Guinea - Country Commercial Guide
Distribution and Sales Channels

Discusses distribution network from how products enter to final destination, including reliability of distribution systems, distribution centers, ports, etc.

Last published date: 2022-12-15


Each industry has its own policy and network for sales and distribution.  Sales of communication products usually occur through wholesalers who import in bulk for resale to small traders or distributers in the interior of the country. Retailers often directly import luxury consumer goods.  Generally, mining, utility, and industrial firms conduct heavy equipment purchases directly from suppliers.  Service and customer support should not be expected and are only possible if negotiated at the time of sale.  Guinea features many open-air marketplaces, numerous small shops, and a few medium-sized grocery stores.  A majority of consumer sales are completed within the informal or parallel market.

Using an Agent or Distributor

Entering a successful partnership or representational relationship can be difficult in Guinea.  The Guinean judicial system is understaffed, corrupt, and lacks transparency.  Accounting practices in Guinean courts are frequently unreliable.  U.S. businesses should exercise extreme caution when entering contractual arrangements and do so with local legal representation.  The U.S. Embassy Economic/Commercial Section and Guinea’s Agency for the Promotion of Private Investment (APIP) are good points of contact with the local business community. 

In 2015, U.S. Embassy Conakry facilitated establishment of an American and International Business Committee that can provide useful information about the business climate.  

Establishing an Office

There are six categories of companies recognized by the Code of Economic Activities:

  • Joint Stock Companies, either S.A. (minimum capitalization of at least 100 million GNF, approx. USD 10,500) or S.A.R.L. (minimum capitalization of 10 million GNF, approx. USD 1,050);
  • Partnerships
  • Non-trading Real Estate Companies
  • Professional Services Companies
  • Cooperatives; and
  • Special companies and conglomerates, including joint venture companies, de facto companies, and temporary groupings.

Legal incorporation for new investments involves signing by-laws, depositing the start-up capital in a blocked bank account, registering the company in the Register of Economic Activities, and announcing the incorporation in the Agency for the Promotion of Private Investment (APIP).  The process is fully digitalized and is centralized at APIP’s One-Stop-Shop (Guichet Unique), established in December 2011 and operated by APIP, as part of the Ministry of Commerce, Plans, and Small and Medium Enterprises.

Fees for individuals starting companies total 212,500 GNF (approximately USD 25).  Total fees for limited liability partnerships are 530,000 GNF (approximately USD 61), plus a sliding fee to register the statutes and procès-verbal (receipt): 1 percent of capital for companies with a capitalization between 10 and 100 million GNF (approx. USD 1,154 to 11,540), 0.5 percent for companies between 100 million and 500 million GNF (approx. USD 11, 540 to 57,700), and 0.25 percent of capital for any amount above 500 million GNF (approx. USD 52,600).  Corporations pay 650,000 GNF (approximately USD 75) plus 0.5 percent of capitalization between 100 million and 1 billion GNF (approximately USD 10,500 to 105,000).   [Note:  APIP reports these fees are currently being waived.  End note.]  Cooperatives register free of charge. The company must submit two photos of the company’s director, managing director, or agent, and a copy of his or her identification and visa (if a foreigner), as well prove residency in Guinea with a Certificate of Residence validated by the commune head.  Corporations and LLPs must also provide proof of a bank account containing their initial capital to assess the statute registration fee, as specified above.    A branch office can be established through the same procedure at a cost of 700,000 GNF (approx. USD 80). The full list of prices can be viewed on APIP’s website.

Following registration, to apply for “privileged regime” status and benefit from the provisions of Guinea’s investment code, the company will need to create at least five permanent jobs, invest of a minimum USD 20,000, and address a letter to APIP’s Managing Director Diana Kouyate detailing the nature of the company, the installation and equipment, anticipated production and revenue for the next three years, and the number of jobs to be created. The company will benefit from attractive tax and customs advantages. More information is available on APIP’s website

All projects developed under Guinea’s Investment Code need to submit feasibility studies.  The proposals will be reviewed and validated by APIP and transmitted to the Ministry Commerce, Plans, and Small and Medium Enterprises for final investment certificate approval. 

Although employees at the One-Stop-Shop seem competent and well-trained, the new registration process is not fully streamlined.  The One-Stop-Shop no longer requires a rental contract to establish a business. 

For the latest Investment Climate Statement (ICS) which includes information on investment and business environments in foreign economies pertinent to establishing and operating an office and to hiring employees, visit the U.S. Department of Department of State’s Investment Climate Statements website.


Franchise arrangements are rare in Guinea, however, there are a few exceptions.  There is a franchise agreement in petroleum distributorships with the French oil company Total, and also by Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, which opened the Sheraton Grand Hotel Conakry in late 2016.  The Sheraton has been closed for renovations since December 2021.  There are several small restaurant franchises in the capital as well.  In 2018, more than 20 Guinean entrepreneurs attended the International Franchise Expo in New York, but their visit resulted in no franchise investments. 

Direct Marketing

Although the government permits direct marketing, the U.S. Embassy knows of no international direct marketing company currently operating in Guinea. This is most likely due to the lack of a reliable postal system or land line telephone network.  Guinean marketing companies such as Indigo, Monarch Conakry,, and Equom Marketing offer services including marketing strategy and advice, graphic design, print marketing, audio/visual services, and digital marketing.  Demonstration events or product fairs are generally best for high-technology or for products targeting a small market niche in Conakry.  Small fairs can be staged in a hotel or public space available in Guinea’s larger cities or through agreement with a local partner or government office.

The U.S. Embassy has sponsored business development seminars to introduce Guinean businesses to working partnerships with U.S. companies.  The Embassy also helps organize Guinean delegations for U.S. trade and product demonstration events and helps to facilitate connections between Guinean buyers and producers with appropriate U.S. counterparts.

Joint Ventures/Licensing

Joint ventures or licensing with local Guinean companies follow the same procedures as outlined above in the Establishing an Office section.  Joint ventures with the government are managed by the Ministry of Commerce, Plans, and Small and Medium Enterprises.   The 2011 Mining Code, amended in 2013, gives the government the right to a 15 percent interest in any major mining operation in Guinea (the government decides when an operation has become large enough to qualify), with the option to purchase up to an additional 20 percent.  Most U.S. investors set up Guinean subsidiaries to conduct business.  Hiring local experts and consultants is seen as the norm.  Many larger firms secure individual tax arrangements with the government that exempt them from some taxes.

Express Delivery

There are three main international delivery companies operating in Guinea:  DHL, UPS, and Bollore Logistic Express, which replaced FedEx.  The Guinean Postal Service offers express delivery to 176 countries, charging USD 53 for express letter delivery to the United States.  Using one of these private services to send a parcel from the United States to Guinea can take four to five days to reach the destination.  Prices for small package and pouch delivery to the United States range from USD 60 to 100, depending on size and weight.  Recipients of packages in Guinea may be required to pay duty.  The shipping provider is responsible for informing the recipient of the duty and collecting payment.

Due Diligence

The use of a local attorney for consultation and guidance, especially in the case of business disputes, is strongly recommended.  The judicial system in Guinea is underdeveloped, underfunded, and there are frequent reports of rampant corruption.  The U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section maintains a list of local attorneys, though the list should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any of the attorneys listed.  A list of local attorneys is also available from the Ministry of Justice.

There is no existing agency through which U.S. businesses can verify the credit background of counterparts in Guinea before doing business.  The U.S. Embassy suggests requesting a letter of credit before commencing business transactions.