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Remarks by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, on the Inauguration of the African Development Bank Group’s Country Office in Guinea, Conakry, July 23, 2019
Your Excellency Professor Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea; Rt. Honorable Prime Minister; Dr. Kassory FOFANA Honorable Ministers; Your Excellencies; Ambassadors and Heads of international organizations; Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
First, I would like to express my sincere thanks to His Excellency, President Alpha Condé, my dear elder brother, for his kind invitation to inaugurate the African Development Bank's Country Office in Guinea.
I am delighted to be here in Guinea, a country I love so much and to which I feel a strong personal attachment. This ceremony today, Mr. President, represents a key milestone in the cooperation between the Republic of Guinea and the African Development Bank, your Bank, as it is the culmination of many years of partnership since the Bank started operations in Guinea in 1974.
This Country Office, Mr. President, is one of the most beautiful Bank offices across the continent. I would like to express my gratitude to you, to my sister Mrs Kanny Diallo, Minister of Planning and Economic Development and Governor for Guinea at the African Development Bank and the other members of Government, for having spared no effort to facilitate the rehabilitation of these magnificent villas for the use of the Bank.
It is also important in the context of the efforts to decentralize further the Bank’s operations by moving our business and service delivery closer to our clients, which is one of the major reforms that I have spearheaded since assuming duty as President of the African Development Bank Group almost four years ago.
On account of this, we now have a much stronger regional presence, with 41 country and Regional offices in place, which allows us to work much more closely with key stakeholders in government, the private sector, development partners and civil society.
In line with a ‘One Bank’ approach to business delivery, this decentralization initiative seeks to promote greater accountability and enhance the development results of Bank financed operations at the country and regional levels.
The main task of the Bank’s Guinea Country Office is therefore to strengthen the quality of our development cooperation by with Guinea through enhanced policy dialogue with your Government and other stakeholders. It will also play a crucial role in improving the implementation and quality of the portfolio of Bank Group-financed operations.
The Bank's interventions in Guinea are numerous and multifaceted. To date, the Bank's total approvals for Guinea amount to some US $ 1.7 billion, of which nearly 40% (US $ 680 million) was approved during the last five years under your leadership, Mr. President.
As an illustration, we can mention some of the results achieved in the last five years in the infrastructure sector.
For example, the 75 km Coyah - Farmoreah road co-financed with the European Union at a total cost of $89 million will greatly reduce travel time between Coyah and Pamelab at the Sierra Leone border. Imagine the possibilities that this road, once completed, will create. An improved road link between Guinea and Sierra Leone will accelerate regional integration, foster easier movement of people, goods and services, and boost productivity and job creation.
The 225 KV Guinea-Mali power interconnection project, which is co-financed with the European Union, World Bank and the Islamic Development Bank at a total cost of $418 million and entails the construction of a 714 km electricity transmission line between N'Zérékoré in Guinea and Sanankoroba (Bamako) in Mali, will increase access to electricity in both countries and create sustainable jobs, especially for young people and women.
On account of this project, and the hydropower generation and interconnection projects with the CLSG, OMVG and OMVS countries, Guinea will consolidate its position as the energy hub of the sub-region.
In the mining sector, the Bank financed one of its largest non-sovereign transactions, to the tune of $100 million to support the first phase of the Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) integrated project, targeting the exploitation of bauxite and development of related infrastructure (railway and port).
The project will have a huge impact on the transformation of Guinea's economy by injecting an additional $400 million into the GDP during the exploitation phase. The construction phase will contribute to the creation of more than 4,000 jobs, while the operational phase will create 700 permanent jobs and 1,500 temporary jobs.
Beyond the export of raw bauxite, what really excites us is the second phase of this project, which will involve the construction of an alumina refinery with a capacity of 2 million tons per year. Thanks to the on-site transformation of bauxite into alumina, as well as the development of the value chain of bauxite, from alumina to aluminum, Guinea's industrialization program is truly on the right path.
I have always seen in you, a man of great worth, animated by a burning desire to fight for your people. I would like to congratulate you for all that you have done since 2011 to create the appropriate conditions for sustainable political stability, major structural reforms, and continuously improving the well-being of the Guinean people.
These reforms and lasting political stability, despite difficult circumstances, has allowed Guinea to continue to sustain its social and economic progress since 2012.
I am excited by and extremely impressed, Mr. President, by all that Guinea has accomplished under your well-inspired leadership. Guinea continues to work hard to take advantage of its resources and create new economic opportunities for its people.
Mr. President, a retrospective analysis of Guinea's achievements is equally impressive.
On the economic level - after a slowdown in 2014 - 15 due to the Ebola outbreak, real growth stood at a highly impressive 10.8% in 2016, reaching almost 10% in 2017, and estimated at 6% in 2018. This was supported by a significant increase in mining and higher energy output. Inflation has also declined from 21% in 2011 to 9% in 2018, while Guinea's budget deficit decreased from 5.4% of GDP in 2015 to a surplus of 0.8% in 2018.
Guinea has gained 27 places in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report rankings between 2012 and 2018, thanks to important reforms, including the revision of the Investment and Mining Codes. The level of foreign direct investment also remains high, rising from 3% to 13.2% of GDP between 2015 and 2018.
When it comes to energy, net installed capacity is rising sharply from 0.4 GW to 1.1 GW between 2007 and 2018, thanks to the various major hydroelectric power projects developed under your leadership Mr. President. Access to energy has been good too.
Agricultural productivity has improved significantly and the share of the world value of some agricultural products processed in Guinea has almost tripled in the last decade. This is the result of the Presidential Initiative to Support Rural Development that you have launched.
In my message to the Consultative Group in Paris on the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PNDES) 2016-2020, I declared that "Guinea is on the march".
Here, on this special day, I would like to say that "Yes, Guinea is moving very fast thanks to You Mr. President."
However, we recognize that more remains to be done to unlock Guinea's full potential. Poverty rates are still very high, at around 90 per cent in rural areas. The unemployment rate is also high, with 83% of all unemployed being youth. Infrastructure development needs to be accelerated, particularly in the transport, housing, water and sanitation sectors.
The African Development Bank, your Bank, will always be at your side to face these challenges. The Bank's commitments in Guinea have increased three-fold between 2015 and 2018; from $180 million to $562 million. The indicative program of the Bank for the period 2019 - 2022 amounts to $535 million. These investments are concentrated mainly in the agriculture and energy sectors.
The Bank intends to support Guinea to: (i) improve the electricity transmission and distribution network; and ii) develop agro-industrial parks. Just yesterday, we had deep conversations on how to move ahead on this front.
The African Development Bank invests in 'Builders' concerned about the well-being of their people. You, Mr. President, are a Builder-in-Chief. Under your leadership, with numerous structural and transformational projects such as the dams at Kaleta and Souapiti, Guinea is winning!
The African Development Bank is a major development partner for Guinea, and Guinea’s PNDES and the High 5s are perfectly aligned. That's why I give you, Mr President and the people of Guinea, a 'High 5.'
Mr. President, you can count on the solid support of the African Development Bank and my personal support, for your efforts to achieve the PNDES objectives for an emerging Guinea.
Your Excellency Mr. President, I have the firm conviction that, under your dynamic leadership, and with the participation of all the daughters and sons of Guinea, this beautiful country with immense potential is on the road to success.
You are an indefatigable builder. With your hands on the steering wheel, I am bold to say the development train of Guinea is well on track!