Bought by Beijing

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					                                                                                 THEWORLDTODAY.ORG MARCH 2010
                                                                                                                                                         PAGE 15
  GUINEA
  Daniel Balint-Kurti, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, AFRICA PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE




In January, there was a rare event in Africa. Military rulers agreed voluntarily to
hand over power to civilians, under pressure from donors but not under force of
arms. The full transfer of power in the West African nation of Guinea has to wait
until elections, set for June, although a transitional government of civilians and
the military is already being formed. If things go well, Guinea could be governed
by a democratic administration for the first time in its history. But there might be
a spoiler: Chinese interests have sealed huge mineral deals.



Bought by Beijing
g
France in 1958.
                   UINEA’S PATH TO DEMOCRACY
                    is by no means assured.
                    There are still many in the
                    military who wish to retain
                    power and they will be one
                    of the major obstacles as the
                    country tries to break away
                   from dictatorial rule,
more than fifty years after independence from

   The competition for power will be all the
                                                    control of the country’s enormous reserves of
                                                    bauxite – the ore from which most aluminium
                                                    is produced – and iron. World prices for both
                                                    these commodities are rising steeply, increasing
                                                    the stakes. Guinea also has diamonds, gold and
                                                    uranium. Exploration is under way to see if its
                                                    coastal waters hold oil.
                                                       There is a risk investors who benefited from
                                                    the military regime could back their friends, or
                                                    that the proceeds from multibillion dollar
                                                    investments could be siphoned-off by powerful
fiercer as international companies jostle for       elements of the military; a particular worry in a

                                                                                                  G U N N E R Y S GT. J O S E P H N . LO M A N G I N O
THEWORLDTODAY.ORG MARCH 2010
PAGE 16




          country where the existence of ethnic militias      familiar path for African dictators. He gained
          had been raising fear of factional fighting.        popularity at first by leading a campaign
              Guinea is situated in a troubled region. Its    against corruption, personally interrogating
          West African neighbours have all gone through       alleged drug traffickers on television.
          civil war since the late 1980s, with Liberia and       He
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Among Guinea's investors, China - or Chinese firms - now bears the most responsibility to ensure it in no way fuels instability. Since the current military regime took power in a 2008 coup, Chinese companies have come close to taking over Guinea's economy entirely, as other multinational investors have had property confiscated, or been paralysed by political uncertainty.
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