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.
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 to end the transition period. On 28 September, parliamentary elections were held after several delays. The final results were ratified by the Supreme Court on 15 November. However, regional and international observers reported irregularities in the electoral process, and the political situation remains tense.
Guinea has often been affected by socio-political instability in neighbouring countries. During the 1990s, the country hosted around 700,000 refugees and returning Guinean migrants, who were driven from their homes by the interlinked conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire. The arrival of so many people has depleted natural resources and contributed to higher poverty rates. Currently, the Guinean Forest region hosts some 5,700 Ivorian refugees, who fled their country during a 2010/2011 civil war.
Guinea is also affected by recurring natural disasters and shocks. During the rainy season, flooding is common in the Upper Guinea region where it causes significant damage every year. In August 2013, Siguiri experienced severe flooding, which forced around 5,000 people from their homes. The country is also vulnerable to interethnic violence. More than 100 people were killed, 450 were injured and around 30,000 were displaced during clashes between ethnic groups in N’Zérékoré 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. The poorest areas include the administrative regions of N’Zérékoré, 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 global acute malnutrition rate among children is 35 percent, well above the global emergency level of 15 percent, but slightly lower than the 40 percent registered in 2008.
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 well-integrated safety net programmes that address food and nutrition insecurity.