Facts about Guinea

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GuineaGuinea has had only two presidents since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Lansana CONTE came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after the death of the first president, Sekou TOURE. Guinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. CONTE (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected in 1998 and again in 2003, though all the polls have been marred by irregularities. Guinea has maintained its internal stability despite spillover effects from conflict in Sierra Leone and Liberia. As those countries have rebuilt, Guinea's own vulnerability to political and economic crisis has increased. Declining economic conditions and popular dissatisfaction with corruption and bad governance prompted two massive strikes in 2006; a third nationwide strike in early 2007 sparked violent protests in many Guinean cities and prompted two weeks of martial law. To appease the unions and end the unrest, CONTE named a new prime minister in March 2007.

Geography of Guinea

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone
11 00 N, 10 00 W
total: 245,857 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 245,857 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Oregon
Land boundaries:
total: 3,399 km
border countries: Cote d'Ivoire 610 km, Guinea-Bissau 386 km, Liberia 563 km, Mali 858 km, Senegal 330 km, Sierra Leone 652 km
320 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
generally flat coastal plain, hilly to mountainous interior
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Nimba 1,752 m
Natural resources:
bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish
Natural hazards:
hot, dry, dusty harmattan haze may reduce visibility during dry season
Environment current issues:
deforestation; inadequate supplies of potable water; desertification; soil contamination and erosion; overfishing, overpopulation in forest region; poor mining practices have led to environmental damage
Geography - note:
the Niger and its important tributary the Milo have their sources in the Guinean highlands

Population of Guinea

9,806,509 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 44.4% (male 2,171,733/female 2,128,027)
15-64 years: 52.5% (male 2,541,140/female 2,542,847)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 134,239/female 172,236)
Median age:
17.7 years
Growth rate:
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: as a result of conflict in neighboring countries, Guinea is host to approximately 141,500 refugees from Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
Infant mortality:
90 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.5 years
male: 48.34 years
female: 50.7 years
Fertility rate:
5.79 children born/woman
noun: Guinean(s)
adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups:
Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20%, smaller ethnic groups 10%
Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%
French (official), each ethnic group has its own language
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 35.9%
male: 49.9%
female: 21.9% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Guinea
local long form: Republique de Guinee
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
33 prefectures and 1 special zone (zone special)*; Beyla, Boffa, Boke, Conakry*, Coyah, Dabola, Dalaba, Dinguiraye, Dubreka, Faranah, Forecariah, Fria, Gaoual, Gueckedou, Kankan, Kerouane, Kindia, Kissidougou, Koubia, Koundara, Kouroussa, Labe, Lelouma, Lola, Macenta, Mali, Mamou, Mandiana, Nzerekore, Pita, Siguiri, Telimele, Tougue, Yomou
2 October 1958 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 2 October (1958)
23 December 1990 (Loi Fundamentale)
Legal system:
based on French civil law system, customary law, and decree; legal codes currently being revised; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Lansana CONTE (head of military government since 5 April 1984, elected president 19 December 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane SOUARE (since 23 May 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (no term limits); candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected president; election last held 21 December 2003 (next to be held in December 2010); the prime minister is appointed by the president.
Legislative branch:
unicameral People's National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale Populaire (114 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel


Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country has almost half of the world's bauxite reserves and is the second-largest bauxite producer. The mining sector accounts for over 70% of exports. Long-run improvements in government fiscal arrangements, literacy, and the legal framework are needed if the country is to move out of poverty. Investor confidence has been sapped by rampant corruption, a lack of electricity and other infrastructure, a lack of skilled workers, and the political uncertainty due to the failing health of President Lansana CONTE. Guinea is trying to reengage with the IMF and World Bank, which cut off most assistance in 2003, and is working closely with technical advisors from the U.S. Treasury Department, the World Bank and IMF, seeking to return to a fully funded program. Growth rose slightly in 2006-07, primarily due to increases in global demand and commodity prices on world markets, but the standard of living fell. The Guinea franc depreciated sharply as the prices for basic necessities like food and fuel rose beyond the reach of most Guineans. Dissatisfaction with economic conditions prompted nationwide strikes in February and June 2006.

$10.96 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 23.7%
industry: 36.2%
services: 40.1%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
3 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 80%, industry and services 20%
revenues: $395.7 million
expenditures: $472.4 million, including capital expenditures
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 45.5%
hydro: 54.5%
other: 0% 
bauxite, gold, diamonds; alumina refining; light manufacturing and agricultural processing industries
rice, coffee, pineapples, palm kernels, cassava (tapioca), bananas, sweet potatoes; cattle, sheep, goats; timber
bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
Export partners:
Russia 18.5%, Spain 12.5%, US 7.5%, Switzerland 7.2%, France 7.1%, Ireland 6.3%, Belgium 6%, Germany 5.4% 
petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs
Import partners:
China 8.8%, US 7.6%, France 7.5%, Cote d'Ivoire 5.4%, Italy 4.8%, Belgium 4% 
Guinean franc (GNF)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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