Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.
Government bureaucracy and pervasive corruption severely hamper economic development in Guinea. Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index ranked Guinea 150 out of 180 countries, down 13 places from 2020. Guinea also faces inadequate infrastructure, an inefficient bureaucracy, a lack of skilled workers, and political uncertainty. Guinea lacks the infrastructure necessary to support advanced commercial activities, but conditions are improving. Access to electricity has vastly improved throughout the capital city of Conakry since the completion of Kaleta dam in the summer of 2015, but power outages are still common especially during the dry season (February – May). Access to piped water in the capital is intermittent, and unsafe for consumption before treatment. In the interior of the country, access to electricity and treated water is largely unavailable. Transportation infrastructure, including roads, railroads, and the port system, is unevenly developed throughout the country, though the government of Guinea has targeted infrastructure improvement as a high priority for the coming years. The road networks in certain areas, such as the outskirts of Conakry, between Dabola and Kankan, and Beyla to N’Zerekore, have improved with resources from either international donors or corporate partners in the mining sector. Nonetheless, roads deteriorate quickly because of the lengthy and heavy rainy season. Telecommunication operating costs remain high, and service is slow and subject to “black outs” due to lack of equipment. The ongoing installation of 4G and fiber optic networks is improving internet connectivity, though connections lag U.S. standards.
While Guinea has never been afflicted by a civil war, street protests and civil unrest have caused isolated looting and violence, particularly in Conakry. The Department of State’s Travel Advisory for Guinea, at Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution as of June 2022, cautions against frequent, sporadic, and unplanned demonstrations that may escalate into violent clashes between protestors and security forces. Criminals are known to take advantage of demonstration-related traffic congestion to rob drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Uniformed security forces may also extort drivers and passengers during these incidents. The U.S. Department of State has assessed Conakry as being a medium-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Additional information can be found on the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) website in the Guinea Country Security Report.
Violence surrounding the March 2020 legislative election and constitutional referendum, as well as the October 2020 presidential election, all negatively affected Guinea’s growth prospects. The transition government has worked to maintain economic stability since the 2021 coup d’etat, though without a clear timeline for elections, the uncertain political situation further limits potential growth. The transition government announced a ban on protests in May 2022, though despite the ban, widespread protests have occurred across Conakry. The political opposition and civil society activists mobilize followers for politically motivated protests. Economic-focused protests have also been frequent as Guineans have demonstrated against the lack of perceived and uneven development progress and price changes. For example, protests spread in Conakry following a May 2022 transition government-mandated increase in gas prices. Even with such protests scheduled, it is possible to avoid getting close to protests by changing travel routes or remaining off the streets altogether on protest days. Nonetheless, heavy traffic congestion is common as traffic diverts to avoid protest areas.
Although the current transition charter, former constitution, and legal code provide for an independent judiciary, in practice, the judicial system lacks independence and is underfunded, inefficient, and portrayed in the press as corrupt. Budget shortfalls, a shortage of qualified lawyers and magistrates, nepotism, and ethnic bias contribute to the judiciary’s challenges. To combat these challenges, former President Conde inaugurated the first Trade Court of Guinea on March 20, 2018. Transition President COL Doumbouya created the Court to Repress Economic and Financial Crimes (CRIEF) to handle cases involving embezzlement, corruption, and misuse of public funds over one billion GNF (approximately $110,000) in December 2021. As of July 2022, the court has focused on collecting evidence for corruption cases against businesses tied to and officials that served in former President Conde’s government.