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 has been installed.
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 seven-year term (no term limits); candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected president; election last held on 27 June 2010 with a runoff election scheduled for 7 November 2010
a runoff election between Cellou Dalein DIALLO and Alpha CONDE, the two candidates receiving the most votes, is scheduled for 7 November 2010; percent of vote (first round) - Cellou Dalein DIALLO 43.7%, Alpha CONDE 18.2%
Democratic Union of Guinea or UDG [Mamadou SYLLA]; Guinean Union for Democracy or UGD; New Democratic Forces or NDF [Muoctar DIALLO]; Party for Unity and Progress or PUP [Sekou KONATE]; Rally for the Guinean People or RPG [Alpha CONDE]; Union for Progress and Renewal or UPR [Ousmane BAH]; Union for Progress of Guinea or UPG [Jean-Marie DORE, secretary-general]; Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea or UFDG [Cellou Dalein DIALLO]; Union of Republican Forces or UFR [Sidya TOURE]; United Front for Democracy and Change or FUDEC [Francois FALL]
National Confederation of Guinean Workers-Labor Union of Guinean Workers or CNTG-USTG Alliance (includes National Confederation of Guinean Workers or CNTG [Rabiatou Sarah DIALLO] and Labor Union of Guinean Workers or USTG [Dr. Ibrahima FOFANA]); Syndicate of Guinean Teachers and Researchers or SLECG [Dr. Louis M'Bemba SOUMAH]
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 possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country has almost half of the world's bauxite reserves. The mining sector accounts for more than 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 because of the death of President Lansana CONTE in December 2008. International donors, including the G-8, the IMF, and the World Bank, cut their development programming significantly in response to the coup. Growth rose slightly in 2006-08, 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 many Guineans.
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 control over broadcast media; single state-run TV station; state-run radio broadcast station also operates several stations in rural areas; about 20 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 (2008)
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 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 increasing efforts to eliminate trafficking over 2006; Guinea demonstrated minimal law enforcement efforts for a second year in a row, while protection efforts diminished over efforts in 2006; the government did not report any trafficking convictions in 2007; due to a lack of resources, the government does not provide shelter services for trafficking victims; the government took no measures to reduce the demand for commercial sexual exploitation (2008)