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The Republic of Guinea is located in West Africa on the Atlantic coast and, at 245 857 km², is about two thirds the size of Germany. The country borders Senegal and Mali to the north, the Ivory Coast to the east, Liberia to the south, Sierra Leone to the southwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Guinea-Bissau to the northwest.

Guinea can be divided into four different landscapes. The approximately 300 km long coast, which is strongly indented by bays and islands, and the coastal plain behind it with the fertile soils belong to Lower Guinea. To the east of the coastal region is the Fouta Djalon (Table Mountain Range), which rises steeply and occupies two thirds of Guinea’s territory and is called Central Guinea. Here heights of up to 1 500 m are reached. Numerous rivers (e.g. Bafing (a spring river of Senegal), Gambia, Tinkisso), which have cut deep valleys, originate in this mountainous country.

To the east of the Table Mountain Country stretches the hilly Upper Guinea (400 to 500 m), which is crossed by the upper reaches of the Niger and its tributaries. In the extreme southeast of the country lies Forest Guinea, which is dominated by numerous island mountains such as the Nimba Mountains (the highest point of the country is 1,752 m). The capital Conakry is located on a peninsula on the Atlantic coast.

Political System

According to the 2010 Constitution, Guinea is a presidential republic. The head of state is the president (since December 2010 Alpha Condé), who is elected by the people for a term of five years (one-off re-election possible). The president appoints the head of government (since December 2010 Mohamed Saïd Fofana) and the members of the cabinet.

The National Assembly has the legislative power and its 114 members are elected by the people for a five-year term. The country is divided into eight regions.

Economy

Guinea is one of the poorer countries in Africa, although it has extensive resources – mineral resources, hydropower, fertile soils. More than two thirds of the population live on less than two US dollars a day. After the death of the dictator Touré in 1984, a restructuring process took place from a formerly socialist-oriented economy to a market economy. However, the intensified fighting along the borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia since the turn of the millennium led to refugee movements and a decline in economic growth; corruption became rampant and inflation rose.

Agriculture accounts for just under a quarter of the gross domestic product (GDP), but employs over four-fifths of the workforce. Rice, millet, maize, sweet potatoes and manioc are the main crops grown to meet the population’s own needs. Coffee, pineapple, bananas and oil palms (for the production of palm fat) are cultivated for export. Forestry and fishing play only a minor role for exports.

Guinea is one of the world’s largest exporters of bauxite, and other mineral resources include iron ore, nickel, uranium, gold and diamonds. Mining is the most important economic sector for exports, raw materials account for more than three quarters of the export volume. The industry is only moderately developed and concentrates on the processing of food and mineral resources.

The main consumers of Guinean goods (bauxite, aluminium, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee and fish) are France, Ireland, Spain and the USA. The main import markets are food, petroleum products, machinery, metals, textiles, capital and consumer goods. The main suppliers are the EU countries, China, the USA and Côte d’Ivoire.

There are some 2 000 km of paved roads available (20 000 km in total). Conakry has an international airport. Currency is the Guinea franc (= 100 Cauris).