Africa > West Africa > Guinea > The Government of Guinea, starting with the President and myself, is fully committed to supporting the DU’s initiatives

Guinea: The Government of Guinea, starting with the President and myself, is fully committed to supporting the DU’s initiatives

2017/09/24

Guinea Prime Minister, Mamady Youla: “The Government of Guinea, starting with the President and myself, is fully committed to supporting the DU’s initiatives, as the objectives are in line with the development priorities of the Republic of Guinea.”

What is the Guinea Delivery Unit and how did it come about?

The Guinea Delivery Unit is a flagship project, within the Prime Minister’s office, to accelerate the delivery of priority projects in Guinea and build results-focused government institutions. When our current President, His Excellency Alpha Conde came into power in 2010, he had an ambitious vision to transform Guinea through accelerated economic growth, increased accountability and social cohesion. Guinea is in the process of building capacity to implement projects that could be transformative for the country’s economy. The recently launched Delivery Unit (DU) integrated with my office, supported by Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and run by the international advisory firm Dalberg, was established as a part of this process. After a strategic planning phase in late 2016, the DU is fully operational since January 2017.

What is the Delivery Unit’s Mission, Vision and how is it governed?

The DU aims to position itself as a reference point for the realization of the Government’s flagship initiatives through the development and incubation of effective, sustainable, and results-oriented implementation and governance approaches. The mission of the DU is to accelerate the delivery of priority projects in Guinea and build results-focused government institutions. Over the next two years, the DU will play a catalytic role in the implementation of two sectoral initiatives in agriculture and mining, and in improving the effectiveness of government action through two additional work streams focusing on governance and leadership.

A Steering Committee composed of key ministers and other members of the government provides guidance to the DU and serves as a platform to lift potential bottlenecks to implementation. A CEO, from the private sector, heads the DU. In addition to supervising the team, he maintains continuous communication with stakeholders within and outside the government to ensure adhesion and facilitate partnerships.

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Though the DU has been operational from January, you’ve mentioned a strategic planning phase that took place before this? Please tell us more about this…

The first step was to benchmark existing delivery units globally to understand what the best model for Guinea would be. Delivery units in Africa and other developing regions are increasingly gaining prominence as an effective way to work within the government system to accelerate progress through private sector methods of accountability, efficiency and reporting. The aim of a delivery unit is not to disempower the civil service or to create parallel government structures. Delivery units work in tandem with key stakeholders to deliver on the government’s agenda, ensuring that well-meaning policies and ideas are implemented in a timely fashion and are improving citizens’ well-being. To date, there are over 20 delivery units globally. Drawing on lessons from benchmarking twelve of these and taking into account the local context, the mandate and structure of the Guinea DU was decided upon.

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The next stage was deciding which particular sectors to start intervening in. The team undertook a sector prioritization exercise to determine which sectors to focus on based on factors such as contribution to GDP, contribution to employment, opportunities for value addition and sector readiness. It is from this process that mining and agriculture emerged as high priority sectors.  Two additional work streams focusing on governance and leadership were added to improve the effectiveness of the government in delivering on this vision.

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What are the key priorities in each of these sectors and what are you doing to address them? What have been some of your successes to date?

In the agriculture sector, the key intended purpose is to have improvements along the pineapple value chain that completely revolutionize the sector and put Guinea on track to being an established global pineapple exporter. In mining, the focus is on increasing employability of local Guineans to work in the sector and increasing capacity of local SMEs to bid for mining work.

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In mining…

… DU and industry players aim to provide, by 2020, quality training to 5,000 youth per year, split in 3,000 skilled workers, 1,600 higher technicians and 400 engineers. Within this framework, the DU supports three key interventions: (i) strengthening the training system for skilled workers through the implementation of Mobile Training Units (MTU); (ii) supporting the transformation of the Higher Institute of Mines and Geology (HIMG, Institut Supérieur de Mines et Géologie) into a School of Excellence of Mines and Geology (Ecole d’Excellence en Mines et Géologie); and (iii) supporting capacity building initiatives for local SMEs active in the mining sector.

The flagship program of the DU is the establishment of Mobile Training Units (MTU). Mining companies have expressed urgent needs for trained workers in four main areas (electricians, masons, mechanics and heavy equipment operators). However, the existing vocational training system cannot respond to these short-term needs given the constraints facing the system, namely lack of equipment for practical training, shortage of trainers and poor infrastructure. The MTUs, light structures, composed of two classrooms and a large training space, will respond to urgent needs of mining companies while following a systematic approach to ensure the assets from the MTUs are integrated with the existing training institutions as the latter are strengthened. The first MTU will be established in the Boke region and has an annual capacity to train 1,200 workers. Since the launch of the DU, the Prime Minister has made it a core requirement to prioritize workforce insertion in the mining sector, as laid out in the Local Content Policy (Politique de Contenu Local).

In agriculture…

.. In coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, the DU supports the revival of the pineapple value chain. Beyond being renowned as some of the best tasting tropical fruit in the world, pineapples from Guinea can capitalize on the increased regional and international demand, as well as on the country’s strategic geographic position to grow exports. Exports of Guinean pineapples are today desperately low, despite the sector’s latent potential and significant comparative advantages. The DU, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, has adopted a value chain approach to analyze the constraints weighing on the pineapple industry and come up with interventions to tackle them.

The DU and players along the value chain aim, by 2020, to double the area under cultivation from 400 hectares to 800 hectares, improve average yields from 30 tons to 50 tons per hectare and increase exports via air shipments to 2,500 tons per year. To achieve these production and export targets, the DU supports the extension and development of new farming lands, promotes the production of quality ratoons, improves access to irrigation, and supports commercialization.

The DU, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, has recently distributed water pumps to two farmer cooperatives and oversaw the delivery of 800 tons of pineapple specific fertilizers to farmers – including supervising its sale and distribution, working with relevant farmer cooperatives. The DU also launched a study to set up an affordable equipment financing scheme for pineapple producers to procure irrigation kits, working in partnership with financial institutions and equipment vendors. Current financial products are not aligned with farmers’ cash flow and income streams, making most equipment financing mechanisms unfit for agriculture lending. To increase access to irrigation equipment, farmers require financial products with flexible repayment terms that match their income.

The DU’s coordination efforts around the pineapple value chain have led to an unprecedented collaboration between agricultural actors in Guinea. Three donors – USAID, the Belgian Cooperation and the World Bank – are contributing to reviving the value chain. The integrated approach, coordinated by the DU, has led to an open knowledge culture that fosters collaboration and exchange of information between NGOs on the ground, donors, and government parties. The recent partnership with USAID’s Feed the Future program, is a good example. More than 50 farmers, in Maférénya and Kindia regions, have been trained on pineapple production and commercialization using training material developed by the DU team. The DU also supported the launch of a rural radio program focused on pineapple production techniques and financed by USAID.

In leadership…

… With regards to improving the effectiveness of Government action and to foster growth of Guinean talent, the DU will be developing and launching a program to train, mentor, and place talented Guinean graduates within government ministries and agencies through a two-year fellowship. The launch of a leadership program to attract young Guineans into civil service reflects the Government of Guinea’s intention to improve the quality of public sector governance and help drive economic growth and development. The first class of young professionals will be recruited by early 2018.

In governance…

….With regards to governance, the DU aims to enhance coordination and monitoring capacities of the Government through supporting the Rural Development Thematic Group  within the Dialogue and Coordination Platform (DCP, Cadre de Concertation et Coordination). The DU interventions on this thematic group will serve as a model to replicate in other groups (from pilot to scale).

What are Guinea’s priorities to fund its growth?

The current administration is particularly committed to improving the country’s economic outlook and attracting investors. In November 2013, the government held the “Guinea is Back” conference in Abu Dhabi with investors and partners to show its stability and readiness for business, ahead of the government’s poverty reduction strategy for 2013-2015. This new dynamic has been reinforced in 2014 with the Investment Promotion Agency (APIP) restructuring and in 2015 by the nomination of myself as Prime Minister hailing from the private sector. The President has also rejuvenated and feminized the government bringing on board individuals with proven competencies and track records at the national and international level.

The government is focusing on policies to maximize returns from the country’s abundant natural resources including in agriculture, energy and mining, while improving the business environment to prioritize private sector involvement and spur foreign investment. In the past months, we’ve welcomed investors from various countries, including the UAE, Turkey, and China. We are committed to stay this course – and position Guinea as an emerging investment hub on transparency, fruitful opportunities and returns for investors. The rebooting of the Guinean economy with a robust growth rate of 6.6% in 2016, estimated at 6.7% in 2017, offers promising perspectives in the coming years. The finalization and adoption of the Plan National de Développement Economique et Social (PNDES 2016-2020) or national economic and social development plan, lays the framework to sustain this growth, and projects a growth rate of more than 10% by 2020.

What is your message to Guineans both locally and abroad?

Guinea is fully embarked in a process of change. The country is determined to value its immense potential and to initiate economic and social transformation. To meet this challenge, Guinea needs all the talents and all the skills that we can bring. We the Government, want to work hand in hand with our people to ensure that we deliver on our promises to citizens.  We also want to ensure that Guineans know what initiatives are underway and how they can get involved in our collective nation building.

I would like to thank ADFD for its invaluable support in the creation and operationalization of the DU within my office. Our partnership with ADFD is a testament to the strong relations between Guinea and the United Arab Emirates, and a demonstration of our openness to foreign investments.

To our other partners, we thank you for your support of the Delivery Unit. To our future partners, we want you to know that Guinea is open to collaborate with organizations that will help the country achieve its vision.

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