Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel.
Acceptable business etiquette in Guinea does not significantly differ from typical American business etiquette. That said, in interactions with the government and senior business leaders, visitors in Guinea should pay attention to titles and rank to ensure that expected respect is paid to interlocutors. Senior leaders are often addressed by their formal title during introductions and throughout meetings. Formal dress code is expected in most business meetings and reflects international norms. On Fridays, you can expect local interlocutors to wear traditional dress. Business cards are almost always exchanged, but gifts are not expected.
Travel Advisory: More information regarding travel advisories for Guinea can be found on the State Department Guinea Travel Advisory.
Visas for American passport holders are always required for entry into Guinea. U.S. passport holders need to use the e-Visa system to apply for visas to Guinea and should allow ample time for processing. You can find more information about applying for a Guinean visa at the Embassy of the Republic of Guinea in Washington’s website at http://guineaembassyusa.org/en/welcome-to-the-embassy-of-guinea-washington-usa/.
U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following link(s): State Department Visa website
The local currency is the Guinean Franc (GNF). The Guinean Franc has a maximum denomination of 20,000, or approximately USD 2.30. Almost all transactions can be completed in GNF, though major hotels and some other businesses may accept USD. There are limited ATMs in Conakry, but it is recommended only to use those in secure locations such as hotels. Most are operated by Ecobank, BICIGUI, or UBA. [Note: Vista Bank will rebrand all BICIGUI branches as VISTAGUI by early 2023.] Credit cards are only accepted at hotels, high-end stores and restaurants, and the major grocery store chains. Sufficient cash should be carried for all planned expenses outside of these types of establishments. The availability of credit card readers and ATMs outside of Conakry is highly unlikely.
Internet accessibility is poor across Guinea and primarily concentrated in the capital of Conakry. Speeds of up to 5 Mbps can be found in hotels and restaurants with WiFi hotspots. Internet speeds of up to 20 Mbps can be ordered for private residences in certain parts of the city. 4G service is available through Orange, and all other providers only have 3G service. Data and voice services outside of Conakry are highly inconsistent.
Electricity supply is highly inconsistent, both in availability and quality. Local power plugs and sockets are of type C, F, and K and the standard voltage / frequency is 220 V/50 Hz. If visitors do not stay at a large hotel with a generator, they can expect to be without power for multiple hours every day. There are no large electronics retailers in Guinea, and no major retailers of mobile phone or computer manufacturers. Visitors will probably not be able to have personal electronics repaired locally.
Visitors to Guinea will likely only be able to enter easily through Ahmed Sekou Toure International Airport in Conakry. Flights are available to Guinea from Paris, Brussels, Lisbon, Istanbul, Dubai, Casablanca, Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Ouagadougou, Lome, Bamako, Tunis, and Dakar multiple times a week. Few flight routes are daily, with most arriving two to three times per week. There are no regularly scheduled internal commercial flights. Some fixed and rotary wing charter services are available from companies located in Guinea and neighboring countries. Visitors can arrive by car from Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, and Liberia, but the safety and road conditions of these routes is highly variable, and visitors should confirm the local conditions before travelling with a trusted local contact.
Visitors should arrange private and reliable ground transportation and avoid the use of available “public” transportation due to safety and reliability issues. Ground transport to the interior of the country is difficult and significantly affected by both weather, traffic, road quality, and road accidents. Travel times to major interior cities can range from one to two days, and visitors should avoid travelling at night outside of Conakry. Visitors should identify a reputable transportation provider and confirm estimated travel times with trusted local contacts immediately before each trip to consider current road conditions.
French is the official language in Guinea. Some officials and business leaders educated outside of Guinea do speak English or Spanish. We recommend visitors confirm the spoken language of interlocutors before meetings and book interpreters if necessary. The Embassy can provide recommendations for interpreters. While French is widely spoken, there are a variety of local languages including Fula, Malinke, and Susu. Visitors can expect to encounter individuals who only speak a local language during their travels in Guinea.
Health and sanitation standards in Guinea are generally poor. Visitors should not expect to be able to find healthcare services and hospitals that meet average U.S. standards. Visitors should maintain Medical Evacuation insurance. Traffic accidents, animal bites, and mosquito borne diseases are common. Water borne diseases are common, and visitors should not drink tap water. Visitors should use malaria prophylaxis and avoid mosquito bites.
Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays
Business hours are from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Friday is sometimes a half day, and some work may stop after the Jummah prayer at 2:00 PM. In Guinea, the Standard Time Zone is GMT/UTC +00. Visitors can find more information about local holidays on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings
Personal effects may enter Guinea duty-free in most circumstances. Nonetheless, visitors may be subject to search and requests for bribes when entering Guinea.