An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Guinea

Executive Summary

On September 5, 2021 Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya and Guinean military special forces seized power and detained former President Alpha Conde through a coup d’état.  COL Doumbouya declared himself Guinea’s head of state, dissolved the government and National Assembly and suspended the constitution.  Guinea is currently governed by the National Committee for Reunification and Development (CNRD), which is led by COL Doumbouya and comprised primarily of military officials.  On September 27, 2021 COL Doumbouya released the Transitional Charter which supersedes the constitution until a new Constitution is promulgated; Guinea’s penal and civil codes remains in force.  On October 1, 2021 the Supreme Court Justice installed COL Doumbouya as Head of State, Transition President, CNRD President, and Commander-in-Chief of Security Forces.  On January 22, 2022 the National Transition Council, the transition government’s legislative body, was installed but no timeline for future elections or return to civilian rule was provided as of April 2022.

Guinea enjoys sizeable endowments of natural resources, energy opportunities, and arable land.

These seeming advantages have not yet resulted in economic development, and may in fact hinder it, in an example of the famous “resource curse.”  Guinea’s economy has been based on extraction of primary resources, from at least the French colonial era and the slave trade before it.  This extractive paradigm and legacy of underdevelopment, combined with low levels of education, and longstanding patterns of nondemocratic governance dating back to the colonial era, limit the potential for broad-based economic growth based on value addition, innovation, and productive as opposed to extractive or rent-seeking investment.  At the same time, a sense of national identity and unity, and both formal and informal practices of solidarity that tend towards wealth redistribution may prove to be assets for the country’s development, if the government and the private sector can harness them productively.

The 2021 coup d’etat, persistent corruption, and fiscal mismanagement make the near-term economic prognosis for Guinea mixed.  In this context, Guinea has looked to foreign investment to bolster tax and export revenues and to support infrastructure projects and overall economic growth.  China, Guinea’s largest trading partner, dramatically increased its role in years leading up to the coup with a variety of infrastructure investments.  Investors should proceed with caution, understanding that the potential for profits comes with significant political risk.  Weak institutions mean that investors may secure lucrative concessions from the government in the short term, but these could be open to renegotiation or rescission in the long term.  Prior to the coup, former President Conde’s government implemented reforms to improve various aspects of the investment climate.  For example, the former government reduced property transfers fees from 2 to 1.2 percent of property value.  The time required to obtain a construction permit was reduced and import procedures were improved.  Since 2019, Guinea has implemented a permanent taxpayer identification number system that requires all payments to be made by “Real Time Gross System” (RTGS) immediate transfers.

Since the coup d’etat, the transition government has spoken extensively about fighting corruption and increasing transparency.  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 April 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.

Endowed with abundant mineral resources, Guinea has the raw materials to be an economic leader in the extractives industry.  Guinea is home to a third of the world’s reserves of bauxite (aluminum ore), and bauxite accounts for over half of Guinea’s present exports.  Historically, most of the country’s bauxite was exported by Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) (Bauxite Company of Guinea) [a joint venture between the Government of Guinea, U.S.-based Alcoa, the Anglo-Australian firm Rio Tinto, and Dadco Investments of the Channel Islands], via a designated port in Kamsar.  While CBG still retains the largest reserves, the Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB) (Mineral Company of Boke), a Sino-Singaporean conglomerate, recently surpassed CBG as the largest single producer of bauxite.  New investment by SMB and CBG, in addition to new market entrants, are expected to significantly increase Guinea’s bauxite output over the next five to ten years.  Guinea also possesses over four billion tons of untapped high-grade iron ore, significant gold and diamond reserves, undetermined amounts of uranium, as well as prospective offshore oil reserves.  Artisanal and medium-sized industrial gold mining in the Siguiri region is a significant contributor to the Guinean economy, but some suspect much of the gold leaves the country clandestinely, without generating any government revenue.  In the long term, both former President Conde’s government and the transition government project that Guinea’s greatest potential economic driver will be the Simandou iron ore project, which is slated to be the largest greenfield project ever developed in Africa.  The transition government reached an ambitious agreement with Rio Tinto and the SMB-Winning Consortium (WCS) in March 2022 to develop the rail and port infrastructure to bring ore from Simandou to market by early 2025.  In 2017, the governments of Guinea and China signed a USD 20 billion framework agreement giving Guinea potentially USD 1 billion per year in infrastructure projects in exchange for increased access to mineral wealth.  In 2018, the Chinese Group TBEA invested USD 2.89 billion in the bauxite and alumina sector.  The project includes development of a bauxite mine, the construction of a port, railroad, and power plant to facilitate the supply chain.  The project is estimated to generate USD 406 million in annual revenue for Guinea.

The amended 2013 Mining Code stipulates that raw ore producers in Guinea begin processing raw ore into refined or processed products within a few years of development, depending on the terms of the individual investment and the mandate with the Ministry of Mines and Geology.  In April 2022, the transition government called upon bauxite concessionaires to solidify refining plans by May 2022.  U.S.-based companies are in varying stages of proposing LNG projects to furnish this upcoming tremendous energy need.  China is reportedly offering coal-based solutions to meet the potential demand.

Guinea’s abundant rainfall and natural geography bode well for hydroelectric and renewable energy production. The largest energy sector investment in Guinea is the 450MW Souapiti dam project (valued at USD 2.1 billion), begun in late 2015 with Chinese investment, which likewise completed the 240MW Kaleta Dam (valued at USD 526 million) in May 2015.  Kaleta more than doubled Guinea’s electricity supply, and for the first-time furnished Conakry with more reliable, albeit seasonal, electricity (May-November). Souapiti began producing electricity in 2021. A third hydroelectric dam on the same river, dubbed Amaria, began construction in January 2019 and is expected to be operational in 2024. The Chinese mining firm TBEA is providing financing for the Amaria power plant (300 MW, USD 1.2 billion investment).  If corresponding distribution infrastructure is built, and pricing enables it, these projects could make Guinea an energy exporter in West Africa. In addition, U.S.-based Endeavor began operating Project Te in November 2020, a 50MW thermal plant on the outskirts of the capital.  Former President Conde’s government also signed an emergency agreement in December 2019 to buy power from the 105 MW Turkish Karpowership barge anchored off Conakry’s coast.  Former President Conde’s government emphasized investment in solar and other energy sources to compensate for hydroelectric deficits during Guinea’s dry season.  Toward that end, former President Conde’s government entered into several Memoranda of Understanding with the private sector to develop solar projects.

Agriculture and fisheries hold other areas of opportunity and growth in Guinea.  Already an exporter of fruits, vegetables, and palm oil to its immediate neighbors, Guinea is climatically well suited for large-scale agricultural production and export.  However, the sector has suffered from decades of neglect and mismanagement, lack of transportation infrastructure, and lack of electricity and a reliable cold chain.  Guinea is an importer of rice, its primary staple crop.

Guinea’s macroeconomic and financial situation is weak.  The aftermath of the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis left former President Conde’s government with few financial resources to invest in social services and infrastructure.  Lower natural resource revenues stemming from a drop in world commodities prices and ill-advised government loans strained an already tight budget.  In 2018 the government borrowed excessively from the Central Bank (BCRG), which threatened the first review of Guinea’s current International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.  Lower than forecast natural resource revenues in 2019 due to heavy rains and political violence threatened the fourth review, which Guinea passed in April 2020.  In December 2020, the Executive Board of the IMF completed its fifth and sixth reviews of Guinea’s economic performance. The completion of these reviews enabled the immediate disbursement of USD 49.47 million – bringing total disbursements under Guinea’s third extended credit facility to USD 66.60 million before the program’s end.

A shortage of credit persists, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the government is increasingly looking to international investment to increase growth, provide jobs, and kick-start the economy. On March 13, 2020, Guinea confirmed its first Covid-19 case. The pandemic negatively impacted the well-being of households, particularly those working in the informal sector, who have limited access to savings and financial services.  Guinea experienced an Ebola epidemic from February to June 2021.  Despite its able handling of the epidemic, which kept deaths to a minimum, cross-border trade with Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone was reduced temporarily during the outbreak.  Violence surrounding the March 2020 legislative election and constitutional referendum, as well as the October 2020 presidential election, all negatively impacted Guinea’s growth prospects.  The transition government has worked to maintain economic stability since the 2021 coup d’etat, though without a timeline for elections, the uncertain political situation further limits potential growth.

Prior to the coup, Guinea passed and implemented an anti-corruption law, updated its Investment Code, and renewed efforts to attract international investors, including a new investment promotion website put in place in 2016 by Guinea’s investment promotion agency to increase transparency and streamline processes for new investors.  However, Guinea’s capacity to enforce its more investor-friendly laws is compromised by a weak and unreliable legal system.  Then 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 April 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.

To attract foreign investment, the Private Investment Promotion Agency (APIP) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Small and Medium Enterprises hosted the second annual Guinea Investment Forum (GUIF) in Dubai in February 2022, following the inaugural event in Guinea in February 2021.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 150 of 175 http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview
Global Innovation Index 2021 130 of 132 https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2020 $278 million https://apps.bea.gov/international/factsheet/
World Bank GNI per capita 2020 $1,020 https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

3. Legal Regime

4. Industrial Policies

5. Protection of Property Rights

6. Financial Sector

7. State-Owned Enterprises

While all Guinea’s public utilities (water and electricity) are state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the former Conde administration proposed permitting private enterprises to operate in this sphere.  In 2015, the French firm Veolia was contracted to manage the state-owned electric utility Electricité de Guinée (EDG) – a contract which ended in October 2019.  Several private projects aimed at harnessing Guinea’s solar energy potential and gas-powered thermal plants are being implemented with the goal of producing and selling energy throughout Guinea and possibly to neighboring countries.  Other SOEs are found in the telecommunications, road construction, lottery, and transportation sectors.  There are several other mixed companies where the state owns a significant or majority share, that are typically related to the extractives industry.

The hydroelectricity sector could support Guinea’s modernization, and possibly even supply regional markets.  Guinea’s hydropower potential is estimated at over 6,000MW, making it a potential exporter of power to neighboring countries.  The largest energy sector investment in Guinea is the 450MW Souapiti dam project (valued at USD 2.1 billion), begun in late 2015 with Chinese investment.  A Chinese firm likewise completed the 240MW Kaleta Dam (valued at USD 526 million) in May 2015. Kaleta more than doubled Guinea’s electricity supply, and for the first-time furnished Conakry with more reliable, albeit seasonal, electricity (May-November). Souapiti began producing electricity in 2021.  A third hydroelectric dam on the same river, dubbed Amaria, began construction in January 2019 and is expected to be operational in 2024. The Chinese mining firm TBEA is providing financing for the Amaria power plant (300 MW, USD 1.2 billion investment).  If corresponding distribution infrastructure is built, and pricing enables it, these projects could make Guinea an energy exporter in West Africa.

Plans for improving the distribution network to enable electricity export are in process with the development of the Gambia River Basin Development (OMVG) (Organization pour la Mise en Oeuvre de Fleuve Gambie, in French) transmission project connecting Guinea, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and The Gambia.  The OMVG project involves the construction of 1,677 kilometers of 225-volt transmission network capable of handling 800MW to provide electricity for over two million people.  At the same time, Guinea is moving forward with the Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, (CLSG) transmission interconnector project, which will integrate Guinea into the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and allow for energy import-export across the region.  While neither former President Conde’s administration nor the transition government have published significant information concerning the financial stability of SOEs, EDG’s balance sheet is understood to be in the red. The IMF reported that as recently as 2017, up to 28 percent of Guinea’s budget went towards subsidizing electricity, and the IMF urged that EDG improve tariff collection since large numbers of its users do not pay. Former Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana announced in March 2021 that EDG subsidies cost Guinea’s government USD 350 million annually.

The amount of research and development (R&D) expenditures is not known, but it would be highly unlikely that any of Guinea’s SOEs would devote significant funding to R&D.  Guinean SOEs are entitled to subsidized fuel, which EDG uses to run thermal generator stations in Conakry.  Guinea is not party to the Government Procurement Agreement.

Corporate governance of SOEs is determined by the government. Guinean SOEs do not adhere to the OECD guidelines.  SOEs are supposed to report to the Office of the President, however, typically they report to a ministry.  Seats on the board of governance for SOEs are usually allocated by presidential decree.

8. Responsible Business Conduct

The 2013 Mining Code includes Guinea’s first legal framework outlining corporate social responsibility.  Under the provisions of the code, mining companies must submit social and environmental impact plans for approval before operations can begin and sign a code of good conduct, agreeing to refrain from corrupt activities and to follow the precepts of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).  However, lack of capacity in the various ministries involved makes government monitoring and enforcement of corporate social responsibility requirements difficult, a gap that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are filling.  In February 2019, Guinea was found to have achieved meaningful progress in implementing EITI standards.  The EITI Board outlined eight corrective actions, including disclosing more information on infrastructure agreements, direct subnational payments, and quasi-fiscal expenditures.  The Board noted that the EITI should play a role in overseeing the new Local Economic Development Fund (FODEL).  Mining companies continue to note a lack of transparency in the expenditure of revenues by the National Agency for Mining Infrastructure (ANAIM).

The 2019 Environmental Code also has specific provisions regarding environmental and social due diligence on any development projects.  The Code requires each development project to conduct an environmental impact study which includes a list of mitigation measures for any negative impact.

Guinea has laws that protect the population from adverse business impacts however, these laws are not effectively enforced.  In the last few years, there were several cases of private enterprise having an adverse impact on human rights, especially in the mining and energy sectors.  The government is often reluctant to fully enforce legislation regarding responsible conduct and the mitigation of these impacts.  There are several local and international organizations that are promoting and monitoring the implementation of RBCs.  Guinea is not signatory of the Montreux document on Private Military and Security Companies.

9. Corruption

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, Guinea lost 13 points and was ranked 150 out of 180 countries listed.

Guinea passed an Anti-Corruption Law in 2017, and in April 2019, a former director of the Guinean Office of Advertising was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling GNF 39 billion (approximately USD four million), though in June 2019, he was acquitted by the Appeals Court and was elected a member of the National Assembly in March 2020.  It is not clear whether the Anti-Corruption Law was used to prosecute the case.  According to a 2019 Afrobarometer survey, at least 40 percent of Guineans reported having given a government official a bribe, while a 2016 World Bank Enterprise Survey reported that of 150 firms surveyed, 48.7 percent reported that they were expected to give “gifts” to public officials to get things done, but only 7.9 percent reported having paid a bribe.

The business and political culture, coupled with low salaries, have historically combined to promote and encourage corruption.  Requests for bribes are a common occurrence.  Though it is illegal to pay bribes in Guinea, there is little enforcement of these laws.  In practice, it is difficult and time-consuming to conduct business without giving “gifts” in Guinea, leaving U.S. companies, who must comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, at a disadvantage.

Although the law provides criminal penalties for corruption, the law does not extend to family members of government officials. It does include provisions for political parties.  According to the World Bank’s 2018 Worldwide Governance Indicators, corruption continues to remain a severe problem, and Guinea is in the 13th percentile, down from being in the 15th percentile in 2012.  Public funds have been diverted for private use or for illegitimate public uses, such as buying vehicles for government workers.  Land sales and business contracts generally lack transparency.

Guinea’s Anti-Corruption Agency (ANLC) is an autonomous agency established by presidential decree in 2004.  The ANLC reports directly to the President and is currently the only state agency focused solely on fighting corruption, though it has been largely ineffective in its role with no successful convictions.  The ANLC’s Bureau of Complaint Reception fields anonymous tips forwarded to the ANLC. Investigations and cases must then be prosecuted through criminal courts.  According to the ANLC, during the past year there were no prosecutions as a result of tips.  The agency is underfunded, understaffed, and lacks computers and vehicles.  The ANLC is comprised of 52 employees in seven field offices, with a budget of USD 1.1 million in 2018.

Former President Conde’s administration named corruption in both the governmental and commercial spheres as one of its top agenda items.  In November 2019, Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria, and President Alpha Conde reached an agreement through which the Commission will assist Guinea to establish an anti-corruption agency; however, it is not clear if that meant reforming the existing anti-corruption agency or establishing a new anti-corruption agency.

In January 2021, Beny Steinmetz, an Israeli businessman and billionaire was sentenced to five years in jail in Geneva for bribing the wife of Guinea’s late President Lansana Conté to gain the rights to one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits.  He was also ordered to pay a 50 million Swiss franc (USD 56 million) fine.  Steinmetz has long claimed to be a victim of a vast international conspiracy to deprive him of the rights to the Simandou project.  He plans to appeal his case.

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 April 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.

 

A 2016 survey by the ANLC, the Open Society Initiative-West Africa (OSIWA), and Transparency International found that among private households, 61 percent of the respondents stated they were asked to pay a bribe for national services and 24 percent for local services.  Furthermore, 24 percent claimed to have paid traffic-related bribes to police, 24 percent for better medical treatment, 19 percent for better water or electricity services, and 8 percent for better judicial treatment.

Guinea is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.  http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

Guinea is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.  http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/countryreportsontheimplementationoftheoecdanti-briberyconvention.htm

Since 2012, Guinea has had a Code for Public Procurement (Code de Marches Publics et Delegations de Service Public) that provides regulations for countering conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or in government procurements.  In 2016, the government issued a Transparency and Ethics charter for public procurement that provides the main do’s and don’ts in public procurement, highlighting avoidance of conflict of interest as a priority.  The charter also includes a template letter that companies must sign when bidding for public contracts stating that they will comply with local legislation and public procurement provisions, including practices to prevent corruption.

Since April 2020, Government of Guinea officials and family must complete the asset declaration form which is available on the Court of Audit website.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

National Agency to Fight Corruption (ANLC)
Cite des Nations, Villa 20, Conakry, Guinea
Korak Bailo Sow, Permanent Secretary
+224 622 411 796
ddiallo556@gmail.com
+224 620 647 878
cc@anlcgn.org

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Transparency International
Dakar, Senegal
+221-33-842-40-44
forumcivil@orange.sn  

Guinea Association for Transparency
Oumar Kanah Diallo, President
+224 622 404 142
okandiallo77@gmail.com
agtguinee224@gmail.com 

10. Political and Security Environment

Guinea has had a long history of political repression, with more recent episodes of politically-motivated violence around elections.  The country suffered under authoritarian rule from independence in 1958 until its first democratic presidential election in 2010.  It has seen continued political violence associated with national and local elections since 2010, culminating in the most recent September 2021 coup d’etat.

On September 5, 2021 Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya and Guinean military special forces seized power and detained former President Alpha Conde through a coup d’état.  COL Doumbouya declared himself Guinea’s head of state, dissolved the government and National Assembly and suspended the constitution.  Guinea is currently governed by the National Committee for Reunification and Development (CNRD), which is led by COL Doumbouya and comprised primarily of military officials.  On September 27, 2021 COL Doumbouya released the Transitional Charter which supersedes the constitution until a new Constitution is promulgated; Guinea’s penal and civil codes remains in force.  On October 1, 2021 the Supreme Court Justice installed COL Doumbouya as Head of State, Transition President, CNRD President, and Commander-in-Chief of Security Forces.  On January 22, 2022 the National Transition Council, the transition government’s legislative body, was installed but no timeline for future elections or return to civilian rule was provided as of April 2022.

In March 2020, the former Conde administration amended the constitution through a referendum that allowed former President Conde to seek a third term in office.  Observers noted the process was not transparent, inclusive, or consultative.  Major opposition parties boycotted the referendum and accompanying legislative elections.  This resulted in resetting presidential term limits and the ruling party, the Rally for the Guinean People, gaining a super majority in the National Assembly.  Domestic and international observers raised concerns regarding widespread violence and voting irregularities in the legislative elections, including closed and ransacked polling stations.

In October 2020 President Alpha Conde ran for reelection for a third term under the new constitution.  International and domestic observers raised concerns about widespread electoral violence, restrictions on freedom of assembly, the lack of transparency in vote tabulation, and inconsistencies between the announced results and tally sheet results from polling stations.  Violent protests during both elections closed businesses in major population centers, resulted in about 150 deaths, and the arbitrary detention of hundreds of people including several prominent opposition figures.  Political intimidation and arbitrary detention of opposition members continued for several months after the election.

The local populace in Boke, Bel-Air, and Sangaredi disrupted road and/or railroad traffic on at least three occasions in 2017 and at least twice in 2018, in response to grievances over employment, lack of services, and other issues.  Although none of these events targeted American or foreign investors, they were disruptive to business in general and eroded confidence in the security situation under which investors must operate in Guinea.  Street violence is difficult to predict or avoid, but generally does not target westerners.

Presidential elections in 2015 sparked violent protests in Conakry, but clashes between police and demonstrators were largely contained.  In addition to political violence, sporadic and generally peaceful protests over fuel prices, lack of electricity, labor disputes, and other issues have occurred in the capital and sometimes beyond since 2013.  In February 2017, seven civilians died in confrontations with security services during large protests against education reforms.  After two days of violent protests in March 2018, teachers’ unions and the government agreed to a raise of 40 percent.  These protests over teacher union pay became intermingled with political protests over voting irregularities in the February 4 local elections.  The political opposition claims the government is responsible for the deaths of over 90 people during political protests over the past eight years.

Other instances of violence occurred in 2014 and 2015 during the Ebola epidemic when local citizens attacked the vehicles and facilities of aid workers.  The Red Cross, MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also reported cases of property damage (destroyed vehicles, ransacked warehouses, etc.).  On September 16, 2014, in the Forest Region village of Womei, eight people were killed by a mob when they visited the village as part of an Ebola education campaign. The casualties included radio journalists, local officials, and Guinean health care workers.

The small mining town of Zogota, located in Guinea’s Forest Region, saw the deaths of five villagers, including the village chief, during August 2012 clashes with security forces over claims that the Brazilian iron-mining company Vale was not hiring enough local employees and was instead bringing workers from other regions of Guinea.  The ensuing instability led to Vale evacuating all expatriate personnel from the town.

Following the death of President Lansana Conte on December 22, 2008, a military junta calling themselves the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) took power in a bloodless coup.  Immediately following the coup, the U.S. government suspended all but humanitarian and election assistance to Guinea.  The African Union (AU) and ECOWAS suspended Guinea’s membership pending democratic elections and a relinquishment of power by the military junta.  In September 2009, junta security forces attacked a political rally in a stadium in Conakry, killing 150 people, and raping over a hundred women.

The state had persecuted political dissidents and opposition parties for decades.  The Sekou Toure regime (1958-1984) and the Lansana Conte regime (1984-2008) were marked by political violence and human rights abuses.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

Guinea has a young population and a high unemployment rate.  Potential employees often lack specialized skills.  The country has a poor educational system and lacks professionals in all sectors of the economy. Guinea has deficits in specialized skills needed for large-scale projects of any kind.

According to a 2019 World Bank report on “Employment, productivity and inclusion of youth”, in 2017 Guinea’s economy was based on services (49 percent of GDP), mining and industry (37 percent) and agriculture (10 percent).  The tendencies show that employment in Guinea is like other countries in the region, with a high level of employment in the informal sector.  According to the 2018 World Bank Development Indicators, approximately 65 percent of Guineans above 15 years old, (56 percent males and 44 percent females) were employed in the formal or informal sectors.  Of those employed, 52 percent were working in agricultural sector, 34 percent in commerce, and 14 percent in industry and manufacturing.

In March 2020, the National Assembly revised the Children’s Code to increase protections and rights afforded to minors.  The new code provides increased penalties for offenses that expose children to violence, sexuality, the display or dissemination of obscene images, and messages not intended for children.  The new code also increases penalties relating to child labor, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and the fight against child pornography.  Under the new code children between the ages of 12 and 14 can perform light work, which does not meet international standards, as it applies to children under age 13.  In addition, the new code does not prescribe the number of hours per week permitted for light work, nor does it specify the conditions under which light work may be done. Moreover, these laws only apply to workers with written employment contracts, leaving self-employed children and children working outside of formal employment relationships vulnerable to exploitation.

Guinea’s National Assembly adopted a new labor code in February 2014 which protects the rights of employees and is enforced by the Ministry of Technical Education, Vocational Training, Employment and Labor.  The Labor Code sets forth guidelines in various sectors, the most stringent being the mining sector.  Guidelines cover wages, holidays, work schedules, overtime pay, vacation, and sick leave.  The Labor Code also outlaws all discrimination in hiring, including on the basis of sex, disability, and ethnicity.  It also prohibits all forms of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.  However, the law does not provide antidiscrimination protections for persons based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Although the law provides for the rights of workers to organize and join independent unions, engage in strikes, and bargain collectively, the law also places restrictions on the free exercise of these rights.  The Labor Code requires unions to obtain the support of 20 percent of the workers in a company, region, or trade that the union claims to represent.  The code mandates that unions provide ten days’ notice to the labor ministry before striking, but the code does allow work slowdowns. Strikes are only permitted for professional claims.  The Labor Code does not apply to government workers or members of the armed forces.  While the Labor Code protects union officials from anti-union discrimination, it does not extend that same protection to other workers.

The law prohibits child labor in the formal sector and sets forth penalties of three to ten years imprisonment and confiscation of resulting profits.  The law does not protect children in the informal sector.  The minimum age for employment is 16.  Exceptions allow children to work at age twelve as apprentices for light work in such sectors as domestic service and agriculture, and at 14 for other work.  A new child code was adopted at the National Assembly in December 2019, though it was never enacted by former President Conde.  The new child code provides more severe sentences for violations related to child labor.

The Labor Code allows the government to set a minimum monthly wage through the Consultative Commission for Labor and Social Laws.  The minimum wage for all sectors was established in 2013 at 440,000 GNF (approximately USD 50).  There is no known official poverty income level established by the government.

The law mandates that regular work should not exceed ten-hour days or 48-hour weeks, and it mandates a period of at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week, usually on Sunday.  Every salaried worker has the legal right to an annual paid vacation, accumulated at the rate of at least two workdays per month of work.  There also are provisions in the law for overtime and night wages, which are a fixed percentage of the regular wage.  The law stipulates a maximum of 100 hours of compulsory overtime a year.

The law contains general provisions regarding occupational safety and health, but neither former President Conde’s government nor the transition government have established a set of practical workplace health and safety standards.  Moreover, no orders have been issued laying out the specific safety requirements for certain occupations or for certain methods of work called for in the Labor Code.  All workers, foreign and migrant included, have the right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions without penalty.

Authorities rarely monitor work practices or enforced the workweek standards and the overtime rules.  Teachers’ wages are low, and teachers sometimes have gone for months without pay.  When salary arrears are not paid, some teachers live in abject poverty.  From 2016-2018, teachers conducted regular strikes and as a result and were promised a 40 percent increase in pay.  Initially they received only ten percent, but in March 2018, the government began to pay the remaining 30 percent.  In February 2019, the teacher’s union accepted the government proposal at the time and returned to work.  In January 2020, the teachers started an indefinite strike demanding higher wages and the re-running of a census of currently employed teachers.  As of end of March 2020, the teachers’ strike was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite legal protection against working in unsafe conditions, many workers feared retaliation and did not exercise their right to refuse to work under unsafe conditions.  Accidents in unsafe working conditions remain common.  The government banned artisanal mining during the rainy season to prevent deaths from mudslides, but the practice continues.

Pursuant to the Labor Code, any person is considered a worker, regardless of gender or nationality, who is engaged in any occupational activity in return for remuneration, under the direction and authority of another individual or entity, whether public or private, secular, or religious.  In accordance with this code, forced or compulsory labor means any work or services extracted from an individual under threat of a penalty and for which the individual concerned has not offered himself willingly.

A contract of employment is a contract under which a person agrees to be at the disposal and under the direction of another person in return for remuneration.  The contract may be agreed upon for an indefinite or a fixed term and may only be agreed upon by individuals of at least 16 years of age, although minors under the age of 16 may be contracted only with the authorization of the minor’s parent or guardian.  An unjustified dismissal provides the employee the right to receive compensation from the employer in an amount equal to at least six months’ salary with the last gross wage paid to the employee being used as the basis for calculating the compensation due.

The Investment Code obliges new companies to prioritize hiring local employees and provide capacity training and promotion opportunities for Guineans, a sentiment echoed by public remarks from Transition President COL Doumbouya and other members of the transition government.

14. Contact for More Information

Caroline Corcoran
Economic and Commercial Officer
U.S. Embassy Conakry
+224 655 104 428
corcorance@state.gov

Investment Climate Statements
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select A Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future