Overview

Country Overview

The West African nation of Guinea spans an area of 245,860 kilometers and shares borders with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali in the north, and with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire in the south. Guinea has a population of 12.6 million, according to World Bank estimates in 2015.

Political Context

President Alpha Condé was re-elected on October 31, 2015 to a second term in the first round of the country's disputed presidential election, garnering 57% of the votes. He was sworn in on December 14, 2015, less than three weeks before Guinea was declared Ebola free. On December 26, 2015, President Condé appointed Mamady Youla as the country’s prime minister. Youla, a 54-year old economist, has worked both in the private sector and the government. The new 31-strong cabinet has seven women who have key ministerial roles in planning, finance, foreign affairs and agriculture.

The Government of Guinea is preparing a new five-year development plan, for the period 2016-2020. The plan will be the unique development document for engagement with the government and will replace the following documents: the third Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP3) for 2013-15, the Quinquennial Plan (2011-15), and the Post-Ebola Recovery Plan (2015-17). The exercise is currently under the leadership of the new Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.

Economic Overview

Guinea is slowly emerging from the twin shocks of Ebola and low commodity prices that adversely affected its economy in 2014 and 2015. After stagnating in 2015, gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected at 5.2% for 2016 due to an expected increase in bauxite and gold production, and a resilient agricultural sector. Services and manufacturing continue to stagnate in the aftermath of Ebola. The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) eighth review under the framework of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) was successfully concluded in September 2016, a first in the country’s history, emphasizing the country’s return to sound economic management.

Guinea’s fiscal situation should improve in 2016 with a projected budget deficit of -1.3% after it deteriorated with an overall deficit estimated at 8.9% of GDP in 2015. The IMF review noted an improvement in revenue inflows, which reached 19.2% of GDP in 2016 compared to 17.2% in 2015. The revenue performance reflected a number of policy measures in 2016 coupled with a reduction in expenditures. That said, pro-poor expenditures were preserved. Current expenditure has been reduced by 2.5 percentage points of GDP compared to the estimated out-turn for 2015 (from 18.4% of GDP in 2015 to 15.6% of GDP in 2016). The inflation rate is expected to be 8.2% in 2016, the same as in 2015.  

According to a World Bank and IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) from January 2015, Guinea continues to be assessed at a moderate risk of debt distress. Using a higher and unified discount rate of 5% (previously 3%), which was introduced in October 2013, the team found no changes in the underlying conditions. The moderate rating is based on Guinea’s vulnerability to adverse shocks to growth, exports, FDI inflows, fiscal performance, and delays in the implementation of mining projects. The World Bank and IMF teams are working closely with authorities to ensure that all new loans in 2016 and onward are contracted with a high degree of concessionality and a strong development impact.

Social Context

Poverty affected about 55% of Guinea’s population in 2012, up from 49% in 2003, and is likely to have increased further as a result of the Ebola crisis and economic stagnation in 2014 and 2015. This is particularly true for Macenta and Gueckedou, two areas in the southeast that have been most affected by Ebola and that already had poverty rates above the national average. 

A recently conducted mobile phone survey in September 2015, based on interviews with close to 2,500 households across Guinea, confirmed that Ebola had a strong impact on Guinean households. Welfare levels based on asset ownership deteriorated, particularly for rural households, which is consistent with a pronounced income decline by more than 30% for rural households and women in areas severely affected by Ebola. A decline in food consumption was also noted in these same households. In parallel, urban unemployment doubled from 8% in 2012 to 16% in 2015, and close to 10% of households withdrew their children from school, with the large majority citing Ebola as the main factor. Surprisingly, agriculture production remained resilient and food prices were stable.  

The poverty headcount rate remains far higher in rural areas (65% in 2012) than in urban centers (35%). A new poverty report updating the trends and profile of poverty in the country is about to be launched.

Development Challenges

Despite great success in stopping the spread of the Ebola epidemic, serious challenges remain in addressing the impact of the epidemic. In December 2015, the epidemic had cost the lives of more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, including more than 500 health care workers. The number of new cases peaked at more than 50 per week in early 2015 before gradually declining as containment efforts took effect.

Furthermore, the Guinean economy will face two main risks at end of 2016 and in 2017. The first challenge is maintaining macroeconomic and fiscal reforms in 2017; and the second challenge is to maintain aid flows to Guinea to offset declining commodity prices and to continue donor support for the post-Ebola recovery plan. In terms of financing, the total estimated cost of this plan over the 2015-2017 period amounts to almost $3 billion, with $857 million for 2015, $1.2 billion for 2016, and $864 million for 2017.

Another particularly difficult challenge for Guinea has been the delay and eventual suspension of the $20 billion Simandou Project in July 2016. This ambitious project, involving Rio Tinto and others, was expected to bring high quality iron ore to the international market, and create 50,000 jobs in Guinea. In July 2016, Rio Tinto management announced a scaling down of its presence in Conakry. Simandou’s suspension sends signals to the international mining community, and will have ripple effects on the Guinean economy.

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2016

World Bank Group Engagement in Guinea

The Board of the World Bank Group (WBG) discussed the FY14-FY17 Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Guinea in October 2013. The CPS supports Guinea’s Third National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP3) that was approved by the Government of Guinea in May 2013, and focuses on: (i) improving governance; (ii) stimulating growth and economic diversification; and (iii) supporting human development. A mid-term Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of the CPS was approved on August 28, 2015: (i) to inform the WBG Board of Executive Directors, the government, and other stakeholders on progress so far with reaching the strategy’s objectives; and (ii) to draw lessons and highlight changes to the CPS to ensure that it remains relevant and effective. The main findings of the PLR are that the overall strategy of the CPS remains valid but that some adjustments are needed, especially in light of the Ebola epidemic.

A Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) has been recently launched in view of the drafting of a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) to be delivered in the second quarter of FY18. This coincides with the government’s preparation of a new national development plan.

In addition, the World Bank is designing operations to help Guinea address the economic impact of the Ebola epidemic, which includes improving food security, developing social protection measures, facilitating access to water and sanitation, and supporting key reforms aimed at improving public financial management and transparency in the mining and energy sectors.

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2016

The national International Development Association (IDA) portfolio consists of 11 approved operations for a total of $272.89 million. The disbursement ratio stands at 5.34% as of October 2016. There are eight regional projects with an IDA commitment of $247.5 million. The World Bank Group’s program is contributing to putting in place potentially transformative building blocks in the priority sectors of energy, agriculture, mining, governance, and regional integration in Guinea.  The portfolio grew substantially because of additional support related to the Ebola epidemic.

Emergency Response to the Ebola Virus Outbreak

Guinea was declared Ebola free on December 27, 2015 before the resurgence of new cases on March 17, 2016. As of August 31, 2016, Guinea has successfully completed the 90 days reinforced surveillance without recording any new cases of Ebola.

Disruptions in international trade, investment, and domestic production have had a very serious economic impact. Frequent market closures resulted in crop losses and reduced activity in the rural areas, and private sector companies closed which increased unemployment. The health system has been further weakened as many health facilities are no longer operational due to the desertion of personnel, avoidance by the population, and disruption in basic supplies. The impact of this on other social sectors continues to grow and there is a particular need to provide support for a growing number of orphans.

Following a slow start, the international community provided substantial assistance to Guinea in combatting the epidemic. The World Bank has provided a total $153 million to the Ebola response in Guinea, including $50 million in budget support. 

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2016

In addition to the Bretton Woods institutions, the main development partners financially supporting the country are the African Development Bank, the European Commission, the Islamic Development Bank, and the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement). However, on specific issues, other institutions and partners are crucial. The United Nations (UN) coordinates interventions in the area of security reform, with contributions from bilateral aid, as well as from ECOWAS and the African Union. USAID plays a crucial role in establishing democratic institutions, complementing the work of the European Union (EU). The EU has led the work on support for the justice sector. Non-traditional development partners, including Arab countries, China, Brazil, Russia and India, have focused on areas closely linked to Guinea’s comparative advantage such as mining and agriculture, or where public private partnerships could yield a rapid transfer to purely private activities.

Last Updated: Nov 08, 2016


LENDING

Guinea: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments