Guinea: Economic diversification and good governance at the heart of the debate

14 Sep 2012

President Alpha Condé and other Guinean officials are gathering here for a two-day forum, along with development partners, for talks on diversifying the Guinean economy and shoring up democratic governance.

Despite the country's substantial mining resources and agricultural and energy potential, nearly four out of every six Guineans live below the poverty line. Its economy is heavily dependent on mining, mineral production, and farming.

The forum will provide an opportunity to discuss the development strategies being formulated in Guinea, based on successful economic diversification experiments in other countries.

Major economic reforms introduced in 2011 are expected to slash the small West African country's external debt, as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, while Guinea is also transitioning to democracy.

The forum will address the country's potential in the mining sector and options for broadening its economic base, while focusing on development of agriculture, energy and infrastructure, better governance and the private sector.

This would involve channelling mining revenues to open up mining infrastructures and markets, diversify the economy and promote inclusive development, including creating jobs for Guineans of all ages.

Guinea held its first democratic presidential election in 2010—the first in more than half a century. Parliamentary elections are now required to complete the transition, after which Guinea will also be able to mobilise resources for development from technical and financial partners.

UNDP has supported governance in Guinea since 2007 through an assistance programme that covers elections, justice, human rights and reform of the security sector.

In 2010, UNDP delivered an electoral roll with the names of 4.8 million registered voters and deployed 16,000 monitors to oversee voting. It also helped conduct a census of active-duty Guinean army personnel and recorded the retirement of 4,000 others.