The Republic of Guinea
from Rags to Riches

Introduction - Finance - Commerce - Energy - Mining - Agriculture - Fishing
Communication - Transports - Tourism - Conclusion


COMMERCE: PRIVATE INITIATIVES TO SERVICE DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRY

The liberalization of the economy has permitted many private operators to establish themselves in Guinea. The Office for the Promotion of Private Investments (OPIP) was created in 1997 and is a one-stop shop for investors interested in coming to Guinea. For its Director General, Mr. Koevengui, "the OPIP has two missions: the first involves helping investors in fill out any administrative documents and the second is to help investors start their projects."

Mamadou Aliou Bah, Président du Gourpe Bobo

Among the main private operators is Mamadou Aliou Bah or "Bobo", a Senegalese by birth, who created the first commercial supermarket in Guinea during the 1980's. He is currently the exclusive importer of Even milk products, and of Gladstone cigarettes. Besides these activities, Bobo is involved in many different projects. He is now thinking about introducing a "warehouse to conserve fruits and vegetables which are produced locally", for instance.

Among the leading operators is also Mohammed Diallo, General Director of the SOGECILE, whose "principal activities are based on food and construction material as well as running the Compagnie Generale des Eaux (CEG)". The CEG is the company that makes Coyah water available. It was bought out by Diallo's company in 1997 and by 1999 posted a turnover in excess of 12.5 million USD. Coyah water is exported to Sierra Leone, Gambia, Angola, Togo, Senegal, Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire.


Another performing company is Ciments de Guinée, which is part of the international Holder Bank Group, a worldwide leader in the cement industry. Ciments de Guinée has invested over 11 million USD in its production plants. For its General Director, Mr. Chanton, "the decisive factor is the know how and the advantage of possessing a distribution network that covers the country." Having more than a 90% market share, the company boasts a turnover of 31.5 million USD.

The insurance group UGAR is owned jointly by the AXA group, with a 60% stake and the Guinean government which holds the remaining 40%. UGAR is the undisputed leader in the insurance market, with a market share of 75% but also plays a major role in the liberalization of the Guinean economy. UGAR's mission according to the General Manager Raphael Toure "is to develop in all sectors, although we already cover more than 80% of the multinationals".

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© World INvestment NEws, 2000.
This is the electronic edition of the special country report on Guinea published in Far Eastern Economic Review (Dow Jones Group)
September 28th 2000 Issue.

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