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     “The country, which has a population of 13.2 million, is divided into four geographical regions: Maritime Guinea on the Atlantic coast, Fouta Djallon or the highlands of Middle Guinea, the savannah region of Upper Guinea in the north-east, and Forest Guinea, a region of tropical forests. French, the official language of Guinea, is a language of communication in schools, public administration and the media, but more than 24 indigenous languages are spoken, the most important being Susu, Pular and Maninka.

    “Guinea’s mineral wealth makes it potentially one of the richest countries on the continent, but its population is among the poorest in West Africa”. (BBC News)

    These natural resources have been the reason for the country’s colonisation and economic exploitation for centuries. From 1850 onwards, France undertook systematic attempts at colonisation, which sometimes met with fierce resistance. After Germany relinquished its claims to the Kapitaï and Koba in 1885, present-day Guinea became a French colony in 1892/93 as part of French West Africa. Traditional political systems were systematically destroyed. Local political leaders were imprisoned or deported.       

     On 28 September 1958, Guinea became the only French colony in Africa to vote in a referendum in favour of full independence. On 2 October 1958, the First Republic was proclaimed with Ahmed Sékou Touré as President; the country broke with France. But the French did not let the Guinean rebellion of 1958 go unpunished. France reacted to Guinea’s independence vote with dramatic petulance in order to intimidate other countries aspiring to independence. A 1984 Washington Post article wrote

     “In response, and as a warning to other French-speaking territories, the French withdrew from Guinea over a two-month period, taking everything they could with them. They unscrewed light bulbs, removed plans for sewage pipes in Conakry, the capital, and even burned medicines rather than leave them to the Guineans.”

     The French literally destroyed the infrastructure, knocked down buildings, so that the newly liberated Guineans had to start from scratch.

     After the outbreak of civil war in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 1990, thousands of refugees arrived in Guinea, sometimes as many as 700,000, putting a strain on the Guinean economy.

      2014 – The deadly Ebola virus appears in southern Guinea. It spreads to Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing 11,300 people in two years.

      With the help of our public and private donors, the population and our partner organisations, we have carried out infrastructure projects that contribute to positive and sustainable health and well-being in line with MDGs 3 and 6. The creation of a centre for the collection and sorting of recyclable material flows contributes to the improvement of the environment, the economy and industry, as well as to sustainable communities (SDG 8, SDG 9, SDG 11).

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