Label Guinée Fair “Made in Guinea reborn from ashes” 

Guinea-made products are competitive in handicrafts, agricultural production and also in services. They just need to be promoted. That mission falls to “Label Guinée.” A true showcase of local know-how, it held its annual fair in Conakry from October 31 to November 6. A great success.

By Abdoul Wahab Barry in Conakry 

More than 7500 visitors gathered at Bluezone in Kaloum around the 70 exhibitors who came to the “Label Guinée” trade show. It was a great success, according to organizing NGOs “Comité 21 Guinée” and “Agilités.”  Made in Guinea is rising from the ashes”, said Mohamed Banks Bangoura, general commissioner of Label Guinée, who is also CEO of the consulting and sustainable development agency Agilités. Compared to the last edition, over 2,000 more people came to the event. “In view of the number of visitors, the mobilization of the authorities and the feedback from exhibitors, we can say that it is a success. Guinean consumers are increasingly attached to products made in Guinea. The quality is improving, even if we are not yet competitive, we are on this path.”

For further leverage, he does not hesitate to encourage consumers to take out their wallets, as a manifestation of economic patriotism. “The only way we can support these exhibitors, these entrepreneurs, is to buy their local products. So, buy, buy so they can have a third edition next year in a much larger space, with more participants. We have one week to promote the made in Guinea. We have a week to put Guinea where we all want it to be, that is to say, as high as possible,” he said.

“Our immediate goal is to promote local basketry in Africa, but also target the international market because it is a promising sector”

On the exhibitors’ side, the results are more than satisfactory. Fatoumata Binta Barry, founder of Wely store, took this opportunity to defend her basketry before consumers. “Our presence here is a great opportunity. The Label Guinée helps us to increase our visibility, we can make ourselves known, expand our portfolio on the customer or the partner sides. Our immediate goal is to promote local basketry in Africa but also target the international market because it is a promising sector. People are starting to show interest and to put these baskets in their homes.

Next to her, were other craft stakeholders, but also agricultural producers of fonio, palm oil, banana, pineapple, dried mango or ginger… or services. Label Guinée wants to be at the crossroads of productive value chains to meet the challenges of food security. 

Head of the European Union delegation in Guinea, Jolita Pons said, as she visited the stand, she was “impressed” by the quality of the products. “We have seen chains such as pineapple, leather shoes’; we have seen beautiful fabrics, loincloths. I discover the creativity of Guinean crafts and I am really very impressed. And very happy to have supported the creation of jobs for the made in Guinea,” says the recently appointed ambassador.

Indeed, the promotion of Guinean production is a priority for the state, through the law on local content to secure the “Made in Guinea” brand. The numerous resources of the country’s sub-soil do not benefit the population enough, whose standard of living is still very low. To reverse this trend, the government is banking on this development. The different departments are trying to use different mechanisms.

“As long as production costs are high, access to packaging still difficult and electricity expensive, it will be difficult to have price-competitive products”

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Mamoudou Nagnalen Barry argues for supporting producers to cut prices. “As long as production costs are high, access to packaging still difficult and electricity expensive, it will be difficult to have price-competitive products. Generally, Guinean products are competitive in terms of quality, but it is up to us, the state, to fight for local production to be more accessible. Therefore, this event is very important, we encourage a third edition, which we will support more strongly. 

On the side of the Department of Trade, Industry and SMEs, they want to secure the Made in Guinea brand. “We have an intellectual property and industrial property service. This is a means we make available to our companies to secure their brand. Besides, we also have the National Directorate in charge of SMEs and local content,” says Sanfan Mohammar Cissé, Chief of Staff of Minister Rose Pola Pricemou. 

Label Guinée is finally a forum for high-level reflection on the major issues of certification, labeling, competitiveness and protection of national production. Not to mention the institutional and regulatory set-up for international market access.

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