The EITI Board concluded that Guinea has achieved a high overall score in EITI implementation. Throughout the course of a politically tense period that has seen a constitutional referendum, presidential elections and a coup d’état, the EITI has provided a multi-stakeholder platform for free debate on the country’s economically important extractive industries.
As Africa’s largest bauxite producer, Guinea is heavily dependent on its extractive sector. In 2018, 30% of government receipts were provided by the extractive sector, which accounted for nearly 78% of total exports earnings.
Transparency and accountability of the sector are of central importance to Guinea’s economic development, especially given the country’s growing bauxite production, substantial iron reserves and a large infrastructure agreement with China. EITI reporting has been a critical source of information, and while the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the pace of data dissemination, the country has used the EITI to contribute to policy dialogue and reform on extractive issues.
“I commend ITIE Guinée for its efforts to strengthen EITI reporting to cover areas generating significant public interest, such as the resource-backed loan between Guinea and China” said Helen Clark, EITI Board Chair. “I urge all stakeholders to support civic space as a tool for effective EITI implementation, especially in light of recent political events in Guinea and the region more broadly.”
Progressing towards timely data
Over the past three years, ITIE Guinée has worked with government agencies to improve the timeliness and accessibility of EITI data through systematic disclosures. Information on production, exports and artisanal mining are now disclosed through quarterly government publications and ministry websites. These are among some of the timeliest EITI disclosures globally and significantly improve public oversight of the sector’s management. An open data portal is being developed to centralise access to this information.
The country was an early pioneer internationally in disclosing mining contracts, now publicly available through the government’s public cadastre portal and contract database. ITIE Guinée could further play a role in facilitating public oversight of extractive agreements by publishing a detailed list of all active contracts and licenses.
Guinea has made progress in developing a legal and regulatory framework for beneficial ownership disclosure, pending parliamentary approval. Guinea has used its EITI reporting to request beneficial ownership data from 450 mining companies operating in the country, although only nine disclosed this information. ITIE Guinée could build on this work by publishing a review of the completeness and reliability of the data collected and disclosed to date.
Informing public debate
While there is an opportunity for ITIE Guinée to further link its EITI activities to national priorities, it has proven capable of addressing issues of public interest. Guinea has gone beyond the minimum requirements of the EITI Standard to cover specific developments in the mining sector, such as its 2017 infrastructure agreement with China backed by revenues from the mining sector. The resource-backed loan forms an integral part of Guinea’s national development plan, which aims to leverage extractive revenues to diversify the economy. Key elements of the framework agreement were disclosed for the first time in Guinea’s 2018 EITI Report, providing data to inform public understanding and debate on its benefits and future impacts for citizens.
Strengthening multi-stakeholder governance
Guinea has significantly strengthened the multi-stakeholder oversight of its EITI implementation since the country’s last Validation in 2018, thereby enabling more meaningful EITI disclosures. Despite political turbulences, both civil society and industry engagement in the EITI was reinvigorated in recent years, with each constituency broadening its respective membership. Their engagement has also bolstered ITIE Guinée’s credibility as a central platform for debate and source of extractives data.
Nonetheless, there have been isolated reports of potential retribution for criticism of the country’s natural resource management during the political tensions that arose from 2019 to 2020. While these do not appear to have affected the stakeholders engaged in EITI implementation, it will be crucial for ITIE Guinée to closely monitor and investigate any allegations of breaches of the EITI’s civil society protocol to ensure that all stakeholders have equal space for participation in all aspects of the EITI process.
Guinea’s multi-stakeholder group could also further strengthen its role in identifying deviations from statutory procedures in areas where public expectations run high, such as environmental contributions of extractive companies or mining licensing issues. Doing so would help ensure that Guinea manages its finite resources sustainably and in the interest of its citizens. This is of heightened importance in the context of recent military coups in Guinea and other countries in the region, which reinforce the need for inclusive governance and the safeguarding of civic space.
Photo: Transportation of bauxite ore in Guinea. Photo by Igor Grochev on Shutterstock.