All these extremely fragile and underdeveloped economies have either recently been through a civil war or are suffering from ongoing sectarian or ethnic conflicts.
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Guinea is potentially one of the wealthiest countries in the world due to its huge mineral deposits (the country holds a quarter of the world’s bauxite reserves alone). However it has slipped down one place to eighth in the list of the world’s poorest countries due to its continued dependence upon agriculture, with its farmers largely relying on outdated information and obsolete technology, alongside declining commodity prices. The country is only slowly recovering from the impact of the Ebola outbreak, which officially ended in December 2015 and had a severe impact on many households’ income generating activities. Meanwhile the mining industry has been affected by the suspension in July 2016 of the $20 billion Simandou iron ore project. Despite this, the government recently forecast an improvement in GDP growth based on an increase in the production of gold and bauxite. To date, an improvement in living standards has been slow to materialise, with rapid and poorly controlled urbanisation driven by the high poverty levels in rural areas adding to social pressures.