|Area||245,857 sq km|
|Population||10,884,958 (est 2012)|
|Languages||French, Malinke, Peuhl, Sousson|
|Religions||Muslim 85%. Christian 8%. indigenous 7%.|
|Life expectancy||58.61 (est 2012)|
The majestic mountains, high plateaus and crystal waterfalls of the Republic of Guinea have helped earn the country the title of the ‘Switzerland of Africa’. Yet, lurking beneath the glittering potential of this breath-taking country is a history and a people scarred by corruption.
From the tenth century onwards, various empires ruled Guinea. It was not until 1895 that Guinea became a French colony and was incorporated into French West Africa.
In 1958 a hope of independence was realised when the Guineans rejected de Gaulle’s proposal of semi autonomy in a new French community. The French responded by immediately withdrawing from Guinea without organisation of a government or army, sabotaging the few industries there and blocking all trade.
For the next two decades the country was built on socialist economic policies and on the suppression of opposition and freedom of expression. The first free and fair elections since independence were held in 2010.
Refugees, smuggling and banditry spill into Guinea from neighbouring countries. In 2000 over half a million refugees escaped to Guinea creating increased strain on the economy and fuelling suspicion and ethnic tension.
Guinea runs the risk of becoming a ‘failed state’. Instability amongst the neighbouring countries, uncertainty over the successor to the president and severe economic troubles have left the country vulnerable.
BMS involvement in Guinea
BMS World Mission is involved in the following projects:
Health work in Macenta
Eric and Sarah Harris-Bafende both work with Mission Philafricaine at the Medical Centre in Macenta. Eric is a medical doctor, specialising in internal medicine and Sarah works as a project co-ordinator.
Simon and Solange Wood are working alongside the Guinean Evangelical Church. Simon works with a small team of Guinean pastors training Guinean missionaries to be church planters.
Guinea is situated on Africa’s west coast and can be divided into four main areas: the coastal plains of lower Guinea; the Fouta Djallon hills rising to over 1,500 metres; the dry lowlands of upper Guinea; and the mountainous forest region of south-east Guinea.
The nation has extensive iron, bauxite and diamond deposits although currently its only major exports are bauxite and aluminium.
Guinea is one of the least evangelised countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 85 per cent of the population are Muslim, with under five per cent Christian. Most of the Christian population are found around the capital city, Conakry, and in the south-east.