The Republic of Guinea
from Rags to Riches

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


Since the coming to power of President Lansana Conte, important reforms have been undertaken in the sector of telecommunications and communication, leading to the establishment of new companies in the sector.

Among these companies are SOTELGUI (the Guinean Telecommunications Company) OPG (the Guinean Post Office) and RTG (the Guinean Radio and Television (RTG )

His Excellency Mamadi CONDE, Minister of Communication and former ambassador to china inaugurated his new position on March 2000, with the intention "to improve the quality and services of all communication institutions and to create a sound infrastructure which can compete at the international level, thereby increasing their financial and economic capability."

In order to improve telecommunications in Guinea a joint venture was signed on December 1995 between the governments of Guinea and Malaysia. Telekom Malaysia Berhad acquired 60% of the SOTELCOM (the National Telecommunications operator). The mission of the new joint venture was to bring in new performing technologies and know-how. The new partnership was to create a solid infrastructure for a new and extended telecommunication's network and to train the workforce resulting in increased profitably; fundamental goals of the government.

Telekom Malaysia thus invested 45 million USD, created an increase of telephone lines numbering 51.020 in 1998, a growth rate of 127,73 % from 1995. With 7,316 GSM (global system for mobile communications) and the increase in cellular phone subscribers, SOTELGUI expected to make 48,3 million GNF in the year 2000.

The agreement with Telekom Malaysia mentioned also the creation of telephone lines in every prefecture of Guinea, the maintaining of the 850 workers previously employed by SOTELCOM, and a production improvement at 6,002 lines per worker .

Inaugurated on April 9, 1999, the GSM network is operational in the cities of Conakry ,Kamsar ,Boké, Dubréka and Coyah.

Apart from introducing the prepaid card, SOTELGUI is also looking into a roaming service where its clients will be able to use their local cellular telephones in neighboring countries if the latter decide to sign an agreement. Locally, during the year 2000, the SOTELGUI has plans to expand its network throughout Guinea, beginning with Kindia, Mamou , Dalaba, Pita and Labe.

The new Guinean Post Office (OPG) was inaugurated in 1992. It is a public institution but is financially autonomous.

According to its General Manager Mr. N'fa Ousmane CAMARA "OPG's role is to collect, carry out and distribute letters, goods and services. OPG also created 3 new services: EMS Guinea (Accelerated Express Services), the Transpostal (combining the transport of letters and passengers) and the financial services (transferring of money).

In 1999, the efforts of the OPG has been oriented towards the improvement of operation and management methods, the diversification of services and is also trying to make financial services more dynamic with postal checks, a National service for savings and postal mandates, and the cooperation with international postal institutions (union postal universal).
Considering there are needs for financial improvements and reforms, the OPG plans to set up and exchange office at NOVOTEL in Conakry as well as desks for postal checks and a national saving service. One of the objectives of OPG management is to improve the quality of the service mainly through the distribution of letters in the capital, Conakry and regional towns by developing personal official boxes (PO BOX), for those that do not have one yet. This procedure will lead to the reduction of the number of days to transfer mail which is 3 days for letters emanating from the interior. The OPG's over these last few years has been quite positive.

If the creation of the Guinean radio took place during the colonial period, the television is rather recent with its inception in 1977. The RTG is characterized by its quality of public service although it is completely controlled by state, as it is the only owner and manager. The main objective of the RTG is to and broadcast local and international news as well as educational and entertainment programs. Its priority however is set by the President's agenda and policies. Considering the presence of a variety of different ethnic groups, the RTG doesn't only broadcast in French but has various programs that are presented in the main local languages of the country.

Mrs. Aissatou Bella DIALLO, General manager of the RTG, was recentyly appointed and expressed her willingness to deploy efforts which will diversify RTG to become more successful in the future". She also assured that "she will do all her best to improve the quality of programming and the broadcasting". During the electoral campaign, the National Council for Communication (CNC) has the capacity to share programs in equal manner for political parties. EMILE TONPAPA is the president of C N C. The department of communication manages also rural radios which are 4 in the regions (Labe, Kankan, Kindia and N'Zérékouré). There are also Radio Communautaire set up in Kamsar, Boke, Mamou, Kissidougou and Koundara.

In his message of the new year to the head of state Mr. Emile Tonpapa, president of C N C, requested favor from the President to open radio and television to the private sector.

Created in April 1961, the Horoya newspaper is the only national daily paper in the country. Horoya belongs entirely to the public sector which role is to collect, work on news, inform, educate and entertain the public and its readers. Horoya became daily in 1992 with an assistance from UNESCO. Despite its small means, Horoya struggle to overcome difficulties and come out regularly on daily basis. It covers generally the main activities of the governement. With the reforms that took place in the press sector, many newspaper are created and try to overcome difficulties which are mainly coming from the cost of paper. Among the ones which survive, you can find: Lynx, La Lance, L'indépendant, le Démocrate, le Soleil, l'oil, la Nouvelle tribune, l'Observateur, le Messager et la Globe.

We will mention that the press is experiencing a real freedom. They cover various activities and follow their own Edito real line. The department of communication has under its control the Office Guinéen de la Publicité (OPG) ie the Guinean office for publicity which is a state owned company having financial autonomy. There is also the Guinean Office of Cinema (ONACIG) which is facing financial problems and a lack of human ressources. There is finally the rural press which has its headquater in Mamou with the assistance of the UNESCO. The department has under its control the Guinean News Agency (AGP) which edits a daily bulletin.

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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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