French Guiana: Doing business & staying in touch

Doing business in French Guiana

Lightweight suits are required. English will be understood by practically everyone, although a working knowledge of French may be of assistance. The best time to visit is August to November.

Office hours

Mon-Fri 0730-1230, 1500-1800. Hours are shorter on Wednesdays and Fridays.


French Guiana's economy is heavily dependent on that of France. Thanks to the French social security system and subsidies from Paris, the population enjoys one of the highest standards of living on the South American continent.

Besides the French Space Centre at Kourou, fishing and forestry are the most important economic activities, occupying most of the workforce. Vegetables and rice are the principal crops, most of which are consumed domestically.

Exploitation of French Guiana's mineral resources, which, in addition to timber from the country's extensive forests, include gold, bauxite and kaolin, is steadily growing. Gold production continues to flourish, with actual production levels and sales suspected to be far higher than official estimates. Exploration expanded in the mid 1990s, following the construction of a major new road allowing access to the interior.

Development of the service sector, particularly tourism (and the promising field of ecotourism), had previously been hampered by poor infrastructure. The country's other notable economic asset, acquired by virtue of its position close to the equator, is the European Space Agency's satellite launch facility at Kourou. The French Space Centre accounts for a quarter of GDP.


US$1.5 billion (2004).

Main exports

Shrimp, timber, gold, rum, rosewood essence and clothing.

Main imports

Food (grains and processed meats), machinery and transport equipment, fuel and chemicals.

Main trading partners

Keeping in Touch in French Guiana

Mobile phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Coverage is limited to main towns. Handsets can be hired locally.


There are Internet cafes in Cayenne, Kourou, Saint Laurent. Libraries also provide access.


Postal services are reliable in Cayenne (where the central post office is located on route Baduel); post takes around seven days to reach western Europe.

Post office hours

(In Cayenne) Mon-Fri 0700-1800.


There are no English-language newspapers. The daily newspapers include France-Guyane and La Presse de Guyane. Radio Guyane is operated by Réseau France Outre-mer; Radio Caraïbes International is a commercial station. The public TV channel Télé Guyane is operated by Réseau France Outre-mer; other channels include the commercial Antenne Créole Guyane and pay-TV Canal+ Guyane.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.