Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guinea Update

Remember that country I'm supposed to move to in two months and a bit? The one I haven't blogged about since December? What's it called again? Oh right, Guinea.

When we last saw our heroes, they had just wrapped up their first democratic elections ever after 50 years of despoilment under one rapacious dictator or another. So how are things going now? As it happens, not so well. As a result of the aforementioned despoilment, the new government is broke and saddled with significant debt. The government has yet to come to an agreement with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to restart the flow of development dollars. The price of rice, the staple food of the Guinean diet, has risen by 60 percent since before the elections. The army is oversized and undisciplined. Ethnic tensions persist. While refugee flows from neighboring Cote d'Ivoire have been minimal so far, that may change at any time.

Given the state of the country President Conde inherited it's hardly surprising that Guinea hasn't become a terrestrial paradise over the past four months. However, I would have liked to have seen a stronger beginning than this. Democracy doesn't solve problems; it only provides a framework to help societies find solutions. But with many of Guinea's problems seemingly getting worse instead of better, how long before Guineans start wondering if this whole democracy thing wasn't really a mistake after all?

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