Living in Guinea Conakry guide for expats

All the information you need to relocate and live in Guinea Conakry.

About Guinea Conakry

It is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing roughly 85% of the population, and the minority comprising of Christian and animist communities. French is the official language and is taught in schools, although very few Guineans speak it at home. In total, about 40 languages are still used across the country, but there are eight main national languages ' Malinke (Maninkakan), Pular, Susu, Kpelle (Guerze), Loma (Toma), Kissi, Coniagui, and Bassari. For most of the coastal population and in the capital, the language of Susu has gradually become the lingua franca. There has been a discussion for a few years about the possibility of Guinean languages being re-emancipated through education, as they were under the country's first president until 1984 when the country reverted to French.

There are 24 ethnic groups in Guinea, but the main three are the Fulani (also called Peul), the Malinke (referred to as Mandingo in other parts of West Africa), and the Soussou. Ethnic tensions are sadly rife and there is currently a conflict between the Fulani and the Malinke.

Guinea gained its independence from France in 1958. However, the first democratic election was held years after, in 2010. The end of despotic regimes though hasn't put an end to the instability as a result of political, ethnic, and economic discontent.

Guinea could have been one of Africa's richest countries thanks to its tremendous mineral resources, but a turbulent history and economic mismanagement have taken their toll on its people, who are some of the poorest on the continent. Refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone have also put a strain on its struggling economy, which is mainly reliant on subsistence agriculture and mining.

Guinea was considered to be one of the best countries in the world for mining, and roughly 25% of the country's income comes from this industry. The country is estimated to possess over a third of the world's known bauxite reserves, and is the second largest bauxite producer. It also has rich deposits of diamonds and gold, as well as significant high-grade iron ore reserves. However, the country's poorly developed infrastructure, corruption and crime have been huge stumbling blocks. Residents have even recently rioted at bauxite mines in the north-west of the country to draw attention to power cuts and high levels of pollution.

Many expats who work in the mining sector tend to live in Kamsar, as it is the main bauxite mining export town. As a result, some good hotels and restaurants cater primarily for mining executives. There is also an in the capital of Conakry, which is located on the Atlantic coast and is also the country's main port. The French-Guinean Cultural Centre provides great cultural entertainment for foreigners here, and Africa's fourth largest mosque remains a sight to behold. There are lots of wonderful places for expats to explore in and around the city, although health and safety factors should be of primary concern. The coastline from Conakry up towards Guinea-Bissau boasts pristine beaches and wildlife, while the highlands of Foutah Djallon display nature's finery, with hikes that showcase rolling grasslands, beautiful waterfalls, and cliffs. Three major rivers ' the Gambia, Senegal, and Niger ' converge here, which makes it one of the country's most verdant areas. Most of the country offers a tropical and humid climate, with a rainy season that typically lasts for six months from April to October. Its high rainfall and deep gorges mean that the country has considerable hydroelectric potential, so it is worth keeping an eye out for opportunities in this sector too.

Quick Information

Official Languages : French
Currency : Franc
Area : 245857 Km2
Population : 10324025
Calling Code : +224
Timezone : Africa/Conakry

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