracy, Conté's grip on power remained tight. In September 2001, the opposition leader Alpha Condé was imprisoned for endangering state security, though he was pardoned 8 months later. He subsequently spent a period of exile in France.

In 2001, Conté organized and won a referendum to lengthen the presidential term and in 2003 begun his third term after elections were boycotted by the opposition. In January 2005, Conté survived a suspected assassination attempt while making a rare public appearance in the capital Conakry. His opponents claimed that he was a "tired dictator"[21] whose departure was inevitable, whereas his supporters believed that he was winning a battle with dissidents. Guinea still faces very real problems and according to Foreign Policy is in danger of becoming a failed state.[22]

In 2000, Guinea became embroiled in the instability which had long blighted the rest of West Africa as rebels crossed the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone and it seemed for a time that the country was headed for civil war.[23] Conté blamed neighbouring leaders for coveting Guinea's natural resources, though these claims were strenuously denied.[24] In 2003, Guinea agreed to plans with her neighbours to tackle the insurgents. In 2007, there were large protests against the government, resulting in the appointment of a new prime minister.[25]

Recent history

Conté remained in power until his death on 23 December 2008[26] and several hours following his death, Moussa Dadis Camara seized control in a coup, declaring himself head of a military junta.[27] Protests against the coup became violent and 157 people were killed when, on 28 September 2009, the junta ordered its soldiers to attack people who had gathered to protest against Camara's attempt to become president.[28] The soldiers went on a rampage of rape, mutilation, and murder which caused many foreign governments to withdraw their support for the new regime.[29]

On 3 December 2009, an aide shot Camara during a dispute over the rampage in September. Camara went to Morocco for medical care.[29][30] Vice-President (and defense minister) Sékouba Konaté flew back from Lebanon to run the country in Camara's absence.[31] After meeting in Ouagadougou on 13 and 14 January 2010, Camara, Konaté and Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, produced a formal statement of twelve principles promising a return of Guinea to civilian rule within six months.[32]

The presidential election was held on 27 June,[33][34] with a second election held on 7 November due to allegations of electoral fraud.[35] Voter turnout was high, and the elections went relatively smoothly.[36] Alpha Condé, leader of the opposition party Rally of the Guinean People (RGP), won the election promising to reform the security sector and review mining contracts.[37]

In late February 2013, political violence erupted in Guinea after protesters took to the streets to voice their concerns over the transparency of the upcoming May 2013 elections. The demonstrations were fueled by the opposition coalition's decision to step down from the electoral process in protest at the lack of transparency in the preparations for elections.[38] Nine people were killed during the protests, and around 220 were injured. Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by security forces using live ammunition on protesters.[39][40]

The political violence also led to inter-ethnic clashes between the Fula and Malinke, the base of support for President Condé. The former mainly supported the opposition.[41]

On 26 March 2013, the opposition party backed out of the negotiations with the government over the upcoming 12 May election. The opposition said that the government had not respected them, and had not kept any promises they agreed to.[42]

On 25 March 2014, the World Health Organization said that Guinea's Ministry of Health had reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea. This initial outbreak had a total of 86 cases, including 59 deaths. By 28 May, there were 281 cases, with 186 deaths.[43] It is believed that the first case was Emile Ouamouno, a 2-year-old boy who lived in the village of Meliandou. He fell ill on 2 December 2013 and died on 6 December.[44][45] On 18 September 2014, eight members of an Ebola education health care team were murdered by villagers in the town of Womey.[46] As of 1 November 2015, there have been 3,810 cases and 2,536 deaths in Guinea.[47]

Other Languages
Acèh: Guinea
адыгабзэ: Гвинейе
Afrikaans: Guinee
Alemannisch: Guinea
አማርኛ: ጊኔ
Ænglisc: Guinea
العربية: غينيا
aragonés: Guinea
armãneashti: Guinea
arpetan: Guinê
asturianu: Guinea
Avañe'ẽ: Gynéa
azərbaycanca: Qvineya
تۆرکجه: قینه
bamanankan: Gine
বাংলা: গিনি
Bahasa Banjar: Guinea
Bân-lâm-gú: Guinea
башҡортса: Гвинея
беларуская: Гвінея
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Гвінэя
भोजपुरी: गिनी
Bikol Central: Guineya
български: Гвинея
བོད་ཡིག: གི་ནེ།
bosanski: Gvineja
brezhoneg: Ginea
буряад: Гвиней
Чӑвашла: Гвиней
Cebuano: Guinea
čeština: Guinea
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Guinea
chiShona: Guinea
Cymraeg: Gini
dansk: Guinea
davvisámegiella: Guinea
Deutsch: Guinea
ދިވެހިބަސް: ގީނިއާ
dolnoserbski: Guineja
डोटेली: गिनी
eesti: Guinea
Ελληνικά: Γουινέα
español: Guinea
Esperanto: Gvineo
estremeñu: Guinea
euskara: Ginea
eʋegbe: Gini
فارسی: گینه
Fiji Hindi: Guinea
føroyskt: Guinea
français: Guinée
Frysk: Guinee
Fulfulde: Gine
Gaeilge: An Ghuine
Gaelg: Yn Ghuinea
Gagauz: Gvineya
Gàidhlig: Gini
galego: Guinea
Gĩkũyũ: Guinea
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Guinea
한국어: 기니
Hausa: Gini
հայերեն: Գվինեա
हिन्दी: गिनी
hornjoserbsce: Gineja
hrvatski: Gvineja
Ido: Guinea
Igbo: Guinea
Ilokano: Guinea
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: গিনি
Bahasa Indonesia: Guinea
interlingua: Guinea
Interlingue: Guinea
Ирон: Гвиней
isiZulu: IGini
íslenska: Gínea
italiano: Guinea
עברית: גינאה
Jawa: Guinéa
Kabɩyɛ: Kinee-Konakrii
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಗಿನಿ
Kapampangan: Guinea
ქართული: გვინეა
kaszëbsczi: Gwineja
қазақша: Гвинея
kernowek: Gyni
Kinyarwanda: Gineya
Kiswahili: Guinea
Kongo: Ginea
Kreyòl ayisyen: Gine
kurdî: Gîne
Кыргызча: Гвинея
кырык мары: Гвиней
لۊری شومالی: گینٱ
Latina: Guinea
latviešu: Gvineja
Lëtzebuergesch: Guinea
lietuvių: Gvinėja
Ligure: Guinea
Limburgs: Guinee
lingála: Gine-Konakry
Lingua Franca Nova: Gine
Livvinkarjala: Gvinea
Luganda: Guinea
lumbaart: Guinea
magyar: Guinea
македонски: Гвинеја
Malagasy: Ginea
മലയാളം: ഗിനി
Malti: Ginea
मराठी: गिनी
მარგალური: გვინეა
مصرى: جينيا
مازِرونی: گینه
Bahasa Melayu: Guinea
Baso Minangkabau: Guinea
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Guinea
монгол: Гвиней
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဂီနီနိုင်ငံ
Nāhuatl: Guinea
Dorerin Naoero: Gini
Nederlands: Guinee
नेपाली: गिनी
नेपाल भाषा: गिनी
日本語: ギニア
нохчийн: Гвиней
Nordfriisk: Guinea
Norfuk / Pitkern: Gini
norsk: Guinea
norsk nynorsk: Guinea
Novial: Gini
occitan: Guinèa
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଗିନି
Oromoo: Giinii
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gvineya
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਗਿਨੀ
पालि: गिनी
پنجابی: گنی
Papiamentu: Guinea
Patois: Gini
Piemontèis: Guinea
Plattdüütsch: Guinea
polski: Gwinea
português: Guiné
qırımtatarca: Gvineya
română: Guineea
Runa Simi: Khiniya
русиньскый: Ґвінея
русский: Гвинея
саха тыла: Гвинея
Gagana Samoa: Kini
Sängö: Ginëe
sardu: Guinea
Scots: Guinea
Seeltersk: Guinea
Sesotho: Guinea
Sesotho sa Leboa: Guinea
shqip: Guinea
sicilianu: Guinia
Simple English: Guinea
SiSwati: IGiniya
slovenčina: Guinea (štát)
slovenščina: Gvineja
ślůnski: Gwinyjo
Soomaaliga: Guinea
کوردی: گینێ
српски / srpski: Гвинеја
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Gvineja
Basa Sunda: Guinéa
suomi: Guinea
svenska: Guinea
Tagalog: Guinea
தமிழ்: கினி
Taqbaylit: Ginya
татарча/tatarça: Гвинея
తెలుగు: గినియా
тоҷикӣ: Гвинея
Türkçe: Gine
Türkmençe: Gwineýa
удмурт: Гвинея
українська: Гвінея
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ۋىنېيە
Vahcuengh: Guinea
vèneto: Guinea
vepsän kel’: Gvinei
Tiếng Việt: Guinée
Volapük: Gineyän
Võro: Guinea
文言: 幾內亞
Winaray: Guinea
Wolof: Gine
吴语: 幾內亞
Xitsonga: Gineya
ייִדיש: גינע
Yorùbá: Guinea
粵語: 畿內亞
Zazaki: Gineya
Zeêuws: Guinee
žemaitėška: Gvėniejė
中文: 几内亚