Guinea has had a history of authoritarian rule 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 were marred by irregularities. History repeated itself in December 2008 when following President CONTE's death, 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 evacuated to Morocco and subsequently to Burkina Faso. A transitional government led by General Sekouba KONATE held democratic elections in 2010 and Alpha CONDE was elected president in the country's first free and fair elections since independence.
deforestation; inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region; poor mining practices have led to environmental damage
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected president; election last held on 27 June 2010 with a runoff election held on 7 November 2010
Alpha CONDE elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote Alpha CONDE 52.5%, Cellou Dalein DIALLO 47.5%
the legislature was dissolved by junta leader Moussa Dadis CAMARA in December 2008 and in February 2010, the Transition Government appointed a 155 member National Transition Council (CNT) that has since acted in the legislature's place
National Confederation of Guinean Workers-Labor Union of Guinean Workers or CNTG-USTG Alliance (includes National Confederation of Guinean Workers or CNTG and Labor Union of Guinean Workers or USTG); Syndicate of Guinean Teachers and Researchers or SLECG
three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green; red represents the people's sacrifice for liberation and work; yellow stands for the sun, for the riches of the earth, and for justice; green symbolizes the country's vegetation and unity
note:uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the colors from left to right are the reverse of those on the flags of neighboring Mali and Senegal
Guinea is a poor country that possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources. The country has almost half of the world's bauxite reserves and significant iron ore, gold, and diamond reserves. However, Guinea has been unable to profit from this potential, as rampant corruption, dilapidated electricity and other degraded infrastructure, and political uncertainty have drained investor confidence. In the time since a 2008 coup following the death of long-term President Lansana CONTE, international donors, including the G-8, the IMF, and the World Bank, have significantly curtailed their development programs. Throughout 2009, policies of the ruling military junta severely weakened the economy. The junta leaders spent and printed money at an accelerated rate, driving inflation and debt to perilously high levels. In early 2010, the junta collapsed and was replaced by a Transition Government, which ceded power in December 2010 to the country's first-ever democratically elected president, Alpha CONDE. International assistance and investment are expected to return to Guinea, but the levels will depend upon the ability of the new government to combat corruption and reform its banking system. IMF and World Bank programs will be especially critical as Guinea attempts to gain debt relief. Since the 2009 global economic downturn, the price and value of bauxite and alumina exports has steadily risen. Export levels will likely continue to grow as investor confidence returns. International investors have expressed keen interest in Guinea's vast iron ore reserves, which could further propel the country's growth.
general assessment: inadequate system of open-wire lines, small radiotelephone communication stations, and new microwave radio relay system
Conakry reasonably well served; coverage elsewhere remains inadequate and large companies tend to rely on their own systems for nationwide links; fixed-line teledensity less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership is expanding and exceeded 50 per 100 persons in 2009
country code - 224; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
government maintains marginal control over broadcast media; single state-run TV station; state-run radio broadcast station also operates several stations in rural areas; a steadily increasing number of privately-owned radio stations, nearly all in Conakry, and about a dozen community radio stations; foreign television programming available via satellite and cable subscription services (2011)
conflicts among rebel groups, warlords, and youth gangs in neighboring states have spilled over into Guinea resulting in domestic instability; Sierra Leone considers Guinea's definition of the flood plain limits to define the left bank boundary of the Makona and Moa rivers excessive and protests Guinea's continued occupation of these lands, including the hamlet of Yenga, occupied since 1998
current situation: Guinea is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; the majority of victims are children, and internal trafficking is more prevalent than transnational trafficking; within the country, girls are trafficked primarily for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced agricultural labor, and as forced beggars, street vendors, shoe shiners, and laborers in gold and diamond mines; some Guinean men are also trafficked for agricultural labor within Guinea; transnationally, girls are trafficked into Guinea for domestic servitude, forced labor, and likely also for sexual exploitation
Tier 2 Watch List - Guinea is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increased efforts to eliminate trafficking; although the government acknowledges that trafficking in persons is a problem in Guinea, it is unclear if the new government, which took power in December 2010, will demonstrate an increase over the previous regime's minimal efforts to combat trafficking; the government failed to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses; no new prosecutions or convictions were reported, 12 cases from the previous reporting period remain pending in the courts, and 18 additional cases have disappeared from the court system; no protection to trafficking victims was provided, and although the government conducted an anti-trafficking awareness campaign on radio and television, overall prevention efforts remain weak (2011)