This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs’ Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov
Last Published: 7/4/2017

Despite persistent corruption and fiscal mismanagement, the long-term economic prognosis of Guinea, buoyed by strong endowments of natural resources, energy opportunities, and arable land, remains promising. Constrained by an austere budget, Guinea has increasingly looked to foreign investment and the private sector to stimulate growth.  China, Guinea’s largest trading partner, has dramatically increased its role through investment agreements in 2016.

Blessed with abundant mineral resources, Guinea has the potential to be an economic leader in extractive industry.  Guinea is home to over half the world’s reserves of bauxite (aluminum ore).  Bauxite is the most active mining sector in Guinea, accounting for over half of Guinea’s present exports.  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 off-shore oil reserves. Most of the country’s bauxite is exported by Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee (CBG) via a designated port in Kamsar. CBG, a joint venture between the Government of Guinea, American company Alcoa and Anglo-Australian firm Rio Tinto, is the largest single producer of bauxite in the world. New investment in CBG in addition to new market entries are expected to significantly increase Guinea’s bauxite output over the next five to ten years. Medium to long term, Guinea’s greatest potential economic driver is the Simandou iron ore project. Simandou is slated to be the largest greenfield project ever developed in Africa. Chinalco (China Aluminum Corporation) recently bought out Rio Tinto’s shares in the project and the Guinean government is anxious to move forward with developing the iron ore concessions. The infrastructure costs for the project are projected to be $20 billion, which is enormous considering Guinea’s GDP is less than $7 billion/year. When fully operational, the project could double Guinea’s GDP.

Guinea’s abundant rainfall and natural geography bode well for hydroelectric and renewable energy production.  The largest energy sector investment in Guinea is the 240MW Kaleta Dam project that began operating its first hydro turbine in May 2015. Built and financed ($526 million) by China, Kaleta more than doubled Guinea’s electricity supply and for the first time furnished Conakry with reliable, albeit seasonal electricity. The government is seeking backing for even larger hydroelectricity projects and investing in distribution infrastructure to become an energy supplier in West Africa. The government is also looking to invest in solar and other energy sources to compensate for lost hydroelectric production in Guinea’s dry season.

Agriculture and Fisheries are other areas for opportunities 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.  However, the sector has suffered from decades of neglect and mismanagement and was the sector hit hardest by the 2014-2015 Ebola Crisis. Guinea also remains an importer of rice, its primary staple crop.

Guinea’s Macroeconomic and Financial situation is weak. Ebola stifled Guinea’s economic growth prospects in 2014 and 2015 leaving the government with few financial resources to support the Guinean economy. Decreased natural resource revenues stemming from a drop in world prices and ill-advised government loans have strained an already sparse government budget: however, improved macroeconomic discipline in 2016 stabilized exchange rates, rebuilt government reserves, and improved government revenue collection. Growth for 2016 was pegged at 5.3 percent, but little of that growth was felt by the largely impoverished population and the government is under pressure to deliver tangible development progress. The demand for credit, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises, exceeds available supply. The government is increasingly looking to international investment to increase growth, provide jobs, and kick-start the economy.

Guinea has recently updated its Investment Code and renewed efforts to attract international investors. Guinea’s investment promotion agency rolled out a new website (invest.gov.gn) in 2016 to increase transparency and streamline investment.  However, Guinea’s capacity to enforce its more investor-friendly laws is compromised by a weak and unreliable legal system.
Table 1

Measure

Year

Index/Rank

Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions Index

2016

142 of 175

http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”

2017

163 of 190

doingbusiness.org/rankings

Global Innovation Index

2016

127 of 128

globalinnovationindex.org/content/page/data-analysis

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)

2014

$188 Million

http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/

World Bank GNI per capita

2015

$470

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD
 

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Guinea Economic Development and Investment Law