The coup in tiny Guinea matters at a geopolitical level. The US-China ‘cold war’ is a race for strategic dominance of commodities – by Tom Fowdy ( – September 7, 2021)

Tom Fowdy is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

The impoverished country is rich in essential metals that Beijing desperately needs. So was the military takeover by a former French legionnaire with ties to America a plot by the usual Western suspects?

The West African nation of Guinea has just experienced a military coup. Lieutenant-Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, with an elite segment of troops, has overthrown the government of Alpha Conde and seized power, a move that has been condemned by the African Union and China, with the latter demanding that the president be released.

The fate of the country is not yet clear, but the geopolitical stakes are already apparent. Guinea is rich in natural resources, but years of turmoil and mismanagement mean it’s one of the world’s poorest countries.

It is a key exporter of the metal required to make aluminium – bauxite – as well as having plentiful iron ore reserves. It also has mineral resources, including cement, salt, graphite, limestone, manganese, nickel, and uranium.

China’s condemnation of the coup is a highly unusual move from Beijing, given that it has often maintained the principle of ‘non-interference’ in relation to African states, and it illustrates how the country is of tantamount strategic importance to it.

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