Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
The World Food Programme (WFP)’s Ebola response helps people affected by the virus outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, by delivering food and organising logistics alongside the health response. More information can be found on the Ebola emergency page.
What are the current issues in Guinea
Located in West Africa, the Republic of Guinea is home to around 11 million people. Despite an abundance of natural resources, such as iron ore, bauxite, diamonds and gold, Guinea faces major socio-economic and political challenges. Poverty and malnutrition rates are high, especially in rural areas. In 2013, Guinea was ranked 178th out of 187 countries in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index.
Located in West Africa, the Republic of Guinea is home to around 12 million people. Despite an abundance of natural resources including iron ore, bauxite, diamonds and gold, Guinea faces major socio-economic and political challenges. Poverty and malnutrition rates are alarming, especially in rural areas. In 2014, Guinea was ranked 179th out of 187 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index.
Although constitutional order was restored in 2010 with the election of a president in the first democratic polls since independence, the former French colony has struggled to form a national parliament. After several delays, on 28 September 2013, the first parliamentary elections were held. The Supreme Court ratified the final results on 15 November 2013, the first session of the National Parliament was conducted on 13 January 2014 and the new cabinet was announced. This marks a new beginning for Guinea, political stability; peace and security have gradually been improving over the past few months. Donor confidence is improving and it is hoped that foreign investment will start returning to Guinea.
Guinea has often been affected by the socio-political instability in neighboring countries. During the 1990s, the Forest Guinea Region hosted around 700,000 refugees and returning Guinean migrants, who were driven from their homes by the conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire. The arrival of so many people has depleted natural resources, fueled tensions between ethnic and social groups and driven up poverty rates. Most refugees have now returned to their homes and the Forest Region hosts some 5,700 Ivorian refugees. There are plans to repatriate these refugees over coming months/years.
Guinea is also affected by recurring natural disasters and shocks. During the rainy season, flooding is common in Upper Guinea where it causes significant damage every year. Between 50,000 - 69,000 people are affected each year. The country is also vulnerable to interethnic violence. More than 200 people were killed, 450 were injured and 30,000 were displaced during clashes between ethnic groups in Nzérékoré in July 2013.
Guinea is a young nation; more than two-fifths of the population is under the age of 15. Life expectancy is one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, at 39 years for men and 42 for women. On average, 55 percent of the Guinean population lives below the poverty line and unemployment rates amongst youth (and women) are particularly high in the Forest Region. The poorest areas include Nzérékoré, Labé, Farannah, Kindia and Boké. The national gross primary school enrolment rate increased from 28 to 80 percent between 1989 and 2007. However, only 28.3 percent of adults are literate.
A Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA), conducted by WFP and the Government’s National Agency of Agriculture and Food Security Statistics (ANASA) in 2012, indicated that 27.2 percent of households are food insecure, with 3.3 percent severely food insecure. According to another 2012 survey, the nationwide chronic malnutrition rate among children is 34.5 percent, well above the global emergency level of 15 percent. It reaches over 40% in Labe, Boké and Nzérékoré. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate is 10 percent.
Most Guineans rely on subsistence agriculture and are not covered by any national safety net programme. WFP Guinea uses its well-established relationship with communities, the Government, NGOs and other development partners to implement integrated safety net programmes that address food and nutrition insecurity.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Guinea
WFP has been present in Guinea since 1964. Current operations include a Country Programme anda Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation.
Over the last 20 years, Guinea’s Forest region frequently suffered from natural disasters such as floods, experienced increasing levels of inter-ethnic conflict and has hosted 700,000 refugees and displaced populations. The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation provides assistance to households that have been negatively affected by these events and are still in a vulnerable, food insecure situation.
Activities include general food distributions to remaining refugees, school feeding activities in communities that host refugees, as well as activities for asset creation (Food-for-Asset, Cash-for-Assets and Food-for-Training activities). The activities are implemented in close collaboration with the Guinean Government, other UN agencies, and national non-governmental organizations.The project also aims to boost the capacity of the Guinean Government to reduce food insecurity and strengthen disaster mitigation and response capabilities.
The current Country Programme for the 2013-2017 period seeks to assist 437,000 beneficiaries through activities that support primary education, nutrition of vulnerable groups, and enhance resilience in fragile communities. The support WFP is giving to education aims to improve the attendance rates of elementary pupils through the daily provision of hot school meals to 100,000 primary school students throughout the school year in targeted prefectures. School feeding activities have a special focus on girl’s enrollment, and as an incentive to encourage girls to stay enrolled in school, WFP provides girls that are enrolled in the final grate with take-home rations.
Within the Country Programme, WFP also provides life-saving nutritional assistance to children under the age of five, pregnant and lactating women, people living with HIV/AIDS and their families, and patients living with tuberculosis who are being treated in Community Health Centers. The goal of these activities is to prevent and reduce maternal malnutrition and the rate of low birth weight, prevent and reduce malnutrition among children under the age of five, increase the success rate of TB treatment, and reduce the death rate of HIV positive people through improving their food security and increasing their adherence to treatment. To ensure implementation of health and nutrition interventions in the field, WFP works in collaboration the Guinean Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene and local NGOs.
Furthermore, to enhance the resilience of fragile communities, WFP supports communities to produce locally grown food that can be used for school feeding programmes. The activity seeks to increase food diversity and to encourage communities to provide increasing supplies of home-grown food to local school canteens. It also seeks to strengthen the capacities of the Government, particularly the National Humanitarian Action Service (SENAH), and vulnerable village communities to respond effectively to emergency situations.
In order to ensure effective implementation of the activities, WFP maintains a close collaboration with different Ministries (Education, Health, Agriculture, and Environment), as well as sister UN agencies like (UNICEF, FAO, UNFPA, UNDP, UNIDO, UNHCR, UNAIDS, WHO, UNFPA) and International and National NGOs.
Featured Guinea publications
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
Looking for more publications on Guinea? Visit the Guinea publications archive.