Poisk ◦ Search
Country List | World Factbook Home
World Factbook Seal  World Factbook Seal French Guiana
Flag of French Guiana

Map of French Guiana
Introduction French Guiana
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
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname
Geographic coordinates:
4 00 N, 53 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 91,000 sq km
land: 89,150 sq km
water: 1,850 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Indiana
Land boundaries:
total: 1,183 km
border countries: Brazil 673 km, Suriname 510 km
378 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation
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), petroleum, kaolin, fish, niobium, tantalum, clay
Land use:
arable land: 0.13%
permanent crops: 0.04%
other: 99.83% (90% forest, 10% other) (2005)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
high frequency of heavy showers and severe thunderstorms; flooding
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
mostly an unsettled wilderness; the only non-independent portion of the South American continent
People French Guiana
199,509 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.9% (male 29,540/female 28,210)
15-64 years: 64.8% (male 69,302/female 59,980)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 6,350/female 6,127) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 28.6 years
male: 29.6 years
female: 27.4 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.96% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
20.46 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
4.88 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.04 male(s)/female
total population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 11.76 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.58 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.27 years
male: 73.95 years
female: 80.75 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.98 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: French Guianese (singular and plural)
adjective: French Guianese
Ethnic groups:
black or mulatto 66%, white 12%, East Indian, Chinese, Amerindian 12%, other 10%
Roman Catholic
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83%
male: 84%
female: 82% (1982 est.)
Government French Guiana
Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Guiana
conventional short form: French Guiana
local long form: none
local short form: Guyane
Dependency status:
overseas department of France
Government type:
name: Cayenne
geographic coordinates: 4 56 N, 52 20 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas department of France)
none (overseas department of France)
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
French legal system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Jean-Pierre LAFLAQUIERE (since 19 July 2006)
head of government: President of the General Council Pierre DESERT (since 26 March 2004); President of the Regional Council Antoine KARAM (since 22 March 1992)
cabinet: NA
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect 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
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 in March 2000 (next to be held March 2006); Regional Council - last held 21 and 28 March 2004 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PSG 5, various left-wing parties 5, independents 7, other 2; Regional Council - (second election results) percent of vote by party - PS 37.24%, UMP 31.58%, FDG/Walwari 31.18%; seats by party - PS 17, UMP 7, FDG/Walwari 7
note: one seat was elected to the French Senate on 27 September 1998 (next to be held 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 in 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP/RPR 1, Walwari Committee 1
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:
Guyana Democratic Forces or FDG [Georges OTHILY]; Guyanese Democratic Action or ADG [Andre LECANTE]; Guyanese Socialist Party or PSG [Marie-Claude VERDAN]; Popular National Guyanese Party or PNPG [Jose DORCY]; Socialist Party or PS [Alix LABBE]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Georges HABRAN-MERY]; Union for a Popular Movement or UMP (includes RPR) [Remi Louis DUBOC]; Walwari Committee (aligned with the PRG in France) [Christine TAUBIRA-DELANON]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
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 much larger French economy through subsidies and imports. Besides the French space center at Kourou (which accounts for 25% of GDP), 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):
$1.551 billion (2003 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,300 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Labor force:
58,800 (1997)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 18.2%
industry: 21.2%
services: 60.6% (1980)
Unemployment rate:
19.2% (December 2003)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2003)
revenues: $135.5 million
expenditures: $135.5 million; including capital expenditures of $105 million (1996)
Agriculture - products:
corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sugar, cocoa, vegetables, bananas; cattle, pigs, poultry
construction, shrimp processing, forestry products, rum, gold mining
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
465.2 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
432.6 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
6,600 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
$137.5 million f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
shrimp, timber, gold, rum, rosewood essence, clothing
Exports - partners:
France 62%, Switzerland 7%, US 2% (2004)
$625 million c.i.f. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food (grains, processed meat), machinery and transport equipment, fuels and chemicals
Imports - partners:
France 63%, US, Trinidad and Tobago, Italy (2004)
Debt - external:
$800.3 million (2003)
Economic aid - recipient:
Currency (code):
euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications French Guiana
Telephones - main lines in use:
51,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
138,200 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: NA
domestic: fair open-wire and microwave radio relay system
international: country code - 594; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 2, FM 14 (including 6 repeaters), shortwave 6 (including 5 repeaters) (1998)
104,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (plus eight low-power repeaters) (1997)
30,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
107 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
38,000 (2005)
Transportation French Guiana
11 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 5 (2006)
total: 817 km (1998)
3,760 km
note: 460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers, 3,300 km by native craft (2003)
Ports and terminals:
Degrad des Cannes
Military French Guiana
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Gendarmerie
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 47,809 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 38,676 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
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) in French Guiana
Illicit drugs:
small amount of marijuana grown for local consumption; minor transshipment point to Europe

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006