December 23, 2015 / 1:52 PM / in 3 years

Re-elected Guinean president says PM and government quit

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea’s prime minister and government have resigned, President Alpha Conde said on Wednesday, clearing the way for him to appoint a new administration two months after being elected to a second five-year term.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) and Guinea's President Alpha Conde (R) attend the Valletta Summit on Migration in Valletta, Malta, November 11, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The West African country is a major producer of bauxite, an aluminum ore, but growth has been hamstrung by a slump in metals prices and a two-year Ebola epidemic that killed more than 2,500 people and has driven away some investors.

Conde gave no reason for the departure of Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana, but a change of cabinet is typical after a presidential election.

“The President salutes the work of the outgoing team and its contribution to reforms under way since 2010 and asks the government to finish off its remaining work until a new one is formed,” Conde said in a statement.

Among the economic challenges facing the next government will be the future of Simandou, the world’s biggest untapped iron ore deposit. In October, Conde suspended an auction for the right to develop half of it, without explanation.

If all goes well, Guinea will follow neighbor Sierra Leone and be declared officially free of Ebola next week, having gone 42 days since the last patient’s recovery.

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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