Guinea eyes trade, tourism opportunities at Expo

Dubai - The Guinean pavilion is titled “tap into the source of West Africa” and is now 80 per cent complete.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Gabriel Curtis, Guinea’s Minister of Investments and Public-Private Partnerships.
Gabriel Curtis, Guinea’s Minister of Investments and Public-Private Partnerships.

Published: Fri 12 Mar 2021, 9:18 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Mar 2021, 9:19 PM

The West African nation of Guinea will use Expo 2020 Dubai as a platform to showcase trade and tourism opportunities in the country, a top government official said.

“Guinea is a vibrant country with a young and dynamic population, and in recent years it has undertaken profound structural reforms to accelerate its socio-economic development. At the Expo, we aim to showcase new facets of Guinea to a wide audience,” Gabriel Curtis, Guinea’s Minister of Investments and Public-Private Partnerships, told Khaleej Times.

Curtis is also the commissioner-general of Guinea at the mega event. The nation — a beneficiary of a special assistance package from Expo organisers — has a shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean and shares borders with Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal as neighbours, amongst others. The country houses two-thirds of the world’s bauxite reserves.

“Guinea possesses tremendous mining resources including large reserves of iron ore [20 billion tonnes], gold [700 tonnes], diamond [30 million carats] and especially bauxite [40 billion tonnes], which explains why much of FDI [foreign direct investment] has to date been focused on this sector,” Curtis said.

“It is our ambition that through the Expo we may share with the world the numerous other opportunities for investment that the country offers, notably in agriculture [over 13 million hectares of arable land], energy [600MW potential in hydroelectricity], infrastructure, tourism and much more.”

Guinea, like other participants, will use the Expo to strengthen further economic, commercial and cultural ties with other countries. “This collaboration is all the more important after the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a serious impact on the world’s economy. International events like Expo 2020 Dubai are crucial to revive trade and the global economy, “Curtis said.

“With the World Bank predicting a growth rate of 5.2 per cent in 2020 and 5.5 per cent in 2021 despite the pandemic, Guinea is still moving forward and intends to make full use of the Expo to attract more FDI,” the minister added.

“Since 2016, our operations team has worked hand-in-hand with the Expo’s designers and storytellers to ensure that we create a unique visitor experience on our pavilion. In order to fulfill this vision, in addition to the offered assistance package, the government of Guinea has also financially contributed towards the pavilion.”

The country — often called the Water Tower of West Africa thanks to being the origin of several rivers in the region — is home to nature reserves and historical sites. “We know that right now Guinea may not be on most visitors’ radars, but we hope that once our pavilion is revealed, its many surprises and innovative use of technology to bring Guinea to life will make it a must-see spot,” Curtis said.

The Guinean pavilion is titled “tap into the source of West Africa” and is now 80 per cent complete. Curtis says it should be ready by June 2021.

Guinea Alumina Corporation, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-headquartered Emirates Global Aluminum, produces and exports metallurgical-grade bauxite from northwest Guinea.

“This partnership alone generates an estimated $700 million each year to Guinea’s economy,” the minister said, adding his country is now keen to expand its trade relations with the UAE and attract partners beyond the mining and commercial goods sectors. —

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