June 13, 2012
Earlier this week, TRACE examined how political developments in Senegal are contributing to meaningful anti-corruption measures. Senegal’s neighbor Guinea seems to be making less progress on the anti-corruption front. While Guineans tread daily on some of the most mineral-rich ground in the world – with up to half of the world bauxite reserves, and plenty of gold, iron ore, diamonds, even uranium -- their elected leader Alpha Condé has been ineffective in curbing corruption despite promises to address the problem. President Condé has survived exile, political turmoil, and an assassination attempt, but his power (or perhaps his will) to set the country on a cleaner path appears to be limited.
To say the least, severe doubts were cast upon President Condé’s record when, in March 2011, a long-term port management contract between Guinea and the French firm NCT Necotrans (through its subsidiary Getma) was breached. The army briefly took over the port, and a different French company, the Bollore Group, took over, announcing on 29 March that it had been awarded the lucrative contract. Rumors abound as to the political and financial promises that were exchanged in order to bring this about, with Necotrans alleging in court documents filed to recover its losses and reinstate it in Conakry port, that Bollore was being rewarded by President Condé for having financed his political campaign.
The ties between business and politics, politics and business, have yet to be unraveled in Guinea. President Condé is talking a lot these days about fighting corruption, but in the two and a half years since he took office, not much progress seems to have been made.