ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
Despite its large resources (minerals, water, agricultural, pastoral and fishing resources make it potentially a rich country), Guinea, given its political and social events, has encountered numerous obstacles in economic development and, in the first decade of the 2000s, is to be one of the most underdeveloped states on the continent, recording the main macroeconomic data (growth, inflation, etc.) in constant deterioration. Guinea’s GDP was US $ 4,542 million and per capita GDP of US $ 442 in 2008. According to allcountrylist, the country’s economic development had very alternating phases; in fact, due to the abrupt interruption of commercial relations with Western states, in particular with France, and to the nationalization of agricultural, mining, industrial and service activities on a strictly Marxist basis, which began the achievement of independence and which, despite the aid of the Communist countries, gave very disappointing results due to the insufficient contribution of capital and technicians, followed a phase of reprivatization of important productive sectors, such as agriculture and commerce, and an ever more decisive opening towards foreign investments which strongly accentuated after the coup of 1984 up to exceeding the amount of the state ones. The agreements that Guinea made since 1980 for close cooperation with neighboring states, especially with Sierra Leone and Liberia (through the so-called Union of the Mano River) and with Senegal and the Gambia (with the Gambia River Development Organization), have not brought great benefits given the political instability especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Even the support of the International Monetary Fund to carry out new reforms in the financial system, liberalize the economy, develop the private sector and fight corruption, has experienced alternating phases with abrupt interruptions of the aid program.
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
After independence, the agricultural sector went through a period of crisis: if in 1958 it contributed 85% to the production of GDP, in 1986 its contribution was reduced to 30%. In 1986 with the death of Touré investments and exports resumed; the main industrial crops are coffee, introduced in colonial times and grown in forest areas, cotton, whose culture is supported by the government with a view to agricultural differentiation and, finally, fruit, in particular pineapples, bananas, mangoes. It is worth underlining that, while a large part of the country enjoys land favorable to agriculture, however, both the technology and the infrastructure are lacking for adequate development to take place. Subsistence farming produces a wide range of crops for domestic consumption, including rice (Guineans are among the continent’s largest rice consumers), maize, millet, sorghum, cassava, vegetables and fruit. § The forest cover, although partially reduced by the spread of crops, reaches 28, 2% of the territorial surface; supplies valuable wood, such as ebony: the lack of adequate communication routes, however, prevents adequate exploitation of woodland resources; the sector is considered (2007) with renewed attention by the government authorities who have launched reforestation programs in areas subjected to excessive exploitation in the past. § Breeding is mainly practiced in the mountainous areas of Fouta-Djalon and in the inland savannah areas (cattle prevail), but with still scarcely rational techniques, so that the production of meat and milk is less than required. Thanks to state interventions, on the other hand, the fishing sector has improved, which can count on a very rich coastal platform, especially tuna.
ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
The industry has a recent development and, despite foreign investments, is struggling to take off: it is above all represented by a large bauxite processing plant operating in Fria, whose production is supported by the European Union. There are various other minor companies used for the processing of local agricultural products (oil mills, tobacco factories, sugar mills, cotton mills, etc.). Overall, the secondary sector accounts for 34.4% of the GDP: in it the weight of the extractive industry has a conspicuous weight. § As regards mineral resources, the possibilities of Guinea are considerable, in particular the country is the fifth world producer of baxite and the deposits of this mineral are mainly found in Fria, Boké and in the islands of Los; there are also iron, diamonds, gold, nickel, chromium, uranium, and, in territorial waters, petroleum; its exploitation is carried out by foreign companies, but Guinea participates in the ownership of the share capital. The electricity is partly of water origin (plants on the Konkouré, Samou rivers, etc.) and is still produced in insufficient quantities to guarantee a good development of the industry.
ECONOMY: TRADE AND COMMUNICATIONS
Foreign trade is mainly due to the export of aluminum and bauxite, followed at a considerable distance by coffee, pineapples, bananas and palm nuts, while imports are essentially made up of machinery and vehicles, textiles, fuels, foodstuffs.. § The communication routes make use of a fairly developed road network (44,000 km of which, however, only 4000 were asphalted in 2004) and three railway lines built mainly to allow the products of the mines and plantations to reach the port of Conakry; specializing in the export of bauxite is the port of Kamsar. Conakry is home to an international airport.