Three months of mass protests in the streets of Conakry, the capital of Guinea, have taken their toll on the West African country’s economy. An opposition group formed from political parties, trade unions, and civil society organizations have helped lead thousands of Guineans against President Alpha Condé’s attempts to run for a third term in defiance of the constitutional limit of two. Although the protests show no signs of abating, the opposition collective is not content to leave it there, despite the deaths of 26 civilians and a police officer during public clashes.
They have demanded “mining companies, banks, factories, service stations and other public and private enterprises to suspend all activity” in support of the protest movement. Such a mass strike would be a major blow to Condé, who promised during his 2010 inauguration to transform the Guinean economy and take advantage of the country’s promising mineral resources. It is difficult to fully calculate the economic impact of the protests, but local supply chains have been greatly disrupted and the purchasing power for the average Guinean has dropped significantly, said former fisheries minister Boubacar Barry to Agence France Presse.
Images have been circulating on social media showing protesters sabotaging ore-carrying railway cars. Fruit vendors have avoided Conakry for fear of their goods being pillaged, and numerous businesses have shut their doors to prevent looting. The head of the opposition group, Abdourahmane Sanoh, recognizes that the economy is effectively paralyzed, and Guineans are prevented from selling their goods. “However, the main objective is to compel the international community to participate in a mediation, not to ruin the country,” he says.