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In recent years, the Republic of Guinea has shed its reputation as one of the most tightly controlled state economies in Africa, leaving behind a cloistered era marked by an extraordinarily closed economic and political system. In breaking with its dismal past, Guinea has launched an ambitious program of reform which has affected the entire range of the country's institutions, regulations, and markets. Culling data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, and numerous interviews and previously unpublished government data, Jehan Arulpragasam and David E. Sahn here present an overview of the Guinean economy, and its evolution--from independence, through crisis, to reform--and model implications of these changes for economic performance and living standards of the poor. Highlighting the chasm between theory and practice, between well-intentioned program and problematic implementation, the authors reveal how Guinea both parallels and contradicts past experiences of economic reform in Africa. Most notably, reform in Guinea has been hindered by the weighty administrative, managerial, and logistical demands of undertaking a vast battery of economic adjustments, all in one fell swoop. The most detailed and informative study of the Guinean economy to date, Economic Transition in Guineaillustrates not only the successes of the nation's reform agenda, but also the fundamental constraints to development that often lie beyond the reach of such reform.
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