CONAKRY, GUINEA – The Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), an independent United States Government agency, announced at a signing ceremony the investment of $1 million USD in six Guinean Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in order to deliver employment and social benefits to the communities affected by the bauxite industry. These six investments are projected to create approximately 700 new jobs, stimulate over $13 million USD in incremental revenue growth, and result in over $2 million USD in increased worker compensation, most of which will occur in the bauxite mining region. Guinea possesses over one third of global reserves of bauxite, the raw ore form of aluminum, and programs such as this are critical to translating the growth in global aluminum demand into tangible social and economic benefits in Guinea.
The Guinea Alumina Corporation, a joint venture between Global Alumina (TSX: GLAU), BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP), DUBAL, and Mubadala, is constructing an alumina refinery near Sangarédi in order to transform Guinea’s bauxite resources into alumina for use in the production of aluminum. The refinery, with an annual capacity of 3.2 million metric tons but designed to expand to 4.8 million metric tons, represents one of the largest capital investments ever made in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2006, GAC and USADF entered into a five year, $10 million USD strategic partnership in order to ensure the social sustainability of the refinery project. The partnership has two components, an SME linkages program and a participatory community development program. The GAC – USADF SME Linkages Program is focused on screening, developing, and linking promising SMEs to market opportunities created by the growing bauxite industry in order to maximize local economic participation in Guinea’s mining sector growth. The focus of the SME program spans from construction to operations to building the local consumer economy. The GAC-USADF partnership has been widely recognized as one of the most groundbreaking approaches to aligning community development with a major extractive industry investment.
“An approach such as this partnership that links local business development to large extractive industry projects can serve as a model for economic and social growth in African communities,” said MamadyTraore, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Tourism and Artisans. Michel Kamano, the President of Economic and Social Council, commented on the importance of SME development, stating, “Public-private partnerships like this will deliver truly sustainable economic development throughout Guinea.” Both officials also recognized the role of the United States government in making the funding possible.
The six 2007 SME investments are expanding the production capacity of a uniform manufacturer, Guinea Confection; increasing egg production of a poultry farm, Keba Farms; building a new bakery for bakery chain, Diallo et Fils; deepening technical capabilities of a construction firm, ENCODI; strengthening the management capabilities of Sangarédi-based refrigeration equipment services firm, SAF; and expanding the capabilities of a security services firm, Kyok Soul.
“The SME program of GAC and USADF is a great opportunity to build Guinea’s economy,” stated U.S. Ambassador to Guinea, Phillip Carter III. USADF’s Regional Investment Advisor to Guinea, Brent Habig, commented, “This model has the potential to be applied within the rapidly growing extractive industry across Africa in order to raise local living standards.”
The GAC – USADF SME Linkages Program operates primarily through a local implementing partner, the Centre d’Appui au Développement (CAD), a leading Guinean nongovernmental organization with experience in growing sustainable enterprises and facilitating community development projects.
In 2008, GAC and USADF will continue their strategic partnership with an investment target of $2 million USD in order to continue to support local SMEs in delivering economic growth through participation in the bauxite industry.
Guinea Alumina Corporation
The Guinea Alumina Corporation (GAC) is a Guinea-based project company that is managing the construction and operation of the Sangarédi alumina refinery and the associated port, rail line, and power generator. Founded by Global Alumina, GAC is now jointly owned by Global Alumina (TSX: GLAU), BHP Billiton Ltd (ASX: BHP), DUBAL, and Mubadala. GAC is committed to social sustainability and is working to ensure that its alumina refinery will be beneficial to local communities.
United States African Development Foundation
The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) is a United States Government agency dedicated to expanding access to economic opportunity in Africa. Over the past 20 years, USADF has funded 1,600 projects in support of African entrepreneurs and local African communities. For more information on USADF, its programs and its application guidelines, go to: www.usadf.gov/funding.html.
Centre d’Appui au Développement
The Centre d’Appui au Développement (CAD) is a Guinean nongovernmental organization created in July 2001 that provides technical assistance and support to Guinean enterprises and community-based organizations. CAD’s mission is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and to the advancement of economic and social development in Guinea. For more information on CAD, please visit: www.cad-guinee.org.
For more information, please contact:
Mamady Youla, Director, GAC, +224 30 43 50 57
Alpha Oumar Diallo, USADF Guinea Country Representative, +224 30 46 75 05, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mamadi K. Kourouma, Executive Director, Centre d’Appui au Développement (CAD), +224 64 73 06 83, email@example.com