Sunday, June 29, 2008

[Guinean news] Food prices in Guinea amongst the highest in the region

While food price increases are affecting the entire world, Guinea has been particularly hard hit.

The IRIN reports that Food price hikes have hit Guinea's capital Conakry harder than many others in West Africa according to the World Food Programme (WFP), while an export ban is preventing rural populations from benefiting from high global market prices, leading to fears that mounting food insecurity could lead to instability.

It notes that rice prices in Conakry are almost 50 percent higher than in nearby Monrovia, Liberia and significantly higher than in Senegal's capital Dakar.

In some areas, families spend over 60 percent of their income on food, according to the NGO Helen Keller International.

WFP notes that one of the key factors in Guinea is that rice importing is dominated by a few actors. The country also has an inefficient port system, which adds to costs. And the Guinean franc is not part of the West African CFA monetary union (which in turn is linked to the Euro) has plummeted in value dramatically as inflation has soared. It adds that an export ban has denied Guinean farmers the benefit of high global prices.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

[Guinean media] Guinean state television now available online

Guinean state television is now available both online and via television at Online subscriptions to the RTG range at 30 Euros (US$47) for 3 months to 99 Euros for one year.

You can also view the RTG's nightly news program free on demand at the website

Friday, June 27, 2008

[Guinean news] Legislative elections doubtful for 2008

The IRIN news service reports that legislative elections originally scheduled for October 2007 and postponed several times are unlikely to occur this year as promised by the government.

An International Crisis Group report* released a few days ago stated, “Calming talk of inclusion and pursuit of change from the new head of government should fool no one. Unless robust internal and external pressure is applied, there is every chance the government will break the promise of credible legislative elections in December 2008.”

The ICG added that another electoral postponement would “compromise economic revival and bury the independent commission of inquiry tasked with identifying and prosecuting authors of the 2007 crackdown.”

Donors have criticized the Guinean government for not allocating sufficient funds for the elections.

“The Guinean government has spent more on sending the Guinean football team to the African Cup than on its own elections. Why should donors pay for it if they’re not willing to themselves?” One frustrated donor told IRIN, adding, “It is not up to the international community to push elections – it has to come from within.”

*-The entire ICG report on the situation in Guinea can be accessed here

Sunday, June 22, 2008

[Guinean news] Striking policemen clash with soldiers

Last week saw two days of clashes between police and soldiers in Conakry. The police went on strike to protest salary arrears. Soldiers, who themselves rioted over back pay only a few weeks prior, were called in to suppress the police revolt. Customs officials also reportedly joined the police strike.