The Republic of Guinea or Guinea-Conakry (to distinguish it from Guinea-Bissau a neighboring country and Equatorial Guinea) is a West African country bordering the North Atlantic Ocean between the Republics of Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal in the North and the Republics of Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia in the South. The Republic of Guinea has a total land area of about 245,857sq km (about 140sq km of which is covered by water) with about 320km of coastline.
The Republic of Guinea has a total population of about 10.1 million people with the population growth rate around 2.7%. About 35% of the total population of Guinea live in urban areas in major cities and towns such as Conakry the capital of Guinea. Conakry contains about 1.6 million people. Labe, Kindia, Boke, Kankan, Mamou, and Nzérékoré are some of the other major towns and cities in Guinea today.
Although there are about 24 different ethnic groups in Guinea today, 3 major ethnic groups stand out forming about 90% of the total population. Peuhls (the most populous ethnic group) form about 40% of the total population. The Malinkes form about 30% of the total population, followed by the Soussou with about 20% of the total population. The remaining 21 smaller ethnic groups form just about 10% of the total population.
Although French is the official language spoken in Guinea today, each ethnic group has its own language. Mandinka, Susu and Fula are some of the major vernacular languages spoken in Guinea today in addition to French the official language. The Republic of Guinea is an "Islamic" country with Islam being the most dominant religion. About 85% of the total population of Guinea are Muslims. Christians and the Traditional Animist believers form just about 15% of the total population.
The Republic of Guinea just like its neighboring countries is blessed with abundance of natural resources such as gold, diamonds, bauxite, uranium, iron ore, hydropower, fish and salt.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources in Guinea, the Republic of Guinea remains one of the poorest countries in all of Africa and one of the poorest countries in the world today with almost half of its total population living below poverty line with about 21% of children under age 5 underweight.
The Republic of Guinea has one of the worst literacy rates in all of Africa. Guinea has a literacy rate of just 29.5% for the total population with the female literacy rate around 18.1%. In other words, just about 29.5% of the total population of Guinea above age 15 can read and write. Also, just about 18.1% of the total female population above age 15 can read and write in Guinea today. Education expenditure forms just about 2.4% of GDP which is very bad.
Rampant deforestation (cutting down trees for timber, charcoal, firewood, etc., without replanting) which leads to soil erosion and desertification, overpopulation especially in the forest areas, limited supply of potable water, overfishing, poor mining practices, etc. are some of the environmental problems facing Guinea today.
The Republic of Guinea remains one of the HIV/AIDS killing zones in the world today with HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate around 1.3%. About 80,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2009 with about 5,000 deaths recorded within the same year. Apart from HIV/AIDS, the deadly malaria, Lassa fever, ebola (nb: Guinea is now ebola-free), etc. continue to threaten several lives in Guinea today.
Just like in most other African countries, poor government, corruption, etc. continue to tear Guinea apart.