Facts & figures
Full name: The Republic of Guinea
Population: 10.5 million (UN, 2012)
Area: 245,857 sq km (94,926 sq miles)
Major languages: French, Susu, Fulani, Mandingo
Major religions: Islam, Christianity, indigenous beliefs
Life expectancy: 53 years (men), 56 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 Guinean franc = 100 centimes
Main exports: Bauxite, alumina, gold, diamonds, coffee, fish, agricultural products
GNI per capita: US $430 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .gn
International dialling code: +224
President: Alpha Conde
Alpha Conde won the presidency in 2010 after a half-century in opposition
Alpha Conde became president in 2010 after a lifelong battle against a series of despotic and military regimes which sent him into exile and prison.
In December 2010 he was declared winner in Guinea's first democratic election since gaining independence from France in 1958.
All foreign visitors to PNG need a visa. There are a number of categories depending on the purpose of your visit. Information on the application procedure and the specific requirements for each category of visa are available here. Please download the appropriate form and send it to the PNG High Commission in Canberra for processing.
All applicants seeking to travel to PNG must be of good health and good character. In some cases, medical documentation and a local police clearance certificate will be required. This will depend on the purpose and duration of the visit (please refer to the appropriate entry category). If an applicant has a criminal conviction, or is subject to criminal prosecution, that information must be disclosed at the time of application. Failure to disclose this information may result in the entry permit being refused, cancelled or deemed void.
Where medical documentation is required, this consists of:
- Medical examination report obtained from an approved doctor or hospital;
- HIV tests (Pathology Report required) for applicants over 16 years of age; and
- Chest X-ray (Radiology Report) for applicants over 16 years of age.
The prescribed medical examination report form and radiology form are available from the nearest PNG Diplomatic mission. The doctor carrying out the examination and the radiographer carrying out the chest X-ray are required to complete and sign the relevant forms.
A police certificate must be obtained from your local police authority for all applicants 16 years of age and over (including dependents) intending to travel to PNG for a period of 6 months or more.
- Best period
As happens in a tropical country, the weather is hot and humid year-round. There are two seasons: the wet season (June to November), when monsoons are common, and the dry season (December to May), when rainfall diminishes. Travel outside Conakry during the rainy season can be difficult.
Owing to an unpredictable political situation, nonessential travel to Guinea is not currently recommended. Since the death of President Conté and a subsequent military coup in 1998, the security situation has been unstable. Through 2010, campaigning for the presidential election will likely disrupt transportation and intensify safety concerns. The security situation in the border areas with Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Liberia is extremely volatile, and travel to those areas is not advised.
Conakry has not experienced much political violence, though there has been a recent spike in violent crime against foreigners. Visitors should take sensible precautions, such as not carrying valuables.
Car travel can be difficult. Travel between cities after dark is not advised. Military and police checkpoints are scattered throughout the country, and payment of a bribe is usually expected.
For the most updated information, check the U.S. Department of State’s travel page on Guinea.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to Guinea or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.
The modern state of Guinea did not come into existence until 1958, but the history of the area stretches back well before European intervention. Its current boundaries were determined during the colonial period by the Berlin Conference (1884-1885) and the French, who ruled Guinea until 1958.
Beginning in 900, the Susu migrated from the north and began settling in the area that is now Guinea. The Susu civilization reached its height in the 13th century. Today the Susu make up about 20% of Guinea's population. From the 16th to the 19th century, the Fulani empire dominated the region. In 1849, the French claimed it as a protectorate. First called Rivières du Sud, the protectorate was rechristened French Guinea; finally, in 1895, it became part of French West Africa.
Guinea achieved independence on Oct. 2, 1958, and became an independent state with Sékou Touré as president. Under Touré, the country was the first avowedly Marxist state in Africa. Diplomatic relations with France were suspended in 1965, with the Soviet Union replacing France as the country's chief source of economic and technical assistance.
- Music :
Guinea is a West African nation, composed of several ethnic groups. Among its most widely known musicians is Mory Kanté - 10 Cola Nuts saw major mainstream success in both Guinea and Mali while "Yeke Yeke", a single from Mory Kanté à Paris, was a European success in 1988.
Guinea's 10 million people belong to at least twenty-four ethnic and languages groups. The most prominent are the Fula (40%), the Mandinka (30%) and the Susu (20%). Fula is widely used in the central Fouta Djallon, Maninka in th east and Susu in the northwestern coastal region. It is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing about 85 percent of the population. Christians, mostly Roman Catholic, about 10 percent of the population, are mainly found in the southern region of Guinée forestière.
Papua New Guinean literature is diverse. The emergence of written literature (as distinct from oral literature) is comparatively recent in Papua New Guinea. It was given its first major stimulus with the setting up of creative writing courses by Ulli Beier at the University of Papua New Guinea (established in 1966). Beier also founded a Papua Pocket Poets series, as well as the literary magazine Kovave, the first of its kind in the country. Some of Papua New Guinea's first noted writers, including John Kasaipwalova, Kumalau Tawali, Apisai Enos and Kama Kerpi, were first published in Kovave.
In 1968, Albert Maori Kiki’s autobiography Ten Thousand Years in a Lifetime was the first major work of Papua New Guinean literature published outside a magazine. In 1970, Vincent Eri published the first Papua New Guinean novel, The Crocodile.
Notable Papua New Guinean writers also include Ignatius Kilage, Nora Vagi Brash, Steven Edmund Winduo and Loujaya Kouza.
- Film industry
Guinean cinema-one of the earliest to develop in Africa south of the Sahara-seemed to have a bright future, but the country's isolation from the rest of the world under the dark days of the sekou Toure regime killed the fledgling industry. The govemment straightjacketed directors, which was another factor in the demise of Guinean film. They were only allowed to make propaganda movies, dampening their creativity and deterring foreign investors. Today Guinea's film industry get no subsides and produces few movies but claims two prominent directors as native sons. Mohamed Camara is an original film-maker who has tackled normally taboo topics such as homosexuality in Dakan (Destiny), Camara's debut feature. Cheick Doukoure, who lives in France, is famous for Le ballon d'or (1993) a family comedy based on the adventures of the national soccer team. The film has never been shown in Guinea. David Achtar, who died recently, won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for Kitu, which has never been shown in Guinea either. Guinea has a few young internationally recognised filmmakers such as Grahite Fofana whose film Temedy was entered at Milan in 1998. In late 1999, Guinean filmmaker Mamady Sidibe shot Le Berger Noir et la Fée Rouse (The Black Shepherd and the Red Fairy) in Ouagadougou. The film addresses the conflicts between Western and African cultures.
- Famous monuments
Samori Toure monument
- Architecture history
Thirty-seven percent of the population is urban and 63 percent is rural. On the mainland, the population is dispersed fairly evenly, with the exception of Bata, which is the largest city in the country. Many of its buildings are in the Spanish colonial style and are less than perfectly maintained. Bata is a busy commercial center, with markets, bars, and restaurants. The second-largest town in Río Muni is Ebebiyin in the northeast, near the Cameroon border.
On Bioko, the majority of the population lives in Malabo, which is Equatorial Guinea's capital. The city is fairly clean, and its architecture exhibits Spanish influence. There are shantytowns as well as upper-class neighborhoods, often in close proximity to each other. Luba, with a population of one thousand, is the second-largest town on Bioko.