Monday, September 17, 2007

Guinea's pipe dream

For a nation ranked as the world's most corrupt, as the third most unstable country in the world not at war, the new Guinean government sure has a lot of confidence. Last month, the government announced that it was going to seek nuclear power.

Last week, the government continued its grandiose delusionalism. The cabinet recently announced that Guinea was going to make a bid to host the 2016 African Nations Cup.

Construction began a few months ago on a new 50,000 seat stadium in a suburb of the capital Conakry, but this would be the only stadium in the country that would met the standards of the African soccer confederation (CAF) for hosting the continent's premier soccer tournament.

The country was in virtual meltdown earlier this year because of corruption and skyrocketing prices. Inflation is so bad that the country recently introduced 10,000 franc (FG) banknotes into circulation, worth about US$2.40. And the central bank is also planning to issue a 50,000 FG note. Electricity is virtually non-existent. Basic food prices are through the roof.

The new prime minister Lansana Kouyaté has generally gotten good marks. But if he's smart, he'll tell his ministers to stop wasting money and time preparing for a soccer tournament that no sane organization would award it and focus on restoring basic necessities to the population.

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