Guinea

Coordinates: 11°N 10°W / 11°N 10°W

Republic of Guinea

République de Guinée (French)
Motto: "Travail, Justice, Solidarité" (French)
"Work, Justice, Solidarity"
Anthem: Liberté  (French)
Freedom
Location of  Guinea  (dark blue) – in Africa  (light blue & dark grey) – in the African Union  (light blue)
Location of  Guinea  (dark blue)

– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union  (light blue)

Location of Guinea
Capital
and largest city
Conakry
9°31′N 13°42′W / 9.517°N 13.700°W
Official languagesFrench
Vernacular
languages
Ethnic groups
Demonym(s)Guinean
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Alpha Condé
Ibrahima Kassory Fofana
LegislatureNational Assembly
Independence
• from France
2 October 1958
Area
• Total
245,836 km2 (94,918 sq mi) (77th)
• Water (%)
negligible
Population
• 2016 estimate
12,395,924[2] (81st)
• 2014 census
11,628,972
• Density
40.9/km2 (105.9/sq mi) (164th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate
• Total
$26.451 billion[3]
• Per capita
$2,039[3]
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate
• Total
$9.183 billion[3]
• Per capita
$707[3]
Gini (2012)33.7[4]
medium
HDI (2017)Increase 0.459[5]
low · 175th
CurrencyGuinean franc (GNF)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
Driving sideright
Calling code+224
ISO 3166 codeGN
Internet TLD.gn

Guinea (/ˈɡɪni/ (listen)), officially the Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée), is a west-coastal country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea (French: Guinée française), the modern country is sometimes referred to as Guinea-Conakry in order to distinguish it from other countries with "Guinea" in the name and the eponymous region, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.[6][7][8][9] Guinea has a population of 12.4 million and an area of 245,860 square kilometres (94,927 sq mi).[10]

The sovereign state of Guinea is a republic with a president that is directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, and its members are also directly elected by the people. The judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country.[11] The country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a traditional name for the region of Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches north through the forested tropical regions and ends at the Sahel. The English term Guinea comes directly from the Portuguese word Guiné, which emerged in the mid-15th century to refer to the lands inhabited by the Guineus, a generic term for the black African peoples below the Senegal River, as opposed to the 'tawny' Zenaga Berbers, above it, whom they called Azenegues or Moors.

Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population.[12][13][6] Guinea's people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the official language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, and the media, but more than twenty-four indigenous languages are also spoken.

Guinea's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and mineral production.[14] It is the world's second largest producer of bauxite, and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.[15] The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, and abuse of women and children (e.g. female genital mutilation) were ongoing abuses of human rights.[16]

History

The land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958. From independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers.[17][18][19]

For the origin of the name "Guinea" see Guinea (region) § Etymology.

West African empires and Kingdoms in Guinea

What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires. The earliest, the Ghana Empire, grew on trade but ultimately fell after repeated incursions of the Almoravids. It was in this period that Islam first arrived in the region by way of North African traders.

The Sosso kingdom (12th to 13th centuries) briefly flourished in the resulting void but the Mali Empire came to prominence when Soundiata Kéïta defeated the Sosso ruler Soumangourou Kanté at the Battle of Kirina in c. 1235. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa (Emperors), the most famous being Kankou Moussa, who made a famous hajj to Mecca in 1324. Shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was ultimately supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century.

The most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and eventually surpassed the Mali Empire in both territory and wealth. It continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582. The weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later. The Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom effectively, however, and it split into many small kingdoms.

Almamy Samory Touré
Samori Toure was the founder of the Wassoulou Empire, an Islamic state in present-day Guinea that resisted French colonial rule in West Africa from 1882 until Touré's capture in 1898.

After the fall of the major West African empires, various kingdoms existed in what is now Guinea. Fulani Muslims migrated to Futa Jallon in Central Guinea and established an Islamic state from 1735 to 1898 with a written constitution and alternate rulers. The Wassoulou or Wassulu empire was a short-lived (1878–1898) empire, led by Samori Toure in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali (Wassoulou). It moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French.

Colonial era

The slave trade came to the coastal region of Guinea with European traders in the 16th century. Slaves were exported to work elsewhere in the triangular trade.

Guinea's colonial period began with French military penetration into the area in the mid-19th century. French domination was assured by the defeat in 1898 of the armies of Samori Touré, Mansa (or Emperor) of the Ouassoulou state and leader of Malinké descent, which gave France control of what today is Guinea and adjacent areas.

France negotiated Guinea's present boundaries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the British for Sierra Leone, the Portuguese for their Guinea colony (now Guinea-Bissau), and Liberia. Under the French, the country formed the Territory of Guinea within French West Africa, administered by a governor general resident in Dakar. Lieutenant governors administered the individual colonies, including Guinea.

Independence and post-colonial rule (1958–2008)

In 1958, the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies, especially Indochina and Algeria. The founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France's colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community or immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea—under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence. The French withdrew quickly, and on 2 October 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic, with Sékou Touré as president.

Ahmed Sékou Touré na obisku v Ljubljani 1961 (3)
President Ahmed Sékou Touré was supported by the Communist bloc states and in 1961 visited Yugoslavia.

France's withdrawal resulted in punitive economic reprisals, including the end of all French aid and investment. Guinea subsequently quickly aligned itself with the Soviet Union and adopted socialist policies. This alliance was short-lived, however, as Guinea moved towards a Chinese model of socialism. Despite this, however, the country continued to receive aid and investment from capitalist countries such as the United States.

By 1960, Touré had declared the PDG the country's only legal political party and for the next 24 years, the government and the PDG were one. Touré was reelected unopposed to four seven-year terms as president, and every five years voters were presented with a single list of PDG candidates for the National Assembly. Advocating a hybrid African Socialism domestically and Pan-Africanism abroad, Touré quickly became a polarising leader, and his government became intolerant of dissent, imprisoning thousands and stifling the press.

Throughout the 1960s the Guinean government nationalised land, removed French-appointed and traditional chiefs from power, and had strained ties with the French government and French companies. Touré's government relied on the Soviet Union and China for infrastructure aid and development but much of this was used for political and not economic purposes (such as the building of large stadiums to hold political rallies). Meanwhile, the country's roads, railways and other infrastructure languished and the economy stagnated.

22novemberdetail
Monument to commemorate the 1970 military victory over the Portuguese raid. The only objective not accomplished by the Portuguese raid was the capture of Ahmed Sékou Touré.

On 22 November 1970, Portuguese forces from neighboring Portuguese Guinea staged Operation Green Sea, a raid on Conakry by several hundred exiled Guinean opposition forces. Among their goals, the Portuguese military wanted to kill or capture Sekou Toure due his support of the PAIGC, an independence movement and rebel group that carried out attacks inside Portuguese Guinea from their bases in Guinea.[20] After fierce fighting, the Portuguese-backed forces retreated, having freed several dozen Portuguese prisoners of war that were being held by the PAIGC in Conakry but without having ousted Touré. In the years after the raid, massive purges were carried out by the Touré government and at least 50,000 people (1% of Guinea's entire population) were killed. Countless others were imprisoned, faced torture, or, often in the case of foreigners, were forced to leave the country (sometimes after having had their Guinean spouse arrested and their children placed into state custody).

A declining economy, mass killings, a stifling political atmosphere, and a ban on all private economic transactions led in 1977 to the "Market Women's Revolt," anti-government riots that were started by women working in Conakry's Madina Market. This caused Touré to make major reforms. Touré vacillated from supporting the Soviet Union to supporting the United States. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw some economic reforms but Touré's centralized control of the state remained. Even the relationship with France improved; after the election of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as French president, trade increased and the two countries exchanged diplomatic visits.

Sékou Touré died on 26 March 1984 after a heart operation in the United States, and was replaced by Prime Minister Louis Lansana Beavogui, who was to serve as interim president pending new elections. The PDG was due to elect a new leader on 3 April 1984. Under the constitution, that person would have been the only candidate for president. However, hours before that meeting, Colonels Lansana Conté and Diarra Traoré seized power in a bloodless coup. Conté assumed the role of president, with Traoré serving as prime minister until December.

Conté immediately denounced the previous regime's record on human rights, released 250 political prisoners and encouraged approximately 200,000 more to return from exile. He also made explicit the turn away from socialism. This did little to alleviate poverty and the country showed no immediate signs of moving towards democracy.

In 1992, Conté announced a return to civilian rule, with a presidential poll in 1993 followed by elections to parliament in 1995 (in which his party—the Party of Unity and Progress—won 71 of 114 seats.) Despite his stated commitment to democracy, Conté's grip on power remained tight. In September 2001, the opposition leader Alpha Condé was imprisoned for endangering state security, though he was pardoned 8 months later. He subsequently spent a period of exile in France.

In 2001, Conté organized and won a referendum to lengthen the presidential term and in 2003 begun his third term after elections were boycotted by the opposition. In January 2005, Conté survived a suspected assassination attempt while making a rare public appearance in the capital Conakry. His opponents claimed that he was a "tired dictator"[21] whose departure was inevitable, whereas his supporters believed that he was winning a battle with dissidents. Guinea still faces very real problems and according to Foreign Policy is in danger of becoming a failed state.[22]

In 2000, Guinea became embroiled in the instability which had long blighted the rest of West Africa as rebels crossed the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone and it seemed for a time that the country was headed for civil war.[23] Conté blamed neighbouring leaders for coveting Guinea's natural resources, though these claims were strenuously denied.[24] In 2003, Guinea agreed to plans with her neighbours to tackle the insurgents. In 2007, there were large protests against the government, resulting in the appointment of a new prime minister.[25]

Recent history

Conté remained in power until his death on 23 December 2008[26] and several hours following his death, Moussa Dadis Camara seized control in a coup, declaring himself head of a military junta.[27] Protests against the coup became violent and 157 people were killed when, on 28 September 2009, the junta ordered its soldiers to attack people who had gathered to protest against Camara's attempt to become president.[28] The soldiers went on a rampage of rape, mutilation, and murder which caused many foreign governments to withdraw their support for the new regime.[29]

On 3 December 2009, an aide shot Camara during a dispute over the rampage in September. Camara went to Morocco for medical care.[29][30] Vice-President (and defense minister) Sékouba Konaté flew back from Lebanon to run the country in Camara's absence.[31] After meeting in Ouagadougou on 13 and 14 January 2010, Camara, Konaté and Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, produced a formal statement of twelve principles promising a return of Guinea to civilian rule within six months.[32]

The presidential election was held on 27 June,[33][34] with a second election held on 7 November due to allegations of electoral fraud.[35] Voter turnout was high, and the elections went relatively smoothly.[36] Alpha Condé, leader of the opposition party Rally of the Guinean People (RGP), won the election promising to reform the security sector and review mining contracts.[37]

In late February 2013, political violence erupted in Guinea after protesters took to the streets to voice their concerns over the transparency of the upcoming May 2013 elections. The demonstrations were fueled by the opposition coalition's decision to step down from the electoral process in protest at the lack of transparency in the preparations for elections.[38] Nine people were killed during the protests, and around 220 were injured. Many of the deaths and injuries were caused by security forces using live ammunition on protesters.[39][40]

The political violence also led to inter-ethnic clashes between the Fula and Malinke, the base of support for President Condé. The former mainly supported the opposition.[41]

On 26 March 2013, the opposition party backed out of the negotiations with the government over the upcoming 12 May election. The opposition said that the government had not respected them, and had not kept any promises they agreed to.[42]

On 25 March 2014, the World Health Organization said that Guinea's Ministry of Health had reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea. This initial outbreak had a total of 86 cases, including 59 deaths. By 28 May, there were 281 cases, with 186 deaths.[43] It is believed that the first case was Emile Ouamouno, a 2-year-old boy who lived in the village of Meliandou. He fell ill on 2 December 2013 and died on 6 December.[44][45] On 18 September 2014, eight members of an Ebola education health care team were murdered by villagers in the town of Womey.[46] As of 1 November 2015, there have been 3,810 cases and 2,536 deaths in Guinea.[47]

Government and politics

Alpha Conde - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012
Alpha Condé, the current President of Guinea

The country is a republic. The president is directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral National Assembly is the legislative body of the country, and its members are directly elected by the people. The judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest and final court of appeal in the country.[11]

Guinea is a member of many international organizations including the African Union, Agency for the French-Speaking Community, African Development Bank, Economic Community of West African States, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, IMF, and the United Nations.

Political culture

President Alpha Condé derives support from Guinea's second-largest ethnic group, the Malinke.[48] Guinea's opposition is backed by the Fula ethnic group,[49] who account for around 40 percent of the population.[48]

Executive branch

The president of Guinea is normally elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the winning candidate must receive a majority of the votes cast to be elected president. The president governs Guinea, assisted by a council of 25 civilian ministers appointed by him. The government administers the country through eight regions, 33 prefectures, over 100 subprefectures, and many districts (known as communes in Conakry and other large cities and villages or "quartiers" in the interior). District-level leaders are elected; the president appoints officials to all other levels of the highly centralized administration.

Since the 2010 presidential elections, the head of state has been Alpha Condé.

Legislative branch

The National Assembly of Guinea, the country's legislative body, did not meet from 2008 to 2013 when it was dissolved after the military coup in December. Elections have been postponed many times since 2007. In April 2012, President Condé postponed the elections indefinitely, citing the need to ensure that they were "transparent and democratic".[50]

The 2013 Guinean legislative election were held on 24 September 2013.[51] President Alpha Condé's party, the Rally of the Guinean People (RPG), won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly of Guinea, with 53 out of 114 seats. The opposition parties won a total of 53 seats, and opposition leaders denounced the official results as fraudulent.

Foreign relations

Guinea's foreign relations, including those with its West African neighbors, have improved steadily since 1985.[52]

Military

Guinea's armed forces are divided into five branches – army, navy, air force, the paramilitary National Gendarmerie and the Republican Guard – whose chiefs report to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is subordinate to the Minister of Defense. In addition, regime security forces include the National Police Force (Sûreté National). The Gendarmerie, responsible for internal security, has a strength of several thousand.

The army, with about 15,000 personnel, is by far the largest branch of the armed forces. It is mainly responsible for protecting the state borders, the security of administered territories, and defending Guinea's national interests. Air force personnel total about 700. The force's equipment includes several Russian-supplied fighter planes and transports. The navy has about 900 personnel and operates several small patrol craft and barges.

Geography

Guniea map of Köppen climate classification
Guinea map of Köppen climate classification

Guinea shares a border with Senegal on the north, Mali on the northeast, Ivory Coast to the east, and Liberia and Sierra Leone to the south. The nation forms a crescent as it curves from its southeast region to the north and west, to its northwest border with Guinea-Bissau and southwestern coast on the Atlantic Ocean. The sources of the Niger River, Gambia River, and Senegal River are all found in the Guinea Highlands.[53][54][55]

At 245,857 km2 (94,926 sq mi), Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. There are 320 km (200 mi) of coastline and a total land border of 3,400 km (2,100 mi). It lies mostly between latitudes and 13°N, and longitudes and 15°W (a small area is west of 15°).

Guinea is divided into four main regions: Maritime Guinea, also known as Lower Guinea or 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 1,752 m (5,748 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 / 7.53806°N 8.49722°W.

Regions and prefectures

The Republic of Guinea covers 245,857 square kilometres (94,926 sq mi) of West Africa, about 10 degrees north of the equator. Guinea is divided into four natural regions with distinct human, geographic, and climatic characteristics:

  • Maritime Guinea (La Guinée Maritime) covers 18% of the country.
  • Middle Guinea (La Moyenne-Guinée) covers 20% of the country.
  • Upper Guinea (La Haute-Guinée) covers 38% of the country.
  • Forested Guinea (Guinée forestière) covers 23% of the country, and is both forested and mountainous.

Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures. Conakry is Guinea's capital, largest city, and economic centre. Nzérékoré, located in the Guinée forestière region in Southern Guinea, is the second largest city.

Other major cities in the country with a population above 100,000 include Kankan, Kindia, Labe, Guéckédou, Boke, Mamou and Kissidougou.

  • The capital Conakry with a population of 1,667,864 ranks as a special zone.
Region Capital Population
(2014 census)
Conakry Region Conakry 1,667,864
Nzérékoré Region Nzérékoré 1,663,582
Kankan Region Kankan 1,986,329
Kindia Region Kindia 1,559,185
Boké Region Boké 1,081,445
Labé Region Labé 995,717
Faranah Region Faranah 942,733
Mamou Region Mamou 732,117

Wildlife

The wildlife of Guinea is very diverse due to the wide variety of different habitats. The southern part of the country lies within Guinean Forests of West Africa Biodiversity Hotspot, while the north-east is characterized by dry savanna woodlands. Unfortunately, declining populations of large animals are restricted to uninhabited distant parts of parks and reserves.

Taxonomy

Species found in Guinea include the following:

Economy

Guinea Export Treemap
A proportional depiction of Guinea's export products
Fisher women on River Niger in Guinea, Africa
Malinke fisher women on the Niger River, Niandankoro, Kankan Region, in eastern Guinea

Natural resources

Guinea has 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. 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.

Mining

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. 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., itself a joint venture controlled by aluminium producer Alcoa (AA), global miner Rio Tinto Group and Dadco Investments.[56] CBG has exclusive rights to bauxite reserves and resources in north-western Guinea through 2038.[57] In 2008 protesters upset about poor electrical services blocked the tracks CBG uses. Guineau often includes a proviso in its agreements with international oil companies requiring its partners to generate power for nearby communities.[58]

The Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK), a joint venture between the government of Guinea and RUSAL, 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 operation 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. 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. 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 were 90% gem quality. Production stopped from 1993 until 1996, when First City Mining of Canada purchased the international portion of the consortium. Société Minière de Dinguiraye (SMD) also has a large gold mining facility in Lero, near the Malian border.

Oil

Guinea signed a production sharing agreement with Hyperdynamics Corporation of Houston in 2006 to explore a large offshore tract, and was recently in partnership with Dana Petroleum PLC (Aberdeen, United Kingdom). The initial well, the Sabu-1, was scheduled to begin drilling in October 2011 at a site in approximately 700 meters of water. The Sabu-1 targeted a four-way anticline prospect with upper Cretaceous sands and was anticipated to be drilled to a total depth of 3,600 meters.[59]

Following the completion of exploratory drilling in 2012, the Sabu-1 well was not deemed commercially viable.[60] In November 2012, Hyperdynamics subsidiary SCS reached an agreement for a sale of 40% of the concession to Tullow Oil, bringing ownership shares in the Guinea offshore tract to 37% Hyperdynamics, 40% Tullow Oil, and 23% Dana Petroleum.[61] Hyperdynamics will have until September 2016 under the current agreement to begin drilling its next selected site, the Fatala Cenomanian turbidite fan prospect.[62][63]

Agriculture

The majority of Guineans work in the agriculture sector, which employs approximately 75% of the country. The rice is cultivated in the flooded zones between streams and rivers. However, the local production of rice is not sufficient to feed the country, so rice is imported from Asia. The agriculture sector of Guinea cultivates coffee beans, pineapples, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, oranges, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, and many other types of produce. Guinea is one of the emerging regional producers of apples and pears. There are many plantations of grapes, pomegranates, and recent years have seen the development of strawberry plantations based on the vertical hydroponic system.

Tourism

Le "Voile" de la mariée à Kindia
Le "Voile" de la mariée à Kindia

Due to its diverse geography, Guinea presents some interesting tourist sites. Among the top attractions are the waterfalls found mostly in the Basse Guinee (Lower Guinea) and Moyenne Guinee (Middle Guinea) regions. The Soumba cascade at the foot of Mount Kakoulima in Kindia, Voile de la Mariee (bride's veil) in Dubreka, Kinkon cascades of about 80 m high on the Kokoula river in the prefecture of Pita, the Kambadaga falls on the same river that can reach 100 m high during the raining season, the Ditinn & Mitty waterfalls in Dalaba, Fetoré waterfalls and the stone bridge in the region of Labe are among the well known water-related tourist sites.

Problems and reforms

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. 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. In August 2016 that number had reached 9089.

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.[64]

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.[65] 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.[66]

Youth unemployment remains a large problem. Guinea needs an adequate policy to address the concerns of urban youth. One problem is the disparity between their life and what they see on television. For youth who cannot find jobs, seeing the economic power and consumerism of richer countries only serves to frustrate them further.[67]

Mining controversies

Guinea has large reserves of the steel-making raw material, iron ore. Rio Tinto Group was the majority owner of the $6 billion Simandou iron ore project, which it had called the world's best unexploited resource. This project is said to be of the same magnitude as the Pilbara in Western Australia.[68]

In 2017, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group pled guilty to a multi-year bribery scheme, after an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) led to a trial in the United States and a fine of $412 million.[69] Following this, the SEC also filed a lawsuit in the US against head of Och-Ziff European operations, Michael Cohen,[70][71] for his role in a bribery scheme in the region.[72][73]

In 2009 the government of Guinea gave the northern half of Simandou to BSGR[74] for an $165 million investment in the project and a pledge to spend $1 billion on railways, saying that Rio Tinto wasn't moving into production fast enough. The US Justice Department investigated allegations that BSGR had bribed President Conté's wife to get him the concession,[75] and so did the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the next elected President of Guinea, Alpha Condé, and an assortment of other national and international entities.

In April 2014 the Guinean government cancelled the company's mining rights in Simandou. BSGR has denied any wrongdoing, and in May 2014 sought arbitration over the government of Guinea's decision to expropriate its mining rights.[76]

In 2010 Rio Tinto signed a binding agreement with Aluminum Corporation of China Limited to establish a joint venture for the Simandou iron ore project.[77] In November 2016, Rio Tinto admitted paying $10.5 million to a close adviser of President Alpha Condé to obtain rights on Simandou.[78] Conde said he knew nothing about the bribe and denied any wrongdoing. However, according to recordings obtained by FRANCE 24, Guinean authorities were aware of the Simandou briberies.[79]

In July 2017, the UK-based anti-fraud regulator, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Australian Federal Police[80] launched an investigation into Rio Tinto's business practices in Guinea.[81][82]

Further, In November 2016, the former mining minister of Guinea, Mahmoud Thiam, accused head of Rio Tinto's Guinea operation department of offering him a bribe in 2010 to regain Rio Tinto's control over half of the undeveloped Simandou project.

In September 2011, Guinea adopted a new mining code. The law set up a commission to review government deals struck during the chaotic days between the end of dictatorship in 2008 and Condé coming to power.[83]

In September 2015, the French Financial Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into President Alpha Conde's son, Mohamed Alpha Condé.[84] He was charged with embezzlement of public funds and receiving financial and other benefits from French companies that were interested in the Guinean mining industry.[85][86]

In August 2016, son of a former Prime Minister of Gabon, who worked for Och-Ziff's Africa Management Ltd, a subsidiary of the U.S. hedge fund Och-Ziff, was arrested in the US and charged with bribing officials in Guinea, Chad and Niger on behalf of the company in order to secure mining concessions[87] and gain access to relevant confidential information.[88] The investigation also revealed that he was involved in rewriting Guinea's mining law during President Conde's rule.[89] In December 2016, the US Department of Justice announced that the man pleaded guilty to conspiring to make corrupt payments to government officials in Africa.[88]

According to a Global Witness report, Sable Mining sought iron ore explorations rights to Mount Nimba in Guinea by getting close to Conde towards the 2010 elections, backing his campaign for presidency and bribing his son.[90] These allegations have not been verified yet but in March 2016 Guinean authorities ordered an investigation into the matter.[91]

The Conde government investigated two other contracts as well, one which left Hyperdynamic with a third of Guinea's offshore lease allocations as well as Rusal's purchase of the Friguia Aluminum refinery, in which it said that Rusal greatly underpaid.[92]

Minority and women's rights

Homosexuality is illegal in Guinea.[93] Same sex relations are considered a strong taboo, and the prime minister declared in 2010 that he doesn't consider sexual orientation a legitimate human right.[16]

According to Anastasia Gage, an associate professor at Tulane University, and Ronan van Rossem, an associate professor at Ghent University,[94] female genital mutilation in Guinea had been performed on more than 98% of women as of 2009.[95] In Guinea almost all cultures, religions, and ethnicities practice female genital mutilation.[96] The 2005 Demographic and Health Survey reported that 96% of women have gone through the operation. Prosecutions of its practitioners are nonexistent.[16]

Transport infrastructure

The railway from Conakry to Kankan ceased operating in the mid-1980s.[97] Domestic air services are intermittent. Most vehicles in Guinea are 20+ years old, and cabs are any four-door vehicle which the owner has designated as being for hire. Locals, nearly entirely without vehicles of their own, rely upon these taxis (which charge per seat) and small buses to take them around town and across the country. There is some river traffic on the Niger and Milo rivers. Horses and donkeys pull carts, primarily to transport construction materials.

Mining operations are expected to start at Simandou before the end of 2015. Rio Tinto Limited plans to build a 650 km railway to transport iron ore from the mine to the coast, near Matakong, for export.[98] Much of the Simandou iron ore is expected to be shipped to China for steel production.[99]

Conakry International Airport is the largest airport in the country, with flights to other cities in Africa as well as to Europe.

Major roads

The major roads of Guinea are the following:

  • N1 connects Conakry, Coyah, Kindia, Mamou, Dabola, Kouroussa, and Kankan.
  • N2 connects Mamou, Faranah, Kissidougou, Guékédou, Macenta, Nzérékoré, and Lola.
  • N4 connects Coyah, Forécariah, and, Farmoreya.
  • N5 connects Mamou, Dalaba, Pita, and Labé.
  • N6 connects Kissidougou, Kankan, and Siguiri.
  • N20 connects Kamsar, Kolaboui, and Boké.

Demography

Population in Guinea[2]
Year Million
1950 3.0
2000 8.8
2016 12.4

The population of Guinea is estimated at 12.4 million. Conakry, the capital and largest city, is the hub of Guinea's economy, commerce, education, and culture. In 2014, the total fertility rate (TFR) of Guinea was estimated at 4.93 children born per woman.[100]

Languages

Pita, Guinea
Guinean women

The official language of Guinea is French. Other significant languages spoken are Pular (Fulfulde or Fulani), Maninka (Malinke), Susu, Kissi, Kpelle, and Loma.

Ethnic groups

The population of Guinea comprises about 24 ethnic groups. The Mandinka, also known as Mandingo or Malinké, comprise 29.8%[102] of the population and are mostly found in eastern Guinea concentrated around the Kankan and Kissidougou prefectures.[10] The Fulas or Fulani,[49] comprise 32.1%[102] of the population and are mostly found in the Futa Djallon region.

The Soussou, comprising 19.8% of the population, are predominantly in western areas around the capital Conakry, Forécariah, and Kindia. Smaller ethnic groups make up the remaining 18.3%[102] of the population, including Kpelle, Kissi, Zialo, Toma and others.[10] Approximately 10,000 non-Africans live in Guinea, predominantly Lebanese, French, and other Europeans.[103]

Religion

Conakrymosque
The Conakry Grand Mosque in Guinea, one of the largest mosques in West Africa

The population of Guinea is approximately 85 percent Muslim, 8 percent Christian, with 7 percent adhering to indigenous religious beliefs.[106] Much of the population, both Muslim and Christian, also incorporate indigenous African beliefs into their outlook.[106]

The vast majority of Guinean Muslims are adherent to the Sunni tradition of Islam, of Maliki school of jurisprudence, influenced with Salafism,[107] with many Ahmadiyya;[108] there are relatively few Shi'a in Guinea.

Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Evangelical groups. Jehovah's Witnesses are active in the country and recognized by the Government. There is a small Baha'i community. There are small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, and traditional Chinese religious groups among the expatriate community.[109]

There were three days of ethno-religious fighting in the city of Nzerekore in July 2013.[48][110] Fighting between ethnic Kpelle, who are Christian or animist, and ethnic Konianke, who are Muslims and close to the larger Malinke ethnic group, left at least 54 dead.[110] The dead included people who were killed with machetes and burned alive.[110] The violence ended after the Guinea military imposed a curfew, and President Conde made a televised appeal for calm.[110]

Education

Guinea schoolgirls
Schoolgirls in Conakry, Guinea

The literacy rate of Guinea is one of the lowest in the world: in 2010 it was estimated that only 41% of adults were literate (52% of males and 30% of females).[111] Primary education is compulsory for 6 years,[112] but most children do not attend for so long, and many do not go to school at all. In 1999, primary school attendance was 40 percent. Children, particularly girls, are kept out of school in order to assist their parents with domestic work or agriculture,[113] or to be married: Guinea has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.[114]

Health

Ebola

In 2014, there was an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Guinea. In response, the health ministry banned the sale and consumption of bats, thought to be carriers of the disease. Despite this measure, the virus eventually spread from rural areas to Conakry,[115] and by late June 2014 had spread to neighboring countries Sierra Leone and Liberia. In early August 2014 Guinea closed its borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia to help contain the spreading of the virus, as more new cases of the disease were being reported in those countries than in Guinea.

The outbreak began in early December, in a village called Meliandou, southeastern Guinea, not far from the borders with both Liberia and Sierra Leone. The first known case was a two-year-old child who died, after fever and vomiting and passing black stool, on December 6. The child's mother died a week later, then a sister and a grandmother, all with symptoms that included fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Then, by way of caregiving visits or attendance at funerals, the outbreak spread to other villages.

Unsafe burials remained one of the primary sources of the transmission of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the inability to engage with local communities hindered the ability of health workers to trace the origins and strains of the virus.[116]

While WHO terminated the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 29 March 2016,[117] the Ebola Situation Report released on 30 March confirmed 5 more cases in the preceding two weeks, with viral sequencing relating one of the cases to the November 2014 outbreak.[118]

The epidemic also affected the treatment of other diseases in Guinea. There was a decline in healthcare visits by the population due to fear of being infected and mistrust in the health care system, and a decrease in the system's ability to provide routine health care and HIV/AIDS treatments due to the Ebola outbreak.[119]

Maternal and child healthcare

The 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Guinea is 680. This is compared with 859.9 in 2008 and 964.7 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 146 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 29. In Guinea the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 1 and the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women is 1 in 26.[120] Guinea has the second highest prevalence of female genital mutilation in the world.[121][122]

HIV/AIDS

An estimated 170,000 adults and children were infected at the end of 2004.[123][124] Surveillance surveys conducted in 2001 and 2002 show higher rates of HIV in urban areas than in rural areas. Prevalence was highest in Conakry (5%) and in the cities of the Forest Guinea region (7%) bordering Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.[125]

HIV is spread primarily through multiple-partner heterosexual intercourse. Men and women are at nearly equal risk for HIV, with young people aged 15 to 24 most vulnerable. Surveillance figures from 2001–2002 show high rates among commercial sex workers (42%), active military personnel (6.6%), truck drivers and bush taxi drivers (7.3%), miners (4.7%), and adults with tuberculosis (8.6%).[125]

Several factors are fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Guinea. They include unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, illiteracy, endemic poverty, unstable borders, refugee migration, lack of civic responsibility, and scarce medical care and public services.[125]

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a serious problem for Guinea. A 2012 study reported high chronic malnutrition rates, with levels ranging from 34% to 40% by region, as well as acute malnutrition rates above 10% in Upper Guinea's mining zones. The survey showed that 139,200 children suffer from acute malnutrition, 609,696 from chronic malnutrition and further 1,592,892 suffer from anemia. Degradation of care practices, limited access to medical services, inadequate hygiene practices and a lack of food diversity explain these levels.[126]

Malaria

Malaria is prevalent in Guinea. It is transmitted year-round, with peak transmission from July through October.[127] Malaria is one of the top causes of disability in Guinea.[128]

Culture

Guinea Dinguiraye market
A market stall selling vegetables in Dinguiraye Prefecture, Guinea

Sports

Football is the most popular sport in the country of Guinea.[129] It is run by the Guinean Football Federation.[130] The association administers the national football team, as well as the national league.[129] It was founded in 1960 and affiliated with FIFA since 1962[131] and with the Confederation of African Football since 1963.[132]

The Guinea national football team, nicknamed Syli nationale (National Elephants), have played international football since 1962.[129] Their first opponent was East Germany.[129] They have yet to reach World Cup finals, but they were runners-up to Morocco in the Africa Cup of Nations in 1976.[129]

Guinée Championnat National is the top division of Guinean football. Since it was established in 1965, three teams have dominated in winning the Guinée Coupe Nationale.[133] Horoya AC leads with 16 titles and is the current (2017-2018) champion. Hafia FC (known as Conakry II in 1960s) is second with 15 titles having dominated in 1960s and 70s, but the last coming in 1985. Third with 13 is AS Kaloum Star, known as Conakry I in the 1960s. All three teams are based in the capital, Conakry. No other team has more than five titles.

The 1970s were a golden decade for Guinean football. Hafia FC won the African Cup of Champions Clubs three times, in 1972, 1975 and 1977, while Horoya AC won the 1978 African Cup Winners' Cup.[134]

Polygamy

Polygamy is generally prohibited by law in Guinea, but there are exceptions.[135] UNICEF reports that 53.4% of Guinean women aged 15–49 are in polygamous marriages.[136]

Music

Like other West African countries, Guinea has a rich musical tradition. The group Bembeya Jazz became popular in the 1960s after Guinean independence.

Cuisine

Guinean cuisine varies by region with rice as the most common staple. Cassava is also widely consumed.[137] Part of West African cuisine, the foods of Guinea include jollof rice, maafe, and tapalapa bread. In rural areas, food is eaten from a large serving dish and eaten by hand outside of homes.[138]

See also

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External links

Australasia

Australasia, a region of Oceania, comprises Australia, New Zealand, neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean and, sometimes, the island of New Guinea (which is more often considered to be part of Melanesia). Charles de Brosses coined the term (as French Australasie) in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (1756). He derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia (to the east) and the southeast Pacific (Magellanica). The bulk of Australasia sits on the Indo-Australian Plate, together with India.

Australia (continent)

The continent of Australia, sometimes known in technical contexts by the names Sahul, Australinea or Meganesia to distinguish it from the country of Australia, consists of the land masses which sit on Australia's continental plate. This includes mainland Australia, Tasmania, and the island of New Guinea (comprising Papua New Guinea and two Indonesian provinces). Situated in the geographical region of Oceania, it is the smallest of the seven traditional continents in the English conception.

The continent includes a continental shelf overlain by shallow seas which divide it into several landmasses—the Arafura Sea and Torres Strait between mainland Australia and New Guinea, and Bass Strait between mainland Australia and Tasmania. When sea levels were lower during the Pleistocene ice age, including the Last Glacial Maximum about 18,000 BC, they were connected by dry land. During the past 10,000 years, rising sea levels overflowed the lowlands and separated the continent into today's low-lying arid to semi-arid mainland and the two mountainous islands of New Guinea and Tasmania.The Australian continent, being part of the Indo-Australian plate (more specifically, the Australian plate), is the lowest, flattest, and oldest landmass on Earth and it has had a relatively stable geological history. New Zealand is not part of the continent of Australia, but of the separate, submerged continent of Zealandia. New Zealand and Australia are both part of the Oceanian sub-region known as Australasia, with New Guinea being in Melanesia. The term Oceania is often used to denote the region encompassing the Australian continent, Zealandia and various islands in the Pacific Ocean that are not included in the seven-continent model.Papua New Guinea, a country within the continent, is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18

percent of its people live in urban centres. West Papua, a province of Indonesia, is home to an estimated 44 uncontacted tribal groups. Australia, the largest landmass in the continent, is highly urbanised, and has the world's 13th-largest economy with the second-highest human development index globally. Australia also has the world's 9th largest immigrant population. The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago.

Conakry

Conakry (Sosso: Kɔnakiri) is the capital and largest city of Guinea. A port city, it serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea. Its population as of the 2014 Guinea census was 1,660,973 Originally situated on Tombo Island, one of the Îles de Los, it has since spread up the neighboring Kaloum Peninsula.

The current population of Conakry is difficult to ascertain, although the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs has estimated it at 2 million, accounting for one sixth of the entire population of the country.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: Guinea Ecuatorial; French: Guinée équatoriale; Portuguese: Guiné Equatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: República de Guinea Ecuatorial, French: République de Guinée équatoriale, Portuguese: República da Guiné Equatorial), is a country located on the west coast of Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African state in which Spanish is an official language. As of 2015, the country had an estimated population of 1,222,245.Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island which is the only part of the country south of the equator. Bioko Island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country's capital, Malabo. The Portuguese speaking island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea's largest city, and Oyala, the country's planned future capital. Rio Muni also includes several small offshore islands, such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico. The country is a member of the African Union, Francophonie, OPEC and the CPLP.

Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producers. It is the richest country per capita in Africa, and its gross domestic product (GDP) adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita ranks 43rd in the world; however, the wealth is distributed extremely unevenly, and few people have benefited from the oil riches. The country ranks 135th on the UN's 2016 Human Development Index. The UN says that less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water and that 20% of children die before reaching the age of five.

The sovereign state totalitarian government is cited as having one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights. Reporters Without Borders ranks President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo among its "predators" of press freedom. Human trafficking is a significant problem; the 2012 U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report stated that Equatorial Guinea "is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labor and forced sex trafficking." The report rates Equatorial Guinea as a government that "does not fully comply with minimum standards and is not making significant efforts to do so."

Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau ( (listen)), officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese: República da Guiné-Bissau [ʁeˈpublikɐ dɐ ɡiˈnɛ biˈsaw]), is a country in West Africa that covers 36,125 square kilometres (13,948 sq mi) with an estimated population of 1,815,698.Guinea-Bissau was once part of the kingdom of Gabu, as well as part of the Mali Empire. Parts of this kingdom persisted until the 18th century, while a few others were under some rule by the Portuguese Empire since the 16th century. In the 19th century, it was colonized as Portuguese Guinea. Upon independence, declared in 1973 and recognised in 1974, the name of its capital, Bissau, was added to the country's name to prevent confusion with Guinea (formerly French Guinea). Guinea-Bissau has a history of political instability since independence, and no elected president has successfully served a full five-year term.

Only 14% of the population speaks noncreolized Portuguese, established as both the official and national language. Portuguese exists in creole continuum with Crioulo, a Portuguese creole spoken by half the population (44%) and an even larger number speaks it as second tongue. The remainder speak a variety of native African languages. There are diverse religions in Guinea-Bissau with no one religion having a majority. The CIA World Factbook (2018) states there are about 40% Muslims, 22% Christians, 15% Animists and 18% unspecified or other. The country's per-capita gross domestic product is one of the lowest in the world.

The sovereign state of Guinea-Bissau is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Community of Portuguese Language Countries, La Francophonie and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, and was a member of the now-defunct Latin Union.

Guinea (coin)

The guinea was a coin of approximately one quarter ounce of gold that was minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, where much of the gold used to make the coins originated. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally worth one pound sterling, equal to twenty shillings, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.

When Britain adopted the gold standard the guinea became a colloquial or specialised term. Although the coin itself no longer circulated, the term guinea survived as a unit of account in some fields. Notable usages included professional fees (medical, legal etc), which were often invoiced in guineas, and horse racing and greyhound racing, and the sale of rams. In each case a guinea meant an amount of one pound and one shilling (21 shillings), or one pound and five pence (£1.05) in decimalised currency. The name also forms the basis for the Arabic word for the Egyptian pound الجنيه el-Genēh / el-Geni, as a sum of 100 qirsh (one pound) was worth approximately 21 shillings at the end of the 19th century.

Guinea pig

The guinea pig or domestic guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also known as cavy or domestic cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family Suidae, nor do they come from Guinea in Africa, and the origin of their name is still unclear; they originated in the Andes of South America and studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggest they are domesticated descendants of a closely related species of cavy such as C. tschudii, and therefore do not exist naturally in the wild.In Western society, the domestic guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet, a type of pocket pet, since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. Their docile nature; friendly, even affectionate, responsiveness to handling and feeding; and the relative ease of caring for them have made and continue to make guinea pigs a popular choice of pet. Organizations devoted to the competitive breeding of guinea pigs have been formed worldwide, and many specialized breeds with varying coat colors and textures are selected by breeders.

The domestic guinea pig plays an important role in folk culture for many indigenous Andean groups, especially as a food source, but also in folk medicine and in community religious ceremonies. The animals are used for meat and are a culinary staple in the Andes Mountains, where they are known as cuy. A modern breeding program was started in the 1960s in Peru that resulted in large breeds known as cuy mejorados (improved cuy) and prompted efforts to increase consumption of the animal outside South America.Biological experimentation on domestic guinea pigs has been carried out since the 17th century. The animals were so frequently used as model organisms in the 19th and 20th centuries that the epithet guinea pig came into use to describe a human test subject. Since that time, they have been largely replaced by other rodents such as mice and rats. However, they are still used in research, primarily as models for human medical conditions such as juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy (like humans, they must get vitamin C), and pregnancy complications.

Guineafowl

Guineafowl (; sometimes called "pet speckled hen", or "original fowl") are birds of the family Numididae in the order Galliformes. They are endemic to Africa and rank among the oldest of the gallinaceous birds. Phylogenetically, they branch off from the core Galliformes after the Cracidae and before the Odontophoridae. An Eocene fossil lineage, Telecrex, has been associated with guineafowl. Telecrex inhabited Mongolia, and may have given rise to the oldest of the true Phasianids such as Ithaginis and Crossoptilon, which evolved into high-altitude montane-adapted species with the rise of the Tibetan Plateau. While modern guineafowl species are endemic to Africa, the helmeted guineafowl has been introduced widely elsewhere.

Gulf of Guinea

The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia. The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf.

Among the many rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea are the Niger and the Volta. The coastline on the gulf includes the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Bonny.

List of guinea pig breeds

There are many breeds of guinea pig or cavy which have been developed since its domestication ca. 5000 BC. Breeds vary widely in appearance and purpose, ranging from show breeds with long, flowing hair to those in use as model organisms by science. From ca. 1200 AD to the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in 1532, selective breeding by indigenous South American people resulted in many landrace varieties of domestic guinea pigs, which form the basis for some of the modern, formal breeds. Early Andean varieties were primarily kept as agricultural stock for food, and efforts at improving the guinea pig as a food source continue to the modern era.

With the export of guinea pigs to Europe in the 15th century, the goal in breeding shifted to focus on the development of appealing pets. To this end, various competitive breeding organizations were founded by fanciers. The American Cavy Breeders Association, an adjunct to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, is the governing body in the United States and Canada. The British Cavy Council governs cavy clubs in the United Kingdom. Similar organizations exist in Australia (Australian National Cavy Council) and New Zealand (New Zealaland Cavy Council) Each club publishes its own Standard of Perfection and determines which breeds are eligible for showing. New breeds continue to emerge in the 21st century.

Though there are many breeds of guinea pig, only a few breeds are commonly found on the show table as pets. Most guinea pigs found as pets were either found undesirable by breeders or were bred to be pleasant pets regardless of how well they meet the breed standard of perfection. The English/American Short-haired, the Abyssinian (rough-coated), the Peruvian (long-coated), and the Sheltie (also known as Silkie, long-coated) breeds are those most frequently seen as pets, and the former three are the core breeds in the history of the competitive showing of guinea pigs. In addition to their standard form, nearly all breeds come in a Satin variant. Satins, due to their hollow hair shafts, possess coats of a special gloss and shine. However, there is growing evidence that the genes responsible for the satin coat also can cause severe bone problems, including osteodystrophy and Paget's disease. Showing satin variations is prohibited by some cavy breeders' associations because of animal welfare reasons.

All cavy breeds have some shared general standards: the head profile should be rounded, with large eyes and large, smooth ears. The body should be strong and of compact build. Coat colour should in all variations be clearly defined and thorough from root to tip. These standards are best met by long established, commonly bred breeds, as their breeders have had enough time and animals to effectively breed for these qualities. The coat colour ideal of good definition and thoroughness is rarely met by other than the smooth-coated breeds, which have had well established, separate breeding lines for different colours.

Melanesia

Melanesia (UK: , US: ) is a subregion of Oceania extending from New Guinea island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and eastward to Fiji.

The region includes the four independent countries of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea, as well as the French special collectivity of New Caledonia, and the Indonesian region of Western New Guinea. Most of the region is in the Southern Hemisphere, with a few small northwestern islands of Western New Guinea in the Northern Hemisphere.

The name Melanesia (in French Mélanésie) was first used by Jules Dumont d'Urville in 1832 to denote an ethnic and geographical grouping of islands whose inhabitants he thought were distinct from those of Micronesia and Polynesia.

New Guinea

New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Niugini; Dutch: Nieuw-Guinea; German: Neuguinea; Indonesian: Papua, historically, Irian) is a large island separated by a shallow sea from the rest of the Australian continent. It is the world's second-largest, after Greenland, covering a land area of 785,753 km2 (303,381 sq mi), and the largest wholly or partly within the Southern Hemisphere and Oceania.

The eastern half of the island is the major land mass of the independent state of Papua New Guinea. The western half, referred to as either Western New Guinea or West Papua, has been administered by Indonesia since 1962 and comprises the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

New Guinea campaign

The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate (23 January) and Papua (8 March) and overran western New Guinea (beginning 29/30 March), which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting primarily of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.

The campaign resulted in a crushing defeat and heavy losses for the Empire of Japan. As in most Pacific War campaigns, disease and starvation claimed more Japanese lives than enemy action. Most Japanese troops never even came into contact with Allied forces, and were instead simply cut off and subjected to an effective blockade by the US Navy. Garrisons were effectively besieged and denied shipments of food and medical supplies, and as a result, some claim that 97% of Japanese deaths in this campaign were from non-combat causes.According to John Laffin, the campaign "was arguably the most arduous fought by any Allied troops during World War II".

Oceania

Oceania (UK: , US: (listen), ) is a geographic region comprising Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Spanning the eastern and western hemispheres, Oceania covers an area of 8,525,989 square kilometres (3,291,903 sq mi) and has a population of 40 million. Situated in the southeast of the Asia-Pacific region, Oceania, when compared to continental regions, is the smallest in land area and the second smallest in population after Antarctica.

The islands at the geographic extremes of Oceania are the Bonin Islands, a politically integral part of Japan; Hawaii, a state of the United States; Clipperton Island, a possession of France; the Juan Fernández Islands, belonging to Chile; and the Campbell Islands, belonging to New Zealand. Oceania has a diverse mix of economies from the highly developed and globally competitive financial markets of Australia and New Zealand, which rank high in quality of life and human development index, to the much less developed economies that belong to countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, while also including medium-sized economies of Pacific islands such as Palau, Fiji and Tonga. The largest and most populous country in Oceania is Australia, with Sydney being the largest city of both Oceania and Australia.The first settlers of Australia, New Guinea, and the large islands just to the east arrived between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago. Oceania was first explored by Europeans from the 16th century onward. Portuguese navigators, between 1512 and 1526, reached the Tanimbar Islands, some of the Caroline Islands and west Papua New Guinea. On his first voyage in the 18th century, James Cook, who later arrived at the highly developed Hawaiian Islands, went to Tahiti and followed the east coast of Australia for the first time. The Pacific front saw major action during the Second World War, mainly between Allied powers the United States and Australia, and Axis power Japan.

The arrival of European settlers in subsequent centuries resulted in a significant alteration in the social and political landscape of Oceania. In more contemporary times there has been increasing discussion on national flags and a desire by some Oceanians to display their distinguishable and

individualistic identity. The rock art of Australian Aborigines is the longest continuously practiced artistic tradition in the world. Puncak Jaya in Papua is often considered the highest peak in Oceania. Most Oceanian countries have a parliamentary representative democratic multi-party system, with tourism being a large source of income for the Pacific Islands nations.

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG; UK: , US: ; Tok Pisin: Papua Niugini; Hiri Motu: Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is an Oceanian country that occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby. The western half of New Guinea forms the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua.

At the national level, after being ruled by three external powers since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975. This followed nearly 60 years of Australian administration, which started during World War I. It became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1975 with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in its own right.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. It is also one of the most rural, as only 18 per cent of its people live in urban centres. There are 852 known languages in the country, of which 12 now have no known living speakers. Most of the population of more than 8 million people lives in customary communities, which are as diverse as the languages. The country is one of the world's least explored, culturally and geographically. It is known to have numerous groups of uncontacted peoples, and researchers believe there are many undiscovered species of plants and animals in the interior.Papua New Guinea is classified as a developing economy by the International Monetary Fund. Strong growth in Papua New Guinea's mining and resource sector led to the country becoming the sixth-fastest-growing economy in the world in 2011. Growth was expected to slow once major resource projects came on line in 2015. Mining remains a major economic factor, however. Local and national governments are discussing the potential of resuming mining operations at the Panguna mine in Bougainville Province, which has been closed since the civil war in the 1980s–1990s. Nearly 40 per cent of the population lives a self-sustainable natural lifestyle with no access to global capital.Most of the people still live in strong traditional social groups based on farming. Their social lives combine traditional religion with modern practices, including primary education. These societies and clans are explicitly acknowledged by the Papua New Guinea Constitution, which expresses the wish for "traditional villages and communities to remain as viable units of Papua New Guinean society" and protects their continuing importance to local and national community life. The nation is an observer state in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN since 1976, and has already filed its application for full membership status. It is a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (formerly South Pacific Forum) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Papuan people

Papuan people are the indigenous peoples of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, speakers of the Papuan languages. They are distinguished ethnically and linguistically from the Austronesians of Melanesia, speakers of Austronesian languages introduced into New Guinea and nearby islands about 3,000 years ago.

Port Moresby

Port Moresby (; Tok Pisin: Pot Mosbi), also referred to as Pom City or simply Moresby, is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea and the largest city in the South Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand. It is located on the shores of the Gulf of Papua, on the south-western coast of the Papuan Peninsula of the island of New Guinea. The city emerged as a trade centre in the second half of the 19th century. During World War II it was a prime objective for conquest by the Imperial Japanese forces during 1942–43 as a staging point and air base to cut off Australia from Southeast Asia and the Americas.

In 2000 it had a population of 254,158. As of 2011 it had a population of 364,145, giving it an annual growth rate of 2.1% over a nine-year period. The place where the city was founded has been inhabited by the Motu-Koitabu people for centuries. The first Briton to see it was Captain John Moresby in 1873. It was named in honour of his father, Admiral Sir Fairfax Moresby.

Although Port Moresby is surrounded by Central Province, of which it is also the capital, it is not part of that province, but forms the National Capital District.

Port Moresby host the APEC summit in November 2018, however there are concerns about security given the capital's reputation for violent crime.

West Africa

West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016.

Western New Guinea

Western New Guinea, also known as Papua (ISO code: ID-PP), is the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea. Since the island is also named as Papua, the region is sometimes called West Papua. Lying to the west of the independent state of Papua New Guinea, it is the only Indonesian territory to be situated in Oceania. The territory is mostly in the Southern Hemisphere and also includes nearby islands, including the Schouten and Raja Ampat archipelagoes. The region is predominantly covered with ancient rainforest where numerous traditional tribes live such as the Dani of the Baliem Valley, although a large proportion of the population live in or near coastal areas, with the largest city being Jayapura.Following its independence proclamation in 1945, the Republic of Indonesia took over all the former Dutch East Indies territories, including Western New Guinea. However, the Dutch retained sovereignty over the region until the New York Agreement on 15 August 1962, which returned Western New Guinea to Indonesia. The region became the province of Irian Jaya before being renamed as Papua in 2002. The following year, the second province in the region, West Papua in Manokwari, was inaugurated. Both provinces were granted special autonomous status by the Indonesian legislation.

Western New Guinea has an estimated population of 4,363,869, with majority of whom are Papuan people. The official and most commonly spoken language is Indonesian. Estimates of the number of tribal languages in the region range from 200 to over 700, with the most widely spoken including Dani, Yali, Ekari and Biak. The predominant religion is Christianity (often combined with traditional beliefs) followed by Islam. The main industries include agriculture, fishing, oil production, and mining.

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