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Russia strengthens ties with Guinea

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Russia strengthens ties with Guinea

After 65 years of diplomatic relations, Russia and Guinea are intensifying their economic cooperation. This partnership is notably reinforced through strategic investments and increasing trade exchanges, marking a new era of bilateral collaboration.

Historical roots of Guinea-Russia diplomacy

The relationship between Guinea and Russia dates back to when Russia was the first to recognize Guinea’s independence. This historical link, strengthened over the decades, is now evident in increasingly close economic cooperation. This strategic alliance was revitalized at the Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg in July 2023, where significant agreements were signed.

Booming economic dynamic

One key sector of this cooperation is the mining industry. The Russian giant Rusal, present in Guinea since 2001, contributes to bauxite extraction. With cumulative investments exceeding 1.5 billion USD, Rusal operates several local enterprises, including the Compagnie des Bauxites de Kindia (CBK) and the Friguia bauxite-alumina complex. In 2023, Guinea’s exports to Russia reached 9 billion USD, marking a 24.7 % increase from the previous year. Among the exported products, aluminum oxide accounted for 89.7 %, while husks and shells made up 10.3 %.

Challenges from international sanctions

However, this cooperation faces challenges. International sanctions imposed on Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine disrupt Russian operations in Guinea. The Nikolaev alumina refinery in Ukraine, which processes part of Guinea’s bauxite, has ceased activities, affecting exports and the payment of salaries to Rusal’s 4,000 employees in Guinea. Nonetheless, bauxite exports gradually resumed in April 2022, and aluminum oxide exports increased by 5.0 % between December 2022 and January 2023, reaching 11 million USD.

Russian investments and local development

Beyond its investment in the mining industry, Russia invests in various strategic sectors in Guinea, including energy, healthcare, and infrastructure. Moscow also contributes to the country’s socio-economic development through the Russia-UN trust fund and a two-million-dollar allocation to the UN World Food Programme to support humanitarian aid in 2023.

These initiatives are generally well-received locally, as they create new business opportunities, increase productivity, and promote local development.

Future prospects for Guinea-Russia diplomacy

The future of this cooperation partly depends on the evolution of international sanctions and the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. The outcomes of the 2023 Russia-Africa Summit, while promising, still need to materialize to fully assess the impact of this collaboration on Guinea’s economic and political development.

However, the current Russian investments demonstrate a long-term commitment to the country.

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