Identifies common practices used in selling in this market, including sales material that needs to be in the local language.
Guinea is approximately 85 percent Muslim, and Islam plays a significant role in shaping the customs and habits of the local business culture. Though Guinean culture is very tolerant of other religions, U.S. businesspeople should be familiar with the basic tenets of Islam to help facilitate their transactions. The country’s official language is French, though many major traders are not fluent, and prefer to use local languages such as Fula (known in French as Peuhl), Malinke, and Susu. According to UNESCO, the general rate of literacy was 39.6 percent in Guinea in 2018. Few Guineans use English in business discussions and even less so outside of Conakry. Friendship and trust are extremely important in Guinean culture. It takes time to build a successful working relationship in Guinea. Effort, patience, and face-to-face contact are required to bring business transactions to fruition.
It is also important to understand the political environment in which Guinea is currently operating. Financial investment is centralized at the most senior levels of the transition government. Processes and decisions directed by the transition government can be variable and inconsistent. The transition government has pledged to address these issues and to make discussions and contractual negotiations more transparent and spread out among relevant ministries, but progress toward transparency, although improving, has been slow.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
The Guinean press operates with little official government interference. That said, some media outlets occasionally report government harassment or are subject to excessive fines, under the guise of special “licensing costs.” Most of Guinea’s population is illiterate (60 percent), so the best and most preferred method for advertising and commercial promotion is through the radio. In 2006, the government liberalized airwave frequencies, and today there are roughly 30 radio stations operating in Guinea, many of which provide substantial airtime to advertising products and services. Domestic print media has low circulation and limited readership due to the high cost of printing materials and the low literacy rate.
The major newspapers in Guinea include: one daily government publication, one daily independent, eight major weekly independents, and several other independent newspapers that are published intermittently. Advertising in print media is limited, though many newspapers would likely be receptive to advertising revenue. There are no regular English-language publications. The government-run television station, Radio Television Guineene (RTG), is the oldest television broadcaster. There are a few nascent independent TV stations that Guineans generally find to be more credible than the public television station. Most Guineans do not have access to television broadcasts.
Popular private radio stations:
- EspaceFM (99.7)
- NostalgieGuinee (98.3)
- SabariFM (97.3)
- EvasionFM (90.7)
- Djoma FM (93.1)
- Continental FM (98.8)
- CIS FM (106.00)
- Sabou FM (96.6)
- Radio du Parlement (107.5)
- FIM FM (95.3)
- Horoya (government daily): BP 341, Conakry; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- L’independent/La Democrate: BP 2427, Conakry; Email: email@example.com
- L’Observateur: BP 1955, Conakry; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Le Lynx (satrirical weekly paper): BP 4968; Email: email@example.com
- Lance (political weekly paper): BP 4968; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Le Populaire: email@example.com; 622-97-18-96
- Guinee News
- Africa Guinee
- Guinee Live
- Media Guinee
- Mosaique Guinee
- Focus Guinee
- Vision Guinee
- Guinee Matin
- Kale News
- Le Djely
- Le Revelateur224
While U.S. goods are popular in Guinea, the low-income market favors low-cost goods, especially from Asia. For low-cost items, if the difference in cost is not significant, consumers strongly prefer U.S. products. That said, certain U.S. goods can be marked up far above their U.S. prices. While some American foodstuffs are imported by high-end grocers, the mark up on these products is substantial, limiting the consumer base. In 2017, the government decreased value-added taxes from 20% to 18%. Certain staples such as rice and wheat, in addition to materials associated with investments in certain sectors, can secure exemptions from this tax.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Sales service and customer support are relatively unknown in Guinea, especially due to the informal nature of Guinea’s market. The principle of “buyer beware” applies throughout the country. Companies looking to maintain industrial equipment often sign specific service and support agreements with vendors. Companies operating in Guinea have reported that importing spare parts can be difficult due to a lack of clarity over applicable duties.
Local Professional Services
A list of local attorneys and physicians is available from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
There are several accounting firms present in Guinea, including:
- Ernst and Young: Rene-Marie Kondiano, Country Managing Partner; Tel: +224 621 99 99 10; Email: email@example.com
- PriceWaterHouseCoopers: Mohamed Lahlou, Director; Tel: +224 664 00 00 37; Email: Mohamed.firstname.lastname@example.org
- KPMG Audieurs Associes en Afrique: Mory Cisse, Partner Manager; Tel +224 622 61 39 48; email@example.com
- Alpha Kabine Cisse, Manager; Tel: +224 601 21 62 45; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Epsilone: Moriba Kourouma; Tel: +224 662 56 19 35
- Grant Thorton: Amadou Barry, Associate, email: email@example.com
Principal Business Associations
Industry-specific associations exist for pharmaceuticals, mining, and transportation.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
There are no specific limitations on the selling of U.S. products and services in Guinea.