General Information
Capital(s): Conakry
Population: 6,500,000 (1995)
Area: 245,857 Km²
Currency: 1 Guinean franc = 100 centimes
Language(s): French

Time Zone: GMT-2h00
ISO Code: GN
Dialing Code: +224
Continent: Africa

Overview
Guinea is an independent republic which lies on the on the bulge of Africa and forms part of the West African Region. The capital city is Conakry. Other major towns are Kankan and Siguiri, Kindia and the port of Kamsar.

The official language is French. The local currency is the Guinea franc. (US$ / G Fr – current exchange rate).

The mining industry in Guinea is its most dynamic industry sector and main source of foreign exchange. Its oil industry is dependant on the importation of all petroleum products.

Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility Societe National d’Electricite (SOGEL).

Most of Guinea’s labour force is employed in agriculture which accounts for about a third of the GDP. Coffee is the largest export crop but cotton, fruit, oil and nuts are also exported. Forestry exists to a small degree but has potential for growth.

Fishing is carried out by European countries for which the Guinean government receives compensation. Industries also use primary products to produce goods such as tobacco, soft drinks, juices and beer which are mainly sold locally. However, manufacturing is focused mainly on aluminia smelting.

Guinea’s main export markets can be found in Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Ukraine, Russia and the US. The Guinean government encourages a free market economy and is implementing a programme of privatisation. It is also active in promoting foreign investment.

Since 1996, progress has been made in the restructuring of the budget and management and in addressing the issue of corruption. Economic growth is expected.

The international time zone for Guinea is GMT and the international dialling code is +224. Airlines serving the international airport at Conakry include Air Afrique, KLM, Air France and Sabena as well as many regional airlines. Visitors require visas in order to visit Guinea.

Malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, hepatitis A, yellow fever (regional), typhoid fever and schistosomiasis may be contracted while travelling in Guinea. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation.

International banking transactions can be carried out through the Banque Centrale de la Republique du Guinea and the Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie. Consulting and accounting services can be provided by Ernst & Young (through their Paris office); they should also be able to advise on appropriate local legal and other service providers.

Shaun Bakamoso

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