A $500-million bond, expected to be issued by October, will boost Ivory Coast’s post-war economic recovery and help the country tap international markets, President Alassane Ouattara said in an interview in Globe and Mail.
Strong cocoa and cotton production in Ivory Coast could drive economic growth of 9 percent this year, stimulating infrastructure spending and a rebound in private investment, the report said.
Ivory Coast comprises about half of the $80-billion economy of the eight-nation West African currency bloc, according to Globe and Mail. Its franc currency is tied to the euro at a fixed rate of 1 euro to 656 CFA francs, guaranteed by the French treasury.
The fixed rate makes it easier for Ivory Coast to issue bonds to international investors in its own currency, Ouattara said in the interview.
A 2011 civil war in Ivory Coast claimed 3000 lives.
In 2012, economic growth hit 9.8 percent as investors flocked to agriculture, mining and oil, the report said.
Cocoa accounts for 40 percent of Ivory Coast exports. The country is the world’s No. 1 cocoa producer.
Just two years after a bond default, Ivory Coast now has a budget deficit of 3 percent to 4 percent of gross domestic product, low inflation and a foreign debt of 15 percent of GDP, making the timing right for tapping international markets, Ouattara said.
“We’re in talks with some major French, English and American banks and I hope that from here to September or October, we’ll be able to issue the bonds,” Ouattara said.
Ouattara announced earlier this month his decision to seek re-election. Tens of thousands of Ivoiriens were displaced after former President Laurent Gbabgo refused to recognize Ouattara’s election victory, the report said. Ouattara won the conflict with French support, and has since steered a “dramatic” recovery in francophone West Africa’s economic powerhouse.
Many ordinary Ivoiriens say economic growth has not made their lives better, according to the Globe and Mail report.