Guinean, adj., n.
/gin"ee/, n.
1. a coastal region in W Africa, extending from the Gambia River to the Gabon estuary.
2. Formerly, French Guinea. an independent republic in W Africa, on the Atlantic coast. 7,405,375; ab. 96,900 sq. mi. (251,000 sq. km). Cap.: Conakry.
3. Gulf of, a part of the Atlantic Ocean that projects into the W coast of Africa and extends from the Ivory Coast to Gabon.
4. (l.c.) a former money of account of the United Kingdom, equal to 21 shillings: still often used in quoting fees or prices.
5. (l.c.) a gold coin of Great Britain issued from 1663 to 1813, with a nominal value of 20 shillings.
6. Slang (disparaging and offensive). a person of Italian birth or descent.
7. (l.c.) Horse Racing. a person who does miscellaneous work in or around a horse stable.

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Introduction Guinea -
Background: Independent from France since 1958, Guinea did not hold democratic elections until 1993 when Gen. Lansana CONTE (head of the military government) was elected president of the civilian government. He was reelected in 1998. Unrest in Sierra Leone has spilled over into Guinea, threatening stability and creating a humanitarian emergency. Geography Guinea
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea- Bissau and Sierra Leone
Geographic coordinates: 11 00 N, 10 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: 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
Coastline: 320 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: generally hot and humid; monsoonal- type rainy season (June to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds
Terrain: 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
Land use: arable land: 3.6% permanent crops: 2.44% other: 93.96% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 950 sq km (1998 est.)
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 Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the Niger and its important tributary the Milo have their sources in the Guinean highlands People Guinea -
Population: 7,775,065 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.8% (male 1,660,795; female 1,669,850) 15-64 years: 54.5% (male 2,067,991; female 2,165,625) 65 years and over: 2.7% (male 86,968; female 123,836) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.23% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 39.49 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 17.24 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population note: as a result of civil war in neighboring countries, Guinea is host to approximately 150,000 Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/ female total population: 0.96 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 127.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 46.28 years female: 48.82 years (2002 est.) male: 43.81 years
Total fertility rate: 5.32 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 1.54% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 55,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 5,600 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Guinean(s) adjective: Guinean
Ethnic groups: Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou 20%, smaller ethnic groups 10%
Religions: Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%
Languages: French (official), each ethnic group has its own language
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 35.9% male: 49.9% female: 21.9% (1995 est.) Government Guinea -
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Guinea conventional short form: Guinea local short form: Guinee former: French Guinea local long form: Republique de Guinee
Government type: republic
Capital: Conakry 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
Independence: 2 October 1958 (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 2 October (1958)
Constitution: 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
Suffrage: 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 Lamine SIDIME (since 8 March 1999) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected president; election last held 14 December 1998 (next to be held NA December 2003); the prime minister is appointed by the president election results: Lansana CONTE reelected president; percent of vote - Lansana CONTE (PUP) 56.1%, Mamadou Boye BA (UNR-PRP) 24.6%, Alpha CONDE (RPG) 16.6%,
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) elections: last held 11 June 1995 (next election postponed indefinitely) election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PUP 71, RPG 19, PRP 9, UNR 9, UPG 2, PDG-AST 1, UNP 1, PDG-RDA 1, other 1
Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Guinea or PDG- AST [Marcel CROS]; Democratic Party of Guinea-African Democratic Rally or PDG-RDA [El Hadj Ismael Mohamed Gassim GUSHEIN]; National Union for Progress or UNP [Paul Louis FABER]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Party for Unity and Progress or PUP [Lansana CONTE] - the governing party; People's Party of Guinea or PPG [Pascal TOLNO]; Rally for the Guinean People or RPG [Alpha CONDE]; Union for Progress and Renewal or UPR; note - Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP and Union for the New Republic or UNR merged into UPR [Siradiou DIALLO]; Union for Progress of Guinea or UPG [Jean- Marie DORE, secretary-general]; Union for the New Republic or UNR [Mamadou Boye BA]; Union of Republican Forces or UFR [Sidya TOURE] Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS,
participation: FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MINURSO, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mohamed Aly THIAM FAX: [1] (202) 483-8688 telephone: [1] (202) 483-9420 chancery: 2112 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Barrie
US: WALKLEY embassy: Rue Ka 038, Conakry mailing address: B. P. 603, Conakry telephone: [224] 41 15 20, 41 15 21, 41 15 23 FAX: [224] 41 15 22
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of red (hoist side), yellow, and green; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia Economy Guinea
Economy - overview: Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains an underdeveloped nation. The country possesses over 30% of the world's bauxite reserves and is the second largest bauxite producer. The mining sector accounted for about 75% of exports in 1999. Long-run improvements in government fiscal arrangements, literacy, and the legal framework are needed if the country is to move out of poverty. The government made encouraging progress in budget management in 1997-99, and reform progress was praised in the World Bank/IMF October 2000 assessment. However, escalating fighting along the Sierra Leonean and Liberian borders has caused major economic disruptions. In addition to direct defense costs, the violence has led to a sharp decline in investor confidence. Foreign mining companies have reduced expatriate staff, while panic buying has created food shortages and inflation in local markets. Multilateral aid - including Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief - and single digit inflation should permit 5% growth in 2002.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $15 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,970 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 24% industry: 38% services: 38% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: 40% (1994 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 2.6%
percentage share: highest 10%: 32% (1994) Distribution of family income - Gini 40.3 (1994)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 3 million (1999) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 80%, industry and services 20% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: revenues: $395.7 million expenditures: $472.4 million, including capital expenditures of $NA million (2000 est.)
Industries: bauxite, gold, diamonds; alumina refining; light manufacturing and agricultural processing industries Industrial production growth rate: 3.2% (1994) Electricity - production: 770 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 46.1% hydro: 53.9% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 716.1 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: rice, coffee, pineapples, palm kernels, cassava (tapioca), bananas, sweet potatoes; cattle, sheep, goats; timber
Exports: $694.5 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
Exports - partners: Belgium, US, Ireland, Russia
Imports: $555.2 million (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, metals, machinery, transport equipment, textiles, grain and other foodstuffs
Imports - partners: France, US, Belgium, Cote d'Ivoire
Debt - external: $3.6 billion (1999 est.) Economic aid - recipient: $359.2 million (1998)
Currency: Guinean franc (GNF)
Currency code: GNF
Exchange rates: Guinean francs per US dollar - 1,974.4 (December 2001), 1,950.6 (2001), 1,746.9 (2000), 1,387.4 (1999), 1,236.8 (1998), 1,095.3 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Guinea - Telephones - main lines in use: 37,000 (1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 21,567 (1998)
Telephone system: general assessment: poor to fair system of open-wire lines, small radiotelephone communication stations, and new microwave radio relay system domestic: microwave radio relay and radiotelephone communication international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) Radio broadcast stations: AM 4 (one station is inactive), FM 1 (plus 7 repeaters), shortwave 3 (2001)
Radios: 357,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
Televisions: 85,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .gn Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 4 (2001)
Internet users: 8,000 (2000) Transportation Guinea -
Railways: total: 1,086 km standard gauge: 279 km 1.435-m gauge narrow gauge: 807 km 1.000-m gauge (includes 662 km in common carrier service from Kankan to Conakry) (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 30,500 km paved: 5,033 km unpaved: 25,467 km (1996)
Waterways: 1,295 km (navigable by shallow-draft native craft)
Ports and harbors: Boke, Conakry, Kamsar
Merchant marine: none (2002 est.)
Airports: 15 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 5 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 10 1,524 to 2,437 m: 6 914 to 1,523 m: 3 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Guinea -
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Republican Guard, Presidential Guard, paramilitary National Gendarmerie, National Police Force (Surete National) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,812,131 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 915,028 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $137.6 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 3.3% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Guinea - Disputes - international: major border incursions from Revolutionary United Front combatants from Sierra Leone, dissident Guinean forces, Liberian Army, and mercenaries between September 2000 and March 2001 killed over 1,500 Guinean civilians and military personnel; the borders remain mostly sealed

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officially Republic of Guinea formerly French Guinea

Country, western Africa.

Area: 94,926 sq mi (245,857 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 7,775,000 (including 700,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone). Capital: Conakry. The Fulani people are in the majority, followed by the Malinke, the Susu, and many other groups. Language: French (official). Religion: Islam. Currency: Guinean franc. Facing the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Guinea has four topographical regions. Lower Guinea comprises the coast and coastal plain, which are sandy and interspersed with lagoons and mangrove swamps. To the east the Fouta Djallon highlands rise sharply from the coastal plain to elevations above 3,000 ft (900 m); western Africa's three major rivers
the Niger, Sénégal, and Gambia
originate there. Upper Guinea comprises the Niger Plains. The Forest Region, an isolated forested highland in the southeast, rises to 5,748 ft (1,752 m) at Mount Nimba, the country's highest peak. Most of the country has a humid tropical climate; more than two-fifths is covered by tropical rainforest. Export crops include rice, bananas, and coffee. Guinea is the world's second largest producer of bauxite. Its developing, mixed economy is based on agriculture, mining, and trade. Guinea is a multiparty republic with one legislative house; the head of state and government is the president, assisted by the prime minister. In successive migrations с AD 900, the Susu swept down from the desert and pushed the original inhabitants, the Baga, to the Atlantic coast. Small kingdoms of the Susu rose in importance in the 13th century and later extended their rule to the coast. In the mid 15th century the Portuguese visited the coast and developed a slave trade. In the 16th century the Fulani established domination over the Fouta Djallon region; they ruled into the 19th century. In the early 19th century the French arrived and in 1849 proclaimed the coastal region a French protectorate. In 1895 French Guinea became part of the federation of French West Africa. In 1946 it was made an overseas territory of France, and in 1958 it achieved independence. Following a military coup in 1984, Guinea began implementing Westernized government systems. A new constitution was adopted in 1991, and the first multiparty elections were held in 1993. During the 1990s Guinea accommodated several hundred thousand war refugees from neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone. At the beginning of the 21st century, conflicts between these countries and Guinea continued to flare up over the refugee population.
(as used in expressions)
Republic of Guinea
Guinea Gulf of
Guinea Bissau
Republic of Guinea Bissau
Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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▪ 2009

245,836 sq km (94,918 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 9,572,000
Head of state and government:
Presidents Gen. Lansana Conté until December 22 and, from December 24, Moussa Dadis Camara, assisted by Prime Ministers Lansana Kouyaté and, from May 20, Ahmed Tidiane Souare

      The powerful National Confederation of Guinean Workers called for a general strike on Jan. 10, 2008, to protest the firing of Communications Minister Justin Morel Junior (a key aide to Prime Minister Lansana Kouyaté), who was removed from office by Pres. Lansana Conté. The move followed months of conjecture that Conté was acting to reassert control over the government. The indefinite postponement of the 2007 parliamentary elections, coupled with rising food prices, added to popular discontent. On May 20 Conté sacked Kouyaté, reneging on a deal that was struck in 2007 with the opposition. Riots erupted in the capital, with at least one death reported.

      After a weeklong army mutiny, in which protesting troops held Gen. Mamadou Sampil prisoner, the government announced on May 27 that it would pay salary arrears dating back to 1996. That same day newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Tidiane Souare promised that no punitive actions would be taken by the government against the mutineers and that all remaining soldiers imprisoned for participating in the 2007 mutiny would be freed. A presidential decree announced the firing of Defense Minister Gen. Mamadou Bailo Diallo. In mid-June soldiers of low rank were given mass promotions and about $1,000 in back pay. Later that day police demanding higher salaries, promotions, and a rice subsidy went on strike, seizing the police chief and other high officials. On June 17 the army clashed with the striking policemen; casualties were reported on both sides. Soldiers looted the police camp in Conakry, and all shops in the capital were closed.

      After what was described as a long illness, Lansana Conté (Conte, Lansana ) died on December 22. A military coup, led by Moussa Dadis Camara, quickly followed, prompting international condemnation. In a state radio broadcast, coup leaders vowed to hold presidential elections in 2010.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2008

245,836 sq km (94,918 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 9,370,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Ministers Eugène Camara from February 9 and, from March 1, Lansana Kouyaté

      On Jan. 10, 2007, unions called a strike, the third in 12 months, and demanded the resignation of Guinean Pres. Lansana Conté. During the following week, ten strikers were killed by security forces in various incidents. On January 22 thousands of demonstrators battled with police throughout the capital, leaving at least 50 dead and hundreds injured. Union leaders were briefly detained, but upon their release negotiations with the government were reopened. On January 26 Conté, who had ruled Guinea since a 1984 coup, agreed to yield some powers to the prime minister. Two days later celebrations erupted with the announcement that the strikers and the government had reached a pact, which included an assurance that the new prime minister would be a consensus candidate. The jubilation soon gave way to further violent protests when Conté nominated his close associate Eugène Camara for the office. Conté declared martial law on February 12, but his request to extend it beyond February 23 was voted down unanimously by the parliament. On February 26 unions suspended the general strike once again after Conté agreed to replace Camara with the more acceptable Lansana Kouyaté.

      A new crisis arose in late April when serious mutinies in the army erupted. On May 11 rioting soldiers moved through the capital's streets demanding higher pay, more promotions, and improved working conditions. The defense minister and the army chief were dismissed the next day, but Conté's nonappearance at scheduled negotiations with the military kept tensions high. The president promised to raise army pay, to supply new uniforms, and to increase sharply the numbers of promotions, but it was not clear how Guinea would fund this program because most foreign aid was designated for water purification and rural development.

      On August 10 the government announced the discovery of substantial uranium deposits. Many expected that Guinea would soon declare its intention to develop nuclear power plants.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2007

245,836 sq km (94,918 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 9,603,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted until April 5 by Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo

      On Feb. 27, 2006, after negotiations with the government broke down, the National Confederation of Guinean Workers and the Union Syndicate of Guinean Workers called a five-day general strike. Residents of the capital stayed at home, virtually shutting down Conakry. The government tacitly acknowledged the success of the walkout by closing all schools and universities for an indefinite period. The unions demanded relief from the inflation that had more than doubled the prices of most basic foodstuffs in the previous year. The government agreed to a 30% pay raise for government employees and promised to introduce a minimum wage. The unions threatened to call another strike on June 5 should the government fail to act.

      Opposition parties, unions, women's organizations, and youth groups gathered in March for an unprecedented national consultation. Delegates voted for the establishment of an interim national unity government until new elections could be held. While the conference was in progress, Pres. Lansana Conté was airlifted to Switzerland for emergency medical treatment. He returned on March 24 to be greeted by an organized public demonstration by government ministers and supporters. Questions about his health continued to dominate public life.

      On April 5 Conté dismissed his prime minister, Cellou Dalein Diallo, which observers interpreted as a power struggle between the two men. The president named a new cabinet on May 29, marked by the return of several former ministers. No new prime minister was announced, but Conté's closest aide and longtime associate, Fode Bangoura, was made minister of state for presidential affairs and was to oversee the Ministries of Defense and Economics. Conté's poor health obliged him to fly to Switzerland again for medical treatment in August. He returned later that month, on the 17th, but was thereafter rarely seen in public.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2006

245,836 sq km (94,918 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 9,402,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo

      Antoine Soromou, the longtime political ally of Alpha Condé, the leader of the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), was arrested for unspecified reasons on Jan. 6, 2005, following a meeting with Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo designed to reopen dialogue with the Guinean government. Soromou was released on bail on January 13. Dozens of people were arrested in Conakry after gunmen fired on a convoy carrying Pres. Lansana Conté on January 19. Among the many detained in the apparent coup attempt were Benn Pepito, editor of an opposition newspaper, and Yomba Korouma, the lawyer for Soromou. Though all of the initial detainees were released without charge within a few days, additional arrests were made later, and lawyers refused to attend court sessions in protest. Soromou had not been seen since the incident.

      Tensions ran high on May 15 when rumours of an army mutiny swept through Conakry after heavy gunfire broke out. The governor of the capital told reporters that the barrage erupted as a number of civilian and military prisoners escaped from the central jail.

      New protests against rocketing food prices hit the capital in June. The price of rice, the main staple, doubled in one month, partly owing to increased demand from much of drought- and locust-stricken West Africa. The cost of fuel also rose by more than 50%. Unions demanded an immediate quadrupling of their wages to cope with inflation.

      On July 3 Condé returned from his self-imposed exile in Paris to a huge welcome from his RPG supporters. Though the opposition remained splintered, it agreed that the ailing President Conté, in power for 21 years, should step down. On September 10 the opposition coalition called for his resignation and the installation of a government of national unity. In the December 18 municipal elections, the ruling Party for Unity and Progress scored a landslide victory amid allegations of fraud.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2005

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 8,620,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Ministers Lamine Sidimé, François Lonseny Fall from February 23 to April 30, and, from December 9, Cellou Dalein Diallo

      In spring 2004, four months after Lansana Conté's virtually unopposed victory in the Dec. 21, 2003, presidential elections, the government of Guinea stopped former prime minister Sidya Touré and his associate Mamadou Ba from leaving the country. As leader of the opposition Union of Republican Forces in Guinea (UFR), Touré accused Conté of instigating a new campaign against his party. Several UFR members had already been taken into custody, accused of plotting a coup. Touré himself was arrested on April 26 on the same charge. François Lonseny Fall, who had been appointed prime minister in February, resigned on April 30. He cited as his reason presidential interference in his attempts to rescue the battered economy. On July 22 the Court of Appeal cleared Touré and the other members of his party of all charges.

      Five years after Guinea was thought to have become completely free of polio, health experts voiced concerns over the possibility of a new epidemic. There were fears that the yearlong outbreak of the crippling disease in northern Nigeria could be spreading throughout West Africa. On August 26 the World Bank approved a $30 million credit to assist Guinea in the rebuilding and maintenance of its rural road network. During the summer, riots broke out in Conakry over sharp increases in the price of the staple food, rice. Although the government responded by fixing the price at 40,000 Guinean francs per bag ($1 =   about 2,000 Guinean francs), subsequent shortages saw black-market prices rise to 100,000 Guinean francs, which was more than the average monthly wage of most Guineans. University students and laid-off railway workers demonstrated in Kankan and Conakry, respectively, in September.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2004

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 8,480,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Lamine Sidimé

      A series of protests in both the capital and rural areas led to numerous confrontations with security forces in 2003. In Conakry hundreds of young people took to the streets on January 31 to demonstrate against water shortages and daily power outages. Electricity cuts resulted in blackouts in most of the city from 7 AM until midnight. Only the areas containing government buildings and official residences were getting power 24 hours a day. The government blamed the low rainfall in 2002 for the problem, but many Guineans attributed it to poor management and the failure to complete a merger with a French power company. The police killed a student on March 13 during violent protests against fuel price increases. On June 10 in the Koya district, 50 km (30 mi) from the capital, police killed a local man suspected of drug dealing. In the demonstrations that followed, furious residents set fire to the police station and the prefect's house, and security forces killed a protester.

      On June 8 Alpha Condé, leader of the opposition Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), accompanied by several politicians from other West African nations, flew into Conakry to attend a conference on the role of political parties in a democracy. Although the foreign dignitaries had visas, immigration officials refused to let them enter the country. When the police attempted to disperse the large crowd of waiting RPG supporters, riots broke out. Forty RPG members were arrested. The government defended its actions on the grounds that the conference was unauthorized and that the presence of Condé's guests would lead to public unrest. On July 25 six opposition parties declined a government offer to attend talks on the conduct of the upcoming presidential election, and they demanded that an independent electoral commission be established and privately owned radio and TV stations be allowed to operate in the country. By the end of September, however, talks were set to resume. Pres. Lansana Conté, despite increasingly bad health, announced that he would stand for reelection. He had ruled the country since the 1984 coup.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2003

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 7,775,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Lamine Sidimé

      Tensions along Guinea's borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2002 prompted the three nations to seek a common solution to the general insecurity in the area. On March 7, cabinet ministers from the three governments agreed to revive the Mano River Union, a long-moribund economic group, and create a joint security commission under its umbrella. The body proposed, on April 1, that each country expel armed dissident groups from its territories and that joint border patrols be formed to prevent the smuggling of weapons. Despite efforts to end border skirmishes, the Liberian government continued to accuse Guinea of supporting the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy by allowing the group to operate from within its borders. Guinea alleged that in September Liberian troops had crossed its frontier to carry out two raids. ECOWAS, the economic community of 16 West African states, met in emergency session in Nigeria on September 16 to try to defuse the situations. In August the UN estimated that 90,000 Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees remained in camps in Guinea, with another 60,000 Liberians scattered throughout the country.

      After two years of postponements, parliamentary elections were finally held on June 30. Turnout was low, partly a result of calls for a boycott by the main opposition parties. Pres. Lansana Conté's Party for Unity and Progress took 85 of the 114 seats. Indicating its general dissatisfaction with the electoral procedures, the European Union refused to send observers and rejected government requests to help finance the election.

      Illegal fishing remained a problem in West Africa. European trawlers were able to breach the 1995 UN Food and Agricultural Organization fishing agreement with impunity, as there were few surveillance airplanes available to spot them. On April 10 the FAO announced a new program to combat illegal fishing off the shores of Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. The European Commission planned to grant Guinea €221 million (about $216 million) to facilitate a new five-year program to upgrade roads, promote rural-development projects, and finance a part of the country's budget deficit.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2002

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 7,614,000
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Lamine Sidimé

      The conflicts in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, which had spilled over into Guinea at the end of 2000, led to a refugee problem in Guinea in 2001. In February the governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone agreed to cooperate with the UN in establishing safe corridors for any refugees who wished to return home. The various upheavals also led to the displacement of about 70,000 Guineans. Pres. Gen. Lansana Conté appealed for increased international aid to all the victims of the conflicts. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees twice suspended all deliveries of food as a result of the fighting. By May 27 the UN had nevertheless managed to complete the evacuation of 57,000 refugees from the Guinean border villages around an area in the southeast known as Parrot's Beak before closing down its operations there. Under pressure from other West African countries, defense and security ministers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone met on September 26–28 in Monrovia, Liberia, to attempt to resolve the problems.

      Political tensions mounted as President Conté's ruling party launched efforts to alter the constitution to enable a president to serve more than two terms. In late July members of three opposition parties flew to Paris in search of French support to discourage Conté's bid for a third term. Longtime opposition leader Alpha Conde, who had been arrested in December 1998 and found guilty of capital crimes at his trial in September 2000, was released from prison on May 18. He took up his seat in the parliament on September 25.

      The economy experienced little growth during the year, largely because of the border conflicts. On May 7 the International Monetary Fund underwrote a three-year, $82 million aid package designed to finance antipoverty measures and accelerate economic development; on July 24 and 26 the World Bank approved $120 million in credits for education reforms and the alleviation of poverty; and on September 27 the African Development Fund announced that it would loan Guinea nearly $16 million for a new structural-adjustment program.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2001

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 7,466,000 (including nearly 600,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone)
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Lamine Sidimé

      In Guinea the year 2000 opened inauspiciously when within the first few days of the new year, Muslim and Christian villagers belonging to different factions of the Tora people clashed over disputed farmland in Korneseredou, western Balizia. At least 30 people were killed, and scores of houses were burned in the fighting.

      On January 18 Pres. Lansana Conté ordered the retirement of powerful police chief Fode Moussa Sylla after 32 years on the force, and eight days later Conté sacked five cabinet ministers. Pressure from the International Monetary Fund to trim the nation's wage bill was thought to have been the motivation behind the government's decision to announce the retirement of 900 civil servants.

      Tensions between Guinea and Liberia escalated throughout the year. Armed dissidents based in Guinea, whom Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor believed were backed by Conté, attacked a town in northern Liberia in July, the third such incident in less than a year. In the first week of September, Liberian troops crossed into Guinea and killed more than 40 people in the town of Musadu. An attack on the Guinean village of Macenta on the night of September 17 resulted in 51 more deaths, including that of a Togolese employee for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Another UN aid worker was kidnapped in the raid but was rescued after several days. The Organization of African Unity called for negotiations between the two countries and dispatched special envoy Kingsley Mamabolo to evaluate the

      After several postponements, the trial began in April of Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) opposition leader Alpha Condé. He had been arrested on Dec. 15, 1998, one day after losing the presidential elections to Conté. He was found guilty, along with seven co-defendants, of having attacked the state's authority and territorial integrity and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2000

245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 7,539,000 (including nearly 500,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone)
Head of state and government:
President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Ministers Sidya Touré and, from March 8, Lamine Sidimé

      Throughout 1999 pressure grew on Guinean Pres. Lansana Conté to free opposition leader Alpha Condé and four other politicians. Condé had been arrested on Dec. 15, 1998, the day after Conté won his second term as president. He was charged with attempting to cross into Côte d'Ivoire illegally. The National Assembly and human rights organizations repeatedly demanded the release of the five political detainees, and on the first day of a state visit in July, French Pres. Jacques Chirac urged the government to give the opposition leader a quick and fair trial.

      Conté named Lamine Sidimé the new prime minister. Sidimé, who had served as president of the Supreme Court since 1992, announced his 24-member Cabinet on March 12. All the ministers were members of the ruling Party for Unity and Progress.

      Tensions escalated between Guinea and its neighbours. In March Guinean air and ground troops attacked Sierra Leone rebel forces in control of large sections of the western Kambia district. The rebels retaliated in force on May 18 with two raids on border villages in Guinea. Guinea launched a counterattack into Sierra Leone on June 9. Liberian Pres. Charles Taylor accused Guinea of trying to destabilize his government by harbouring Liberian rebels and supplying them with arms, but Guinea denied any involvement in that country's ongoing civil war. At a summit meeting in Nigeria, leaders of other West African nations brokered an agreement between Liberia and Guinea that resulted in the signing of a nonaggression pact by Conté and Taylor on September 17. About half a million refugees from the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone had fled to Guinea.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 1999

      Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 7,477,000 (including about 500,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone)

      Capital: Conakry

      Head of state and government: President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Sidya Touré

      Throughout 1998 tens of thousands of refugees from the fighting in neighbouring Sierra Leone poured over the borders into UN refugee camps in Guinea. In June, citing security concerns about border fighting, Pres. Lansana Conté ordered a halt in aid deliveries to the camps. In response to an appeal from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he lifted the ban, but the onset of the rainy season seriously hindered access to the camps.

      In addition to its participation in the West African peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone, Guinea sent troops and military equipment in June to aid the embattled Guinea-Bissau president, João Bernardo Vieira. The conflict in the former Portuguese colony added to the refugee problem as at least 1,500 civilians from that country crossed Guinea's northern border in June.

      Repercussions from the February 1996 army mutiny continued to be felt as six senior military officers were arrested on February 13, accused of complicity in the uprising. On the same day, a military tribunal began the trial of 96 people charged with having fomented the mutiny. After a seven-month trial the court on September 25 found 45 defendants guilty, sentencing them to prison terms of up to 15 years.

      Elections on December 14 returned President Conté to office with a comfortable 56% of the vote. At year's end the government was investigating alleged antigovernment activities of opposition leader Alpha Condé of the Guinean People's Rally, who had returned from exile to contest the election.

      Signaling its satisfaction with Guinea's economic reforms, the International Monetary Fund approved a two-year, $31 million structural adjustment loan on April 3. An increasing number of private foreign investors were undertaking capital projects in the country, primarily in the mining sector.


▪ 1998

      Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 7,405,000 (including nearly 700,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone)

      Capital: Conakry

      Head of state and government: President Gen. Lansana Conté, assisted by Prime Minister Sidya Touré

      During 1997 the government of Prime Minister Sidya Touré sought to broaden its role in inter-African affairs. In January Foreign Minister Lamine Camara met with top UN officials and expressed Guinea's willingness to mediate in the ongoing conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. Both countries immediately accepted the offer. Following the May 25 military coup in Sierra Leone that overthrew the elected government of Pres. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Guinea's Pres. Lansana Conté announced that 1,500 soldiers would be sent to join the Nigerian-led West African ECOMOG force seeking to restore civilian rule. In August Sierra Leonean and Liberian citizens living in Guinea claimed that the presence of the exiled Kabbah in Conakry had caused the government to arrest large numbers of them for supposedly backing the rebel government in Sierra Leone.

      Repercussions from Guinea's 1996 army mutiny continued to be felt. Seventy-five Liberians who had been imprisoned for months on charges of helping Guinean rebels were freed in April, but many mutineers remained in jail awaiting trial. On June 23 a special State Security Court was created to deal with them. Opposition parties attacked the court as being unconstitutional. In August the manager and the editor in chief of L'Oeil, a weekly newspaper in opposition to the government, were arrested and charged with libel and the publication of false information.

      Despite a plunge in world gold prices, the Ghanaian-based Ashanti Goldfields Co. Ltd. continued its preparations for opening a new mine at Siguiri, in northeastern Guinea. The mine was expected to produce 4,252 kg (9,375 lb) annually when it reached full production.

      This article updates Guinea, history of (Guinea).

▪ 1997

      The republic of Guinea is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 6,903,000 (excluding more than 400,000 refugees from Liberia). Cap.: Conakry. Monetary unit: Guinean franc, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of GF 997 to U.S. $1 (GF 1,571 = £ 1 sterling). President in 1996, Gen. Lansana Conté; prime minister from July 9, Sidya Touré.

      On Feb. 2, 1996, some 2,000 soldiers, incensed by refusals to grant pay increases to the army, were involved in a mutiny that quickly escalated into an attempt to overthrow the government. The rebels closed the airport and headed into Conakry. They launched an artillery attack on the presidential palace, looted the city centre, and took Defense Minister Abdourahmane Diallo hostage. Pres. Lansana Conté, from his underground refuge, promised to reconsider the salary increases. The siege ended on February 4 after loyal troops from the provinces moved into the capital and defeated the rebels. At least 50 people died, and more than 300 were injured during the two days. Arrests of some 50 officers, including many senior commanders, swiftly followed. In late March new protests erupted following the sentencing of eight officers convicted of having led the revolt. The arrest of another 15 officers in June contributed to mounting tension; many of those originally seized in February were released in August.

      On July 9 President Conté appointed economist Sidya Touré his first prime minister. Several ministers thought to have been close to the president were ousted in a major Cabinet reshuffle. Touré announced that his top priority would be to restart the country's economy, which was still mired in recession. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This article updates Guinea, history of (Guinea).

▪ 1996

      The republic of Guinea is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 6.7 million (excluding 500,000-600,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone). Cap.: Conakry. Monetary unit: Guinean franc, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of GF 992.70 to U.S. $1 (GF 1,569 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Gen. Lansana Conté.

      Preparations for the often-postponed legislative elections dominated 1995. The Democratic Party of Guinea-African Democratic Rally, which finished last in the 1993 elections, suffered a further setback when a breakaway faction formed the Democratic Party of Guinea-Ahmed Sékou Touré (PDG-AST) in January. Subsequently, the opposition parties regrouped. Most important, three opposition parties formed an alliance in April with the Rally of the Guinean People, led by Alpha Condé. That same month, after the government published its new electoral code banning Guineans living abroad from voting, various opposition groups organized demonstrations and threatened to boycott the elections. In May the opposition National Democratic Union of Guinea agreed to cooperate with the PDG-AST. Each of the opposition coalitions agreed to present one candidate list for each district. Despite these maneuvers, however, Pres. Lansana Conté's Party for Unity and Progress (PUP) won 71 of the 114 seats on June 11, and 5 additional seats were taken by other parties allied with the PUP.

      On July 6, opposition parties formed the Coordination of the Democratic Opposition (CODEM) and, charging the government with widespread vote fraud, announced that they would not take their 37 seats. Conté refused to negotiate with CODEM, insisting that such matters were the concern of the legislature and the judiciary. In September CODEM ended its boycott, and the opposition deputies took their seats.

      Real gross domestic product was expected to grow by 4.9% in 1995, although the inflation rate was likely to be higher than the government's target of 4%. In recognition of Guinea's improved economic performance, the Paris Club canceled $85 million of the nation's external debt and rescheduled repayments of another $85 million.


      This updates the article Guinea, history of (Guinea).

▪ 1995

      The republic of Guinea is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 6,501,000 (excluding 500,000-600,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone). Cap.: Conakry. Monetary unit: Guinean franc, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of GF 979 to U.S. $1 (GF 1,557 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Gen. Lansana Conté.

      Despite opposition charges of vote fraud, the Supreme Court of Guinea confirmed on Jan. 4, 1994, the election in December 1993 of Lansana Conté as the country's president. Violence continued, however, as supporters of defeated opposition candidate Alpha Condé repeatedly clashed with pro-government backers. Dozens of people reportedly died in riots on January 6 in Macenta, near the Liberian border.

      On April 24 the main opposition group, the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), gathered in Paris to plan a strategy for December's scheduled legislative elections. Chairman Condé called on the party to cooperate with the newly appointed independent electoral commission, which was to supervise the polls.

      Eight high-ranking military officers, including the air force deputy chief of staff, were arrested on June 10 and accused of plotting to overthrow Conté. On June 16 the government released them, stating that there had been no intended coup and that the charges were without foundation. There was, however, more unrest. In August security forces broke up mass demonstrations by RPG supporters in Conakry. President Conté reshuffled his Cabinet on August 23, removing all opposition ministers who had remained in it.


      This updates the article Guinea, history of (Guinea).

▪ 1994

      The republic of Guinea is located in West Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean. Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 7,418,000 (excluding more than 600,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone). Cap.: Conakry. Monetary unit: Guinean franc, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of GF 806.39 to U.S. $1 (GF 1,222 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Gen. Lansana Conté.

      Pro-democracy demonstrations continued in Guinea through much of 1993. After three people died and scores were injured in protests in Conakry and Dinguiraye in late May, fears that senior military officers would try to intervene in the democratization process swept the country. In apparent response, a group of officers published an open letter backing the transition process and expressing anger at the neglect shown families of soldiers killed and wounded in Liberia. On July 4 thousands rallied across the nation to demand that Pres. Lansana Conté open a dialogue on democracy and appoint a national electoral commission. Votes in the December 5 elections were cast for parties along regional/ethnic lines and amid some violence. Conté of the Unity and Progress Party took 50.9% of the votes over Alpha Condé of the Rally of the People of the Left (RPG) with 20.8% and Mamadou Ba of the Union for a New Republic (UNR) with 13.1%.

      The economy remained weak, despite nine years of structural adjustment and economic reform. Although the gross domestic product was growing at 4.5% and cuts were made in both the inflation rate and budget deficit, the Guinean franc continued to lose ground against the dollar and the French franc. Unemployment continued to rise following privatization of many state enterprises and large reductions in the size of the civil service. (NANCY ELLEN LAWLER)

      This updates the article Guinea, history of (Guinea).

* * *

officially  Republic of Guinea , French  République de Guinée , formerly (1979–84)  People's Revolutionary Republic of Guinea 
Guinea, flag of country of western Africa. It is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali to the north and east; by Côte d'Ivoire to the southeast; by Liberia and Sierra Leone to the south; and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It supports a largely rural population. The national capital of Conakry is the country's main port.

The land


      There are four geographic regions: Lower Guinea, the Fouta Djallon, Upper Guinea, and the Forest Region. Lower Guinea includes the coast and coastal plain. The coast has undergone recent marine submergence and is marked by rias, or drowned river valleys, that form inlets and tidal estuaries. Numerous offshore islands are remnants of former hills.

      Immediately inland the gently rolling coastal plain rises to the east, being broken by rocky spurs of the Fouta Djallon highlands in the north at Cape Verga and in the south at the Kaloum Peninsula. Between 30 and 50 miles (48 and 80 km) wide, the plain is wider in the south than the north. Its base rocks of granite and gneiss (coarse-grained rock containing bands of minerals) are covered with laterite (red soil with a high content of iron oxides and aluminum hydroxide) and sandstone gravel.

      The Fouta Djallon highlands rise sharply from the coastal plain in a series of abrupt faults. More than 5,000 square miles (13,000 square km) of the highlands' total extent of 30,000 square miles (78,000 square km) lie above 3,000 feet (900 metres). Basically an enormous sandstone block, the Fouta Djallon consists of level plateaus broken by deeply incised valleys and dotted with sills and dikes, or exposed structures of ancient volcanism resulting in resistant landforms of igneous rock, such as the Kakoulima Massif, which attains 3,273 feet (998 metres) northeast of Conakry. The highest point in the highlands, Mount Loura (Tamgué), rises to 5,046 feet (1,538 metres) near the town of Mali in the north.

      Upper Guinea is composed of the Niger Plains, which slope northeastward toward the Sahara. The flat relief is broken by rounded granite hills and outliers of the Fouta Djallon. Composed of granite, gneiss, schist (crystalline rock), and quartzite, the region has an average elevation of about 1,000 feet (305 metres).

      The Forest Region, or Guinea Highlands, is a historically isolated area of hills in the country's southeastern corner. Mount Nimba (5,748 feet [1,752 metres]), the highest mountain in the region, is located at the borders of Guinea, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. The rocks of this region are of the same composition as those of Upper Guinea.

Drainage and soils
      The Fouta Djallon is the source of western Africa's three major rivers. The Niger River and several tributaries, including the Tinkisso, Milo, and Sankarani, rise in the highlands and flow in a general northeasterly direction across Upper Guinea to Mali. The Bafing (Bafing River) and Bakoye Rivers, headwaters of the Sénégal River, flow northward into Mali before uniting to form the main river. The Gambia River flows northwestward before crossing Senegal and The Gambia.

      The Fouta Djallon also gives rise to numerous smaller rivers, such as the Fatala, Konkouré, and Kolenté, which flow westward across the coastal plain to enter the Atlantic. The Forest Region generally drains to the southwest through Sierra Leone and Liberia. The St. Paul River enters the Atlantic at Monrovia, Liberia, and the Moa River has its mouth at Sulima, Sierra Leone.

      The most common soils are laterites formed of iron and hydrated aluminum oxides and other materials that often concretize into hard iron-rich conglomerates. In the northeast, sandy brown soils predominate, while along the coast black, heavy clay soils accumulate in the backwaters. There are alluvial soils along the major rivers. Soil conservation is extremely important because most soils are thin, and the heavy rainfall causes much erosion.

      The climate of Guinea is tropical with two alternating seasons—a dry season (November through March) and a wet season (April through October). The arrival of the migratory intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) in June brings the heaviest rainfall of the wet season. As the ITCZ shifts southward in November, the hot, dry wind known as the harmattan blows from the northeast off the Sahara.

      On the coast a period of six months of dry weather is followed by six months of rain. The average rainfall at Conakry is 170 inches (4,300 mm) a year, and the average annual temperature is about 81 °F (27 °C). In the Fouta Djallon, January afternoon temperatures range between 86 and 95 °F (30 and 35 °C), while evening temperatures dip to 50 °F (10 °C). Rainfall varies between 63 and 91 inches (1,600 and 2,300 mm) annually, and the average annual temperature is about 77 °F (25 °C).

      In Upper Guinea rainfall drops to about 59 inches (1,500 mm) a year. During the dry season temperatures of more than 104 °F (40 °C) are common in the northeast. In the Forest Region at Macenta, there may be 106 inches (2,700 mm) of rain annually. Only the months of December, January, and February are relatively dry, each having less than one inch of precipitation. At low altitudes, temperatures resemble those of the coastal areas.

Plant and animal life
      The coast is fringed with mangrove trees, and the coastal plain supports stands of oil palms. The Fouta Djallon is mostly open, with trees growing along the wider stream valleys. In Upper Guinea, the savanna grassland comprises several species of tall grasses that reach heights of 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 metres) during the rainy season. Deciduous trees grow in scattered clumps, but few have commercial value; baobabs and shea trees furnish fruit and oil. The Forest Region contains several extensive patches of rainforest, with teak, mahogany, and ebony trees; agriculture, however, has diminished the forests and resulted in a shift largely toward open savanna.

      Guinea is not rich in African big game. Baboons and hyenas are common, while an occasional wild boar, several types of antelope, and a rare leopard may be sighted. A few hippopotamuses and manatees inhabit the rivers of both Lower and Upper Guinea. Poisonous snakes include mambas, vipers, and cobras, along with pythons and a variety of harmless snakes. Crocodiles and several varieties of fish are found in most rivers.

Settlement patterns
      Until recent urbanization and movement toward regional towns, the Fulani (Fulbe, Fula, or Peul) of the Fouta Djallon tended to live in small hillside hamlets of 75 to 95 persons each, with the lower classes occupying the valleys. In the heart of the highlands the countryside was thickly settled with hamlets every few miles, while in the east the land was less settled. In Lower Guinea, villages were grouped together at the bases of hills, in the open plain, or in a valley floor. Village solidarity was more marked in this area than in the highlands, and each village contained between 100 and 200 people.

      The majority of the Malinke (Mandingo) people of Upper Guinea lived in moderately large villages of about 1,000 inhabitants located near permanent water sources, the adjacent soils of which were used for cultivation. The villages were tightly grouped; there were empty brush areas in which farming was unprofitable.

      In the Forest Region the effects of human occupation, especially in the southwest, have become apparent only since the mid-20th century. Among the Kisi people on the Sierra Leone and Liberian borders, rice was grown on most hillsides and in every low-lying and swampy area. Villages tended to be small and rarely contained more than 150 people; they were often tucked inside groves of kola, mango, and coffee trees. Farther east among the Loma and Kpelle people, fire-cleared land was used to plant vegetables and rice. Larger villages were usually located on remote hillside terraces that are often surrounded by secondary forest growth.

      Guinea's main urban centre is Conakry. The old city, located on Tumbo Island, retains the segregated aspect of a colonial town, while the Camayenne (Kaloum) Peninsula community, which has grown up since the 1950s, has a few buildings of the colonial period. From the tip of the peninsula, an industrial zone has a growing salaried population that is truly urbanized.

      The second largest town, Kankan, in Upper Guinea, is a commercial, educational, administrative, and Muslim religious centre of some importance. Labé, located well into the Fouta Djallon, serves as a market town and an administrative and educational centre. Nzérékoré, in the Forest Region, serves the same functions as Labé. Other important towns are the trading centres of Kindia and Mamou and the industrial settlements of Boké, Fria, and Kamsar.

The people (Guinea)

Ethnic and linguistic composition
      The four major geographic regions largely correspond to the areas inhabited by the major linguistic groups. In Lower Guinea the major language of Susu has gradually replaced many of the other indigenous languages and is a lingua franca for most of the coastal population. In the Fouta Djallon the major language is Pulaar (a dialect of Fula, the language of the Fulani), while in Upper Guinea the Malinke (Maninkakan) language is the most widespread. The Forest Region contains the linguistic areas, from east to west, of Kpelle (Guerzé), Loma (Toma), and Kisi.

      Besides the diplomatic community and a growing number of expatriate teachers and technical advisers, the number of non-Guinean residents has increased considerably since the mid-1980s. This community includes Lebanese and Syrian traders and a growing number of French engaged in agriculture, business, and technical occupations.

      More than eight-tenths of the population is Muslim, and a small but influential percentage is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic. A minority of Guineans continue to follow local traditional religious practices.

Demographic trends
      Life expectancy has consistently improved since independence, and by the early 21st century the average life expectancy was 49 years for men and 50 years for women. The population of Guinea is young, with more than two-fifths of the people under age 15.

      Immigration increased slightly after 1984, and beginning in the 1990s Guinea experienced an influx of refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia, which were marred by civil unrest; by 2002 Guinea was home to some 150,000 refugees. Emigration, which was high in the 1970s and early 1980s—especially from the Fouta Djallon and Upper Guinea—decreased in the 1980s. At its peak this out-migration consisted of one-sixth of the working-age male population, leaving an imbalance of aged, children, and women. Emigration was directed toward the neighbouring countries, with a small percentage going to Europe or North America.

      The heaviest regional population concentration is in the Fouta Djallon. Conakry, the Camayenne Peninsula, and, to a lesser extent, the industrial enclaves of Boké, Fria, and Kamsar suffer from rapid population growth caused primarily by continuing migration from the rural areas to the urban centres. Except for the Fouta Djallon, population poses no serious immediate threat to development because there is no pressure on the land and no landholding class.

The economy
      Agriculture and other rural activities account for 80 percent of the country's employment, with less than 10 percent in industrial employment (including mining). The rest of the wage and salary earners are in the service and governmental sectors. In general, salaries are low, and the need for extra-salary means in order to eke out a livelihood remains the norm.

      The shortage of trained personnel is serious, and finances suffer from misappropriation and tax evasion. Many of the processing industries have been held back by inadequate supplies of raw materials. Internal production is not sufficiently high, in agriculture particularly, and the shortage of investment capital is persistent.

      Guinea has from one-third to one-half of the world's known reserves of bauxite, plus significant reserves of high-grade iron ore at Mount Nimba and the Simandou Mountains. Alluvial gold is taken from the Niger and its tributaries, and diamond production is substantial and largely of gem-quality stones. The southeastern rain forest has some valuable species of tropical hardwoods, and both river and ocean fisheries yield large catches of food fish. Hydroelectric potential is considerable because of the high rainfall and deep gorges of the Fouta Djallon but has been only partially developed, largely to meet the demands of the alumina sector.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      Guinea is an agricultural nation. The high plateaus of the Fouta Djallon are little more than part-time pastures, with hillsides given over to the growing of peanuts (groundnuts) and fonio (a sorghumlike grain). Along the streams and rivers, rice, bananas, tomatoes, strawberries, and citrus fruits are grown commercially. Most families have truck gardens, and tsetse-resistant Ndama cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, chickens, and Muscovy ducks are raised.

      In Lower Guinea, oil and coconut palms, rice, bananas, vegetables, salt, and fish are important elements of trade. A number of large-scale plantations produce a good quantity of bananas and pineapples. Except for poultry and a few goats, there are relatively few domestic animals. In Upper Guinea, grains and cassava (manioc) are important food crops; vegetables, tobacco, and karite (shea butter) are traded locally; and domestic animals are common.

      In the Forest Region, rice is the chief food crop, along with cassava, peanuts, and corn (maize). Gardens of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tobacco are scattered in the shade of fruit trees, and coffee trees, kola nuts, and oil palms are important cash crops. Goats and fowl are the most common domestic animals.

      Experiments conducted in the early 1970s with large-scale cooperative agricultural production were unsuccessful. Relatively low government farm prices and the high cost and scarcity of consumer goods caused many producers to return to subsistence agriculture or to resort to smuggling. The production of coffee, formerly the major cash crop, declined. Food imports of staples such as rice, once exported, remain necessary. The production of other cash crops, such as palm kernels, peanuts, pineapples, bananas, and citrus fruit, has improved only marginally since 1984, though considerable potential for expansion exists.

      Commercial fishing continues to grow with the introduction of U.S., French, Japanese, and other internationally financed and operated fishing ventures. Individual small-scale riverine and marine fishing, producing fresh, dried, and smoked fish for local markets, remains important.

      Forestry is hampered by the lack of adequate transportation. Mixed government and private-investment sawmills and plywood plants function below capacity because of insufficient supplies of timber, transportation difficulties, and inadequate capital and managerial input.

      Guinea depends heavily upon mineral exports to maintain a favourable trade balance. The bauxite deposits at Fria, Kindia, and Sangaredi in the Boké region are exploited by international consortia in which the Guinea government holds major shares. Similarly mixed foreign and domestic plants produce the bauxite and alumina that provide nine-tenths of Guinea's export earnings.

      The iron-ore deposits of Mount Nimba are exploited under a shipping agreement with the government of Liberia. Mining of gem-quality diamonds has increased greatly since 1984, and gold production has risen substantially as well.

      Food-processing plants run at less than full capacity because agricultural production is insufficient and capital and managerial input are inadequate. Most industry consists of the manufacturing of light consumer goods and the primary processing of agricultural products. Heavy industry and manufacturing is not part of the economic planning for Guinea.

      Since 1984 the government of Guinea has pursued a slow process of economic reform aimed at reestablishing a free-market system. In 1986 Guinea began a process to link its currency with the French franc again after having maintained a nonconvertible currency since 1960. The government has also actively sought closer economic ties with France and other Western nations.

      In mid-1985 a new banking law was passed allowing the establishment of new commercial banks to replace the publicly owned institutions (with the exception of an Islāmic bank established in 1983) that had existed under the Touré government. In December 1985 three new banks involving French participation began operation. They are the Banque Internationale pour l'Afrique en Guinée (BIAG), the Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie de la Guinée (BICI-GUI), and the Société Générale de Banques en Guinée (SGBG). The central bank is the Banque Centrale de la République de Guinée.

      The Guinean investment code follows fairly classical lines, offering a variety of inducements to domestic and international investors in productive sectors. Benefits include waivers of import duties on capital equipment and deductions of various peripheral tax liabilities such as statutory employers' contributions. Compared with many other African nations, the extent of these investor benefits is modest.

      Government revenue is derived chiefly from mining concessions, import and export duties, excise taxes, a petroleum-products tax, and taxes on commercial transactions and production. There are also various other surtaxes, stamp duties, and registration fees. Business and other licenses and personal-property, building, dwelling, and vehicle taxes are handled by the prefecture administrations. Taxes on salaries and wages contribute little revenue because few people are salaried and because many wage earners work within the government.

      Trade figures are limited and sketchy. During the Touré regime smuggling of both imports and exports brought on by an unrealistic exchange rate and poor returns to agricultural producers selling in the domestic market made accurate trade figures impossible. Estimates prepared by the World Bank show that, while Guinea recorded a substantial surplus on visible trade in the 1980s, its export base was narrow and largely dependent on the mining industry for international trade earnings. Exports of gold and diamonds, in particular, have shown substantial growth since 1984.

      Among the principal markets for Guinean bauxite and alumina are France and the United States, while France is the largest supplier of imports. A growing balance of payments deficit has characterized the economy in spite of merchandise surpluses in the 1980s. With virtually no private capital inflow, the government has been forced to simply fall behind in debt service payments and make stringent cutbacks in both investments and the yearly operating budget.

      Guinea's transportation system is largely based upon the road and railway from Conakry to Kankan. This forked axis is intersected at Mamou by a road north to Senegal. East of Kouroussa the road branches northeastward through Siguiri to Bamako, Mali. The main road continues northeast of the railhead at Kankan to Sikasso, Mali. The regional centres, like pods strung out on a vine, lie along thin lines of communication that, in turn, radiate feeder routes.

      The railroad from Conakry to Kankan is a single-track metric line. Two other railways serve the bauxite mining areas, including a line linking Conakry to the Fria bauxite mines. The Boké Railway runs between Kamsar and Sangaredi.

      The port facilities of Conakry are extensive. There is a channel 26 to 66 feet deep and dock space with modern loading equipment. The Sangaredi bauxite mine company maintains its own ore-exporting port at Kamsar. Coastal shipping, however, is limited.

      The Gbessia international airport at Conakry serves jets of all sizes. Air Guinée operates a somewhat irregular schedule of weekly domestic flights to the hard-surfaced airports at Kankan, Labé, and Faranah and maintains occasional service to Bamako, Mali; Dakar, Senegal; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Monrovia, Liberia; and several small, unsurfaced domestic landing strips.

Administration and social conditions

      For more than 25 years under President Sékou Touré, Guinea was a one-party state ruled by the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG). In April 1984, after Touré's death, a military group abolished the PDG and all associated revolutionary committees and replaced them with the Military Committee for National Recovery (CMRN). A new constitution in 1991 began a transition to civilian rule. Political parties were legalized in 1992, and Guinea's first multiparty elections were held in 1993. The constitution provides for a civilian president and a unicameral legislature, both elected by universal suffrage.

      The government has put a major emphasis on improving the provision of education. In the early 1980s only about one-quarter of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school. Educational facilities at all levels had shown a marked decline in the last decade of the Touré government. Despite improvements, perhaps three-quarters of the population is illiterate in French, and the overall adult literacy rate is below average for western Africa.

      Primary education is compulsory for six years beginning at age seven. Secondary education is also offered as a six-year program. Instruction is offered in French and in local languages. Private schools, previously banned, were allowed to reopen in 1984.

      The country's post-secondary institutions, particularly the University of Conakry, function on an irregular basis, with assistance from France and other countries for personnel and materials.

Health and welfare
      Since independence the government has made an effort to improve health care services, but infant and child mortality rates remain among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Equipment and supply shortages and an inadequate number of medical personnel hamper the health care system. Government-run infant clinics and child-care centres are inadequate. Most such social welfare services are either provided by the extended family or are absent.

      A severe housing shortage exists in the urbanized areas, though mud and straw construction reduces the problem in rural areas. It is estimated that one-fifth of the country's population lives in Conakry and its environs, where the housing shortage is especially serious.

Cultural life
      Until 1984 artistic and literary expressions were limited largely to African themes by the single political party and its leader. As a result Guinean intellectuals exhibit a strong sense of nationalism and a decolonialized state of mind. As greater openness of expression returns, a distinctly Guinean literature is gradually emerging.

      A truly autonomous free press has yet to emerge as a major force in Guinean life. One French-language newspaper, Horoya, formerly controlled by the PDG, is published. A number of informal newsletters are also published in indigenous languages. A television service was begun in 1977, and transmissions continue on an irregular basis for short periods each day.

      The telephone network is limited and obsolescent; the few telephones in service are almost all in Conakry and other major urban centres. A program to upgrade the telecommunications system was implemented in the late 1980s.

      The professional National Guinean Ballet, which emerged after independence, has retained some of the dance and music of the distinct ethnic and regional groups. Creative accomplishments in modern dance and popular music have given Guinean musicians and singers an international reputation.

      Handicrafts in Guinea, as elsewhere in Africa, declined sharply during the colonial era with competition from manufactured consumer goods. The lack of tourism and creative marketing since independence has limited the amount of change and innovation in local crafts, so that the leatherwork, wood carving, and jewelry produced in Guinea tend to be more genuinely ethnic than elsewhere in western Africa.


Early history
      Hunting and gathering populations occupied the area of Guinea at least 30,000 years ago, and farming has been practiced there for about 3,000 years. About 1,000 years ago Susu and Malinke (Maninka) people began to encroach on the Baga, Koniagi (Coniagui), and Nalu (Nalou) populations who had been living in the area for more than 1,000 years. The towns and villages of Upper Guinea were incorporated into the Mali empire from the mid-13th century, and by the 16th century the Fulani (Fulbe) had established domination over the Fouta Djallon.

      The Portuguese presence on the coast dates from the 15th century, and the slave trade continued to affect Guinea until the mid-19th century. British and French trading interests on the coast played minor roles in the historical evolution of the Guinean interior until the almamy (ruler) of Fouta Djallon placed his country under French protection in 1881. The independent Malinke state ruled by Samory Touré resisted the French military until 1898, and isolated small groups of Africans continued to resist the French until the end of World War I.

Colonial era
      The French protectorate of Rivières du Sud was detached from Senegal as a separate colony in 1890. As French Guinea it became part of the Federation of French West Africa in 1895. Treaties with Liberia and Great Britain largely established the present boundaries by World War I.

      Under the 1946 constitution of the French Fourth Republic a small number of French-educated Africans in Guinea were allowed to vote for deputies to the French National Assembly. In the 1958 referendum on the constitution for the French Fifth Republic only Guinea, under the influence of Sékou Touré (Touré, Sékou), who later became the country's first president, voted against membership in the French Community and became independent.

      Guinea came to occupy a special position among African states for its unqualified rejection of neocolonial control. Touré's rule grew increasingly more repressive, however. Denied French assistance, Guinea contracted loans and economic and trade agreements with the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. When it failed to become a full economic partner in the Soviet bloc, Guinea turned to France and the West for capital and technical assistance in the waning years of Touré's regime. Under Touré's uncertain economic leadership, however, the potentially wealthy country did not prosper.

      Throughout Touré's rule, difficulties of economic adjustment and political reorganization caused him to become increasingly obsessed with what he perceived as opposition. Probably the event that had the most negative effect was the Portuguese-backed invasion of Conakry by Guinean dissidents. Such real conspiracies, together with a myriad of imaginary ones, led to show trials, imprisonments, and executions of dissidents and other suspects. Gradually power was concentrated in the hands of Touré and his predominantly Malinke associates. Members of his own family occupied leading government posts, from which illicit earnings were drawn on a large scale. Though the Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG), which Touré had led since 1953, retained control, it ceased to enjoy the mass support it had had in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Touré's death in 1984 left party leaders with little grassroots support. The ensuing military coup began with fairly strong support from the general public.

Thomas E. O'Toole
      The Military Committee for National Recovery under Col. Lansana Conté, Guinea's second president, endorsed the concept of a pluralist society. Private ownership and international investment were actively supported, while the role of the state in the economy was reduced. In the late 1980s Guinea sought reintegration into French-speaking western Africa and the Franc Zone. The Conté government's move toward political and economic liberalization was slow, however, and civil unrest and protest continued during the 1990s. In 1996 the government survived an attempted military coup. Despite ongoing turbulence, Conté maintained power until his death on Dec. 22, 2008. Soon after the news of his death was made public, a faction of the military launched a coup and announced that they had dissolved the government. The National Council for Democracy and Development (Conseil National pour la Démocratie et le Développement; CNDD), with Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara as president, was created to serve as a transitional government. The CNDD promised to hold elections within one year and vowed to fight rampant corruption.


Additional Reading
Jean Suret-Canales, La République de Guinée (1970), now dated, is the best single source. Claude Rivière, Guinea: The Mobilization of a People (1977), although also dated, is a sound work. Harold D. Nelson et al., Area Handbook for Guinea, 2nd ed. (1975), is still valuable for background information. 'Ladipo Adamolekun, Sékou Touré's Guinea (1976), is an excellent work on the political system under the country's first president. Thomas E. O'Toole, Historical Dictionary of Guinea (Republic of Guinea/Conakry), 2nd ed. (1987), contains an extensive bibliography. Thomas E. O'Toole

      the forest and coastal areas of western Africa between the tropic of Cancer and the equator. Derived from the Berber word aguinaw, or gnawa, meaning “black man” (hence akal n-iguinamen, or “land of the black men”), the term was first adopted by the Portuguese and, in forms such as Guinuia, Ginya, Gheneoa, and Ghinea, appears on European maps from the 14th century onward.

      There is a distinction between Upper and Lower Guinea, which lie westward and southward, respectively, of the line of volcanic peaks that runs northeast from Annobón (formerly Pagalu) Island through São Tomé to Mount Cameroon. The Gulf of Guinea (Guinea, Gulf of) is a part of the Atlantic Ocean adjacent to this coastal area. Sections of the coast of Guinea were known by their chief products, such as the Grain Coast (from Cape Mesurado to Cape Palmas, along present-day coastal Liberia), so called because it was the source of the “grains of paradise” (Guinea pepper, Xylopia aethiopica); the Ivory Coast (beyond Cape Palmas and now mostly in Côte d'Ivoire), the Gold Coast (east of Cape Three Points, along present-day Ghana), and the Slave Coast (between the Volta River and the Niger River delta, along present-day Togo, Benin, and Nigeria).

      Cape Bojador (latitude 26° N) was rounded by the Portuguese seaman Gil Eannes (Gilianes) in 1434, and some years later the first cargoes of slaves and gold were brought back to Lisbon. A papal bull gave Portugal exclusive rights over the western coast of Africa, and in 1469 Fernão Gomes was granted a trade monopoly, with the provision that 300 miles (480 km) of new coast be explored annually. The equator was reached in 1471 and the Congo River reached by Diogo Cão in 1482. After 1530 other Europeans, including English, Dutch, French, Danish, and Brandenburgers, established trading posts or forts in the area.

      European penetration of Guinea was hindered by several factors: the hot, humid, and unhealthy climate; the density of the rain forest; the scarcity of harbours along the generally surf-bound coast; and the difficulties of river navigation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Guinea — Guin ea (g[i^]n [ e]), n. 1. A district on the west coast of Africa (formerly noted for its export of gold and slaves) after which the Guinea fowl, Guinea grass, Guinea peach, etc., are named. [1913 Webster] 2. A gold coin of England current for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Guinea —    Guinea, or Guinea Coast, is a geographical term of Berber origins used by Europeans from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries to designate varying sections of the western coast of Africa, a region that formed one apex of the Atlantic… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Guinea — Ober Guinea und West Sudan …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Guinea [2] — Guinēa (spr. gi ), Küstenland in Westafrika, vom Kap Roxo bis zum Kap Negro, vom Kap Lopez geteilt in Ober oder Nord G. (G. im engern Sinne) und in Nieder oder Süd G. In der Nordostecke von Ober G. dringt der Golf von G. mit den Baien von Benin… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • GUINEA — vulgo la Guinee, regio Aficae perampla, inter Nigrititam ad Bor. et mare Atlanticum ad Austr. et inter regnum Congi ad Ort. et montem Leonis ad Occas. Regio est abundans et fertilis, ab Ort. in Occas. valde extensa, et ab Europaeis admodum… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • guinea — [gin′ē] n. [the gold of which it was first made came from Guinea] 1. a former English gold coin, last minted in 1813, equal to 21 shillings: the word is still used in England in giving prices of luxury items 2. GUINEA FOWL 3. Slang an Italian or… …   English World dictionary

  • Guinēa — Guinēa, ein großer Theil der Westseite Afrikas, zu beiden Seiten des Äquator. Gewöhnlich versteht man aber unter G. den Küstenstrich zwischen dem Äquator u. 10° nördl. Br., welcher zum Unterschiede von dem südlich vom Äquator liegenden… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Guinēa — (spr. gi ; hierzu die Karte »Ober Guinea und West Sudân«), Teil der Westküste Afrikas, vom Kap Roxo (12°19´ nördl. Br.) bis Kap Negro (16° südl. Br.), zerfällt in zwei Teile: Oberguinea und Niederguinea, deren Grenze von Kap Lopez im… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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