About Guinea

Guinea is a crescent shaped country on the western seaboard of Africa roughly the size of the United Kingdom with 300km of coastline and 245,800sqkm of land mass. It borders the countries of Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Mali to its north, Ivory Coast and Liberia to the west, Sierra Leone to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

It lies mostly between 7 and 13 degrees latitude north and 7 and 15 degrees west longitude. Guinea has a current estimated population of 10.2 million. Conakry is the capital and largest city and the hub of commerce, education and culture.

Guinea Political Map

Guinea Political Map

The palm oil tree is actually an indigenous species to Guinea and West Africa and this fact is reflected in its Latin name “Elaeis Guinensis Jacq”.

Under French rule it was cultivated on a plantation scale, however since independence in 1958 this has dwindled out as an organized industry with only a few plantations of larger than 5000 hectares in existence today. This is more a factor of lack of motivation by locals, coupled with diminished outside investment due to past political uncertainty that has created the current day environment for palm oil in Guinea.

In the early 1900’s palm seeds were taken to Malaysia and Indonesia and cultivated on a large scale. These two countries are now the world’s leading producers with 44% and 36% of world production respectively.

Guinea possesses the perfect physical conditions for the cultivation of palm oil. It has rich loam soils resultant from millennia of forestation, with a pH of between 4 and 7 and the optimal temperature conditions of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit year round, with more than 9 hours of direct sunlight every day.

Guinea also possesses the optimal amount of precipitation with the low coastal plane receiving in access of 4500mm per year with rainfall distribution throughout the year.

Political Conditions

Guinea declared its independence from France on October 2, 1958.

Until recently, Guinea has had autocratic, military rule which has contributed to it being one of the poorest nations in the world despite its rich abundance of natural resources, including 50% of the world’s known bauxite reserves, iron ore, gold and diamonds.

Since independence Guinea has had a series of dictatorships and coup d’état however free and transparent elections were finally held on November 7, 2010 which lead to a runoff election on November 16th. Alpha Conde was officially named President as a result of these elections and has promised widespread reforms.

The forecast is cautiously optimistic of better times ahead for Guinea as a whole.