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  • Guineans fear effects of political crisis on cashew trade

    Mar 12th, 2020

    The head of diplomacy of the European Union appealed this Thursday (12.03) to the Guinean defense and security forces not to interfere in the political process. In a statement, Josep Borrell also argued that political actors in Guinea-Bissau should "prioritize dialogue and refrain from any unilateral action that could further exacerbate tensions". "The presidential elections in Guinea-Bissau took place on November 24 and December 29, 2019, [but] the process has not yet been completed and all parties must respect the legal and constitutional framework to resolve the post-election crisis", stressed. The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Policy also requested that Ecomib, the military force of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stationed in the country, guarantee the security of state institutions and organs. The political crisis in Guinea-Bissau worsened after Umaro Sissoco Embaló took office as President on 27 February, while an electoral litigation appeal is underway at the Supreme Court of Justice, presented by Domingos Simões Pereira.

    The president of the National Association of Importers and Exporters of Guinea-Bissau (ANIE-GB), Mamadu Iero Jamanca, fears that the crisis could harm the economy. According to the official, at the moment, with the political situation undefined, it is difficult to see how the cashew nut campaign will be, Guinea-Bissau's main agricultural and export product. "Quite frankly, the prospect is not the big deal, because we live off economic activities and, anywhere in the world, economic operators must be careful that there is no business in uncertain environments, but that is what we are doing. live in Guinea right now ", says the official in an interview with DW Africa.

    "We are in a situation of extreme uncertainty, which could affect the campaign and commercialization and export of cashew nuts", he adds.

    "Environment is not bad, it sucks"

    Every year, Guinea-Bissau raises about two hundred million dollars, as a result of cashew exports. But in recent years, despite the fact that the International Monetary Fund has called for a transparent cashew marketing and export campaign, the constant political crises end up shading the activity. Official data on 2019 cashew nut exports are still unknown, but it is estimated that around 200,000 tonnes of the product have been exported. For this year, Mamadu Iero Jamanca says that it is not yet possible to make a forecast.

     "If, until next month, we do not find solutions that tend to alleviate the situation and review the business environment in which we live at the moment, which is not bad, it is terrible, we will not be able to see anything", says the President of ANIE-GB. Due to the political moment in Guinea-Bissau, it was not possible for DW Africa to register the statements of government entities linked to the marketing and export campaign for cashew nuts. But citizens heard on the streets of Bissau are concerned about the possible influence of the political crisis on the marketing and export of the product: "We have family members who depend on the marketing campaign for cashew nuts, but now that the country is in this political crisis, it is necessary to activate mechanisms to remedy the situation ", calls for Amadu Sidi Djaló, a university student. Another citizen, Ibraima Turé, warns that the current political climate may discourage foreign operators, who are the biggest buyers of the campaign, "especially Indians". "If the country is not stable, we will certainly not have businessmen here to buy the chestnut", he concludes.