|General 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
Slightly smaller than Oregon
Generally hot and humid; monsoonal-type rainy season (June
to November) with southwesterly winds; dry season (December
to May) with northeasterly harmattan winds.
Generally flat coastal plain, hilly to mountainous interior.
Population: 7,775,065 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Peuhl 40%, Malinke 30%, Soussou
20%, smaller ethnic groups 10%
Religions: Muslim 85%, Christian 8%, indigenous
Language: French (official), each ethnic group
has its own language
Government type: Republic
Legal system: Based on French civil law system,
customary law, and decree; legal codes currently being
revised; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Economic 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.
Communication/Telephone system: Poor to fair
system of open-wire lines, small radiotelephone communication
stations, and new microwave radio relay system.
Places of interest:
Travel tips: Much of the accommodation for travelers
is substandard and the food is basic. Transport timetables,
if you can find them, are ignored.