In a population of 3 million, there were less than 50 Guineans with higher education. There had been 600 Frenchmen in government service, several thousand French soldiers, and about 2500 expatriates in productive and service enterprises who all left abruptly. As a result, the administration, health services and modern economy had collapsed.

The only newspaper, Horoya, had a circulation of 8,000 every 2 or 3 days but the East Germans had built the Patrice Lumumba printing plant with a capacity of several hundred thousand newspapers a day. Military advice and incompatible equipment came from China, Czechoslovakia, and the German Federal Republic.

A crack unit of glamorous women served as traffic police in Conakry and doubled as a night club orchestra.

We visited a model state farm run by a group of ministers. The farm was littered with Soviet tractors and other machinery, but had no visible output. When I asked the Minister of Planning about this, he replied “Tu sais, j’ai pas la tête pour les chiffres” (I have no head for figures). The state trading organisation had taken over French shops, which were almost completely empty,

The Chinese match factory imported huge Chinese trees to provide its raw material.

Angus Maddison, Confessions of a Chiffrephile, 1994