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Conakry, Guinea

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Conakry, Guinea


Conakry, Guinea
Map of Guinea showing the location of Conakry.

Coordinates: 9°31′N 13°42′W / 9.517°N 13.700°W / 9.517; -13.700

Country  Guinea
Region Conakry Region
Population (2008)
 • Total 1,931,184 Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+1)

Conakry (Sosso: Kɔnakiri) is the capital and largest city of Guinea. Conakry is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea with a 2009 population of 1,548,500.[1] Originally situated on Tombo Island, one of the Îles de Los, it has since spread up the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula.

The population of Conakry is difficult to ascertain, although the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs has estimated it at 2 million.[2] Conakry is thought to contain almost a quarter of the population of Guinea.


According to a legend, the name of the city comes from the fusion of the name "Cona", a wine producer of the Baga people, and the word "nakiri", which means in Sosso the other bank or side.[3]

Conakry was originally settled on tiny Tombo Island and later spread to the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula, a 36-kilometer (22 mi) long stretch of land 0.2 to 6 kilometers (660 to 19,690 ft) wide. The city was essentially founded after Britain ceded the island to France in 1887. In 1885, the two island villages of Conakry and Boubinet had fewer than 500 inhabitants. Conakry became the capital of French Guinea in 1904 and prospered as an export port, particularly after a (now closed) railway to Kankan opened the large scale export of groundnut from the interior.

In the decades after independence, the population of Conakry exploded, from 50,000 inhabitants in 1958 to 600,000 in 1980, to over two million today.[4] Its small land area and relative isolation from the mainland, while an advantage to its colonial founders, has created an infrastructural burden since independence.[5]

In 1970, conflict between Portuguese forces and the PAIGC in neighbouring Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) spilled into the Republic of Guinea when a group of 350 Portuguese troops and Guinean dissidents landed near Conakry, attacked the city, and freed 26 Portuguese prisoners of war held by the PAIGC before retreating, failing to overthrow the government or kill the PAIGC leadership.[6]

Camp Boiro, a feared concentration camp during the rule of Sekou Toure, was located in Conakry.[7]

According to human rights groups, 157 people died during the 2009 Guinea protest when the military junta opened fire against tens of thousands of protesters in the city in on 28 September 2009.[8]

Government and administration

Conakry is a special city with a single region and prefecture government. The local government of the city was decentralized in 1991 between five municipal communes headed by a mayor.[9] From the tip in the southwest, these are:

The five urban communes make up the Conakry Region, one of the eight Regions of Guinea, which is headed by a governor. At the second-tier prefect level, the city is designated as the Conakry Special Zone, though the prefecture and regional government are one and the same. At two million inhabitants, it is far and away the largest city in Guinea, making up almost a quarter of the nation's population and making it more than four times bigger than its nearest rival, Kankan.


Conakry is Guinea's largest city and its administrative, communications, and economic centre. The city's economy revolves largely around the port, which has modern facilities for handling and storing cargo, through which alumina and bananas are shipped. Manufactures include food products and housing materials. An average Guinean in Conakry will get a monthly wage of about 300 000 GNF or about $45.

Infrastructural crisis

Periodic power and water cuts are a daily burden for Conakry's residents, dating back to early 2002. Government and power company officials blame the drought of February 2001 for a failure of the hydro-electric supply to the capital, and a failure of aging machinery for the continuation of the crisis. Critics of the government cite mis-management, corruption, and the pull out of the power agency's French partner at the beginning of 2002. As of 2007, much of the city has no traffic lighting in the overnight hours.[10] Popular anger at shortages in Conakry was entwined with anti-government protests, strikes, and violence over the rule of President Lansana Conté and the successive prime ministers, Cellou Dalein Diallo and Eugène Camara, appointed to fill the post after the resignation of Prime Minister François Lonseny Fall in April 2004. Violence reached a peak in January–February 2007 in a general strike, which saw over one hundred deaths when the Army confronted protesters[11]


According to Köppen climate classification, Conakry features a tropical monsoon climate. Conakry features a wet season and a dry season. Like a good portion of West Africa, Conakry's dry season is influenced by the harmattan between December and April. As a result relatively little precipitation falls in the city during these months. However, unlike a good portion of West Africa, Conakry's wet season sees an extraordinary amount of precipitation. As a result, Conakry averages nearly 3,800 mm (149 in.) of precipitation per year, earning the city a tropical monsoon climate classification.

Climate data for Conakry (1961-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.1
Average low °C (°F) 19.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 1
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 0 0 0 2 9 18 27 27 22 17 6 1 129
Mean monthly sunshine hours 223.2 224.0 251.1 222.0 207.7 155.0 108.5 86.8 135.0 189.1 207.0 213.9 2,223.3
Source: Hong Kong Observatory,[12]

Notable landmarks


  • Donka Hospital
  • Ignace Deen Hospital[13]
  • Clinique Ambroise Paré[14]
  • Clinique Pasteur



  • Marché Madina[24]
  • Marché du Niger[24]

Palaces and museums

Parks and gardens

  • Jardin 2 Octubre[35]
  • Conakry Botanical Garden[36]

Places of worship

Universities and education

  • College Gbessia Centre
  • College-Lycee Sainte-Marie
  • Gamal Abdel Nasser University (Institut Polytechnique de Conakry)[38][39]
  • Institut Geographique National (Guinea)[40]
  • Guinea National Library and Archives[31]
  • Université Kofi Annan[41]


See also


  1. Youths Chase Staff From State Electricity Offices, Protesting Power Cuts, 25 October 2007 (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX).
  2. IRIN In-Depth, Guinea: Living on the edge. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, January 2005.
  3. GUINEA: Power cuts stop for football, 26 January 2006 (IRIN)
  4. Guinea protests over power-cuts, Alhassan Sillah: BBC, Conakry, 31 January 2003
  5. Conflict history: Guinea. International Crisis Group, updated 11 May 2007.


  • Thomas O'Toole, Janice E. Baker. Historical Dictionary of Guinea. Scarecrow Press (2005). ISBN 0-8108-4634-9
  • Odile Goerg. "Chieftainships between Past and Present: From City to Suburb and Back in Colonial Conakry, 1890s–1950s". Africa Today, Summer 2006, Vol. 52, No. 4, Pages 2–27
  • Conakry the Capital: history of the city at site of expat artist.
  • , by Luc MOGENET, reprinted at (no date)
  • Kids in Guinea Study Under Airport Lamps, RUKMINI CALLIMACHI The Associated Press, Thursday, 19 July 2007.
  • Archdiocese of Conakry: history and structure (at
  • Guinea's Telecommunication Infrastructure, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), 1999 figures.

External links

  • Conakry – based news portal
  • Le Jour Guinée (French)
  • Office National du Tourisme, République du Guinée.

  • l’Université Kofi Annan de Guinée (UNIKAG)

Coordinates: 09°30′33″N 13°42′44″W / 9.50917°N 13.71222°W / 9.50917; -13.71222

  • Moussa Dadis Camara speaks to Radio France Internationale after Conakry massacre

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