The country is located on the African west coast, has about 11 million inhabitants, is rich in raw materials, has enough water resources and is still one of the poorest countries in the world (World Development Index 2010: Rank 156 of 169).
On October 2, 1958, Guinea became the first country in West Africa to break away from France, which subsequently dropped Guinea. This rapid independence resulted in economic and political isolation. To this day, the country is heavily influenced from the outside because of its raw material reserves. The first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré, remains a symbol of resistance to the colonial powers in Africa. After his death in 1984, the military regime of General Conté replaced the socialist government. In 1990, the people adopted a democratic constitution and elected Conté for president. In 2011, the former oppositionist Alpha Condé was his successor.
The country has one of the lowest gross domestic product in the world and more than 80% of the working population is employed in agriculture.
At least 35% of children under the age of five - and increasingly the trend - suffer from chronic malnutrition. The transmission rate of AIDS at birth is high. One million young people have no education. Almost 70% of the population over the age of 15 are illiterates. Insufficient medical care, poor hygiene and malnutrition result in an average life expectancy of just 46 years.
Despite the widespread poverty, life in Guinea is marked by an amazing social peace. Although religion plays an important role for the great majority of the population, there are no tensions between the Muslim majority and the Christian and other minorities.