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Guinea vs. Sierra Leone

Introduction

GuineaSierra Leone
Background
Guinea is at a turning point after decades of authoritarian rule since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Sekou TOURE ruled the country as president from independence to his death in 1984. Lansana CONTE came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after TOURE's death. Gen. CONTE organized and won presidential elections in 1993, 1998, and 2003, though results were questionable due to a lack in transparency and neutrality in the electoral process. Upon CONTE's death in December 2008, 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 peaked in September 2009 when presidential guards opened fire on an opposition rally killing more than 150 people. In early December 2009, CAMARA was wounded in an assassination attempt and exiled to Burkina Faso. A transitional government led by Gen. Sekouba KONATE paved the way for Guinea's transition to a fledgling democracy. The country held its first free and competitive democratic presidential and legislative elections in 2010 and 2013 respectively, and in October 2015 held a second consecutive presidential election. Alpha CONDE was reelected to a second five-year term as president in 2015, and the National Assembly was seated in January 2014. CONDE's first cabinet is the first all-civilian government in Guinea. The country held a successful political dialogue in August and September 2016 that brought together the government and opposition to address long-standing tensions. Local elections were held in February 2018, and disputed results in some of the races resulted in ongoing protests against CONDE's government.
The British set up a trading post near present-day Freetown in the 17th century. Originally, the trade involved timber and ivory, but later it expanded to slaves. Following the American Revolution, a colony was established in 1787 and Sierra Leone became a destination for resettling black loyalists who had originally been resettled in Nova Scotia. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British crews delivered thousands of Africans liberated from illegal slave ships to Sierra Leone, particularly Freetown. The colony gradually expanded inland during the course of the 19th century; independence was attained in 1961. Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war (1991-2002) that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about one-third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, has developed as a guarantor of the country's stability; the armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007, 2012, and 2018 national elections. In March 2014, the closure of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone marked the end of more than 15 years of peacekeeping and political operations in Sierra Leone. The government's stated priorities include free primary and secondary education, economic growth, accountable governance, health, and infrastructure.

Geography

GuineaSierra Leone
Location
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone
Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Geographic coordinates
11 00 N, 10 00 W
8 30 N, 11 30 W
Map references
Africa
Africa
Area
total: 245,857 sq km
land: 245,717 sq km
water: 140 sq km
total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Oregon; slightly larger than twice the size of Pennsylvania
slightly smaller than South Carolina
Land boundaries
total: 4,046 km
border countries (6): Cote d'Ivoire 816 km, Guinea-Bissau 421 km, Liberia 590 km, Mali 1062 km, Senegal 363 km, Sierra Leone 794 km
total: 1,093 km
border countries (2): Guinea 794 km, Liberia 299 km
Coastline
320 km
402 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate
generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
tropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terrain
generally flat coastal plain, hilly to mountainous interior
coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 472 m
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Nimba 1,752 m
mean elevation: 279 m
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m
Natural resources
bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish, salt
diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Land use
agricultural land: 58.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 11.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 43.5% (2011 est.)
forest: 26.5% (2011 est.)
other: 15.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 56.2% (2011 est.)
arable land: 23.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 2.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 30.5% (2011 est.)
forest: 37.5% (2011 est.)
other: 6.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
950 sq km (2012)
300 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards
hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season
dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
Environment - current issues
deforestation; inadequate potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region; poor mining practices lead to environmental damage; water pollution; improper waste disposal
rapid population growth pressuring the environment; overharvesting of timber, expansion of cattle grazing, and slash-and-burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation, soil exhaustion, and flooding; loss of biodiversity; air pollution; water pollution; overfishing
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note
the Niger and its important tributary the Milo River have their sources in the Guinean highlands
rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
Population distribution
areas of highest density are in the west and south; interior is sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map
population clusters are found in the lower elevations of the south and west; the northern third of the country is less populated as shown on this population distribution map

Demographics

GuineaSierra Leone
Population
12,527,440 (July 2020 est.)
6,624,933 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 41.2% (male 2,601,221/female 2,559,918)
15-24 years: 19.32% (male 1,215,654/female 1,204,366)
25-54 years: 30.85% (male 1,933,141/female 1,930,977)
55-64 years: 4.73% (male 287,448/female 305,420)
65 years and over: 3.91% (male 218,803/female 270,492) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 41.38% (male 1,369,942/female 1,371,537)
15-24 years: 18.83% (male 610,396/female 636,880)
25-54 years: 32.21% (male 1,020,741/female 1,112,946)
55-64 years: 3.89% (male 121,733/female 135,664)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 100,712/female 144,382) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 19.1 years
male: 18.9 years
female: 19.4 years (2020 est.)
total: 19.1 years
male: 18.5 years
female: 19.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
2.76% (2020 est.)
2.43% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
36.1 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
35.4 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
9.8 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
-1.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 99.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 94.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 52.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 57.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 47.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 63.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 71.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 55.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 63.2 years
male: 61.3 years
female: 65 years (2020 est.)
total population: 59.8 years
male: 57.1 years
female: 62.6 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
4.92 children born/woman (2020 est.)
4.62 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
1.4% (2019 est.)
1.5% (2019 est.)
Nationality
noun: Guinean(s)
adjective: Guinean
noun: Sierra Leonean(s)
adjective: Sierra Leonean
Ethnic groups
Fulani (Peuhl) 33.4%, Malinke 29.4%, Susu 21.2%, Guerze 7.8%, Kissi 6.2%, Toma 1.6%, other/foreign .4% (2018 est.)
Temne 35.5%, Mende 33.2%, Limba 6.4%, Kono 4.4%, Fullah 3.4%, Loko 2.9%, Koranko 2.8%, Sherbro 2.6%, Mandingo 2.4%, Creole 1.2% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century; also known as Krio), other Sierra Leone 4.7%, other foreign 0.3% (includes refugees from Liberia's civil war, and small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians), unspecified 0.2% (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
110,000 (2019 est.)
78,000 (2019 est.)
Religions
Muslim 89.1%, Christian 6.8%, animist 1.6%, other .1%, none 2.4% (2014 est.)
Muslim 78.6%, Christian 20.8%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2013 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
3,100 (2019 est.)
2,600 (2019 est.)
Languages
French (official), Pular, Maninka, Susu, other native languages

note: about 40 languages are spoken; each ethnic group has its own language

English (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 30.4%
male: 38.1%
female: 22.8% (2015)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write English, Mende, Temne, or Arabic
total population: 43.2%
male: 51.6%
female: 39.8% (2018)
Major infectious diseases
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever (2016)
degree of risk: very high (2020)
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact diseases: schistosomiasis
animal contact diseases: rabies
aerosolized dust or soil contact diseases: Lassa fever
Education expenditures
2.2% of GDP (2017)
4.6% of GDP (2017)
Urbanization
urban population: 36.5% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 3.54% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 42.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 3.12% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 97.9% of population
rural: 69.8% of population
total: 79.9% of population
unimproved: urban: 2.1% of population
rural: 27.6% of population
total: 20.1% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 89.5% of population
rural: 55.7% of population
total: 69.8% of population
unimproved: urban: 10.5% of population
rural: 44.3% of population
total: 30.2% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 85.6% of population
rural: 34.8% of population
total: 53% of population
unimproved: urban: 14.4% of population
rural: 65.2% of population
total: 47% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 74.3% of population
rural: 31.9% of population
total: 49.6% of population
unimproved: urban: 25.7% of population
rural: 68.1% of population
total: 50.4% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
1.938 million CONAKRY (capital) (2020)
1.202 million FREETOWN (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
576 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
1,120 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight
16.3% (2018)
13.6% (2019)
Health expenditures
4.1% (2017)
13.4% (2017)
Physicians density
0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
0.03 physicians/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
7.7% (2016)
8.7% (2016)
Mother's mean age at first birth
19.5 years (2018 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

19.2 years (2013 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Demographic profile

Guinea’s strong population growth is a result of declining mortality rates and sustained elevated fertility. The population growth rate was somewhat tempered in the 2000s because of a period of net outmigration. Although life expectancy and mortality rates have improved over the last two decades, the nearly universal practice of female genital cutting continues to contribute to high infant and maternal mortality rates. Guinea’s total fertility remains high at about 5 children per woman because of the ongoing preference for larger families, low contraceptive usage and availability, a lack of educational attainment and empowerment among women, and poverty. A lack of literacy and vocational training programs limit job prospects for youths, but even those with university degrees often have no option but to work in the informal sector. About 60% of the country’s large youth population is unemployed.

Tensions and refugees have spilled over Guinea’s borders with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire. During the 1990s Guinea harbored as many as half a million refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia, more refugees than any other African country for much of that decade. About half sought refuge in the volatile "Parrot’s Beak" region of southwest Guinea, a wedge of land jutting into Sierra Leone near the Liberian border. Many were relocated within Guinea in the early 2000s because the area suffered repeated cross-border attacks from various government and rebel forces, as well as anti-refugee violence.

Sierra Leone’s youthful and growing population is driven by its high total fertility rate (TFR) of almost 5 children per woman, which has declined little over the last two decades. Its elevated TFR is sustained by the continued desire for large families, the low level of contraceptive use, and the early start of childbearing. Despite its high TFR, Sierra Leone’s population growth is somewhat tempered by high infant, child, and maternal mortality rates that are among the world’s highest and are a result of poverty, a lack of potable water and sanitation, poor nutrition, limited access to quality health care services, and the prevalence of female genital cutting.

Sierra Leone’s large youth cohort – about 60% of the population is under the age of 25 – continues to struggle with high levels of unemployment, which was one of the major causes of the country’s 1991-2002 civil war and remains a threat to stability today. Its estimated 60% youth unemployment rate is attributed to high levels of illiteracy and unskilled labor, a lack of private sector jobs, and low pay.

Sierra Leone has been a source of and destination for refugees. Sierra Leone’s civil war internally displaced as many as 2 million people, or almost half the population, and forced almost another half million to seek refuge in neighboring countries (370,000 Sierra Leoneans fled to Guinea and 120,000 to Liberia). The UNHCR has helped almost 180,000 Sierra Leoneans to return home, while more than 90,000 others have repatriated on their own. Of the more than 65,000 Liberians who took refuge in Sierra Leone during their country’s civil war (1989-2003), about 50,000 have been voluntarily repatriated by the UNHCR and others have returned home independently. As of 2015, less than 1,000 Liberians still reside in Sierra Leone.

Contraceptive prevalence rate
10.9% (2018)
21.2% (2019)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 85.2
youth dependency ratio: 79.7
elderly dependency ratio: 5.5
potential support ratio: 18.3 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 76.3
youth dependency ratio: 71.1
elderly dependency ratio: 5.2
potential support ratio: 19.4 (2020 est.)

Government

GuineaSierra Leone
Country name
conventional long form: Republic of Guinea
conventional short form: Guinea
local long form: Republique de Guinee
local short form: Guinee
former: French Guinea
etymology: the country is named after the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel
conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form: Sierra Leone
etymology: the Portuguese explorer Pedro de SINTRA named the country "Serra Leoa" (Lion Mountains) for the impressive mountains he saw while sailing the West African coast in 1462
Government type
presidential republic
presidential republic
Capital
name: Conakry
geographic coordinates: 9 30 N, 13 42 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: according to tradition, the name derives from the fusion of the name "Cona," a Baga wine and cheese producer who lived on Tombo Island (the original site of the present-day capital), and the word "nakiri," which in Susu means "the other bank" or "the other side"; supposedly, Baga's palm grove produced the best wine on the island and people traveling to sample his vintage, would say: "I am going to Cona, on the other bank (Cona-nakiri)," which over time became Conakry
name: Freetown
geographic coordinates: 8 29 N, 13 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
etymology: name derived from the fact that the original settlement served as a haven for free-born and freed African Americans, as well as for liberated Africans rescued from slave ships
Administrative divisions
7 regions administrative and 1 gouvenorat*; Boke, Conakry*, Faranah, Kankan, Kindia, Labe, Mamou, N'Zerekore
4 provinces and 1 area*; Eastern, Northern, North Western, Southern, Western*
Independence
2 October 1958 (from France)
27 April 1961 (from the UK)
National holiday
Independence Day, 2 October (1958)
Independence Day, 27 April (1961)
Constitution
history: previous 1958, 1990; latest promulgated 19 April 2010, approved 7 May 2010; note - in late December 2019, President CONDE announced a new draft constitution
amendments: proposed by the National Assembly or by the president of the republic; consideration of proposals requires approval by simple majority vote by the Assembly; passage requires approval in referendum; the president can opt to submit amendments directly to the Assembly, in which case approval requires at least two-thirds majority vote
history: several previous; latest effective 1 October 1991
amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in two successive readings and assent of the president of the republic; passage of amendments affecting fundamental rights and freedoms and many other constitutional sections also requires approval in a referendum with participation of at least one half of qualified voters and at least two thirds of votes cast; amended several times, last in 2013
Legal system
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state: President Alpha CONDE (since 21 December 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister Ibrahima FOFANA (since 22 May 2018)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 18 October 2020 (next to be held in October 2025); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Alpha CONDE reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Alpha CONDE (RPG) 59.5%, Cellou Dalein DIALLO (UFDG) 33.5%, other 7%
chief of state: President Julius Maada BIO (since 4 April 2018); Vice President Mohamed Juldeh JALLOH (since 4 April 2018) ; note - the president is both chief of state, head of government, and minister of defense
head of government: President Julius Maada BIO (since 4 April 2018); Vice President Mohamed Juldeh JALLOH (since 4 April 2018)
cabinet: Ministers of State appointed by the president, approved by Parliament; the cabinet is responsible to the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 4 April 2018 (next to be in 2023)
election results: Julius Maada BIO elected president in second round; percent of vote - Julius Maada BIO (SLPP) 51.8%, Samura KAMARA (APC) 48.2%
Legislative branch
description: unicameral People's National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale Populaire (114 seats; 76 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote and 38 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 28 September 2013 (next to be held 1 March 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPG 53, UFDG 37, UFR 10, PEDN 2, UPG 2, other 10; composition - men 89, women 25, percent of women 21.9%
description: unicameral Parliament (146 seats; 132 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 14 seats filled in separate elections by non-partisan members of Parliament called "paramount chiefs;" members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023)
election results: percent of vote by party - n/a; seats by party - APC 68, SLPP 49, C4C 8, other 7; composition - men 131, women 15, percent of women 10.3%
Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (organized into Administrative Chamber and Civil, Penal, and Social Chamber; court consists of the first president, 2 chamber presidents, 10 councilors, the solicitor general, and NA deputies); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court first president appointed by the national president after consultation with the National Assembly; other members appointed by presidential decree; members serve until age 65; Constitutional Court member appointments - 2 by the National Assembly and the president of the republic, 3 experienced judges designated by their peers, 1 experienced lawyer, 1 university professor with expertise in public law designated by peers, and 2 experienced representatives of the Independent National Institution of Human Rights; members serve single 9-year terms
subordinate courts: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel; High Court of Justice or Cour d'Assises; Court of Account (Court of Auditors); Courts of First Instance (Tribunal de Premiere Instance); labor court; military tribunal; justices of the peace; specialized courts
highest courts: Superior Court of Judicature (consists of the Supreme Court - at the apex - with the chief justice and 4 other judges, the Court of Appeal with the chief justice and 7 other judges, and the High Court of Justice with the chief justice and 9 other judges); note – the Judicature has jurisdiction in all civil, criminal, and constitutional matters
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice and other judges of the Judicature appointed by the president on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, a 7-member independent body of judges, presidential appointees, and the Commission chairman, and are subject to approval by Parliament; all Judicature judges serve until retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: magistrates' courts; District Appeals Court; local courts
Political parties and leaders
Bloc Liberal or BL [Faya MILLIMONO]
National Party for Hope and Development or PEDN [Lansana KOUYATE]
Rally for the Guinean People or RPG [Alpha CONDE]
Union for the Progress of Guinea or UPG
Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea or UFDG [Cellou Dalein DIALLO]
Union of Republican Forces or UFR [Sidya TOURE]
Ruling partyRally of the Guinean People (Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen, RPG)Opposition partiesAfrican Democratic Party of Guinea (Parti démocratique africain de Guinée)Party of Unity and Progress (Parti de l'Unité et du Progrès, PUP)Union for Progress and Renewal (Union pour le Progrès et le Renouveau, UPR)Union for Progress of Guinea (Union pour le Progrès de la Guinée, UPG)Democratic Party of Guinea-African Democratic Rally (Parti Démocratique de Guinée-Rassemblement Démocratique Africain, PDG-RDA)National Alliance for Progress (Alliance Nationale pour le Progrès, ANP)Party of the Union for Development (Parti de l’Union pour le Développement, PUD)Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea ( Union des Forces Démocratiques de Guinée, UFDG ), led by Cellou Dalein DialloUnion of Republican Forces (Union des Forces Républicaines, UFR)the Party of Democrats for Hope (" PADES") Led by Dr Ousmane Kaba
All People's Congress or APC [Ernest Bai KOROMA]
Coalition for Change or C4C [Tamba R. SANDY]
National Grand Coalition or NGC [Dr. Dennis BRIGHT]
Sierra Leone People's Party or SLPP [Dr. Prince HARDING]
numerous other parties
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Kerfalla YANSANE (since 24 January 2018)
chancery: 2112 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 986-4300
FAX: [1] (202) 986-3800
Ambassador Sidique Abou-Bakarr WAI (since 4 April 2008)
chancery: 1701 19th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9261 through 9263
FAX: [1] (202) 483-1793
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Simon HENSHAW (since 4 March 2019)
telephone: [224] 655-10-40-00
embassy: Transversale #2, Center Administratif de Koloma, Commune de Ratoma, Conakry
mailing address: P.O. Box 603, Transversale No. 2, Centre Administratif de Koloma, Commune de Ratoma, Conakry
FAX: [224] 655-10-42-97
chief of mission: Ambassador Maria E. BREWER (since 20 December 2017)
telephone: [232] 99 105 000
embassy: Southridge-Hill Station, Freetown
mailing address: use embassy street address
FAX: [232] 99 515 355
Flag description
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

three equal horizontal bands of light green (top), white, and light blue; green symbolizes agriculture, mountains, and natural resources, white represents unity and justice, and blue the sea and the natural harbor in Freetown
National anthem
name: "Liberte" (Liberty)
lyrics/music: unknown/Fodeba KEITA

note: adopted 1958

name: High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free
lyrics/music: Clifford Nelson FYLE/John Joseph AKA

note: adopted 1961

International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)
elephant; national colors: red, yellow, green
lion; national colors: green, white, blue
Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Guinea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: na
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent or grandparent must be a citizen of Sierra Leone
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Economy

GuineaSierra Leone
Economy - overview

Guinea is a poor country of approximately 12.9 million people in 2016 that possesses the world's largest reserves of bauxite and largest untapped high-grade iron ore reserves, as well as gold and diamonds. In addition, Guinea has fertile soil, ample rainfall, and is the source of several West African rivers, including the Senegal, Niger, and Gambia. Guinea's hydro potential is enormous and the country could be a major exporter of electricity. The country also has tremendous agriculture potential. Gold, bauxite, and diamonds are Guinea’s main exports. International investors have shown interest in Guinea's unexplored mineral reserves, which have the potential to propel Guinea's future growth.

Following the death of long-term President Lansana CONTE in 2008 and the coup that followed, international donors, including the G-8, the IMF, and the World Bank, significantly curtailed their development programs in Guinea. However, the IMF approved a 3-year Extended Credit Facility arrangement in 2012, following the December 2010 presidential elections. In September 2012, Guinea achieved Heavily Indebted Poor Countries completion point status. Future access to international assistance and investment will depend on the government’s ability to be transparent, combat corruption, reform its banking system, improve its business environment, and build infrastructure. In April 2013, the government amended its mining code to reduce taxes and royalties. In 2014, Guinea complied with requirements of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative by publishing its mining contracts. Guinea completed its program with the IMF in October 2016 even though some targeted reforms have been delayed. Currently Guinea is negotiating a new IMF program which will be based on Guinea’s new five-year economic plan, focusing on the development of higher value-added products, including from the agro-business sector and development of the rural economy.

Political instability, a reintroduction of the Ebola virus epidemic, low international commodity prices, and an enduring legacy of corruption, inefficiency, and lack of government transparency are factors that could impact Guinea’s future growth. Economic recovery will be a long process while the government adjusts to lower inflows of international donor aid following the surge of Ebola-related emergency support. Ebola stalled promising economic growth in the 2014-15 period and impeded several projects, such as offshore oil exploration and the Simandou iron ore project. The economy, however, grew by 6.6% in 2016 and 6.7% in 2017, mainly due to growth from bauxite mining and thermal energy generation as well as the resiliency of the agricultural sector. The 240-megawatt Kaleta Dam, inaugurated in September 2015, has expanded access to electricity for residents of Conakry. An combined with fears of Ebola virus, continue to undermine Guinea's economic viability.

Guinea’s iron ore industry took a hit in 2016 when investors in the Simandou iron ore project announced plans to divest from the project. In 2017, agriculture output and public investment boosted economic growth, while the mining sector continued to play a prominent role in economic performance.

Successive governments have failed to address the country's crumbling infrastructure. Guinea suffers from chronic electricity shortages; poor roads, rail lines and bridges; and a lack of access to clean water - all of which continue to plague economic development. The present government, led by President Alpha CONDE, is working to create an environment to attract foreign investment and hopes to have greater participation from western countries and firms in Guinea's economic development.

Sierra Leone is extremely poor and nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. The country possesses substantial mineral, agricultural, and fishery resources, but it is still recovering from a civil war that destroyed most institutions before ending in the early 2000s.

In recent years, economic growth has been driven by mining - particularly iron ore. The country’s principal exports are iron ore, diamonds, and rutile, and the economy is vulnerable to fluctuations in international prices. Until 2014, the government had relied on external assistance to support its budget, but it was gradually becoming more independent. The Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, combined with falling global commodities prices, caused a significant contraction of economic activity in all areas. While the World Health Organization declared an end to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in November 2015, low commodity prices in 2015-2016 contributed to the country’s biggest fiscal shortfall since 2001. In 2017, increased iron ore exports, together with the end of the Ebola epidemic, supported a resumption of economic growth.

Continued economic growth will depend on rising commodities prices and increased efforts to diversify the sources of growth. Non-mining activities will remain constrained by inadequate infrastructure, such as power and roads, even though power sector projects may provide some additional electricity capacity in the near term. Pervasive corruption and undeveloped human capital will continue to deter foreign investors. Sustained international donor support in the near future will partially offset these fiscal constraints.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$27.97 billion (2017 est.)
$25.84 billion (2016 est.)
$23.39 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$11.55 billion (2017 est.)
$11.14 billion (2016 est.)
$10.48 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
8.2% (2017 est.)
10.5% (2016 est.)
3.8% (2015 est.)
3.7% (2017 est.)
6.3% (2016 est.)
-20.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$2,200 (2017 est.)
$2,000 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$1,600 (2017 est.)
$1,500 (2016 est.)
$1,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 19.8% (2017 est.)
industry: 32.1% (2017 est.)
services: 48.1% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 60.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 6.5% (2017 est.)
services: 32.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
47% (2006 est.)
70.2% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2007)
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 33.6% (2003)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
8.9% (2017 est.)
8.2% (2016 est.)
18.2% (2017 est.)
10.9% (2016 est.)
Labor force
5.558 million (2017 est.)
132,000 (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 76%
industry: 24% (2006 est.)
agriculture: 61.1%
industry: 5.5%
services: 33.4% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate
2.7% (2017 est.)
2.8% (2016 est.)
15% (2017 est.)
17.2% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
39.4 (2007)
40.3 (1994)
34 (2011)
62.9 (1989)
Budget
revenues: 1.7 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 1.748 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 562 million (2017 est.)
expenditures: 846.4 million (2017 est.)
Industries
bauxite, gold, diamonds, iron ore; light manufacturing, agricultural processing
diamond mining; iron ore, rutile and bauxite mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, footwear)
Industrial production growth rate
11% (2017 est.)
15.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
rice, coffee, pineapples, mangoes, palm kernels, cocoa, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes; cattle, sheep, goats; timber
rice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts, cashews; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Exports
$3.514 billion (2017 est.)
$1.954 billion (2016 est.)
$808.4 million (2017 est.)
$670 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
bauxite, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
iron ore, diamonds, rutile, cocoa, coffee, fish
Exports - partners
China 35.8%, Ghana 20.1%, UAE 11.6%, India 4.3% (2017)
Cote dIvoire 37.7%, Belgium 20.5%, US 15.7%, China 10.2%, Netherlands 6.1% (2017)
Imports
$4.799 billion (2017 est.)
$4.43 billion (2016 est.)
$1.107 billion (2017 est.)
$972.8 million (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs
foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels and lubricants, chemicals
Imports - partners
Netherlands 17.2%, China 13.2%, India 11.8%, Belgium 10%, France 6.9%, UAE 4.5% (2017)
China 11.5%, US 9.2%, Belgium 8.8%, UAE 7.7%, India 7.4%, Turkey 5.2%, Senegal 5.1%, Netherlands 4.3% (2017)
Debt - external
$1.458 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.462 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.615 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.503 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Guinean francs (GNF) per US dollar -
9,230 (2017 est.)
9,085 (2016 est.)
9,085 (2015 est.)
7,485.5 (2014 est.)
7,014.1 (2013 est.)
leones (SLL) per US dollar -
7,396.3 (2017 est.)
6,289.9 (2016 est.)
6,289.9 (2015 est.)
5,080.8 (2014 est.)
4,524.2 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
37.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
54.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$331.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$383.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$478 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$497.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$705 million (2017 est.)
-$2.705 billion (2016 est.)
-$407 million (2017 est.)
-$88 million (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$10.25 billion (2017 est.)
$3.612 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$3.174 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.391 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.042 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.832 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$1.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$69.19 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$56.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.7 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares

NA

NA

Central bank discount rate
22.25% (31 December 2005)

NA

Commercial bank prime lending rate
22.2% (31 December 2017 est.)
22.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
17.92% (31 December 2017 est.)
18.04% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$1.762 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.931 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$572.6 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$527.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.84 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.61 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$387.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$381.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.84 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.61 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$387.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$381.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
16.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
15.6% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-0.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-7.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 1%
male: 1.5%
female: 0.6% (2012 est.)
total: 9.4%
male: 14.8%
female: 6.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 80.8% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 6.6% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 9.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 18.5% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 21.9% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -36.9% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 97.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 12.1% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 18.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.4% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 26.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -55.3% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
5.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
-6.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
-5.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
10% of GDP (2017 est.)
7.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-5.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

GuineaSierra Leone
Electricity - production
598 million kWh (2016 est.)
300 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
556.1 million kWh (2016 est.)
279 million kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
550,000 kW (2016 est.)
113,300 kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
33% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
23% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
67% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
51% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
26% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
19,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
6,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
18,460 bbl/day (2015 est.)
6,439 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
2.794 million Mt (2017 est.)
984,800 Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
population without electricity: 7 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 46% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 84% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 24% (2019)
population without electricity: 6 million (2019)
electrification - total population: 26% (2019)
electrification - urban areas: 52% (2019)
electrification - rural areas: 6% (2019)

Telecommunications

GuineaSierra Leone
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 0
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
total subscriptions: 2,586
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 12,283,911
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 100.8 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 5,569,221
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 86.13 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
.gn
.sl
Internet users
total: 2,133,974
percent of population: 18% (July 2018 est.)
total: 568,099
percent of population: 9% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: huge improvement over the last ten years; in May 2019, 4G Wi-Fi was launched in the capital; the regional administrative centers all have 3G access; the 2018 set up of an IXP (Internet Exchange Point) reduced the cost of Internet bandwidth and improved infrastructure; a National Backbone Network is nearing completion to connect administrative centers (2020)
domestic: there is national coverage and Conakry is reasonably well-served; coverage elsewhere remains inadequate but is improving; fixed-line teledensity is less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership is expanding rapidly and now 101 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 224; ACE submarine cable connecting Guinea with 20 landing points in Western and South Africa and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: the stability in the country has led to international investment; telecom regulator continues to improve the market; telephone service improving with the expansion of the mobile sector; mobile-cellular service has grown rapidly from a small base, overcoming the deficiencies of the fixed-line sector; mobile sector has a high penetration; regulator approves 27% price increase for mobile voice calls; LTE launched in 2018 to compete with state owned almost monopoly on fixed-line (2020)
domestic: fixed-line less than 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 86 per 100 (2019)
international: country code - 232; landing point for the ACE submarine cable linking to South Africa, over 20 western African countries and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadcast media

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 dozen private television stations; a steadily increasing number of privately owned radio stations, nearly all in Conakry, and about a dozen community radio stations; foreign TV programming available via satellite and cable subscription services 

(2019)

1 government-owned TV station; 3 private TV stations; a pay-TV service began operations in late 2007; 1 government-owned national radio station; about two-dozen private radio stations primarily clustered in major cities; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available 

(2019)

Transportation

GuineaSierra Leone
Roadways
total: 44,301 km (2018)
paved: 3,346 km (2018)
unpaved: 40,955 km (2018)
total: 11,700 km (2015)
paved: 1,051 km (2015)
unpaved: 10,650 km (2015)
urban: 3,000 km (2015)
non-urban: 8,700 km (2015)
Waterways
1,300 km (navigable by shallow-draft native craft in the northern part of the Niger River system) (2011)
800 km (600 km navigable year-round) (2011)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Conakry, Kamsar
major seaport(s): Freetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands
Merchant marine
total: 2
by type: other 2 (2019)
total: 518
by type: bulk carrier 30, container ship 10, general cargo 263, oil tanker 95, other 120 (2019)
Airports
total: 16 (2013)
total: 8 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 4 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
total: 1 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 12 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 7 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2013)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
3X (2016)
9L (2016)

Military

GuineaSierra Leone
Military branches
National Armed Forces: Army, Guinean Navy (Armee de Mer or Marine Guineenne, includes Marines), Guinean Air Force (Force Aerienne de Guinee), Presidential Security Battalion (Battailon Autonome de la Sécurité Presidentielle, BASP), Gendarmerie, People's Militia (Reserves) (2019)
Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF): Army (includes Maritime Wing and Air Wing) (2019)
Military service age and obligation
no compulsory military service (2017)
18-29 for voluntary military service; women are eligible to serve; no conscription (2019)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
2% of GDP (2019)
2.3% of GDP (2018)
2.5% of GDP (2017)
2.5% of GDP (2016)
3.3% of GDP (2015)
0.7% of GDP (2019)
0.8% of GDP (2018)
1.1% of GDP (2017)
1.1% of GDP (2016)
0.9% of GDP (2015)

Transnational Issues

GuineaSierra Leone
Disputes - international

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

Sierra Leone opposes Guinean troops' continued occupation of Yenga, a small village on the Makona River that serves as a border with Guinea; Guinea's forces came to Yenga in the mid-1990s to help the Sierra Leonean military to suppress rebels and to secure their common border but have remained there even after both countries signed a 2005 agreement acknowledging that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone; in 2012, the two sides signed a declaration to demilitarize the area

Source: CIA Factbook