Guinea is a West African country, located south of Guinea-Bissau. The nation has a long history of helping others escape persecution. For example, it has taken in thousands of refugees from Sierra Leone. However, Guinea refugees are both incoming and outgoing: the nation takes in thousands, but thousands are also leaving.
However, the inflow of people has burdened the economy. Poverty is a substantial reason for fleeing Guinea. The instability afflicting the country has consequently made life unbearable for many of their citizens. Here are 10 facts about Guinea refugees and an explanation of the relationship between refugees entering and leaving the country:
- During the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone, Guinea hosted thousands of refugees. Approximately 300,000 asylum seekers from Sierra Leone entered Guinea. These refugees thus put a strain on Guinea’s already struggling economy.
- Most of the refugees that flee to Guinea settle in the forest region. This created a decline in the region, and 40 percent of its inhabitants are now food-insecure. Consequently, with the influx of refugees and consequent depletion of resources, people are now starting to emigrate from Guinea.
- The total population of Guinea is 13,303,412. In 2016, 15,350 citizens fled. This number accounts for roughly 0.127 percent of the total population.
- Like many other African refugees, 81 percent of asylum applicants from Guinea were rejected.
- The most successful refugees were those going to the United States and Brazil.
- Germany is one of the more open European countries, and it is always at the top of the list for most accepted applicants. In fact, 3,458 Guinea refugees fled to Germany, and 152 were accepted (22.75 percent).
- Experiments with socialism and a period under a junta government made life difficult for the people of Guinea. The junta forcefully took power in 2008, its leaders are responsible for mass murders and occurrences of rape.
- The instability in Guinea initiated violent ethnic tension. The different ethnicities entering Guinea from Sierra Leone and other war-torn countries made the possibility of a united, consolidated country difficult to achieve.
- Citizens of Guinea also endure poverty and high rates of malnutrition. In 1996, the poverty rate was 40 percent, and it rose to 49 percent in 2004. The share of the population living in extreme poverty grew from 18 percent to 27 percent.
- Consequently, poverty is a major reason for fleeing Guinea. In 2012, 35.3 percent of the population lived at or below $1.90 a day.
These 10 facts about Guinea refugees show that the country is struggling. However, improvements are happening. For example, food insecurity in the forest region has decreased. In 2007, 59.7 percent of the population was at or below the poverty line. In 2012, this was down to 35.3 percent.
Guinea’s population is growing, and the nation has made enormous strides in the past few years. If Guinea keeps moving in this direction, poverty will decline and the overall prosperity of the country will increase.
– Lucy Voegeli