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Guinea, officially Republic of Guinea is a country in West Africa, formerly known as French Guinea. Guinea's territory has a curved shape, with its base at the Atlantic Ocean, inland to the east, and turning south. The base borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to the north, and Mali to the north and north-east; the inland part borders Cote d'Ivoire to the south-east, Liberia to the south, and Sierra Leone to the west of the southern tip.

Background History

Guinea is at a turning point after decades of authoritarian rule since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Guinea held its first free and competitive democratic presidential and legislative elections in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Alpha Conde was elected to a five year term as president in 2010, and the National Assembly was seated in January 2014. Conde's cabinet is the first all-civilian government in Guinea. Previously, Sekou Toure ruled the country as president from independence to his death in 1984. Lansana Conte came to power in 1984 when the military seized the government after Toure's death. Gen. Conte organized and won presidential elections in 1993, 1998, and 2003, though all the polls were rigged. Upon Conte's death in December 2008, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara led a military coup, seizing power and suspending the constitution. His unwillingness to yield to domestic and international pressure to step down led to heightened political tensions that culminated in September 2009 when presidential guards opened fire on an opposition rally killing more than 150 people, and in early December 2009 when Camara was wounded in an assassination attempt and exiled to Burkina Faso. A transitional government led by Gen. Sekouba Konate paved the way for Guinea's transition to a fledgling democracy.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of Guinea
  • conventional short form: Guinea
  • local long form: Republique de Guinee
  • local short form: Guinee
  • former name: French Guinea


  • name: Conakry
  • geographic coordinates: 9 33 N, 13 42 W
  • time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 2 October 1958 (from France)

Government Type:

  • republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Alpha Conde (since 21 December 2010)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana (since 24 December 2010)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term)

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: the legislature was dissolved by junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara in December 2008 and in February 2010, the Transition Government appointed a 155 member National Transition Council (CNT) that has since acted in the legislature's place

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Constitutional Court; Court of First Instance; Court of Appeal; Supreme Court


People & Society


  • 11,474,383 (global rank: 76)
  • growth rate: 2.63% (global rank: 24)


  • noun: Guinean(s)
  • adjective: Guinean

Major Cities:

  • Conakry (capital): 1.786 million

Ethnic Groups:

  • Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20%, smaller ethnic groups 10%


  • Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%


  • French (official)

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 59.6 years (global rank: 195)
  • male: 58.08 years
  • female: 61.17 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 55.24 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 30)
  • male: 58.17 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 52.22 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 1.7% (2012 est.) (global rank: 28)
  • people living with AIDS: 118,100 (2012 est.) (global rank: 41)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 41%
  • male: 52%
  • female: 30%



Overview: Guinea is a poor country that possesses major mineral, hydropower, solar power, and agricultural resources. Guinea has historically been an exporter of agricultural commodities, but in recent years has shifted to importing the majority of food crops. Bauxite is Guinea’s main mineral resource as well as its main source of foreign currency. Guinea is the second largest producer of bauxite in the world and has the largest reserves of bauxite, estimated at 29 billion tons. The country also has significant iron ore, gold, and diamond reserves. However, Guinea has been unable to profit from this potential, as rampant corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, and political uncertainty have drained investor confidence. In the time since a 2008 coup following the death of long-term President Lansana Conte, international donors, including the G-8, the IMF, and the World Bank, significantly curtailed their development programs but, following the December 2010 presidential elections, the IMF approved a new 3-year ECF arrangement in 2012. Guinea in September 2012 reached HIPC completion point status. Further international assistance and investment are contingent on the ability of the government to be transparent, combat corruption, reform its banking system, improve its business environment, and build infrastructure. International investors have expressed keen interest in Guinea's vast iron ore reserves, which could propel the country's growth. The government in April 2013 amended the September 2011 mining code to reduce taxes and royalties. Longer range plans to deploy broadband Internet throughout the country could spur economic growth as well. The biggest threats to Guinea’s economy are political instability and low international commodity prices.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $12.56 billion (global rank: 151)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $1,100 (global rank: 218)
  • real growth rate: 2.9% (global rank: 121)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 22.9%, industry: 46.5%, services: 30.5%


  • currency: Guinean Franc (GNF)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 6,875


  • population below poverty line: 47%
  • unemployment rate: NA

Agricultural Products:

  • rice, coffee, pineapples, palm kernels, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, sweet potatoes; cattle, sheep, goats; timber


  • bauxite, gold, diamonds, iron ore; alumina refining; light manufacturing, agricultural processing

Exports Commodities:

  • bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products

Imports Commodities:

  • petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs




  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone


  • total: 245,857 sq km (global rank: 79)
  • land: 245,717 sq km
  • water: 140 sq km
  • comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon


  • generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds

Land Use:

  • arable land: 11.59%
  • permanent crops: 2.81%
  • other: 85.6%

Natural Resources:

  • bauxite, iron ore, diamonds, gold, uranium, hydropower, fish, salt

Current Environmental 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

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: conflicts among rebel groups, warlords, and youth gangs in neighboring states have spilled over into Guinea resulting in domestic instability; Sierra Leone considers Guinea's definition of the flood plain limits to define the left bank boundary of the Makona and Moa rivers excessive and protests Guinea's continued occupation of these lands, including the hamlet of Yenga, occupied since 1998
  • refugees (country of origin): 6,493 (Cote d'Ivoire)
  • human trafficking: Guinea is a source, transit, and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the majority of trafficking victims are Guinean children; Guinean girls are subjected to domestic servitude and commercial sexual exploitation, while boys are forced to beg, work as street vendors or shoe shiners, or miners; some Guinean children are forced to mine in Senegal, Mali, and possibly other West African countries; Guinean women and girls are subjected to domestic servitude and sex trafficking in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, Greece, and Spain, while Chinese and Vietnamese women are reportedly forced into prostitution in Guinea

Published: Friday, March 13, 2015