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President Alpha Conde of Guinea made the African Development Bank the first port of call in his international engagements since being sworn in as Guinea's democratically elected president three months ago. AfDB President Donald Kaberuka received the Guinean Head of State at the Bank's Temporary Relocation Agency in Tunis on Monday, 21 March.
"We are deeply honoured that Your Excellency would visit the African Development Bank first," said President Kaberuka. "It is a testimony to the confidence reposed in our institution, which has always remained a reliable partner in Guinea's quest for growth and development."
Speaking to External Relations & Communication Unit (ERCU) Head Richard Uku in a brief interview, the Guinean Head of State said it was only natural that he make the Bank his first point of contact outside Guinea since assuming office, given the Bank’s staunch support for Guinea. "The African Development Bank has stood steadfastly by us as a partner in development in very trying times,” he said, "and for this we are very grateful."
With over 20 percent inflation and serious deficits in infrastructure, President Conde is seeking AfDB budget support as he tries to turn around his country's economic fortunes and put it on a path to growth and sustainable development. He particularly highlighted investment in the energy sector as one of the areas of greatest need. He said that the Guinean Government would want to avail itself of the Bank’s expertise and technical assistance in the negotiation of mining contracts, as this was an area in which capacity building was required. Further, he expressed the wish that the Bank would, before long, open a field office in Conakry to facilitate the continued partnership with the country.
Speaking of his vision of a Guinea of the future, President Conde said he looked forward to rebuilding a country that could play the role it was destined to play at independence, when it was so pivotal in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity and other African institutions over the years.
During his one-day visit, the Guinean Head of State met members of the Bank's Board. He was hosted to dinner by President Kaberuka, and was joined by visiting Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Jean Ping, in Tunis for business unrelated to the Bank. President Conde left Tunis this morning for Paris, on an official visit to France.