Guinea: Facts About the Country

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Guinea (sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry) is a country in West Africa that faces the Atlantic. It is a republic and an Islam-dominant country that is always in the media limelight for its attention-grabbing news headlines. Recently, a plane taking Guinea’s banished former junta chief, Moussa Dadis Camara, back to the country was diverted, and Camara is again in Burkina Faso, the country he had been staying in since his banishment in 2010.

But besides politics, if you are interested in knowing more about the land and its people, a few facts are given below:

  1. Conakry is the largest city of the territory and is the capital as well. With an estimated population of 1,548,500, it leads the country in cultural, financial, and administrative concerns. The second largest city is Kankan.
  2. Previously known as French Guinea, the country today shares a border with Liberia, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone.
  3. It’s called Guinea-Conakry today in order to make a distinction from its neighboring nationals Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea, which have the same family name attached to them.
  4. The country is reported to have a population of more than 10 million people in an area covering 245,860 square kilometers.
  5. Guinea people come from 24 different ethnic classes; however, the majority of people there (85%) practice the Islam religion.
  6. Since Guinea is a republic, the president is selected directly by the people and becomes the head of both state and government. Presently, Alpha Condé is the president of the country.
  7. Guinea Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and is the final court for any appeals. The legislative body is the Unicameral National Assembly, and members are also elected directly by the people.
  8. After declaring independence from France in 1958, the country faced a lot of hardship with a repressive socialist rule that almost bankrupted the country. In 1984, a coup brought in a military government that ruled until 1990 and improved situations to some extent. Then the democratic system came into place.
  9. The languages spoken in Guinea today are local languages, with French considered the official language. There are 24 local languages spoken, including Susu, Pular, and Mandinka. Religions followed by the people are both Islam and Christianity.
  10. In Susu language, the word “Guinea” means “Women.” The country code is 224, and the currency recognized is the Guinean franc.
  11. Another interesting fact about the country is that it has the wettest capital in the world, with rain records of 3.7 meters a year.
  12. Their list of National Holidays include: New Year’s, Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet), Easter Monday, Labor Day, Eid al-Fitr, Independence Day (based on declaring independence on October 2, 1958), All Saints’ Day, Feast of Sacrifice, and Christmas.
  13. The land is best known around the world for its diamond and gold deposits, but it is very dependent on agriculture and mineral production.
  14. Other important export products are timber, rice, cassava, maize, bananas, iron ore, bauxite, livestock, millet, pineapples, and palm oil products. It is the world’s second largest producer of bauxite.
  15. Human rights are a major concern in the country. In 2011, the U.S. government named two major concerns in Guinea: affliction from torture by security forces and abuse of women and children. However, what catches the eye is also their ongoing small conflicts among rebel groups that are in the news from time to time.

An Ebola outbreak in March, 2014, killed hundreds of people in the country. The disease, caused by Ebola viruses, also spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. By September, more than four hundred people were killed according to records. In August, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international emergency. It was the most horrible case since the virus had first been recognized 40 years before.

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