Saturday, April 12, 2008


Lansana Kouyaté
Prime Minister and Chief of Government of Guinea aka Guinee

Lansana Kouyaté the Prime Minister, government Leader of the Republic of Guinea was born July 15 1950 in Koba, Guinea.

Kouyaté studied administration at the University of Conakry before joining the civil service. In 1976, he was appointed as Director of Labour, then the following year, moved to become Director of Trade, Prices and Statistics, where he had responsibility for state-owned companies.

In 1982, Kouyaté worked on a rice development project, then moved to the diplomatic service, joining Guinea's delegation in Cote d?Ivoire. In 1985, he returned to the Foreign Ministry in Conakry as head of African and Organisation of African Unity affairs. Two years later, he became Guinea's ambassador to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. In 1992, he became Guinea's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, where he became Vice President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Guinee is back in Business...

In 1993, he was appointed as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia for the UNOSOM II mission, then in February 1994 became the Acting Representative. In June 1994, he became the Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Political Affairs, one of his first missions being a tour around ECOWAS member states to discuss the situation in Liberia. He continued his involvement in discussions to build regional support for a resolution of the Liberian Civil War. He left this job in September 1997 to become the Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a post he held until February 2002. Kouyaté was nominated to the post of Prime Minister of Guinea on 26 February 2007. He was selected by President Lansana Conte from a list provided by trade union leaders. Kouyate is reported to have more powers than his predecessors, including the right to appoint and dismiss ministers.

Lansana Kouyaté is married to Mrs Fanta Condé and they have three children


Interesting observation by
blogger Mafé Tiga
"Precarious Prefets"

Guinean Prime Minister, Lansana Kouyaté, fulfilled one of his long-promised governmental reforms ...with the nominations of seven new governors and 30 new prefets for Guinea (out of a possible 33). The decree, signed by President Lansana Conté, effectively reverses almost all his previous governor and prefet appointments to date. ... Two initial observations on my part:
  1. The president's acquiescence is a positive sign that perhaps a smooth transition to democracy will be possible in Guinea, and that Kouyaté's government is, in fact, legitimate.
  2. While only one of the new governors and three of the 30 prefets nominated are women, this should be considered an improvement from the previous total of zero.
So, what does a prefet do, anyway? For those of you not familiar with the byzantine layers of complexity of French bureaucracy (which has been painstakingly maintained in Guinea even after its independence), he essentially functions as an administrator of an area comprising 100,000–500,000 people, coordinating various functions at a local level, as well as effecting policy edicts from Conakry. To the ordinary Guinean, however, a prefet is most recognized as the patron ("boss") in flowing boubous who lives in a mansion and swoops in and out of town in a shiny new SUV Since independence, but especially during the reign of Conté, prefets have become known in Guinea as some of the largest perpetrators of the corruption and graft that has earned Guinea's ranking as most corrupt country in Africa. They often earned their positions through their connections to Conté or to the party.


According to a recent Reuters report "Guinea's Conte snubs prime minister over Libya deal"

"Relations between Kouyate and the ruling clique surrounding the ailing, octogenarian Conte have been tense, flaring in January when Conte abruptly dismissed a cabinet minister allied to the prime minister, snubbing his authority. ...

Guinea's President Lansana Conte has annulled a Libyan investment deal signed by Prime Minister Lansana Kouyate, in the latest sign of tensions between the veteran leader and the consensus premier. A presidential decree read on state television late on Friday cancelled the acquisition by a Libyan state company of stakes in three hotels in the West African state, the world's largest bauxite exporter.

"The president apparently decided it was not normal to exonerate the Libyans from all tax during 10 years, according to the texts signed by the prime minister," said a source at the finance ministry."

Despite a continuing political power struggle with Conte, Kouyate has worked to revive Guinea's stricken economy, bringing down inflation.

Reforming Guinee is no easy job
Photo by Thisfabtrek


Lansana Conte seized power in a bloodless coup in 1984 after President Sekou Toure's death in 1984. He is accused of ruling Guinee with an authoritarian hand and mismanaging the economy. Conte even changed the constitution so that he could serve an indefinite number of terms.

The ailing president of Guinea, who came under intense pressure to step down early 2007, and has refused to relinquish control despite his poor health condition. Conte is reported to be a chain smoker suffers from chronic diabetes and heart ailment. He is also reported to be senile. Nevertheless, Conte insists he is still "the boss" of the country.

Lansana Conte, President of Guinee
"Je suis le chef, les autres sont mes subordonnés", affirme le président Conté("There is no open transition. I am chief, the others are my subordinates") "I named a Prime Minister far of all pressure, I was not obliged but it was necessary". "I hope that this is a good thing to have a Prime Minister to take blows instead of the president. "...on Kouyate
"I am satisfied with him. I invited him to help me, he is doing it well. The day he will not make the country happy, he will go," For more Jeune Afrique

Guinean women support President Lansana Conte in a previous election campaign.
Source National Geographic


Young Guineans study under the dim parking lot lights at G'bessi Airport in Conakry, Guinea Wednesday, June 6, 2007. Only about a fifth of Guinea's 10 million people have access to electricity and even those that do, experience frequent power cuts. With few families able to afford generators, students long ago discovered that the airport is one of the few places where the lights never go out
Source: Kids in Guinea Study Under Airport Lamps


Only about a fifth of Guinea's 10 million people have access to electricity and even those that do experience frequent power cuts. With few families able to afford generators, students long ago discovered the airport.

Parents require girls to be chaperoned to the airport by an older brother or a trusted male friend. Even young children are allowed to stay out late under the fluorescent bulbs, so long as they return in groups.

"My parents don't worry about me because they know I'm here to seek my future," says 10-year-old Ali Mara, busy studying a diagram of the cephalothorax, the body of an insect.

They sit by age group with 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds on a curb in a traffic island and teenagers on the concrete pilings flanking the national and international terminals. There are few cars to disturb their studies.

Most are working on memorizing their notes, struggling to commit to memory entire paragraphs dictated by their teachers on the history of Marxism, or the unraveling of colonial Africa, or the geology of Siberia. Tests are largely feats of memorization, a relic from Guinea's French colonial rulers.

According to U.N. data, the average Guinean consumes 89 kilowatt-hours per year _ the equivalent to keeping a 60-watt light bulb burning for two months _ while the typical American burns up about 158 times that much.


The students at the airport consider themselves lucky. Those living farther away study at gas stations and come home smelling of gasoline.

Others sit on the curbs outside the homes of affluent families, picking up the crumbs of light falling out of their illuminated living rooms.


Eighteen-year-old Ousman Conde admits that sitting on the concrete piling is not comfortable, but says passing his upcoming exam could open doors.

"It hurts," he says, looking up from his notes on Karl Marx for the politics portion of the test. "But we prefer this hurt to the hurt of not doing well in our exams."


Guinea has vast natural resources, including one of the world's largest reserves of bauxite, which is used to produce aluminum. But the country's infrastructure is poor and most of the people struggle to feed their families and do not have regular access to water and electricity.

According to an IMF report large mining investments will push Guinea's economic growth to 4.5 percent in 2008 from a sluggish 1.8 percent the previous year.Guinea has around one third of the world's known reserves of bauxite, the ore used to make aluminium, and rising global demand has led several operators to plan large mines and processing plants or expansions to existing installations.

Bauxite Minining In Guinea
Photos by Global Alumina Corp

"Last year an official from a national anti-poverty programme said mega-projects, mainly to mine bauxite and refine it into alumina, which can be smelted to make aluminium, would bring in nearly $27 billion in investments by 2015.

Canadian-listed Global Alumina Corp is planning a $4.78 billion, 3.95 million tonne-a-year alumina refinery and U.S. Alcoa and Canada's Alcan, bought last year by Rio Tinto, plan to add an alumina refinery to their Guinea venture.

China agreed in January to fund a $1 billion hydropower dam in return for bauxite mining rights."

For more Mining investments to push Guinea 2008 growth


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