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For other uses, see Guinea (disambiguation).
République de Guinée
Flag of Guinea Coat of Arms of Guinea
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Travail, Justice, Solidarité
(French: "Work, Justice, Solidarity")
Anthem: Liberté
Location of Guinea
Capital Conakry
9°30′ N 13°43′ W
Largest city Conakry
Official languages French
Government Republic
Lansana Conté
Cellou Dalein Diallo
From France
October 2, 1958
 • Total
 • Water (%)
245,857 km² (75th)
0 km²
 • July 2005 est.
 • 1996 census
 • Density
9,467,866 (83rd)
30.4/km² (133th)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2004 estimate
$19,500 million (112th)
$2,100 (150th)
Currency Guinean franc (FG)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
Internet TLD .gn
Calling code +224

The Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée) is a nation in northwest Africa. It borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal on the north, Mali on the north and north-east, the Ivory Coast on the south-east, Liberia on the south, and Sierra Leone on the west. Its territory encompasses the water source for the Niger, Senegal, and Gambia rivers, with a coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean. The name Guinea (geographically assigned to most of Africa's west coast, south of the Sahara desert and north of the Gulf of Guinea) originates from Berber and roughly translates into 'land of the blacks.'



Main article: History of Guinea

The area covered by the modern state of Guinea has seen itself incorporated into a succession of empires across the centuries. The earliest of these was the Ghana Empire which came into being c. 900. This was followed by the Sosso kingdom in the 12th and 13th centuries. The Mali Empire came to power in the area following the Battle of Kirina in 1235. The Mali Empire prospered until internal problems weakened it, allowing its states to seize power in the 15th century. Chief among these was the Songhai state which became the Songhai Empire. This empire exceeded its predecessors in territory and wealth, but it too fell prey to internal wrangling and civil war and was eventually toppled at the Battle of Tondibi in 1591. After this the area fragmented until an Islamic state was founded in the 18th century, bringing some stability to the region.

Europeans first came to the area as part of the slave trade, beginning in the 16th century. Present-day Guinea was created as a colony by France in 1890 with Noël Balley, being the first governor. The capital Conakry was founded on Tombo Island in 1890. In 1895 the country was incorporated into French West Africa.

Guinea gained her independence from France in 1958 and was governed by a dictatorship headed by Ahmed Sékou Touré. Touré pursued broadly socialist economic policies and suppressed opposition and free expression with little regard for human rights. After his death in 1984 Lansana Conté took power and immediately turned away from his predecessor's economic policies but continued to keep a close grip on power. Elections were held for the first time in 1993 but their results and the results of subsequent elections were disputed. Conté faces regular criticism for the condition of the country's economy and for his heavy handed approach to political opponents. As of 2005 Guinea still faces very real problems and according to the International Crisis Group is in danger of becoming a failed state.


Main article: Politics of Guinea


Guinea is divided into 8 administrative regions which are further subdivided into 33 prefectures. Additionally, the national capital Conakry ranks as a special zone. These are listed below, with their parent administrative region in parenthesis.

  1. Beyla Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)
  2. Boffa Prefecture (Boké Region)
  3. Boké Prefecture (Boké Region)
  4. Conakry Special Zone (Conakry Region)
  5. Coyah Prefecture (Kindia Region)
  6. Dabola Prefecture (Faranah Region)
  7. Dalaba Prefecture (Mamou Region)
  8. Dinguiraye Prefecture (Faranah Region)
  9. Dubréka Prefecture (Kindia Region)
  10. Faranah Prefecture (Faranah Region)
  11. Forécariah Prefecture (Kindia Region)
  12. Fria Prefecture (Boké Region)
  13. Gaoual Prefecture (Boké Region)
  14. Guéckédou Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)
  15. Kankan Prefecture (Kankan Region)
  16. Kérouané Prefecture (Kankan Region)
  17. Kindia Prefecture (Kindia Region)
  18. Kissidougou Prefecture (Faranah Region)
  19. Koubia Prefecture (Labé Region)
  20. Koundara Prefecture (Boké Region)
  21. Kouroussa Prefecture (Kankan Region)
  22. Labé Prefecture (Labé Region)
  23. Lélouma Prefecture (Labé Region)
  24. Lola Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)
  25. Macenta Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)
  26. Mali Prefecture (Labé Region)
  27. Mamou Prefecture (Mamou Region)
  28. Mandiana Prefecture (Kankan Region)
  29. Nzérékoré Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)
  30. Pita Prefecture (Mamou Region)
  31. Siguiri Prefecture (Kankan Region)
  32. Télimélé Prefecture (Kindia Region)
  33. Tougué Prefecture (Labé Region)
  34. Yomou Prefecture (Nzérékoré Region)


Main article: Geography of Guinea

The capital is Conakry.

Map of Guinea


Main article: Economy of Guinea

Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, and agricultural resources, yet remains a poor underdeveloped nation. The agricultural sector employs 80% of the work force. Guinea possesses over 25% of the world's bauxite reserves and is the second largest bauxite producer. The mining sector accounted for about 75% of exports in 1998. 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 1997-1999. Even with a recovery in prices for some of Guinea's main commodity exports, annual GDP is unlikely to increase by more than 5% in 2000-2001.


Main article: Demographics of Guinea


Main article: Culture of Guinea

  • Like other West African countries, Guinea has a rich musical tradition. The group Bembeya Jazz became popular in the 1960s after Guinean independence. The Vancouver-based guitarist Alpha Yaya Diallo hails from Guinea and incorporates its traditional rhythms and melodies into his original compositions, for which he has won two Juno (Canadian music) awards.

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