3 November 2023

Strengthened value chains in Guinea improves export profile

by Farai Samhungu Paulin Zambelongo / in Impact story

Guinea Impact Story. Explore more impact stories here.


  • The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) supported the strengthening of the operational capacity of the National Office for Quality Control and provided laboratory equipment to this public administrative body. Before the EIF intervention, Guinea sent its products to Senegal for analysis, which was time‑consuming and costly. With the new EIF-supported equipment, it can now conduct such analysis locally.
  • 80% of the laboratory staff are youth who have benefited from EIF laboratory analysis training. In the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, Guinea is now one of the top countries to benefit from this type of equipment.

The Government of Guinea has prioritized trade as a catalyst for economic growth in this West African country. This policy decision recognizes the potential of trade to create wealth and reduce poverty. Guinea’s trade accounts for 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), with agriculture dominating as the most important sector. The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)’s support, especially to the mango sector, has provided a much-needed boost to trade, with improved operational capacities and enhanced food safety measures to ensure conformity of products with international standards.

The first Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) in 2003 identified a range of challenges facing the country, including lack of capacity in understanding and analysing international trade policies; low productive capacity in the agricultural sector; lack of standards in both the public and private sectors; and poor infrastructure in the processing, marketing and transport sectors. Three projects followed in the years between 2004 to 2008, focusing on trade negotiations, trade policy and statistics. 

According to Diallo Sidy Mamadou, Administrative and Financial Manager of the EIF National Implementation Unit (NIU) under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Guinea:

Guinea’s loss of opportunities on the international market is due to the dysfunctional nature of trade: repatriation of foreign currency from exports, lack of trade documents and statistics.

This loss of opportunities is exacerbated by Guinea’s vibrant but unregulated informal sector, where income generated by the sector is not being accounted for in the country’s economic statistics. 

A set of co-ordinated responses to meet challenges

Integrating and mainstreaming trade into the instruments of government – and building capabilities to ensure their smooth running – is a priority for the EIF programme and has yielded good results in Guinea. The EIF worked with the Ministry of Trade to strengthen its NIU in order to enhance coordination capacity; facilitate trade mainstreaming into the poverty alleviation strategy; update the original DTIS in 2016; and formulate a set of action plans. This has improved project management and results-based management skills among staff. The Ministry now has sufficient skills and knowledge to train staff in trade-related government ministries and departments. Priority actions of the new trade policy, developed as part of the Sustainability Support Project, have been included in the 2021 National Programme for Economic and Social Development (NPESD).

Strengthening each link in the mango value chain

Approximately 85% of Guinea’s population are subsistence agriculturalists, but the sector makes up less than 10% of the country’s export earnings. Mangos provide a promising exception: the fruits are regarded as tastier than competitor products from neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Senegal and generate a significant profit margin. As of 2018, mangos were one of several Guinean agricultural products officially exported to international markets. The EIF sought to boost the productive capacities of agricultural producers by supporting the mango sector value chain in five prefectures: in Kindia and Telimele in the western region and Kankan, Mandiana and Siguiri in the eastern region. 

The positive outcomes from this support can be seen in many forms. Following the introduction of commercial orchards, the number of mango trees per hectare was increased from 100 to 400 trees, and production rose fourfold to 40/45 tonnes per hectare. 

A fruit preservation and packaging facility was built in Kankan in 2015, at a cost of USD 3 million, as one of several activities forming part of the Guinea Mango Sector Development Project (PRODEFIMA). Meanwhile, the upgrading of logistical infrastructure for the export of mangos from Upper Guinea will enable the country to increase its fresh mango exports to 3,000 tonnes per year. Construction of a mango drying facility to promote the diversification of mango products for the export market is already underway, with joint support from the EIF, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation and the Islamic Development Bank. The Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation is providing technical assistance to this initiative with a view to South-South cooperation. 

"I am faring well thanks to the EIF project", says Mr Moussa Koulibali, a planter in Mandiana. "In the past, many of my mangoes rotted in the field, but that has changed since I sell them to the mango packaging platform in Kankan and the drying plant in Kindia." 

These projects have increased income and employment opportunities among women and youth who are involved in mango production. Approximately 10,000 public and private sector players in the mango sector received training in business management and trading knowledge, including an understanding of trade preferences negotiated with partners such as the Economic Commission of West African States’ Trade Liberalization Scheme and the African Continental Free Trade Area. 

To help the mango sector function more effectively and to minimize the rejection of products from Guinea by importing countries, the EIF also strengthened the operations of the National Office for Quality Control through support for the construction of a modern, state‑of‑the‑art laboratory and inspection equipment. This laboratory is now considered the best‑equipped in the sub-region. Before the EIF intervention, most Guinean‑processed products had to be sent to Senegal for analysis, which was time‑consuming and costly. With the new EIF-supported equipment, this can now be done locally. Better quality control has significantly increased the number of samples tested at the national laboratory and improved the speed of product control, increasing efficiencies and supply. 80% of staff working in the laboratories are young people who have benefited from EIF lab analysis training. 

By paying attention to each link in the mango value chain – production, transformation and processing, quality control, packaging, and export – the EIF programme has delivered on its promise to promote inclusive trade, ensuring all key stakeholders are fully supported to reach their optimum potential. Women and youth are the first and largest number of beneficiaries to receive support to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions to identify business opportunities. 

Ms Hadja Sadan Kaba, a member of the Cooperative of Women Producers and Exporters of Processed Agricultural Products of Kankan, explains: "The EIF's support for our cooperative has been very useful, not only in terms of acquiring new basic equipment, but also in terms of promoting the women of our region in a variety of ways".

Diversifying opportunities

Despite successes recorded in the horticulture sector, more and continuous efforts are required to assist women and young people in that sector to exploit opportunities. They also need additional support to enhance their understanding of the country’s trade regulatory environment and international commitments and how these all impact their businesses. Opportunities exist to help the youth diversify into other trading opportunities beyond agriculture, to stop them leaving for jobs in Europe and neighbouring countries. Assisting the private sector so that it has a better understanding of international trade rules will go a long way towards bridging the knowledge gaps that are thwarting growth in this sector. 

According to Mamadou, “The EIF programme was successful in Guinea due to the flexibility in programme design and management.” He went on, “EIF project requirements are not crippling but enabling to beneficiaries.” The disbursement process is short and the EIF operates in a way that promotes national ownership of projects. Rapid start-up of activities is guaranteed as soon as a project is approved, since the EIF does not stipulate any additional layers of approval at the national level. 

Local ownership of the priorities and activities of all EIF projects is an ongoing theme of the programme, and this includes ownership by ordinary citizens. In 2020/2021, the team responsible for developing the national strategy for the implementation of the country's new trade policy carried out a public consultation of all interested stakeholders involved in the management of trade policy, to get their views and responses regarding the incorporation of stakeholder and government recommendations.

Meaningful partnerships have been, and continue to be, fundamental to the success of EIF-supported projects in Guinea. These include the African Intellectual Property Organization having facilitated the registration of the protected geographical indication for Guinea’s Ziama superior forest coffee. The European Union supported the development of the country's new trade policy, while the EIF supported the national strategy for trade development. Today, it is clear that, thanks to the actors' use of the content of these two policy documents, Guinea’s trade has increased. The Government of Türkiye also supported skills development for women and youth.

The EIF has been working with a range of development partners to mobilize and better coordinate additional financial resources to support trade programmes. For example, the World Bank provided funding worth USD 100 million towards the Guinea Commercial Agriculture Development Project, a major programme that is set to stimulate economic growth in the country. A recently established donor working group on trade holds promise for improved coordination with other development partners and donors in the future.

EIF support to the Government of Guinea has helped to highlight the contribution of trade to the national economy. Productivity challenges in export sectors, especially horticulture, have in part been resolved, and the country’s new trade policy has been widely disseminated and shared with the actors concerned. This has resulted in a better image for the country and a marked improvement in its competitiveness. An inventory of all relevant legislation and regulations relating to Guinean exports was prepared and validated. 

Mamadou adds: "With the programmes and projects financed and implemented in Guinea by the EIF, trade has become a government priority and its contribution has become more visible".

The EIF is continuing its support to Guinea throughout 2023 to strengthen institutions exporting cashew nuts, mangos and other agricultural products.


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As the second phase of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) comes to an end in 2024, the objective is to produce a catalogue of impact stories showcasing the efforts of the EIF partnership in the least developed countries (LDCs) and recently graduated LDCs where it has been actively engaged. This impact story makes up one of the stories in the catalogue. Essential input and reviews were received from the country‑based EIF National Implementation Units (NIUs) and the wider EIF team. 

The primary objective of each impact story, as well as the entire catalogue, is to adopt a journalistic approach in recounting the EIF's engagement in the LDCs during both Phase One and Two. The aim is to offer valuable insights and to document outcomes and impacts, as well as some lessons learned from the work of the EIF partnership in the LDCs. These stories do not provide a comprehensive overview of every aspect of EIF partnership engagement such as precise timelines or the exact extent of involvement (i.e., financial contributions). Instead, they serve as one of several means of information about the work of the EIF partnership. Interested readers are encouraged to supplement these impact stories by consulting other sources, including EIF Annual Reports, Trade for Development News articles, EIF social media channels, and, where applicable, the NIUs in the LDCs as well as the EIF Executive Secretariat.

It is essential to acknowledge that the information provided is neither exhaustive (e.g., it is based on the latest available data at the time of writing in 2023) nor evaluative in nature. 

Lastly, while each impact story adheres to a similar structure, the diverse range of countries, contexts, and EIF engagements means that each story is unique.

Any views and opinions expressed on Trade for Development News are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect those of EIF.