In 2010, Guinea entered a new phase of structural reforms as part of a far-reaching plan to remove constraints on the realisation of the country’s significant potential for growth. The strengthening of democracy and economic liberalisation have created a stable and positive environment for foreign investment.
Guinea opted for a transparent and fair pro-business approach in order to create a stable environment and attract capital that will energize all of Guinea’s economy, develop infrastructure and other sectors (including agriculture and energy), while at the same fostering education and employment in a win-win strategy for companies and the country.
Towards Guinea’s accelerated economic development
Guinea has since 2010 undertaken in-depth reforms of its legislative and institutional framework to accelerate the country’s development by promoting investment, instilling better financial governance and enabling the more effective management of its natural resources.
Continuing a far-reaching programme of democratic transition, Guinea launched a major reform of its justice and security sectors, with the aim of training and professionalising its armed forces, police, civil protection, justice and customs officials by 2017. The reform included a biometric census of civil servants and the retirement of over 4,000 officials.
Completing the HIPC initiative is a great achievement for Guinea. It illustrates the major progress made in economic management following the country’s first democratic elections in December 2010 – Harry Snoek, Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Guinea, 2012
In 2011, the government began a major restructuring of the energy sector to upgrade and develop its electricity production and distribution infrastructure, which included the establishment of a legal framework to facilitate investment. These efforts are of significant strategic importance, as the sector is one of the keys to the rapid and equitable development of the country.
Economically, the government has implemented a series of reforms that led to the cancellation of foreign debt, control of public spending and inflation, and the creation of favourable conditions for development.
Natural resources as a lever for development
An important step in modernising Guinea’s mining sector was the reform of the Mining Code, designed to encourage investment and ensure transparency and equity in the exploitation of resources. The new Mining Code was adopted in 2011 and amended in 2013 after extensive consultation with relevant actors. A new Petroleum Code was adopted shortly after, in 2014.
The Mining Code provides for the full publication of mining contracts and strengthens transparency. Among its important advances are tax reform to attract investors while guaranteeing state revenues and policies beneficial to local communities, particularly by encouraging the creation of jobs and training Guinean workers.
The revision of the mining cadastre allowed the cancellation of more than 800 inactive licences, while 98 licences were renewed and 222 new licences were granted.
The path of Guinea, from poverty to prosperity, is paved with natural resources … The Guinean government has set up the two essential elements of good governance in the management of natural resources: the revised Mining Code and a review of existing mining contracts will ensure that they comply with the legitimate interests of the country. These governance pillars provide a receptive environment for private investment: equal treatment of investors and stable long-term agreements, based on the principle of mutual benefit that will withstand a changing environment – Sir Paul Collier, Professor, Oxford University
Guinea published all of its mining contracts online in 2013 (www.contratsminiersguinee.org), in a move welcomed by the international community and the country’s economic partners.
Non-governmental organization ONE, which was one of many institutions and international organizations that openly supported Guinea’s initiatives, said: “If all African countries rich in mineral resources followed the example of Guinea by regularly publishing their mining contracts, and they pledged to channel mining revenues in a transparent way by improving the quality of public services through the public treasury, we could see the realization of the African mining vision (i.e. the successful mobilization of mineral resources for growth economic and human development) much earlier than we had previously thought.”
Guinea’s action is a model for other countries and demonstrates that making contracts public is possible even in challenging environments. Contract transparency is one of the ingredients of effective government, the management of natural resources and effective citizen oversight – Patrick Heller, senior legal advisor at Revenue Watch (Natural Resource Governance Institute)
Guinea has also joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international standard that aims to promote the transparent and accountable management of natural resources through the involvement of relevant stakeholders (encompassing the government, the private sector and civil society). Guinea is certified to the EITI standard since 2014, and as such is subject to regular review by an independent commission.
Guinea is one of the first States in Africa to publish all of its existing (mining) contracts and annexes – Reuters