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Guinea is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has one of the poorest populations in the world according to UNDP Human Development Index score of 0.414, ranking 153 of 190 countries. This clearly undermines the number of household that have access to adequate housing. Most people with an income band below GNF 1 million (US$ 111) can afford slums, those below GNF five million (US$555) can afford F2, those with less than GNF 10 million (US$1110) can afford F3 and people with higher incomes can afford F4. In cities such as Conakry where population growth is constantly increasing, there is a disturbing development of slums but no move to make-shift housing yet. The gap between housing supply and demand is a critical issue.
To promote access to land and decent housing in Guinea, the government of Guinea has set policies and reforms on financing options and property rights including homeownership and landownership. With a more stable political situation and vital structural reforms underway, Guinea offers exciting opportunities for investment and is well-placed to finally reap the benefits of its huge economic potential. The most dynamic sectors in Guinea are mining and agriculture. The government recognises the need for housing development and investment in basic infrastructures which remain the most pressing needs in today’s Guinea.
Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Guinea, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:
- Access to Finance
- Housing Supply
- Property Markets
- Policy and Regulation
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2018 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 54 African countries.Download yearbook
Guinea is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Conakry, its capital city, is where most of the country’s economic activities are centred. It has approximately 13 million people and the world’s largest deposits of bauxite and untapped iron ore reserves, and the best quality of gold and diamond. Guinea also has fertile soils, regular rainfall and is the source of several West African rivers including the Gambia, Senegal and Niger. The country’s hydro-potential makes it a potential exporter of electricity. The country’s agriculture sector has at least six million unexploited hectares of arable lands. It is expected to be a powerhouse and an exporter of natural resources.
Guinea has one of the poorest populations in the world according to UNDP Human Development Index score of 0.414, ranking 153 of 190 countries. The outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015 had a devastating effect on the state of Guinea. In 2015, the country stood at 0.1 percent growth with a budget deficit of more than seven percent of GDP.
The housing backlog is estimated at 250 000 units over the next five years. A total number of 1 253 154 households and an annual population growth rate of 2.64 percent, coupled with rural exodus and uncertain incomes, makes it difficult for the financial sector to avail long-term financing for low and middle income families.
When the country was declared Ebola-free, the economy grew approximately to 6.6 percent in 2016 and 6.7 percent in 2017 and it is forecast to reach a growth rate in real GDP of 5.8 percent in 2018. Following a double-digit inflation rate in 2010, the overall price level in terms of inflation was below 10 percent in 2017, and is forecast to fall below eight percent in 2018.
The percentage of total population below the poverty line is 55.20 percent with an average daily income of US$1.90. The unemployment rate is 6.3 percent and is acute among the youth.
The health and economic crises have affected investment in the housing sector. The average leading interest rate is between 12 percent and 17 percent. There is no available information on the mortgage rate, and mortgage financing is not generally covered by Guinea’s banks, which are dominated by short-term lending contracts. There are no pension-backed funds supporting housing finance in Guinea.
The Government of Guinea (GOG) adopted the Plan National de Development Economique et Social (PNDES) in Paris in 2016. It is structured around four objectives: improve governance, diversify the economy, reinforce human capital, and improve resource management. The GOG was able to rally the international community and foreign investors who promised GNF 180 200 billion (US$20 billion) to support PNDES. To date, the GOG has crafted 50 structured projects in infrastructural development, but housing development is yet to be financed.
Successive governments have failed to address the country’s crumbling infrastructure and housing development. In social housing, the government led by President Alpha Conde has introduced a number of policies and rules such as the Land Code, Code of Investment, Code of Construction and Housing, Tax Code, Customs Code, and public private partnerships. The GOG has set up the Société Nationale de l’Aménagement et de la Promotion Immobilière (SONAPI, National Society for Planning and Real Estate Development), mainly devoted to planning, identifying real estate developers, allocating lands and promoting affordable housing for people in the low income bands. The income bands in Guinea vary from less than GNF 1 million (US$ 111) for a total number of 807 017 households, to GNF 1 000 001 to 5 000 000 (US$ 111-US$555) for 285 726 households to GNF 5 000 001 to GNF 10 million (US$555-US$1110) for 103 265 households and finally more than GNF 10 million (US$1 110) for 57 145 households.
 Interview with Abdoulaye Magassouba, the Minister of Mines and Geology on the diversification of Guinea’s economy. Paris: 19 November 2017. http://guinee7.com/mines-abdoulaye-magassouba. (Accessed 20 July 2018).
 Interview with Jacqueline Sultan the Minister of Agriculture about Invest in Guinea. Westminster Hotel, London: 21 June 2013.
 World Economic Outlook (2018). Guinea Country Profile.
 Interview with Mohamed Pascal Condé the Chargé d’Affaires about financing options available at la Banque Islamique de Guinée. Guinea: 18 July 2018.
Access to Finance
Guinea’s financial sector is small and dominated by the banking sector which includes the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, 15 commercial banks, five insurance companies, two Loans and Credit Associations and Mutual Funds for youth and women. Credit conditions are favorable for women and the youth. According to Gana Doré, the credit terms are a 1.5 percent interest rate with a short-term repayment period for an amount below GNF 45 million (US$4 995.56) and two percent over the same period for an amount above GNF45 million. These loans allow most of them to rise above the poverty line. For the mutual funds, called the President’s Initiative for Poverty Alleviation among Youth and Women, the figures show that approximately a total amount of GNF 130 billion (US$ 15 million) has been channelled through Afriland First Bank, with support from Agence Nationale des Institutions de Microfinance (ANAMIF). Unfortunately, the financial sector keeps these figures confidential.
The financial sector does not contribute much to financing the housing development, and is mostly concerned with short-term activities such as merchandise trade. However, banks such as Banque Islamique de Guinée provide construction financing with terms based on Islamic finance law. The most important housing finance was done by First International Bank – for 30 years with an interest rate as low as two percent a year – with Chinese Drill Group (CDG), considered the dominant developer in the sector in Guinea, with a loan estimated at GNF 225.2 billion (US$25 million) under the Plaza Diamond project.
Most commercial banks do, however, provide construction finance to national private companies. Among them are EcoBank, Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie de Guinée and Banque Islamique de Guinée. Beneficiary companies, such as SOGEFEL SA and Guico Press SA, develop construction projects and affordable housing through the government’s public private partnerships.
The GOG has financed billions in local currency in partnership with these entities. For the Independence Day construction projects rotating between the administrative regions, for instance, the GOG has financed GNF 250 billion (US$27 753 140) for the sole region of Kankan.
 Conversation with Gana Doré, the Deputy Managing Director at Caisses Populaires d’Epargne et de Crédit de Guinée Yètè. Mali. 2 September 2018.
 Interview with Ibrahima Sory Cissé, Managing Director at Agence Nationale des Institutions de Microfinance (ANAMIF). 10 August 2018.
 Conversation with M’Bemba Sylla, Chief Financial Officer at Banque Sahélo-Sahélienne pour le Commerce et l’Industrie. 18 July 2018.
 Conversation with Mohamed Pascal Condé the Chargé d’Affaires about financing options available at la Banque Islamique de Guinée. Guinea: 18 July 2018.
According to World Bank figures, 55.20 percent of the population live below the poverty line of US$1.90 a day. The main challenges remain youth unemployment and urban poverty which increased from 23.5 percent in 2002 to 37 percent in 2018. The rural exodus, unemployment among the rural and urban female population, a shortage of public services such as healthcare, education, security, decent housing, sanitation facilities, and food security are part of the challenges the country faces in 2018.
The types of affordable housings are F2, F3 and F4, respectively two, three and four rooms. Most people with an income band below GNF 1 million (US$ 111) can afford slums, those below GNF five million (US$555) can afford F2, those with less than GNF 10 million (US$1110) can afford F3 and people with higher incomes can afford F4. The Code of Construction and Housing considers a bedroom and living room as a room as well.
In cities such as Conakry where population growth is constantly increasing, there is a disturbing development of slums but no move to make-shift housing yet. The GOG provides different types of subsidies to developers in the form of tax breaks and tax incentives. These subsidies include land provision and duty-free import for construction material and equipment. Nevertheless, the greatest challenge the country faces is how to provide decent housing for slum populations, low, and middle income groups. To support such policies, the GOG has created four public entities: SONAPI, Mortgage Guarantee Fund (FGH), Mortgage Securitization Fund (FSH) and National Fund for Habitat and Urban Planning (FNHU). To date, the last three entities are yet to function.
Due to lack of reliable developers and financing options in Guinea, people informally build their houses by themselves. It takes a typical Guinean on average between 10 and 15 years or more to finish their house. Most of the construction materials are locally produced, except heavy equipment imported from Western countries as well as South Africa, which provides the machines used to make blocks. SONAPI designs new developments to build less expensive houses using bricks on stabilised land. The houses built with this material are traded at reasonable prices between GNF 180 159 800 (US$20 000) to 261 231 710 (US$29 000) for F2.
The gap between housing supply and demand is a critical issue. The housing backlog is estimated at approximately 250 000 units over five years. The most vulnerable populations are teachers, youth and women with an income band far below GNF 5 million (US$555). In attempts to fill that gap, the GOG has promoted policies such as the public private partnership agreement with private real developers, including with CDG to build approximately 200 000 houses in the areas from Kipé to Cobayah in Conakry. The GOG has signed seven other agreements with foreign companies and national developers for the construction of hundreds of social housings. The major private developers are CDG, Kakandé Immo, AKC Groupe and SOGEFEL SA.
The trade unions represented by the teacher’s union in Guinea and the National Confederation of Workers signed a project with Association pour le Développement de l’Habitat Social, with the support of the GOG, to construct 638 housing units. It has been indicated that the types of the housing units to be build are F2, F3, F4, and condominium. The project, located at Keitaya near Dubreka, was scheduled to start in 2015. Unfortunately, it has not yet started due to lack of funding by the government. The materials used are locally produced and made from blocks, concrete, cement, sand, concrete iron, wood, timber, corrugated sheets and sheet metal. The land size varies between 70m2 and 250 m2 for F2, F3 and F4, while the size is larger for the condominium.
The housing market in Guinea comprises of 70 percent of rental housing with an average price in the city centre equal to GNF 9 007 999 (US$1 000) and outside the city equal to GNF 4 503 999.5 (US$500). According to the Guinea National Institute of Statistics census data, there were 1 253 154 households in 2012.
According to Doing Business, Guinea is making steady progress in improving the business environment for property rights. In 2010, the cost of registering property was lowered; in 2013 Guinea made obtaining a building permit less expensive; in 2014 the country made transferring property easier by reducing the property transfer costs; and in 2015, the registration of property was made easier. It now costs 8.9 percent of the total cost of the property and takes 44 days to register a warehouse, involving six procedures. In 2018, the country ranked a record low of 153 of 190 countries.
Since 2010, the GOG has been implementing reforms such as, but not limited to, the Code of Construction and Housing and Land Code, designed to frame land rights. To date, almost 10 percent of the properties are registered. The government owns land. Private land is governed by customary and traditional laws. With the assistance of the government of Morocco, a technical mission of the Ministry of Housing Development and Urban Planning is implementing a process to register land by digitalising them and delivering land titles free of charge. Prices in the formal market are beyond reach for low and middle income families in the city centre and outside the city. The average rental price in the city centre is GNF nine million to GNF 18 010 000 (US$1 000 US$2 000) for office space and GNF 905 000 to GNF 4 502 500 (US$100-US$500) for residential rent. The rental price in Kipé varies on average between GNF 9 009 999 and GNF 10 809 000 (US$1 000-US$1 200) for office space, and GNF 1 801 598 to GNF 4 503 999 (US$200-US$500) for residential rent. In the city centre and near Kipé areas in Conakry, 500m2 costs approximately GNF two billion (US$222 025.11). Outside Conakry, in Coyah for instance, the same size of land is priced on average at GNF 120 million (US$13 321.50). Because of the exponential increase of these prices, more people rent rather than own houses, thus putting upward pressure on rental price.
There are formal and informal real estate agencies in Guinea. The most important are Agence Guinée Immobilier, Société Immobilière de Guinée, Compagnie Internationale d’Aménagement et de Déménagement, Agence Immobilière Fina, Agence Immobilière Titi Camara, CIC Guinée, COGEST SA and Guinée Home.
The International Finance Corporation has commissioned work on a housing market diagnostic for Guinea.The housing backlog in Guinea is estimated at 250 000 units over the next five years and is steadily increasing with the growing population growth rate, and rural exodus. Given that population growth is at 2.64 percent per annum, the shortage will continue unless there is a major expansion of the housing stock enabled by policy reforms and development of financing options.
Policy and Regulation
To promote access to land and decent housing in Guinea, the GOG has set policies and reforms on financing options and property rights including homeownership and landownership. The GOG should reinforce institutional and human capacity in the construction sector, because the institutional framework is weak, and not well oriented to address the housing backlog. It should also improve productivity and affordability in the housing sector as a policy response to the crisis that continues to limit the involvement of the private sector in the sector. It is of paramount importance that the GOG promote the financing option to increase affordability, and create and reinforce the role of agencies such as mortgage financing institutions and pension-backed funds. Finally, the GOG should promote policies that increase land availability and manage urban growth. In this view, tools such as SONAPI, FGH, FNHU and FSF are important instruments.
Among the policy instruments is the Land Code of 2015, which sets rules and regulations for land ownership in Guinea. The Code states that the state, as well as other private individuals and legal entities, may hold title to the land and buildings it carries, and exercise it according to the rules of the Civil Code and those of this Code. The right of ownership confers on its holder the enjoyment and free disposition of the property which are the object, in absolute terms. And this right is exercised in compliance with the limitations imposed by the general interest of those provided for by the legal provisions.
The New Code of Investment was adopted by the National Assembly and promulgated by the GOG in 2012. It outlines the legal and administrative framework designed to ease the conditions for domestic as well foreign investors in Guinea. It provides incentives to companies that invest in growth-led sectors such as public infrastructure and housing development. The Investment Guide is an easy-to-understand document designed to facilitate the understanding of the Code of Investment.
The Tax Code is a set of rules enacted in 2015 by the Parliament to provide duty-free provisions to domestic as well foreign investors in Guinea in different areas such as housing development. The Simplified Tax Code was designed to make its reading and understanding easier for companies liable for taxes.
The public private partnership, called the New Law, entered into law in 2017. It regulates all forms of public private partnerships. This agreement is designed to facilitate land ownership and to promote access to affordable and decent housing in Guinea. It provides incentives to private developers such as tax break or tax holidays over eight to 10 years.
The Customs Code entered into law in 2015. This code determines and governs the regulations that facilitate the import and export of goods. It grants comprehensive duty-free entry for construction material and equipment in Guinea.
The Code of Construction and Housing is one of the most recent laws in Guinea. Entered into law in 2015, it outlines the conditions for access to land and decent houses in Guinea. For instance, the GOG provides duty-free land to developers that build social housing for low and middle income people. The GOG allows a solidarity tax of one percent, monthly levied on the gross wage of employees. There are also other financial resources such as taxes on government buildings. However, these mechanisms have yet to start to function.
Despite multiple efforts to promote the housing development sector, the country still faces major difficulties. However, there are huge investment opportunities in infrastructure and housing development. And Guinea appears to be one of the most interesting investment destinations in West Africa. With the country’s outstanding potential, many multinational companies are now locally based in Guinea, and they bring significant added value to the country. The GOG has undertaken several reforms to promote the private sector to facilitate their installation and business development. To this end, a framework for public-private sector dialogue was established and became operational with the organisation of public-private roundtables such as the ones held in Dubai in 2011 and Paris in 2017.
There are numerous policy challenges that must be overcome if the housing finance sector is to fulfil its objectives of increasing the availability and affordability of housing development in Guinea. The housing problem should be addressed by considering housing policies and financing issues as a way to facilitate access to decent housing for poor people. The GOG should assist and encourage the financial sector in the creation and development of mortgage financing options to increase support for slum populations, and low and middle income families. It should also promote housing development banks that can provide preferential lending terms to needy people.
With a more stable political situation and vital structural reforms underway, Guinea offers exciting opportunities for investment and is well-placed to finally reap the benefits of its huge economic potential. The most dynamic sectors in Guinea are mining and agriculture. The government recognises the need for housing development and investment in basic infrastructures which remain the most pressing needs in today’s Guinea.
Successive governments have since 2010 undertaken a host of economic and political reforms to enable the majority of Guineans possession of their own houses and decent living conditions. With support and technical assistance from the international community, the country has started to harness the fruit of these reforms. This includes installation of foreign private developers, mostly the Chinese, and domestic developers. In this regard, the Land Code, New Investment Code, and Code of Construction and Housing were adopted by the GOG. In addition to land provision to private developers, tax breaks and tax holidays are granted to investors interested in the social housing development. There is also duty-free entry for construction equipment, freedom to convert money and to repatriate proceeds back to the home country. The ‘’New’’ Guinea, born in 2010, is a land of opportunity and a destination for secure investment; and investment in the housing sector remains a top priority for its government.
World Bank Group (2018). Doing Business 2018 – Reforming to create jobs – Economy Profile – Guinea. http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/WBG/DoingBusiness/Documents/Profiles/Country/GIN.pdf (Accessed 11 September 2018).
World Bank Group (2017). Doing Business 2017 – Equal opportunity for all – Economy Profile – Guinea. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/25536/WP-DB17-PUBLIC-Guinea.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y (Accessed 11 September 2018).
The World Bank (2016). Enterprise Surveys: Guinea 2016 Country Profile. https://www.enterprisesurveys.org/~/media/GIAWB/EnterpriseSurveys/Documents/Profiles/English/Guinea-2016.pdf (Accessed 11 September 2016).
Le360Afrique (2017). “Guinee: Energie, Avandcees Dans La Construction Du Grand Barrage Souapiti.” 31 May 2017. http://afrique.le360.ma/guinee/economie/2017/05/31/12236-guinee-energie-avancees-dans-la-construction-du-grand-barrage-souapiti-12236 (Accessed 11 Sept 2018).
Panel meeting with Jacqueline Sultan Minister of Agriculture about Invest in Guinea, 2013. Westbury Hotel, London. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jun/21/guinea-agriculture-mining (Accessed 19 July 2018).
USAID (2018). USAID Country Profile: Property Rights and Resource Governance – Guinea. https://land-links.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/USAID_Land_Tenure_Guinea_Profile.pdf (Accessed 6 August 2018).
The World Bank (2018). The World Bank in Guinea. http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/guinea/overview (Accessed 20 July 2018).
World Economic Outlook (April 2018). IMF Datamapper: Inflation rate, average consumer prices. http://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/PCPIPCH@WEO/GIN (Accessed 12 Sept 2018).
Conversation with M’Bemba Sylla the Chief Financial Officer about financing options available at la Banque Saheho-Sahélienne pour l’Industrie et le Commerce de Guinée. Guinea: 18 July 2018.
Conversation with Gana Doré, Deputy Managing Director about the loan conditions available at Caisses Populaires d’Epargne et de Crédit Yètè Mali de Guinée. Guinea. 20 July 2018
Telephonic conversation with Ibrahima Sory Cissé the Managing Director at Agence Nationale des Institutions de Microfinance (ANAMIF). 24 July 2018.