Guinea is one of the poorest and most rundown countries in West Africa.
But it should be rich. Guinea is the world‟s largest producer of bauxite.
This former French colony in West Africa also has large reserves of gold, diamonds and iron ore.
Guinea is a green and fertile country of 10 million people. It has good potential for agriculture. Yet it is heavily dependent on imports of its staple food rice.
The country suffered a steady economic decline during its first half century of independence under the autocratic rule of two authoritarian presidents; Ahmed Sekou Toure and Lansana Conte.
Today, its infrastructure is decayed, its people are poor and its politics are dangerously divided along ethnic lines.
However, in 2010, Guinea began to experiment for the first time with political freedom and genuine democracy.
Opposition parties were legalized for the first time in 1992. But genuine political liberalization only began following the death in office of President Lansana Conte in December 2008.
He had been in power for 24 years and left no obvious successor.