Unrest over elections in Guinea could signal country’s economic downturn - CNBC Africa

Unrest over elections in Guinea could signal country’s economic downturn

Western Africa

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Guinean President Alpha Conde on July 18, 2013 during the ECOWAS

“The political transition to democratic rule in Guinea seems to be taking forever. We saw from 2010 – when President Condé was democratically elected – full violence, politically motivated as well as some ethnic undertones. Now the parliamentary election has been postponed more than four times,” IHS Country Risk senior analyst Murtala Touray told CNBC Africa.

“Initially it was meant to hold in July 2011 but now we are in September, almost halfway into the mandate of President Condé. 2015 is going to be the presidential election. He’s still running the country on a transition parliament, and he’s made good out of it. He’s managed to pass on several policies, including the new mining code.”

Elections have been repeatedly postponed since the originally set date, following the victory of Alpha Condé, who has been in office since December 2010 after a second round of voting.

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Since its independence in 1958, Guinea had been under dictatorship until the 2010 presidential election. The International Monetary Fund’s growth forecast for Guinea has now been pinned at 4 per cent to 5 per cent in the coming year, which is expected to be driven by the country’s mining sector.

“This is a country that has two thirds of its population under 24 years old, and it has 60 per cent youth unemployment. Political issues is on the one hand, socio-economic issues driving violence is on the other. Once they pass parliamentary elections, if President Condé manages to be in the majority seat in parliament, the opposition are going to cry foul. We’re going to see from that ensuing violence, and this is not what the country needs right now,” Touray explained.

If the unrest continues, it could affect growth in the country’s economy as well as employment numbers. Economies currently supporting Guinea will also have to allocate even more funding to remedy the vulnerable economy.

“The European Union said that they’re going to freeze their development support if the government and the opposition come together to hold the legislative election by the end of September to October,” Touray added.

“That’s why we’re seeing for now some traction. It’s highly likely that the 28 of September, we’re going to see the legislative election. That will put an end to the transition in place.”

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