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French Guiana
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Country Profile

Capital City: Cayenne

Other Cities: Saint-Laurent-of-Maroni, Kourou

Local Time:
UTC -3h

Location: Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname.
Area: 86 504 sq km
Terrain: Low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains.
Border countries: Brazil, Suriname

Climate: Equatorial tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation.

Government: Overseas department of France.
Chief of State: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995),

Population: 195 000
Ethnic Groups: black or mulatto 66%, white 12%, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian 12%, other 10%
Religions: Roman Catholic
Languages: French
Literacy: 83%


Currency: Euro (EUR)

Natural resources: Bauxite, timber, gold (widely scattered), petroleum, kaolin, fish, niobium, tantalum, clay.

Agriculture products: Corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sugar, cocoa, vegetables, bananas; cattle, pigs, poultry.

Industries: Construction, shrimp processing, forestry products, rum, gold mining.

Exports partners:
France 62%, Switzerland 7%, USA 2% (2001)

Imports partners: France 63%, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Italy (2002 est.)

Internet Links

Official Sites of French Guiana

Ministère de l'Outre-Mer

Préfecture de Guyane

Conseil Régional de la Guyane

Meteo Antilles

Map of French Guiana

French Guiana - Vegetation

Map of South America


French Guiana

Background:  First settled by the French in 1604, French Guiana was the
site of notorious penal settlements until 1951. The European Space Agency
launches its communication satellites from Kourou.

Geography French Guiana

Location:  Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean,
between Brazil and Suriname

Geographic coordinates:  4 00 N, 53 00 W

Map references:  South America

Area:  total: 91,000 sq km water: 1,850 sq km land: 89,150 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Indiana

Land boundaries:  total: 1,183 km border countries: Brazil 673 km,
Suriname 510 km

Coastline:  378 km

Maritime claims:  exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain:  low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point:
Bellevue de l'Inini 851 m

Natural resources:  bauxite, timber, gold (widely scattered), cinnabar,
kaolin, fish

Land use:  arable land: NEGL permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (90% forest,
10% other) (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  20 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  high frequency of heavy showers and severe
thunderstorms; flooding

Environment - current issues:  NA

Geography - note:  mostly an unsettled wilderness; the only
non-independent portion of the South American continent

People French Guiana

Population:  182,333 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 30.2% (male 28,140; female 26,876) 15-64
years: 64.2% (male 63,183; female 53,902) 65 years and over: 5.6%
(male 5,192; female 5,040) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.57% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  21.66 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  4.78 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  8.78 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.17 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
1.03 male(s)/female total population: 1.13 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  13.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   79.99 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.13 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  NA%

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: French Guianese (singular and plural) adjective:
French Guianese

Ethnic groups:  black or mulatto 66%, white 12%, East Indian, Chinese,
Amerindian 12%, other 10%

Religions:  Roman Catholic

Languages:  French

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 83% male: 84% female: 82% (1982 est.)

Government French Guiana

Country name:   Department of Guiana conventional short form: Dependency
status:  overseas department of France

Government type:  NA

Capital:  Cayenne

Administrative divisions:  none (overseas department of France)

Independence:  none (overseas department of France)

National holiday:  Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)

Constitution:  28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:  French legal system

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France
(since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Henri MASSE (since NA
July 1999) elections:  appointed by the French president on the
advice of the French Ministry of Interior; presidents of the General
and Regional Councils are appointed by the members of those councils
head of government: President of the General Council Joseph HO-TEN-YOU
(since NA March 2001); President of the Regional Council Antoine KARAM
(since 22 March 1992) cabinet: NA

Legislative branch:  unicameral General Council or Conseil General (19
seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
and a unicameral Regional Council or Conseil Regional (31 seats;
members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) elections:
General Council - last held NA March 2000 (next to be held NA 2006);
Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results:  various left-wing parties 5, independents 7, other 2;
Regional Council - percent of vote by party - PS 28.28%, various left
parties 22.56%, RPR 15.91%, independents 8.6%, Walwari Committee 6%;
seats by party - PS 11, various left parties 9, RPR 6, independents 3,
Walwari Committee 2 note: one seat was elected to the French Senate on
27 September 1998 (next to be held NA September 2007); results - percent
of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; 2 seats were elected to the
French National Assembly on 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2007);
results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch:  Court of Appeals or Cour d'Appel (highest local court
based in Martinique with jurisdiction over Martinique, Guadeloupe,
and French Guiana)

Political parties and leaders:  Guyanese Democratic Action or ADG [Andre
LECANTE]; Guyanese Socialist Party or PSG [Marie-Claude VERDAN]; Guyana
Democratic Forces or FDG [Georges OTHILY]; Popular National Guyanese Party
or PNPG [Jose DORCY]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Roland HO-WEN-SZE];
Socialist Party or PS [Pierre RIBARDIERE]; Walwari Committee [Christine

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  FZ, WCL, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US:  none (overseas department of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US:  none (overseas department
of France)

Flag description:  the flag of France is used

Economy French Guiana

Economy - overview:  The economy is tied closely to the French economy
through subsidies and imports.  Besides the French space center at Kourou,
fishing and forestry are the most important economic activities. Forest
and woodland cover 90% of the country. The large reserves of tropical
hardwoods, not fully exploited, support an expanding sawmill industry
that provides sawn logs for export. Cultivation of crops is limited to
the coastal area, where the population is largely concentrated; rice
and manioc are the major crops. French Guiana is heavily dependent
on imports of food and energy. Unemployment is a serious problem,
particularly among younger workers.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $1 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  NA%

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $6,000 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: NA% industry: NA% services: NA%

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  2.5% (1992)

Labor force:  58,800 (1997)

Labor force - by occupation:  services, government, and commerce 60.6%,
industry 21.2%, agriculture 18.2% (1980)

Unemployment rate:  21.4% (1998)

Budget:  revenues: $225 million expenditures: $390 million, including
capital expenditures of $105 million (1996)

Industries:  construction, shrimp processing, forestry products, rum,
gold mining

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  450 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  418.5 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sugar, cocoa,
vegetables, bananas; cattle, pigs, poultry

Exports:  $155 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities:  shrimp, timber, gold, rum, rosewood essence,

Exports - partners:  France 62%, Switzerland 7%, US 2% (1997)

Imports:  $625 million (c.i.f., 1997)

Imports - commodities:  food (grains, processed meat), machinery and
transport equipment, fuels and chemicals

Imports - partners:  France 52%, US 14%, Trinidad and Tobago 6% (1997)

Debt - external:  $1.2 billion (1988)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)

Currency code:  EUR; FRF

Exchange rates:  Euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar -
5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications French Guiana

Telephones - main lines in use:  47,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  NA

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: fair open wire and
microwave radio relay system international: satellite earth station -
1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 2, FM 14 (including 6 repeaters), shortwave
6 (including 5 repeaters) (1998)

Radios:  104,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  3 (plus eight low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions:  30,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .gf

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  2 (2000)

Internet users:  2,000 (2000)

Transportation French Guiana

Railways:  0 km

Highways:  total: 1,817 km paved: 817 km unpaved: 1,000 km (1998)

Waterways:  3,300 km navigable by native craft note: 460 km navigable
by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers

Ports and harbors:  Cayenne, Degrad des Cannes, Saint-Laurent du Maroni

Merchant marine:  none (2002 est.)

Airports:  11 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 4 over 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m:
2 under 914 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 7 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m:
5 (2001)

Military French Guiana

Military branches:  no regular indigenous military forces; French Forces,

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 50,504 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 32,720
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  NA%

Military - note:  defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues French Guiana

Disputes - international:  Suriname claims area between Riviere Litani
and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa)

Illicit drugs:  small amount of marijuana grown for local consumption;
minor transshipment point to Europe

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002



Arts & Culture
Musée des Cultures Guyanaise

Office Culturel de la Région Guyane


Souzèv Kamalakuli Mato

Business & Economy
French Guiana Chamber of Commerce 

Destination French Guiana - Travel and Tour Guides

Comité du Tourisme de Guyane

Guyane Guide

Terres de Guyane  



Académie de la Guyane

Université des Antilles et de la Guyane




Protected Environmental Zones

A little History


European Space Agency


Centre Spatial Guyanais

Terres de Guyane Index Page




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