Area: 86,504 sq km
Sparsely inhabited jungle territory in northeast South America. Great diversity of flora and fauna with over 400,000 species known.
Population: 231,313 Annual Growth: 2.75%
Official language: French. Guianese French Creole widely spoken Languages: 15 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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A new image of French Guiana is emerging, one that moves past the penal colony image to embrace rich multiculturalism and economic and touristic development, but also French secularism and many moral challenges. Several socio-economic challenges are particularly notable for prayer.
a) The relationship to France, as with the other overseas departments, is troubled. The standard of living is significantly less than in France itself, but higher than in most neighbouring countries. Unemployment is high, especially among young people, which leads, in turn, to disillusionment and unrest. The availability of French satellite TV has brought widespread exposure to graphic pornography and placed further strain on the already delicate moral fabric of French Guiana.
b) Environmental degradation combines with illegal immigration and people trafficking through gold mining and the workers needed for that industry. Brazilians in particular are caught up in this clandestine, often illegal but impossible to police, industry.
c) Family issues, observed in high rates of illegitimate births and of single-parent families, combine with eroding moral standards to increase pressure on society.
For an additional 2 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of French Guiana.