Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham writes for The Hill on trouble facing the country of Guinea as it heads into local elections:
While Washington remains preoccupied with the results of its own midterm election and its aftermath, U.S. policymakers might be forgiven for not having spared much thought recently for polls elsewhere. Just in Africa alone — which the Obama administration has described in strategy documents as “more important than ever to the security and prosperity” of the United States — there are nearly a dozen national elections in the next 12 months, the outcomes of which can have significant implications for U.S. policy in the region and for the wider international community. Few places is this more true than in the small West African state of Guinea.
Hence it is not surprising that Guinea rarely receives much attention in Washington except when crisis erupts, as it did this year when the country, together with Sierra Leone and Liberia, became the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak. And while Guinea was a bulwark of relative stability as civil wars wracked those neighbors as well as Côte d’Ivoire in the 1990s and early 2000s, it may not be as lucky as it heads toward local elections slated for the coming months, culminating in next year’s presidential contest.