Guinea president reshuffles cabinet, aims to revive economy

CONAKRY, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Guinea’s President Alpha Conde has appointed a close confidante as minister of mines and an economist as finance minister in a big government reshuffle aimed at kickstarting an economy recovering from an Ebola epidemic.

The reshuffle that brings 16 people into government comes after Conde was elected in October to a second five-year term and follows his decision to name mining executive Mamady Youla as prime minister.

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

Presidential aide Abdoulaye Magassouba was named minister of mines and geology to replace Kerfalla Yansané while Malado Kaba, former country director for the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), was named finance minister, a statement from the presidency said.

Magassouba is an expert in big mining projects while the AGI was set up by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“The main objectives set for the new government is to create jobs and to reinforce training, mainly of young people and women, to promote investment-friendly policies and to support local business,” said the statement issued late on Monday.

Among the changes, Conde named Makalé Camara as foreign minister and economist Kanny Diallo, a former senior official at the African Development Bank was made the minister for planning and cooperation. (Reporting by Saliou Samb; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens)