|Republic of Guinea
République de Guinée
|Motto: "Travail, Justice, Solidarité" (French)
"Work, Justice, Solidarity"
|Anthem: Liberté (French)
(and largest city)
|Vernacular languages||Pular, Mandinka and Susu|
|-||Acting President||Sékouba Konaté|
|-||Prime Minister||Jean-Marie Doré|
|-||from France¹||October 2, 1958|
|-||Total||245,857 km2 (78th)
94,926 sq mi
|-||July 2009 estimate||10,057,975 (81st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|Gini (1994)||40.3 (medium)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.456 (low) (160th)|
|Currency||Guinean franc (
|Drives on the||right|
Guinea (pronounced /ˈɡɪni/, which is officially the Republic of Guinea French: République de Guinée), is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea (Guinée française), it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbor Guinea-Bissau. Conakry is the capital, the seat of the national government, and the largest city.
Guinea has almost 246,000 square kilometres (94,981 sq mi). It forms a crescent by curving from its western border on the Atlantic Ocean toward the east and the south. Guinea shares its northern border with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali. Guinea shares its southern border with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. The Niger River arises in Guinea and runs eastward.
Guinea belonged to a series of empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. Since its independence, Guinea has had autocratic rulers who have made Guinea one of the poorest countries.
Ahmed Sékou Touré became President upon Guinea's independence. By violent repression, he ruled until 26 March 1984. By a coup d'état, Lansana Conté became the President after Touré. By despotic means, Conté clung to power until his death in 2008. He was unable to improve the desperate economic plight into which Touré had plunged the country.
On 23 December 2008, Moussa Dadis Camara seized control of Guinea as the head of a junta. On 28 September 2009, the junta ordered its soldiers to attack people who had gathered to protest any attempt by Camara to become President. The soldiers went on a rampage of rape, mutilation, and murder.
On 3 December 2009, an aide shot Camara during a dispute about the rampage of September 2009. Camara went to Morocco for medical care. Vice-President (and defense minister) Sékouba Konaté flew back from Lebanon to run the country in Camara's absence.
On January 12, 2010 Camara was flown from Morocco to Burkina Faso. After meeting in Ouagadougou on January 13 and 14, Camara, Konaté and Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, produced a formal statement of twelve principles promising a return of Guinea to civilian rule within six months. It was agreed that the military would not contest the forthcoming elections, and Camara would continue his convalescence outside Guinea. On 21 January 2010 the military junta appointed Jean-Marie Doré as Prime Minister of a six-month transition government, leading up to elections.
The Republic Guinea covers 245,857 square kilometres (94,926 sq mi) of West Africa about 10 degrees north of the equator. Guinea is divided into four natural regions with distinct human, geographic, and climatic characteristics:
At 94,919 square miles (245,839 km2), Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom and slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Oregon. There are 200 miles (322 km) of coastline and a total land border of 2,112 miles (3,399 km). Its neighbours are Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
The country is divided into four main regions: the Basse-Coté lowlands, populated mainly by the Susu ethnic group; the cooler, mountainous Fouta Djallon that run roughly north-south through the middle of the country, populated by Peuls, the Sahelian Haute-Guinea to the northeast, populated by Malinké, and the forested jungle regions in the southeast, with several ethnic groups. Guinea's mountains are the source for the Niger, the Gambia, and Senegal Rivers, as well as the numerous rivers flowing to the sea on the west side of the range in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
The highest point in Guinea is Mont Nimba at 5,748 feet (1,752 m). Although the Guinean and Ivorian sides of the Nimba Massif are a UNESCO Strict Nature Reserve, the portion of the so-called Guinean Backbone continues into Liberia, where it has been mined for decades; the damage is quite evident in the Nzérékoré Region at .
Guinea has abundant natural resources including 25% or more of the world's known bauxite reserves. Guinea also has diamonds, gold, and other metals. The country has great potential for hydroelectric power. Bauxite and alumina are currently the only major exports. Other industries include processing plants for beer, juices, soft drinks and tobacco. Agriculture employs 80% of the nation's labour force. Under French rule, and at the beginning of independence, Guinea was a major exporter of bananas, pineapples, coffee, peanuts, and palm oil.
Richly endowed with minerals, Guinea possesses over 25 billion tonnes (metric tons) of bauxite – and perhaps up to one-half of the world's reserves. In addition, Guinea's mineral wealth includes more than 4-billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore, significant diamond and gold deposits, and undetermined quantities of uranium. Guinea has considerable potential for growth in agricultural and fishing sectors. Soil, water, and climatic conditions provide opportunities for large-scale irrigated farming and agro industry. Possibilities for investment and commercial activities exist in all these areas, but Guinea's poorly developed infrastructure and rampant corruption continue to present obstacles to large-scale investment projects.
Joint venture bauxite mining and alumina operations in northwest Guinea historically provide about 80% of Guinea's foreign exchange. The Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinea (CBG) is the main player in the bauxite industry. CBG is a joint venture, 49% owned by the Guinean Government and 51% by an international consortium led by Alcoa and Alcan. CBG exports about 14 million tonnes of high-grade bauxite annually. The Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK), a joint venture between the Government of Guinea and Russki Alumina, produces some 2.5 million tonnes annually, nearly all of which is exported to Russia and Eastern Europe. Dian Dian, a Guinean/Ukrainian joint bauxite venture, has a projected production rate of 1,000,000 t (1,102,311 ST; 984,207 LT) per year, but is not expected to begin operations for several years. The Alumina Compagnie de Guinée (ACG), which took over the former Friguia Consortium, produced about 2.4 million tonnes in 2004 as raw material for its alumina refinery. The refinery exports about 750,000 tonnes of alumina. Both Global Alumina and Alcoa-Alcan have signed conventions with the Government of Guinea to build large alumina refineries with a combined capacity of about 4 million tonnes per year.
Diamonds and gold also are mined and exported on a large scale. AREDOR, a joint diamond-mining venture between the Guinean Government (50%) and an Australian, British, and Swiss consortium, began production in 1984 and mined diamonds that are 90% gem quality. Production stopped from 1993 until 1996, when First City Mining of Canada purchased the international portion of the consortium. The bulk of diamonds are mined artisanally. The largest gold mining operation in Guinea is a joint venture between the government and Ashanti Gold Fields of Ghana. SMD also has a large gold mining facility in Lero near the Malian border. Other concession agreements have been signed for iron ore, but these projects await preliminary exploration and financing results.
The Guinean Government adopted policies in the 1990s to return commercial activity to the private sector, promote investment, reduce the role of the state in the economy, and improve the administrative and judicial framework. Guinea has the potential to develop, if the government carries out its announced policy reforms, and if the private sector responds appropriately. So far, corruption and favoritism, lack of long-term political stability, and lack of a transparent budgeting process continue to dampen foreign investor interest in major projects in Guinea.
Reforms since 1985 include eliminating restrictions on agriculture and foreign trade, liquidation of some parastatals, the creation of a realistic exchange rate, increased spending on education, and cutting the government bureaucracy. In July 1996, President Lansana Conté appointed a new government, which promised major economic reforms, including financial and judicial reform, rationalization of public expenditures, and improved government revenue collection. Under 1996 and 1998 International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank agreements, Guinea continued fiscal reforms and privatization, and shifted governmental expenditures and internal reforms to the education, health, infrastructure, banking, and justice sectors.
The government revised the private investment code in 1998 to stimulate economic activity in the spirit of free enterprise. The code does not discriminate between foreigners and nationals and allows for repatriation of profits. While the code restricts development of Guinea's hydraulic resources to projects in which Guineans have majority shareholdings and management control, it does contain a clause permitting negotiations of more favorable conditions for investors in specific agreements. Foreign investments outside Conakry are entitled to more favorable terms. A national investment commission has been formed to review all investment proposals. Guinea and the United States have an investment guarantee agreement that offers political risk insurance to American investors through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). In addition, Guinea has inaugurated an arbitration court system, which allows for the quick resolution of commercial disputes.
Cabinet changes in 1999, which increased corruption, economic mismanagement, and excessive government spending, combined to slow the momentum for economic reform. The informal sector continues to be a major contributor to the economy.
Until June 2001, private operators managed the production, distribution, and fee-collection operations of water and electricity under performance-based contracts with the Government of Guinea. However, the two utilities are plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Foreign private investors in these operations departed the country in frustration.
In 2002, the IMF suspended Guinea's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) because the government failed to meet key performance criteria. In reviews of the PRGF, the World Bank noted that Guinea had met its spending goals in targeted social priority sectors. However, spending in other areas, primarily defense, contributed to a significant fiscal deficit. The loss of IMF funds forced the government to finance its debts through Central Bank advances. The pursuit of unsound economic policies has resulted in imbalances that are proving hard to correct.
Under then-Prime Minister Diallo, the government began a rigorous reform agenda in December 2004 designed to return Guinea to a PRGF with the IMF. Exchange rates have been allowed to float, price controls on gasoline have been loosened, and government spending has been reduced while tax collection has been improved. These reforms have not reduced inflation, which hit 27% in 2004 and 30% in 2005. Currency depreciation is also a concern. The Guinea franc was trading at 2550 to the dollar in January 2005. It hit 5554 to the dollar by October 2006.
Despite the opening in 2005 of a new road connecting Guinea and Mali, most major roadways remain in poor repair, slowing the delivery of goods to local markets. Electricity and water shortages are frequent and sustained, and many businesses are forced to use expensive power generators and fuel to stay open.
Even though there are many problems plaguing Guinea's economy, not all foreign investors are reluctant to come to Guinea. Global Alumina's proposed alumina refinery has a price tag above $2 billion. Alcoa and Alcan are proposing a slightly smaller refinery worth about $1.5 billion. Taken together, they represent the largest private investment in sub-Saharan Africa since the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline. Also, Hyperdynamics Corporation, an American oil company, signed an agreement in 2006 to develop Guinea's offshore Senegal Basin oil deposits in a 31,000 square mile concession; it is pursuing seismic exploration.
On 13 October 2009, Guinean Mines Minister Mahmoud Thiam announced that the Chinese International Fund would invest more than $7bn (£4.5bn) in infrastructure. In return, he said the firm would be a "strategic partner" in all mining projects in the mineral-rich nation. He said the firm would help build ports, railway lines, power plants, low-cost housing and even a new administrative centre in the capital, Conakry. However, analysts say that the timing of the deal is likely to stir controversy, as the legitimacy of Guinea's government is under question.
Africa's west coast is now ripe for oil development, and Guinea is actively being courted in this endeavor. Hyperdynamics Corporation (Sugarland, TX) and Guinea signed a Production sharing agreement in 2006, and have been diligently exploring. Many large oil companies claim that this area, which Guinea centers, might be able to supply the United States with nearly 30% of its oil within ten years.
The railway which operated from Conakry to Kankan ceased operating in the mid-1980s. Domestic air services are intermittent. Most vehicles in Guinea are 20+ years old, and cabs are any four-door vehicle which the owner has designated as being for hire. Locals, nearly entirely without vehicles of their own, rely upon these taxis (which charge per seat) and small buses to take them around town and across the country. There is some river traffic on the Niger and Milo rivers. Horses and donkeys pull carts, primarily to transport construction materials.
The population of Guinea is estimated at 10,211,437. Conakry, the capital and largest city, is the hub of Guinea's economy, commerce, education, and culture.
The population of Guinea comprises about 24 ethnic groups. The Fulani, also known as Fula or Peul or Peuhl, comprise 40% of the population and are mostly found in the Futa Jallon region. The Mandinka, also known as Mandingo or Malinké, comprise 30% of the population and are mostly found in eastern Guinea concentrated around the Kankan and Kissidougou prefectures. The Soussou, comprising 20%, are predominantly in western areas around the capital Conakry, Forécariah, and Kindia. Smaller ethnic groups make up the remaining 10% of the population, including Kpelle, Kissi and others. Non-Africans total about 10,000 (mostly Lebanese, French, and other Europeans).
Islam is the dominant religion. Approximately 85% of the population is Muslim, while 10% is Christian, and 5% holds traditional animist beliefs. Muslims are generally Sunni; there are relatively few Shi'a, although they are increasing in number. Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and other Evangelical groups. Jehovah's Witnesses are active in the country and recognized by the Government. There is a small Baha'i community. There are small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, and traditional Chinese religious groups among the expatriate community.
The Guinean armed forces are divided into four branches:
By far the largest branch of the armed forces, with about 15,000 personnel, the army is mainly responsible for protecting the state borders, the security of administered territories, and defending Guinea's national interests.
Air force personnel total about 700. The force's equipment includes several Russian-supplied fighter planes and transports.
The navy has about 900 personnel and operates several small patrol craft and barges.
A branch of the Guinean Armed Forces responsible for internal security. Its members are not police officers.
Guinea has been reorganizing its health system since the Bamako Initiative of 1987 formally promoted community-based methods of increasing accessibility of drugs and health care services to the population, in part by implementing user fees. The new strategy dramatically increased accessibility through community-based healthcare (including community ownership and local budgeting), resulting in more efficient and equitable provision of services. A comprehensive strategy was extended to all areas of health care, with subsequent improvement in health indicators and improvement in health care efficiency and cost. Guinea's public health code is defined by Law No. L/97/021/AN of 19 June 1997 promulgating the Public Health Code. The law provides for the protection and promotion of health and for the rights and duties of the individual, the family, and community throughout the territory of the Republic of Guinea.
The first cases of HIV/AIDS were reported in 1986. Though levels of AIDS are significantly lower than in a number of other African countries, as of 2005, Guinea was considered by the World Health Organization to face a generalized epidemic.
An estimated 170,000 adults and children were infected at the end of 2004. The spread of the epidemic was attributed to factors such as proximity to high-prevalence countries, a large refugee population, internal displacement and subregional instability.
Like other West African countries, Guinea has a rich musical tradition. The group Bembeya Jazz became popular in the 1960s after Guinean independence.
Guinea's main sport is association football (soccer), and although the national team has never made the FIFA World Cup, it has appeared at eight African Nations Cup finals; it was runner-up in 1976 and reached the quarter-finals in 2004, 2006 and 2008. Swimming is popular near the capital, Conakry, and hiking is possible in the Fouta Djallon region. However, the official national sport is Table Tennis.
|Currency||Guinean franc (GNF)|
|Area||total: 245,857 km2
water: 0 km2
land: 245,857 km2
|Population||9,690,222 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||French (official), each ethnic group has its own language|
|Religion||Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous beliefs 7%|
Guinea is a former French colony that borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal to the north, Mali on the north and north-east, Côte d'Ivoire to the east and Liberia and Sierra Leone to the south. Unrest in Sierra Leone has spilled across the border, creating humanitarian emergencies and threatening the stability of this country.
There are four major regions in Guinea - the coast is called Basse (low) or Maritime Guinea, the next section of the interior is called Moyenne (lesser) Guinea also known as the Fouta Djallon, the more mountainous area to the east is called Haute (high) Guinea, and the tail that drops down to the southeast is called Guinea Forestiere or Forest Guinea. These major divisions also provide broad cultural division as well - Basse Guinea is primarily Susu people and culture, Moyenne Guinea is more of the Pular people, who originate from nomadic tribes, Haute Guinea is primarily Malinke and Forest Guinea is home to the Toma, Kissi and similar groups who carry on strong traditional practices for medicine and religion.
Guinea is a remarkable country with very warm, genuine people but little infrastructure. While they have tremendous natural resources available to them (which includes around one half of the world's reserves of bauxite, and many major gold, jewel, and metal industries), they rate very poorly in the UN's quality of life index.
Guinea achieved independence in 1958 and has only had two rulers since. The first president, socialist Ahmed Sékou Touré, faced a lot of criticism from the West for alleged human rights violations and suppression of opposition parties. He believed in building a powerful, self-sufficient nation, without reliance on foreign powers.
When he died in 1984, General Lansana Conté took over. Things did not improve, and the ideals of Touré were soon left behind. In 1993, the first elections were held, though their results were disputed - as have those in all subsequent elections. Conté died in 2008 without appointing a successor, leaving chaos in his wake. Immediately following Conté's death, on December 23, 2008, a man by the name of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took power as Guinea's new President staged by a coup d'etat. Unfortunately this has proved to be another political blow for Guinea and Guineans. Civilian protests have been often met with open fire and physical abuse at the hands of military and police personnel.
Visa inquiries must be made at Guinea embassies, and are not available at the borders or airport.
A one month, single entry visa costs around $65. A three month, multiple entry visa is double the price and is the only type available to citizens of the US.
Air France from Paris, France and SN Brussels from Brussels, Belgium. Air Ivoire flies to Conakry regularly from Abidjan en route to Dakar, as does Belvue. Expect to be asked for a "gift" by airport security.
Royal Air Maroc supplies the only direct flight from Montréal to Africa (Casablanca, with stopover in N.Y.) and many connections from Casa. to Conakry (also called Kry) and elsewhere.
Though cargo trains still run the old line between Conakry and Kankan, there are no passenger trains still operational in Guinea. The old station in downtown Conakry is worth a visit.
As of the summer of 2006 it was not safe to cross the Guinean border with Cote d'Ivoire. The rebel group there (the MJP) has made it a raison d'etre to expel the French military from Cote d'Ivoire.
In 2008 travel between Guinea and Liberia was safe, though time consuming. Hiring a motorcycle is the best option.
Crossing the Guinean border with Senegal is possible but very uncomfortable and requires patience. Inside Guinea, the road between Labe and Koundara is unpaved and very rough. It takes about 8 hours for the whole journey with only minor breakdowns. There are some decent and very cheap places to stay in Koundara. Between Koundara and Diaoube (Senegal) is a similar journey. The border is relatively hassle free. There is a 20km no man's land between border posts where one only knows they have entered Senegal by the improved quality of the dirt road. It is possible to change your currency at any hour of the night at the border towns on either side of the no man's land. Local transport from Diaoube to Tambacounda and on to Dakar is relatively easy.
Koundara is also the main jump off point for a trip to Guinea-Bissau.
There are no buses. Traffic in Conakry can be very heavy. The local transport vans in Conakry seem to be the most congested in all of West Africa. Taxis are very inexpensive, even if you want to rent one for a half or whole day. Expect to have to stop for gas almost immediately after you get in the car. The Government and business center of the city is unfortunately located at the tip of a long and narrow peninsula which is only connected to the rest of Conakry, which sprawls onto the mainland, by two roads. This can be particularly frustrating at rush hour. Line ups at gas stations in Conakry can be quite long and disorganized at certain times. Much of the infrastructure around the airport is being rebuilt, so trips to downtown or to la miniere might take unusual detours.
Bush Taxis ("504", for the common Peugeot 504 model) are used for transport from city to city. Keep in mind that there is a curfew at night, and if you try to drive into Conakry you will have to wait outside the city until morning. Local transport is usually able to leave Conakry after dark. Departure times are never set for local transport. In the early morning you might be told that a taxi will be leaving "toute suite" but will not get out of Conakry until well after dark. Intercity travel in Guinea requires a great deal of patience and a loose schedule. It is also possible to fly from city to city, but get to the airport early and bring cash for your tickets.
MotorTaxi/TaxiBike a much faster, and more comfortable way of travel is by motorcycle, which often serve as taxis.
The official language is French. There are numerous ethnic languages, and the three most prevalent are Susu, Pular(Foulah, Peuhl) and Malinke. Susu is spoken in the coastal region and in the capital city. Toma, Guerzé, Kissi and others are spoken in the interior (Sacred Forest) region bordering on Mali, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
They do not sell a lot of trinkets in Guinea, but they do have wonderful clothing that you can purchase. The tailors there are very skilled and can create an outfit very fast (approximately a day).
In certain parts of the country you can also find some nice carvings, many of which are created in the city of Kindia.
Many options are available for dining. For a mere 20,000 Guinean Francs (roughly $4 USD), you are able to dine on delicious cultural foods from Africa. If your tastebuds would prefer something international, many other choices are available as well. The beef in Guinea is very good, and is highly recommended. Pork isn't served because of the religion. There are good restaurants that are Lebanese which has European styled breakfasts.
FOOD AND DRINK!
Canned European beer is available as well as a local "Skol" lager beer. The Mariador hotels that are run by the French are a good place to go. The Riviera hotel is also a cool place to stay too. The prices are affordable, service is excellent, and the staff is generally very friendly. You can stay there for as long as you like (they won't kick you out). Water bottled in the name of Coyah is available everywhere for about US$ .50 per 1.5 liter bottle and is very good. Conakry's tap water is generally not safe unless filtered/boiled.
However, outside of the Capital, Conakry, you can can often enjoy local dishes (consisting of Guinean style rice and one of the 4 main sauces with sometimes beef or fish in some cases) at a'hole in the wall' local restaurant for less than $1 (3,000-6,000 Guinean Francs depending on the exchange rate). Trust me, you will leave full!
In Kankan, Guinea (Haute Guinee), there are few places to choose from if you wish to eat at a more decent restaurant. There is Hotel Villa and Hotel Bate. As of mid 2008, these were the top two places for lodging and meals. A typical plate can cost anywhere between 35,000 and 55,000 Guinean Francs. Note that prices of food and drinks can often dramatically increase at the spur of the moment and without any explanation!
Fruits are very inexpensive here, especially compared to the higher costs in neighboring countries (Mali, Ivory Coast and Senegal). For those who love pineapples, on the national road (which literally goes from the North of the country to Conakry in the South) you can find people selling this tasty fruit very cheaply on the side of the road in and around Kindia! Mango fruits, oranges and bananas can also be found in abundance throughout the country and at a cheap rate, especially at road sides!
Another alternative to eating out is eating "IN". Since Guineans are generally welcoming and friendly people you may be invited to their home to share a meal! Most Guineans eat together from one big dish. Enjoy the experience and don't drink the local water if and when they offer it to you. Please have your bottled water handy (Coyah, Milo, etc).
The tap water in Guinea is unsafe for drinking. Drink bottled, UNOPENED, water. Malaria is prevalent. Make sure to take anti-malarial prophylactics and cover up exposed skin during the evening and early morning when mosquitoes are the worst.
As with most of West Africa, greetings are very much a part of daily life in Guinea. A simple, "Ca va" will often suffice. However, Guineans appreciate if you ask about their family, health and job/studies. "et la famille, la sante, le boulot/les etudes." Before getting to the point in a conversation, e-mail, etc it is common and expected to greet somehow and ask how they are doing!
Greet, eat and exchange money only with your right hand! The left hand is used for bathroom purposes and is considered unclean!
The gender issue is quite complex in Guinea to say the least!
Even though Guinea is a slightly conservative, Muslim, male-dominated society, foreign female travelers will rarely face any sort of difficulties. Don't be surprised if you are proposed to a million times! Cat calls, whistles and other similar forms of harassment are rare in Guinea and frowned upon. Guinean males often give up their seat to females as a sign of respect, especially in people's homes, outdoor settings, etc.
In general, men are still higher up the social ladder than women and this is prevalent in all aspects of Guinean society (education, jobs, etc). Don't be surprised if men are shown more consideration than women in daily life. Once it's known that you are a foreign woman (especially if you are a Black foreign female coming from the US, Europe,etc), and not a local, you will usually be granted a higher level of consideration).
For women it is NOT advisable to wear clothing showing anything from the stomach to the knees! Shorts, see-throughs, mini skirts, bare midriffs are considered tasteless if worn in public. It's not uncommon to be met with hostile stares or looks of disapproval from local Guineans or even worse. Tattoos and body piercings are not common and visitors are advised to cover them up when possible. A head scarf, however, is not necessary! Jeans (while still not very popular among Guinean women), long skirts and dresses, tank tops and short or long sleeved shirts are perfectly acceptable.
There is a Christian minority (mostly concentrated in the southern forest region), however, Muslims, Christians and others tend to co-exist peacefully with tolerance and respect.
Guineans will often invite you to eat at their home. This is a sign of respect and consideration for the visitor. Accept the invitation where possible. If you are unable, it's better to politely respond with a simple "next time" or "prochainement". Simply showing up without an appointment at the home of a Guinean is not considered rude or impolite as it can be in the West! Don't be alarmed if you find Guineans popping over to see how you are.
Overall Guineans are warm, friendly and hospitable and will come to your assistance where appropriate!
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GUINEA, the general name applied by Europeans to part of the western coast region of equatorial Africa, and also to the gulf formed by the great bend of the coast line eastward and then southward. Like many other geographical designations the use of which is controlled neither by natural nor political boundaries, the name has been very differently employed by different writers and at different periods. In the widest acceptation of the term, the Guinea coast may be said to extend from 13° N. to 16° S., from the neighbourhood of the Gambia to Cape Negro. Southern or Lower Guinea comprises the coasts of Gabun and Loango (known also as French Congo) and the Portuguese possessions on the south-west coast, and Northern or Upper Guinea stretches from the river Casamance to and inclusive of the Niger delta, Cameroon occupying a middle position. In a narrower use of the name, Guinea is the coast only from Cape Palmas to the Gabun estuary. Originally, on the other hand, Guinea was supposed to begin as far north as Cape Nun, opposite the Canary Islands, and Gomes Azurara, a Portuguese historian of the 15th century, is said to be the first authority who brings the boundary south to the Senegal. The derivation of the name is uncertain, but is probably taken from Ghinea, Ginnie, Genni or Jenne, a town and kingdom in the basin of the Niger, famed for the enterprise of its merchants and dating from the 8th century A.D. The name Guinea is found on maps of the middle of the 14th century, but it did not come into general use in Europe till towards the close of the 15th century.' 1 Guinea may, however, be derived from Ghana (or Ghanata) the name of the oldest known state in the western Sudan. Ghana dates, according to some authorities, from the 3rd century A.D. From the 7th to the 12th century it was a powerful empire, its dominions extending, apparently, from the Atlantic to the Niger bend. At one time Jenne was included within its borders. Ghana was finally conquered by the Mandingo kings of Melle in the 13th century. Its capital, also called Ghana, was west of the Niger, and is generally placed some zoo m. west of Jenne. In this district L. Desplagnes discovered in 1907 numerous remains of a once extensive city, which he identified as those of Ghana. The ruins lie 25 m. W. of the Niger, on both banks of a marigot, and are about 40 m. N. by E. of Kulikoro (see La Geographie, xvi. 329). By some writers Ghana city is, however, identified with Walata, which town is mentioned by Arab historians as the capital of Ghanata. The identification of Ghana city with Jenne is not justified, though Idrisi seems to be describing Jenne when writing of "Ghana the Great." ' Although the term Gulf of Guinea is applied generally to that part of the coast south of Cape Palmas and north of the mouth of the Congo, particular indentations have their peculiar designations. The bay formed by the configuration of the land between Cape St Paul and the Nun mouth of the Niger is known as the Bight of Benin, the name being that of the once powerful native state whose territory formerly extended over the whole district. The Bight of Biafra, or Mafra (named after the town of Mafra in southern Portugal), between Capes Formosa and Lopez, is the most eastern part of the Gulf of Guinea; it contains the islands Fernando Po, Prince's and St Thomas's. The name Biafra - as indicating the country - fell into disuse in the later part of the 19th century.
The coast is generally so low as to be visible to navigators only within a very short distance, the mangrove trees being their only sailing marks. In the Bight of Biafra the coast forms an exception, being high and bold, with the Cameroon Mountains for background. At Sierra Leone also there is high land. The coast in many places maintains a dead level for 30 to 50 m. inland. Vegetation is exceedingly luxuriant and varied. The palm-oil tree is indigenous and abundant from the river Gambia to the Congo. The fauna comprises nearly all the more remarkable of African animals. The inhabitants are the true Negro stock.
By the early traders the coast of Upper Guinea was given names founded on the productions characteristic of the different parts. The Grain coast, that part of the Guinea coast extending for Soo m. from Sierra Leone eastward to Cape Palmas received its name from the export of the seeds of several plants of a peppery character, called variously grains of paradise, Guinea pepper and melegueta. The name Grain coast was first applied to this region in 1455. It was occasionally styled the Windy or Windward coast, from the frequency of short but furious tornadoes throughout the year. Towards the end of the 18th century, Guinea pepper was supplanted in Europe by peppers from the East Indies. The name now is seldom used, the Grain coast being divided between the British colony of Sierra Leone and the republic of Liberia. The Ivory coast extends from Cape Palmas to 3° W., and obtained its name from the quantity of ivory exported therefrom. It is now a French possession. Eastwards of the Ivory coast are the Gold and Slave coasts. The Niger delta was for long known as the Oil rivers. To two regions only of the coast is the name Guinea officially applied, the French and Portuguese colonies north of Sierra Leone being so styled.
Of the various names by which the divisions of Lower Guinea were known, Loango was applied to the country south of the Gabun and north of the Congo river. It is now chiefly included in French Congo. Congo was used to designate the country immediately south of the river of the same name, usually spoken of until the last half of the 19th century as the Zaire. Congo is now one of the subdivisions of Portuguese West Africa (see Angola). It must not be confounded with the Belgian Congo.
Few questions in historical geography have been more keenly discussed than that of the first discovery of Guinea by the navigators of modern Europe. Lancelot Malocello, a Genoese, in 1270 reached at least as far as the Canaries. The first direct attempt to find a sea route to India was, it is said, also made by Genoese, Ugolino and Guido de Vivaldo, Tedisio Doria and others. who equipped two galleys and sailed south along the African coast in 1291. Beyond the fact that they passed Cape Nun there is no trustworthy record of their voyage. In 1346 a Catalan expedition started for "the river of gold" on the Guinea coast; its fate is unknown. The French claim that between 1364 and 1410 the people of Dieppe sent out several expeditions to Guinea; and Jean de Bethencourt, who settled in the Canaries about 1402, made explorations towards the south. At length the consecutive efforts of the navigators employed by Prince Henry of Portugal - Gil Eannes, Diniz Diaz, Nuno Tristam, Alvaro Fernandez, Cadamosto, Usodimare and Diego Gomez - made known the coast as far as the Gambia, and by the end of the 15th century the whole region was familiar to Europeans.
For further information see Senegal, Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, French Guinea, Portuguese Guinea, Liberia, &C. For the history of European discoveries, consult G. E. de Azurara, Chronica de descobrimento e conquista de Guine, published, with an introduction, by Barros de Santarem (Paris, 1841), English translation, The Discovery and Conquest of Guinea, by C. R. Beazley and E. Prestage (Hakluyt Society publications, 2 vols., London, 1896-1899), vol. ii. has an introduction on the early history of African exploration, &c. with full bibliographical notes). L. Estancelin, Recherches sur les voyages et decouvertes des navigateurs normands en Afrique (Paris, 1832); Villault de Bellefond, Relation des costes d'Afrique appellees Guinee (Paris, 1669); Pere Labat, Nouvelle Relation de l'Afrique occidentale (Paris, 1728); Desmarquets, Mem. chron. pour servir d l'hist. de Dieppe (18'75); Santarem, Priorite de la decouverte des pays situe's sur la cote occidentale d'Afrique (Paris, 1842); R. H. Major, Life of Prince Henry the Navigator (London, 1868) and the elaborate review of Major's work by M. Codine in the Bulletin de la Soc. de Geog. (1873); A. E. Nordenskiold, Periplus (Stockholm, 1897); The Story of Africa, vol. i. (London, 1892), edited by Dr Robert Brown.
Guinea (stem Guine-*)
|Republic of Guinea|
|National motto:||Travail, Justice, Solidarité (Work, Justice, Solidarity)|
|National anthem:||Liberté (Liberty)|
|About the people|
|Population: (# of people)|
|- Total:||10,324,025 (2010 est.) (ranked 80)|
|- Density:||42.0 per km²|
|Geography / Places|
|[[Image:|250px|none|country map]] Here is the country on a map.|
|- Total:||245,857 (ranked 78)|
|- Water:||140 km² (0.057%)|
|Politics / Government|
|Leaders:|| President of the Republic:
|Economy / Money|
(Name of money)
|Telephone dialing code:|
Guinea is divided into 7 regions and then divided even further into 33 prefectures. The capital of Guinea, Conakry, is a special area.
The following are the biggest cities in Guinea, by population:
The following is a list of notable people from Guinea:
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