By Richard (Rick) Mills
Ahead of the herd
As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information
Guinea is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbor Guinea-Bissau. Conakry is the capital, the seat of the national government, and the largest city. Guinea is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The country consists of a coastal plain, a mountainous region, a savanna interior, and a forest area in the Guinea Highlands. The highest peak is Mount Nimba at 5,748 ft (1,752 m).
Guinea has almost 246,000 square kilometers and is divided into four natural regions with distinct human, geographic, and climatic characteristics:
• Maritime Guinea covers 18% of the country
• Mid-Guinea covers 20% of the country
• Upper-Guinea covers 38% of the country
• Forested Guinea covers 23% of the country, and is both forested and mountainous
Its northern border is shared with Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali, the southern one with Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d'Ivoire. The Niger River arises in Guinea and runs eastward.
Guinea's 10 million people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. The most prominent groups are the Fula, Mandinka, and Susu.
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.
On June 27 2010, Guinea had its first round of presidential elections, with 24 candidates running for the office of President. As per the Ouagadougou Accords, no member of the military or the transition government ran in the elections. International and national observer groups declared the elections credible and fair.
Cellou Dalein Diallo of the Union of Democratic Forces of Guinea (UFDG) party received 43% of the vote; Alpha Conde of the Rally for the Guinean People (RPG) party received 18%; and Sidya Toure of the Union of Republican Forces (UFR) party received 13%.
Diallo and Conde went on to compete in the second round of elections that, after several delays, took place on November 7 2010. On December 2, the Guinean Supreme Court determined Alpha Conde the winner of the elections with 53% of the vote, which was declared free and credible by international observer missions. On December 3, Cellou Diallo publicly accepted the results of the election and called for his supporters to support the newly elected president. President Conde was peacefully inaugurated on December 21, 2010.
The population continues to be politically and ethnically divided, but the political atmosphere is currently calm.
Richard (Rick) Mills
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