No Time Wasted!

3 01 2011

Just a few days after his presidency was inaugurated, speculation on how Guinea’s new president, Alpha Conde, will live up to his electoral promise of making mining deals more favourable to the State has already emerged. In his inaugural speech, the new president however stressed the need for political and economic stability and stated that current priorities were to modernize the army and promote good governance.

Russia’s envoy to Africa has already began the diplomatic posturing stating that while “it would be logical for Guinea to demand more favourable terms for the operations of foreign companies” Guinea’s approach should be based on “compromise and in the interests of all sides”. As the country is embarking on a “democratic path”, existing laws should be respected the envoy stressed. It remains to be seen whether Guinea’s approach is more in line with democratic processes or whether it is taking cues from Russia’s Khodorkovsky handbook. As of now, Conde’s first move as President was to purge the higher levels of the civil service and elected officials contacted for comment by Bloomberg News did not comment.

This issue is of importance to Russia as UC Rusal is sourcing 40 per cent of it bauxite from Guinea and has a plan to invest further in the country through its Dian Dian mining project. In 2006, UC Rusal was affected by a decision of the Government to cancel its purchase of the Friguia refinery through obscure court proceedings.

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