Guinea By | Saturday, September 8  2012 at  15:32

Full Name

Republic of Guinea (English)
Republique de Guinee (French)
Origins of name: Guinea derives from the berber word aguinaw, or gnawa ("black man"), which Berbers (Nomadic Saharan Peoples) have used to describe most of West Africa, however, In Susu, the language spoken by the coastal Susu ethnic group, the word guinè means "woman’’.
Formerly: French Guinea, People's Revolutionary Republic of Guinea,

Current Leader

Alpha Conde

Overview

Gained independence on October 2, 1958 from France. It was the first country granted independence by France in West Africa. Guinea refused what it considered to be a 'neo-colonial' association with France after independence and as a result France curtailed all aid to the new state.
After independence Guinea adopted socialist policies which brought isolation from from the West and economic stagnation. A 1984 coup following the death of founding president Ahmed Sekou Toure brought in a military government until 1990, after which Guinea began the transition to a multiparty democratic system

Facts

Form of Government
Republic
The President is the Chief of State
Prime Minister is the Head of Government
President is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term and has no term limits

Government structure
President, Prime Minister, Cabinet (council of ministers)

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for service: males age 16-49: 1,396,27 and females age 16-49: 1,435,387
Expenditures: 1.7% GDP
Branches: National Armed Forces: Army, Navy (Armee de Mer or Marine Guineenne, includes Marines), Air Force

Former Rulers
1958 – 1984 Ahmed Sékou Touré
1984 – 2008 Lansana Conté
Dec 22, 2008 - Dec 3, 2009 Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara

2009 - 2010- Gen. Sekouba Konate

December 2010 - Alpha Conde

Capital
Conakry
Altitude: 12m
Population: 1.871 million people

Population
Size: 10,884,958 (2012)
Life expectancy: 57.1 years
Gender Make-Up: Female - 50% and Male - 50%

GDP per capita
$ 1,100 (2011)

$ 1,100 (2010)

Geography
Area: 245,857sqkm
Land boundaries: Cote d'Ivoire 610km, Guinea-Bissau 386km, Liberia 563km, Mali 858km, Senegal 330km, Sierra Leone 652km

Major Languages
French, Pular, Maninka and Sussu

Religious portfolio
Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, Indigenous beliefs 7%

National Make-up
Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20% (‘Susu’), Smaller ethnic groups 10%

Natural Resources
Bauxite, Iron ore, Diamonds, Gold, Uranium, Hydropower, Fish, Salt

Main exports
Bauxite, Alumina, Gold, Diamonds, Coffee, Fish, Agricultural products

Land Use
Arable land: 4.47%
Permanent crops: 2.64%
Other: 92.89%

Monetary Unit/Currency
Guinea Franc (FG)

Dialling Code
+224

Internet Code
.gn

Transport
Main Port: Conakry
Airport: Gbessia (CKY) located 6km from Conakry city centre

Modern issues

Environmental
Deforestation
Inadequate supplies of fresh water
Desertification
Soil contamination and erosion
Overfishing
Overpopulation in forest region
Poor mining practices have led to environmental damage

Political

As Mr. Condé settled into his first year as president in 2011 the US government announced the reinstatement of the benefits of a preferential trade deal, known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, to Guinea. This was as a reward for what the US sees as "continual progress" made in good governance and democracy.

In a bid to cub corruption, reduce the environmental impact of activities and make more money available for development, Guinea launched a new mining code. Though several foreign firms warned that the code will deter investors, the Guinean public stood behind the code.

Economic
Most of Guinea’s people live on less that $1 a day despite the fact that Guinea is a leading bauxite exporter
Recent strikes in opposition to the current military government have had enative implications on the nation's economy, particularly the mining industry. Nonetheless, the democratic political transition has opened way for new improved mining contracts with mining companies and especially the Chinese government

Social
An overwhelming majority of the Guinean population continues to live in poverty despite the country's rich mineral wealth. This year was especially tough as the price of fuel increased by 27% in October, double the price 10 months previously
Ethnic and national tensions have coalesced around the issue of refugees. Victims of the Sierra Leonean and Liberian civil wars were initially welcomed in the early and middle 1990s. However, when the country's border towns were attacked in 2000, President Conté made a radio address in which he accused the refugees of harbouring rebels and ordered them to leave the country


Foreign Affairs
Mr. Condé has also had to deal with tension with some of his neighbours. He accused Senegal and Gambia of involvement in an assassination attempt against him in July which included elements in his own army. He said both the Senegalese and Gambian governments were “fully aware” of the plot, which was carried out at the five star Hotel Méridien Président in Dakar.

One neighbourly relationship which Guinea has improved on is with Sierra Leone. The leaders of the two nations are poised to settle an almost decade long border dispute
The UN has found evidence of drug factories capable of producing heroin, cocaine and ecstasy in Guinea

The Major Conflicts

Military Coup
When: 2008
Who: Captain Moussa Dadis Camara and military vs the government (just a few hours after President Lansana Conte died)
Why: Governmental Control
Outcome: Capt Camara became the leader of the new military junta

What to see?
Labé: Guinea's crossroads community for travel to Senegal and Guinea Bissau
La Dame du Mali: a rock face that resembles an elegant woman’s head

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Swimming
Hiking
Table Tennis

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Aboubacar “Titi” Camara: Was the stalwart of the Guinea national soccer team from early 1990s until early 2000s
Dianbobo “Bobo” Balde: A member of the Guinea national soccer team that made it to the last eight in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 Africa Cup of Nations

Quirks
Guinea has the wettest capital on earth, with 3.7 metres of rain a year