Guinea is located on the west coast of Africa, and is bordered by Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Its area is 94,930 square miles (245,857 square kilometers). There are four geographic zones. The coastal maritime region is filled with mangrove swamps and alluvial plains that support palm trees. Lower Guinea receives heavy rains, and Conakry is one of the wettest cities in the world.
Guinea is at a turning point after decades of authoritarian rule since gaining its independence from France in 1958. Guinea held its first free and competitive democratic presidential and legislative elections in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Alpha CONDE was elected to a five year term as president in 2010, and the National Assembly was seated in January 2014.
The official language of Guinea is French. Other significant languages spoken are Pular (Fulfulde or Fulani), Maninka (Malinke), Susu, Kissi, Kpelle, and Loma.
Islam is the majority religion. Approximately 85% of the population is Muslim, while 8% is Christian, and 7% holds traditional animist beliefs. Guinean Muslims are generally Sunni of Maliki school of jurisprudence, influenced with Sufism, with many Ahmadiyya; there are relatively few Shi’a in Guinea. Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and other Evangelical groups. Jehovah’s Witnesses are active in the country and recognized by the Government. There is a small Baha’i community.
Guinea possesses major mineral, hydropower, solar power, and agricultural resources. Guinea has historically been an exporter of agricultural commodities, but in recent years has shifted to importing the majority of food crops. Bauxite is Guinea’s main mineral resource as well as its main source of foreign currency. Guinea is the second largest producer of bauxite in the world and has the largest reserves of bauxite, estimated at 29 billion tons. The country also has significant iron ore, gold, and diamond reserves.