Delegation of the European Union to Guinea

Guinea and the EU

11/05/2016 - 17:38
EU relations with Country

Relations between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Guinea go back over 40 years. Today, the framework for these relations is defined by the June 2000 Cotonou Agreement, concerning political and economic issues, trade, development co-operation, dialogue with civil society and humanitarian aid.

The Cotonou Agreement (June 2000) is the framework for political relations between the EU and Guinea. Dialogue is conducted regularly and concerns the objectives defined or any issue of common interest.

After the military coup d'etat in December 2008, the EU supported Guinea in the process of political transition and return towards constitutional order, launched in the context of the Ouagadougou Agreements of 15 January 2010. Legislative elections were held in 2013 and allowed the full resumption of development co-operation between the EU and Guinea, which had been partially suspended since the coup d'etat.

The EU remains committed to supporting Guinea in promoting a stable and democratic political environment that can contribute to regional peace and security. The consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights is indispensable for the creation of a favourable setting for private investment and sustainable economic development in Guinea.

Guinea offers enormous economic potential, in terms of of its natural, mineral, agricultural, fishing and hydroelectric resources, as well as  services, including transport, interconnection capacity and tourism services. However, few countries have  as  big a disparity as Guinea between their level of development and their potential.

Guinea, by virtue of its economic potential, should be an open economy, able to attract foreign capital to capitalise on its potential. The EU remains the biggest market and the biggest supplier for Guinea, as well as a major economic partner with a global approach that takes an interest in both the commercial system and macro-economic and sectoral policies.

A few key sectors have been identified to encourage sustainable growth:

  • productive sectors such as mines, energy, agriculture and fishing offer the greatest potential, both in terms of sustainable job creation and contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP);
  • the reform of the security and justice sector is essential to create a more favourable business environment and a sustainable climate for the security of investments;
  • the transport sector needs to improve interconnectivity  countrywide  and ensure the development of productive sectors (mining, agriculture, tourism).

Traditionally, most co-operation between the EU and Guinea has been provided through  the European Development Fund (EDF).

Through the  11th EDF National Indicative Programme (2014-2020)  the EU supports three main sectors in Guinea by:

  • strengthening  the rule of law and the promotion of effective administration to benefit citizens, and the consolidation of democracy;
  • putting in place sanitation infrastructure and services for sanitation;
  • improving the health system and increasing access to high-quality essential care, in order to address structural problems in Guinea's health system and to control epidemics.

In the area of trade, cooperation between Guinea and the EU is primarily based on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) adopted in July 2014. Once in force, this agreement has a dual vocation, for trade and development. It must contribute to the achievement of Guinea's objectives for accelerated growth and sustainable development.

To this end,  rather than relying directly on key growth sectors, the objectives pursued are more upstream, in order to create an environment that is more favourable to investment and private initiatives. These objectives are:

  • support  State reform and modernisation of the administration;
  • improvement of economic governance;
  • the renovation and development of basic economic infrastructure, particularly those allowing regions with high economic potential to be opened up.

Development policies and programmes are generally more effective when the actors are in contact with civil society and local populations  feel involved in national development policy-making.

The EU therefore aims to strengthen the role of civil society and encourage local non-state actors to play an active role. By emphasising civil society participation, the EU has provided more decentralised management involving a  wide variety of organisations (NGOs, unions, political foundations, private companies, universities and the media).

This approach is implemented via the Non-State Actors (NSA) programme, which aims to reduce poverty and support the initiatives of civil society organisations.

In Guinea, relations with civil society organisations (CSOs) operate on three levels:

  • dialogue with CSOs regarding national development policy and the contribution of the European Union;
  • support from the European Union for civil society organisations, e.g. the Civil Society Support Programme (PASOC);
  • support for CSOs as implementation agents for certain development actions.

The European Union is the world's leading provider of humanitarian aid, and a quarter of global institutional humanitarian aid is managed by the European Commission, with an annual budget of over €800 million. This aid is made directly available to  victims, irrespective of their ethnic group, religion, nationality or political affiliation, via operational partners. These partners include around 160 European NGOs, United Nations humanitarian agencies and the Red Cross.

Within the Commission, operations are organised by the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). Guinea depends on the West Africa Regional Office, whose  mandate is to provide services and expertise to improve the quality of the Commission's humanitarian response in the region. This includes five main areas of competence:

  • capacity for rapid response;
  • support for operations;
  • support for the formulation of humanitarian policies and strategies;
  • communication;
  • finance and administration.
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