Guinea extends southeast in a crescent from the Atlantic coast of West Africa. Its topography varies from coastal plains to inland mountains that account for about 60 percent of the land area. Several of the region’s major rivers, in particular the Niger, Senegal, and Gambia, all originate from these highlands, making Guinea the “water tower” of West Africa. These rivers drain vast arable plains, and upstream offer important potential for hydroelectric energy. Guinea’s forests are now mostly limited to a few mountainous areas in the south (Ziama and Nimba), and to gallery forests along watercourses. Guinean landscapes also have the largest extent of lateritic plateaus, called bowé, creating natural clearings of treeless meadows. They are a common feature in the north and west of the country. In addition, Guinea is endowed with huge deposits of mineral resources. It has the largest deposits of bauxite and iron ore in the world and is a gold and diamond producer. Thanks to these mineral resources, Guinea has the potential of being one of Africa’s richest countries. Its Atlantic shoreline supports a large-scale fishing industry and has developed large commercial harbors, such as Conakry and Kamsar.