Last updated in February 2018
The Federal Republic of Germany was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea after it gained independence in 1958. In the first decades, however, the bilateral relationship was volatile. Guinea broke off diplomatic relations in 1970 and they were not resumed until 1975. During this period, close cooperation developed between Guinea and the GDR. In the following years, especially after 1990, relations between Germany and Guinea were invariably friendly. However, they were marred from 2000 onwards on account of President Lansana Conté’s poor governance, and especially after the military coup of 23 December 2008. Following the first democratic presidential elections in 2010 and the 2013 parliamentary elections, relations between the two countries normalised fully. Germany is held in very high regard in Guinea.
There is potential for improvement in bilateral economic relations. A few German companies are currently active in Guinea. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, German trade with Guinea amounted to 209.4 million euros in 2017, putting Guinea in 120th place among Germany’s trading partners. In the same year, German imported goods worth 85.5 million euros from Guinea. Germany’s main import is bauxite, the basic raw material for aluminium production. Guinea is by far Germany’s largest supplier of this raw material. German exports to Guinea, mainly machinery and motor vehicles, were worth 123.9 million euros in 2017. The investment promotion and protection agreement ratified on 14 July 2014 is an important prerequisite for greater engagement in the country’s private sector by German companies.
Bilateral development cooperation with Guinea currently focuses on the priority area of basic social services and encompasses – in both technical and financial cooperation – activities in the areas of basic education and basic health care (especially reproductive and family health). This is the concrete assistance provided by Germany as part of efforts to rebuild Guinea and improve public services in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. The measures focus on several regions in central Guinea.
Other development cooperation projects are designed to promote good governance in the mining sector, step up cooperation with business on public-private partnerships to improve working conditions, boost agriculture by making better use of water resources in the Niger basin, foster effective cooperation between Guinea and Mali on border issues and provide support to human rights organisations. There are also a growing number of partnerships between German and Guinean clinics and institutes in the health care sector.
In addition, several non-governmental organisations are engaged in work in Guinea with public funding from Germany. The German Adult Education Association (DAA) is conducting adult literacy programmes and the World Peace Service (WFD) is carrying out conflict resolution projects. There are also a number of private German initiatives engaged in specific individual measures in the country (for example, building schools and helping provide basic health care).
A brief look at past relations in this area: After gaining independence, Guinea was initially one of the principle recipients of German development cooperation. Bilateral development cooperation was then suspended following the breaking off of political relations between 1971 and 1979. As a least developed country (LDC), Guinea has received funding in the form of non-repayable grants since 1979. Development cooperation was suspended again as a result of the military coup of 23 December 2008 and only resumed after the successful parliamentary elections in late 2013.
Germany enjoys a thoroughly positive image in Guinea, though familiarity with German culture is low. This image is mainly shaped by the fact that Germany is seen not only as a leading political and economic power in Europe, but also as a nation that is highly engaged internationally, including in Africa. The Guinean public is increasingly following German football, especially after Naby Keita, a player on the Guinean national team, joined the Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.
Guinea’s image of Germany is still strongly influenced by the positive impressions gained by Guinean guest students who graduated from German universities after completing academic and further education programmes in Germany as well as the large number of Guineans who studied in the GDR. However, many members of this generation have now reached retirement age.
Guineans’ interest in studying in Germany has markedly increased again in recent years. Germany is providing support to Guinea’s higher education system, particularly in German foreign language teaching. The only current formalised university partnership is that between Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry and the University of Bremen.
In addition, Guinean sports teachers regularly participate in further education programmes at Leipzig University and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
As part of its programme to preserve cultural heritage in developing countries, which was launched in 1981, Germany has most recently (in 2014) funded a project to protect works of art at Guinea’s regional Fortin de Boké Museum.
This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents.