Guinea - Services

Guinea's financial sector includes the Central Bank, 7 deposit-taking banks, 4 insurance companies, a social security institution, 2 small co-operative banks, and 50 bureau de change (currency exchanges). Most banking is in the capital, and the banking system is slowly gaining in public confidence, and more people are prepared to hold their money in the form of bank deposits.

Interest rate controls were lifted as part of monetary reforms in 1993, which also reinforced banking supervision. Banks may set lending and deposit rates, subject to a maximum spread about the Treasury bill rate. Short-term loans accounted for 83 percent of the US$170 million credit distribution to the private-sector in 1998, with 55 percent going to trading activities. The increasing funding needs of mines and the increase in deposits have led to an increase in medium-term lending.

Guinea's small tourism industry collapsed after independence and is unlikely to be rejuvenated in the near future. Despite government efforts, only 17,000 people visited in 1998, and most of those were for business. Tourism is mainly limited to wealthy locals and expatriates. A new ministry has been set up to deal with hotels and tourism. The capital has 4 international standard hotels.

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