Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Bright new dawn for Guinea

Guinea entered a new era today; the first day in office for President Alpha Conde, who won a closely fought contest to become Guinea's first democratically elected president.

I returned from Conakry at the weekend. I was unsure what the mood in Conakry would be like - perhaps frenzied anticipation of a bright new future. In the event, I sensed that people are relieved. Guineans are relieved that after such a hard fought contest in which ethnic rivalries played a significant part, the country has remained united. Peace has been preserved. For this, great credit must go to the defeated candidate Cellou Diallo, and to the outgoing head of the transition government, Sekouba Konate. Guinea now has a revered democrat at its helm; a man whose record in opposition is as inspiring as his ambition for his country is practical. Guinea has a leader on a mission to reduce poverty and create jobs. From what I have read and learned of Alpha Conde - he is not prone to big vision statements, nor to petty politicking, nor will he have truck with white elephant projects; he is a man with a single focus, in the tradition of several African liberation movement leaders (whom Conde has met and worked with) - to improve the welfare of his people - jobs, electricity, roads, healthcare, education, water and food security. Companies who share this ambition, have a bright future in Guinea. Those who don't should leave the country now.

Conakry was spruced up and flags were placed on street lampposts to welcome foreign dignitaries for the inauguration ceremony on Tuesday. A proud nation has reason to be proud again. Marcus Courage

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