Sekondi Accra

The national elections which concluded on November 7, 2010 were hailed as the first democratic elections since country's independence in 1958 but they were not without controversy. After scoring only 18.3% of the vote in the first round of the 2010 presidential elections, President Alpha Conde was victorious in the second round of balloting by securing 52.5%. But he is the leader of a country that is divided along ethnic lines, in need of revenue and lacking infrastructure. Guinea-Conakry is one of West Africa's least stable and most corrupt countries. There was violence in the streets that led to several deaths after Prime Minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, who had earned 44% of the vote in the first round, lost the second. He accused the security forces of using extreme brutality and of targeting a single ethnic group. However, President Conde owed his victory to an alliance between Guinea's ethnic minorities to prevent the Peul ethnic group from controlling the presidency. He even stated that he planned to include Dalein Diallo in his government to ease tensions but no appointment was ever really offered.

Gaining power in the aftermath of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara's military coup and the caretaker government of General Sekouba Konate Conde had to deal with unruly national armed forces. Reform of the security sector is a necessary task in 2011, but relations with the military will remain tense, as Guinea's rank and file have a history of resorting to violent protests to complain about pay and conditions. His administration must also deal with strong financial constraints on its capacity to enact reforms. Immediately after the elections, the government announced that it would audit state finances and seek to improve relations with international financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that real GDP growth will increase to 3% in 2010, rising to 3.9% in 2011, with inflation remaining in double digits. The extent of Guinea's economic mismanagement means that the country's recovery will take time.

During the election, candidate Conde stated that he would conduct a review of contracts signed by the military junta that ascended to power after the death of Lansana Conde in December 2008. The stated goal is to renegotiate any contracts that are thought to be contrary to the state's interests. The mining sector agreements will come under close scrutiny too. The biggest contract conflicts that remain to be resolved include the cancellation of Rio Tinto's ownership of part of the Simandou iron-ore mine and questions on the RUSAL's ownership of the Friguia project. Additional issues to be resolved include the fate of the multi-billion dollar resources-for-infrastructure deal with the opaque China International Fund.

In late 2010, it was unclear whether the new government would continue with controversial mining minister Mahmound Thiam's aggressive stance in relation to the international mining companies. A decison on that front will determine whether mining companies will be obligated to follow up on plans to build new rail and port infrastructure to strengthen the country's export capacity. Attracting more investments into the mining sector offers the best hope for strong economic growth, however the length of time needed to get the projects underway means that it will take several years for new mines to start production. Most companies will wait for the government to give clear indications of its policies and to announce its stance on the prospect on a new mining code before they decide to embark on new investments.


Official Data


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Guinea maintains an embassy in the United States at 2112 Leroy Place, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-483-9420) and a mission to the United Nations at 140 E. 39th St., New York, NY 10016 (tel. 212-687-8115/16/17).
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