Guinea -- Geography --
Official name: Republic of Guinea
Capital city: Conakry
Official language: French, various tribal languages (Pular, Maninka, Susu, Kissi, Kpelle, and Loma)
Official currency: Guinea frank (GNF)
Religions: Muslim – 85%, Christian – 10%, others – 5%
Population: 10 211 437 (2009 est.)
Ethnicity: The population of Guinea comprises about 24 ethnic groups. The Fulani comprise 40% of the population, The Mandinka – comprising 30%, The Soussou – comprising 20%, smaller ethnic groups – 10%
Land area: 245,839 sq. km
Main rivers: Niger, Gambia
Climate: The coastal region and much of the inland area have a tropical climate with a long rainy season of six months, a relatively high and uniform annual temperature, and high humidity. Average monthly temperatures are 18 to 26 degrees in January and up to 23 – 27 degrees in July.
Land division: Maritime Guinea covers 18% of the country, Mid-Guinea – covering 20%, Upper-Guinea – covering 41%, Forested Guinea is both forested and mountainous
Administrative division: Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures - Boke, Conakry, Faranah, Kankan, Kindia, Labe, Mamou, Nzerekore
Guinea -- History --
Guinea has been inhabited since ancient times, but little is known about the region's early history. Portions of Guinea were dominated by the powerful medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. Portuguese traders first came in the mid-15th century. The English, French, and Dutch came later to trade for gold, ivory, and slaves. France established a protectorate in the mid-19th century. Fierce resistance to French occupation was crushed in 1898, and there was little opposition to French rule until a nationalist movement developed after World War II. Guinea was granted independence in 1958, but rejected membership in the French Community. Sekou Toure became the nation's first president and established a harsh dictatorship. He followed radical socialist policies, and the country's economy severely deteriorated, despite Guinea's receiving substantial aid from Communist-bloc nations. In 1984 Toure died, and military officers led by Colonel Lasana Conte seized control. Conte made himself president and ruled as a dictator. He encouraged the development of private enterprise and established ties with France and other Western countries. A new constitution approved by voters in 1990 provided for a transition to civilian rule and multiparty democracy. Voters elected Conte as president in 1993 and reelected him in 1998 and 2003. Conte stepped down in 2007 after a labor strike to protest against him turned violent.
Guinea -- Economy --
Bauxite mining and alumina production provide about 80% of Guinea's foreign exchange. Diamonds and gold also are mined and exported on a large scale, providing additional foreign exchange. Canadian and Chinese companies show interest in this area.Guinea also has considerable potential for growth in the agricultural and fishing sectors. Land, water, and climatic conditions provide opportunities for large-scale irrigated farming and agroindustry, mainly rice, coffee, palm kernels, pineapples and many others. Possibilities for investment and commercial activities exist in all these areas, but Guinea's poorly developed infrastructure continues to present obstacles to investment projects. Below the poverty line, however, continue to live 47% of the population, while the average daily salary ranges between $ 2-3. Basic raw materials imported are oil, metals and grains. Largest trading partners of Guinea are South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, China, USA and Spain.
Guinea -- Culture --
Like other West African countries, Guinea has a rich musical tradition.
Guinea -- Political system --
Theoretically, the politics of Guinea take place within the framework of a presidential republic. The President of Guinea is the head of state, head of government, and commander-in-chief of the Guinean military. The president serves a maximum of two 7-year terms. To be elected president of Guinea, a candidate must be a Guinean-born citizen by birth, be at least 35 years of age, and must be able to speak and read the French language.
Legislative power vests in the 114-member National Assembly. Members serve for a four-year term.
Executive power is exercised by the president and cabinet members.