GUINEAN Facts & Figures

Size: 94,926 square miles

Population: 10,057,975

Capital:  Conakry

Currency: Guinean franc

Weather / Climate:

At 245,857 km2 (94,926 sq mi), Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom and slightly smaller than the US state of Oregon. There are 320 km (200 mi) of coastline and a total land border of 3,400 km (2,100 mi). Its neighbours are Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. It lies mostly between latitudes 7° and 13°N, and longitudes 7° and 15°W (a small area is west of 15°).

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 Fulas, 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 Mount Nimba at 1,750 m (5,740 ft). 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 7°32′17″N 8°29′50″W.

Taken from wikipedia

GUINEAN languages

The Republic of Guinea is a multilingual country, with over 40 languages spoken. The official language is French, which was inherited from colonial rule. Several indigenous languages have been given the status of national languages: Fula (or Pular); Malinké (or Maninka); Susu; Kissi; Kpelle (known in French as Guerzé) and Toma.

French is the language of state and of official institutions. It is used by 15 to 25% of the population.[citation needed] At the end of the Ahmed Sékou Touré regime, French was the only language used in business and schools.

Fula (32%) is mostly spoken in Middle Guinea, where the major city is Labé. Malinké (30%) is mostly spoken in Upper Guinea, where Kankan is the major city. Susu (10%) is mostly spoken in Guinée maritime, where the capital is Conakry. Guerzé (3.8%), Kissi (3.5%) and Toma (1.8%) are spoken in Guinée Forestière. More specifically, Guerzé is spoken in Nzérékoré and Yomou. Kissi is spoken in Guéckédou and Kissidougou. Finally, Kono is a language used in the south of Guinea, mostly in Lola.

According to a report by Alpha Mamadou Diallo [1], the first language of inhabitants of the city of Conakry in decreasing order was: Susu 42%, Pular 20%, Maninka(with koniaka) 19%, Kissi 4%, Guerzé 4%, French 2% and Toma 2%.

Taken from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Guinea

GUINEAN culture

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Poverty and scarce material resources compel the vast majority of artists and craftspeople to produce goods that serve a practical purpose.

Traditional literature, particularly among the Maninka, is preserved in a body of oral traditions that are remembered and passed down by bards. Radio broadcasts and recordings of epic tales and local histories told by leading griots have helped transport this literature into the twenty-first century. Authors and academics use the printed word to convey their message, such as Camara Laye, the author of Dark Child, a novel about a boy growing up in the colonial era.

Graphic Arts

Woodworkers build and carve furniture such as stools, cabinets, and chairs. Metal workers collect and melt old aluminum cans to make utensils and pots. Villagers weave mats and baskets and dry out and decorate gourds that they use for household tasks. Weavers and dyers sell their cloth to men and women, who take it to tailors to make it into clothing. Most of the graphic arts are thus born of necessity and are evident in daily life.

Performance Arts

 A thriving music industry supports a wide range of music. Some artists specialize in traditional music, accompanied by stringed instruments. Others combine the musical forms of their ethnic group or region with influences from Europe or the Middle East. Cassette tapes are cheaper in Guinea than in the rest of West Africa and most of the world, making Guinea a mecca for buyers of recorded music. Festivals and celebrations, whether public or private, usually feature dancing and music. In the 1960s, Touré founded Les Ballet Africains to highlight Guinea's rich cultural tradition. This dance troupe continues to tour nationally and internationally.

Taken from:http://www.everyculture.com

GUINEAN people

Ethnic groups

Ful?e (singular Pullo). Called Peuhl or Peul (fr:Peul) in French, Fula or Fulani in English, who are chiefly found in the mountainous region of Fouta Djallon;

Maninka. Malinke in French, Mandingo in English, mostly inhabiting the savanna of Upper Guinea and the Forest region;

Susus or Soussous. Susu is not a lingua franca in Guinea. Although it is commonly spoken in the coastal areas, including the capital, Conakry, it is not largely understood in the interior of the country.

Several small groups (Gerzé or Kpelle, Toma, Kissis, etc.) in the forest region and Bagas (including Landoumas), Koniagis etc. in the coastal area.

West Africans make up the largest non-Guinean population. Non-Africans total about 30,000 (mostly French, other Europeans, and Lebanese). Seven national languages are used extensively; the major written languages are French, Pular (Fula or Peuhl), and Arabic. Other languages have established Latin orthographies that are used somewhat, notably for Susu and Maninka. The N'Ko alphabet is increasingly used on a grassroots level for the Maninka language.

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Population

10,601,009 (July 2011 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 42.5% (male 2,278,048/female 2,229,602)
15-64 years: 54% (male 2,860,845/female 2,860,004)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 164,051/female 208,459) (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

2.645% (2011 est.)

Birth rate

36.9 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death rate

10.45 deaths/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
note: as a result of conflict in neighboring countries, Guinea is host to approximately 141,500 refugees from Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate

61.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

male: 56.63 years
female: 59.64 years (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups

Fula 34,2%, Malinke 32,5%, Susu 15,8%, smaller ethnic groups 17,5%

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Guinea

GUINEAN food

 

Like many West African countries Guinean cuisine is based on the use of local fruit and vegetables along with fish. Fufu is the traditional staple and is generally served with soups (stews) made from greens, peanuts, fish and chillies. Guinean cuisine is also well known for using lots of hot chillies and spices in these stews. Typical ingredients include peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas and root vegetables.

Popular dishes:

-Guinean Peanut Sauce

-Fried Plaintains

-Fried sweet potatoes

-Poulet Yassa

-Jus de Bissap

Taken from: http://www.healthy-life.narod.ru/wor_ek89.htm

Places to go in GUINEA

In the capital city Conakry, there is the National Museum which highlights the distinct ethnic tribes in Guinea and various traditional instruments, masks etc.

The main port is located at the tip of the peninsula in Conakry, near the President's Palace. You can take a boat from there to the islands of Loos for a day or overnight trip. It’s a bustling place where fishermen offload their daily catch.

In Conakry, one of the best places to grab a beer and hangout is the beach bar in Taouyah, a neighbourhood with a large market and mostly residential with some night clubs and restaurants. Many expats, including the Peace Corps headquarters, live in the neighbourhood and meet up at the beach around sunset for great pizza or fish or chicken dishes. There is a great breeze, live music, and lots of locals playing soccer games until the sunsets, especially on the weekends.

Music in Guinea is one of the best cultural activities the country has to offer. Some of the best Kora players in the world are from Guinea. There are many bars that offer live music.

The French-Guinean Cultural Center has some great musical shows as well as movies, plays, ballets, and hosts exhibitions and conferences. It also has a library and multi-media centre. Members can take out books and use the computers and internet. This is a great place to meet expats, and local musicians, and artists. Most people there will know the best places to go see a show that week.

Outside of Conakry, there are many attractive tourism destinations for the adventurous traveller. Infrastructure, such as hotels, roads etc is lacking outside of the capital but you can find basic places to stay with limited electricity powered by generators.

The Foutah Djallon area has superb hiking, sweeping vistas, waterfalls and cliffs. Fouta Trekking is a local non-profit that promotes equitable tourism. They offer hiking tours ranging from three to five days or tailored tours. Tourists stay in villages with part of the revenue going back to the villages for community development. Labe, the historical capital and seat of the Foutah Empire that reigned in the pre-colonial times, is a bustling city with some interesting history. You can buy beautiful traditional cloth in various navy blue colors. On the road from Conakry, via Kindia, is the city of Dalaba, where the major chiefs of the country met to determine the fate of the soon to be independent country from the French in 1958. There is an old mansion that you can visit and a ceremonial hut with amazing carvings inside. Kindia has some of the best vegetable and fruit produce and thus a lively market.

The coastline from Conakry up towards Guinea -Bissau also offers great tourism with beautiful untouched beaches, mangroves, and wildlife viewing. Bel Air is a well known tourism destination on the beach about two hours from Conakry on a well paved road. There is a large and usually deserted hotel where past political leaders have met. Its a very popular destination around major holidays. A much nicer place to stay if you like more eco-tourism is Sabolan Village which is a small hotel on a beautiful beach that is off the well paved road that leads to the Bel Air hotel. There are about ten modern huts there and a restaurant. Its a bit expensive for what you get but the setting is amazing. If you have a tent or want to stay in a more authentic and cheaper place, you can go down the beach or along the path, past the actual village, and stay in nice huts made by a local villager and now run by his son. Expats who work in the mining areas rent out the huts and come on the weekends but you can always pitch a tent. You have to bring your own food however.

For the more adventurous is a trip to the island archipelago near the Guinea-Bissau border called Tristao. You can drive from Conakry to Kamsar and from there you can get on a local boat to the Tristao islands. The boat takes four hours and usually runs once or twice a week. You can sometimes get lucky if there is a fishing boat going back to Tristao but they are usually very heavily loaded and may not be as safe as the passenger boat. Manatee, turtles, and many different bird types live in the Tristao archipelago. Its a very isolated place with many animist traditions still in existence.

Kamsar is the main bauxite mining export town, where major shipments of bauxite leave from the Boke region. There are some pretty good hotels and restaurants that cater to the mining executives and expats. The Boke region is the main bauxite mining area. Boke, the administrative city of the region, has an interesting colonial museum, some decent hotels, and a Lebanese store on the main road where everyone goes to watch the football games (soccer) and have cold Amstel lights (when the generator is on).

Taken from:http://wikitravel.org

Doing business in GUINEA

Guineahas 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 labor force. Under French rule, and at the beginning of independence, Guinea was a major exporter of bananas, pineapples, coffee, peanuts, and palm oil.

Mining

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. Bauxite is refined into alumina, which is later smelted into aluminium. The Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinea (CBG), which exports about 14 million tonnes of high-grade bauxite annually, 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 known as Halco Mining Inc., a joint venture of Dadco Mining and Rio Tinto Alcan.[38] 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 short tons; 984,207 long tons) 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 Goldfields of Ghana. Société Minière de Dinguiraye (SMD) also has a large gold mining facility in Lero, near the Malian border.

Guineahas large reserves of the steel-making raw material, iron ore. Rio Tinto is the majority owner of the $6 billion Simandou iron ore project, which the firm says is the world's best unexploited resource.[39] Rio Tinto has signed a binding agreement with Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. to establish the joint venture for the Simandou iron ore project. This project is said to be of the same magnitude as the Pilbara in Western Australia[citation needed]. In the 1960s, Thomas Price, then vice president of US-based steel company Kaiser Steel, said, "I think this [the Pilbara] is one of the most massive ore bodies in the world."[40]

Problems and reforms

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 favouritism, lack of long-term political stability, and the lack of a transparent budgeting process continue to dampen foreign investor interest in major projects in Guinea.[citation needed]

Reforms since 1985 include eliminating restrictions on agriculture and foreign trade, liquidation of some government-owned corporations, 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 favourable conditions for investors in specific agreements. Foreign investments outside Conakry are entitled to more favourable 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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 concession of 31,000 square miles (80,000 km2); it is pursuing seismic exploration.[41]

On 13 October 2009, Guinean Mines Minister Mahmoud Thiam announced that the China 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.[42] In September 2011, Mohamed Lamine Fofana, the Mines Minister following the 2010 election, said that the government had overturned the agreement by the ex-military junta.[43]

Youth unemployment, however, remains a large problem. Guinea needs an adequate policy to address the concerns of the urban youth. The problem is the disparity between their life and what they see on television. As the youth cannot find jobs, seeing the economic power and consumerism of richer countries only serves to frustrate them further.[44]

Oil

Guineasigned a Production sharing agreement with Hyperdynamics Corporation (Houston, TX) in 2006 to explore a large offshore tract, recently in partnership with Dana Petroleum PLC (Aberdeen, United Kingdom). The initial well, the Sabu-1, is scheduled to begin drilling in October 2011 at a site in approximately 700 meters of water. The Sabu-1 will target a four-way anticline prospect with upper Cretaceous sands and is anticipated to be drilled to a total depth of 3,600 meters.[45]

Taken from wikipedia

GUINEA: useful links

eiti.org/Guinea

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13442051

www.lonelyplanet.com/guinea

www.theguinea.co.uk/

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