Ivory Coast Strives Toward Economic Facelift

Ivory Coast Strives Toward Economic Facelift

Ivory Coast is looking to have an economic facelift. It has already  seen dramatic growth and development since the country’s bitter civil war after its 2010 presidential elections, reports CNBC Africa.

“The growth, by any metrics, has been remarkable. With Cote D’Ivoire, on the one hand, the economic and business environment has accelerated at a rapid pace. Growth is around nine per cent, inflation is lower, fiscal management has improved, foreign investment is flowing in,” Rand Merchant Bank country risk analyst Ronak Gopaldas told CNBC Africa.

“On the other side, on the political insecurity front, the pace of that progress has not kept up to speed with the economic growth. The process of reconciliation has been slow, the disarmament of the ex-combatants and militants in the country has been slow. Overall, it’s a mixed picture. You’ve got rapid and buoyant growth, and that trend will continue, but there needs to be more progress on the political side of things.”

The country posted growth of more than 8.5 percent in 2012. This is taking place while the International Criminal Court (ICC) is gathering evidence to bring former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo to trial for his role in the country’s 2010 violent civil war.

“It’s been an on-going process and we don’t expect any resolution to the trial anytime soon. If you look at the example of Charles Taylor in Liberia, that trial took nine years to conclude,” Gopaldas said.

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“The issue with Gbagbo’s trial and the ICC is that it was recently postponed, citing a lack of hard evidence. The prosecutor for the ICC has until November to augment the case and make it more robust.”

The Ivory Coast’s $4.4 billion dollar debt was recently cancelled after it completed a successful economic program, and the government has forecasted economic growth at nine percent this year, and at 10 percent in the next.

“The current president Alassane Ouattara, as a former economist at the IMF, has pursued a very ambitious reform agenda. If you look at the drivers of the economy, Cote D’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer, there’s strong potential in the energy sector,” explained Gopaldas.

“One of the key aspects that president Ouattara has been focusing on is stimulating public investment through the likes of infrastructure project to crowd in private investment, and that’s largely been successful and that’s playing out in the very robust growth rates that you’re seeing.”