Regime stability, social insecurity and mining in Guinea: a case study of bauxite and diamond mining (1958-2008)
Diallo, Penda Nene
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This thesis explores how the mining of bauxite and diamonds enabled the coexistence of regime stability and social insecurity in Guinea under the regimes of Presidents Sékou Touré (1958- 1984) and Lansana Conté (1984-2008). Expanding on Soares de Oliviera’s (2007) analytical framework of the ‘successful failed state’ and the ‘social contract’ as developed by Nugent (2010), this thesis examines how the Republic of Guinea, despite decades of political repression and the mismanagement of its mineral resources, has so far not fallen victim to the extreme consequences of the so-called ‘resource curse’. The thesis shows that Touré and Conté avoided large-scale armed conflict by using mineral resources to strengthen their regimes, which in turn facilitated the emergence of different forms of ‘social contracts’. Despite the coercive nature of both regimes, the presence of mineral resources also opened up a space for bargaining amongst actors involved in the sector including the state, local communities and private mining companies. As a result, a variety of ‘social contracts’ emerged in Guinea. Whilst artisanal mining became a key source of income for the rural population, industrial mining catered to the revenue needs of the regime in power. The thesis focuses specifically on bauxite and diamond mining in Guinea and how they contributed to the coexistence of regime stability and social insecurity in Guinea. While some studies have been undertaken on bauxite, there have not been detailed studies of the role of diamond mining in Guinea’s post independence political history. The thesis makes an original contribution in comparing and contrasting the contribution of bauxite and diamond mining to larger political dynamics. The thesis offers a clearer understanding of issues that contribute to regime stability and how the presence of mineral resources facilitates the emergence of different ‘social contracts’.