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Posts tagged ‘Côte d’Ivoire’

Ivory Coast inflation rises to 3.4 pct in Dec.

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Ivory Coast year-on-year consumer price inflation in rose to 3.4 percent in December from 3 percent in November, figures from the National Statistics Institute showed on Thursday.

The monthly report showed food and soft drink prices climbed 5.5 percent, utility prices added 3.3 percent, and communication costs rose 0.8 percent. Healthcare prices fell 1.6 percent and transport prices were up 2.4 percent.

Ivory Coast’s economy makes up around 40 percent of the eight-nation West African CFA franc currency zone.



IMF’s Lagarde says conflict “enemy number one” of Africa growth.

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Africa’s emerging nations have become a driving force for world economic growth, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said on Monday, but armed conflictspose the principal threat to the continent’s future development.

Resource-rich African nations have continued to post impressive growth even as the economies of Europe have stagnated and a U.S. recovery makes only slow progress.

The IMF is projecting economic growth of 5.25 percent for sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, a rate that places the region second only to Asia’s booming economies and well above a world forecast of 3.6 percent.

“It’s clear that emerging countries are the motor of world economic growth,” Lagarde said in a speech to lawmakers in top cocoa producer Ivory Coast, which received over $4 billion in debt relief under an IMF/World Bank programme last year.

“I cannot help but be impressed by the continent’s resilience … in the face of the most serious disturbances seen by the world’s economy since the Great Depression,” she said.

Africa’s diverse mining sector, which offers everything from copper and iron to diamonds and gold, is booming largely on demand from Chinese industry. So too is its oil sector. And investors are increasingly drawn to its growing and largely untapped consumer markets.

These recent gains risk being undermined however by lingering conflicts across much of the continent, Lagarde said.


“Security is too fragile in many countries and especially here in West Africa. If there is no peace, the people simply won’t have the confidence or courage to invest in their own future, and neither will (foreign investors),” she said.

West and Central African nations, which have long struggled to stamp out the recurring cycles of political turmoil that have plagued the region since independence a half century ago, witnessed a surge in violence in 2012.

Islamists from Nigeria’s Boko Haram sect carried out almost daily deadly attacks in the regional giant’s troubled north. Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic gained ground and threatened to overthrow their respective governments.

Fighters with links to al Qaeda took advantage of a military coup in Mali to seize more than half of the country, raising fears that the conflict could spill across its porous borders and destabilise the region.

“Conflicts have disastrous consequences for the belligerents. They also have consequences for neighbouring countries. If I had to name the enemy number one of economic development, it would clearly be conflicts,” Lagarde said.

Ivory Coast, where Lagarde is spending three days as part of a tour of Africa, emerged from a decade of political crisis following a brief war in 2011.

Amid a much praised post-war economic turn around, the country registered economic growth of more than 8.5 percent in 2012, following a 4.7 percent contraction in 2011.

But it too is struggling to cope with a series of regular, deadly attacks on security forces and infrastructure sites that began last August.


By Joe Bavier | Reuters

Investor confidence returning, Ivory Coast’s Ouattara says.

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Investor confidence in Ivory Coast is returning and several private sector contracts have been signed in the past week in areas from real estate to energy, PresidentAlassane Ouattara said on Saturday.

The West African state recently secured $8.6 billion from international donors to finance development after a civil war last year, triggered when Ouattara’s predecessor refused to recognise an election defeat.

As part of a fundraising trip, Ivory Coast’s prime minister had struck several deals in Paris, Ouattara told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Cannes.

“There were contracts signed in real estate, electricity production, hydroelectricity,” said Ouattara, who gave no details but said there were “big contracts” on the way in the oil and mining sectors.

“Investor confidence is returning,” he said, citing previously announced investments by companies like oil major Total and conglomerate Bouygues.



Former Ivory Coast president is well enough to stand trial.

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, who stands accused of multiple war crimes, is well enough to stand trial, judges at the International Criminal Court ruled on Friday.

But they also warned that his fragile mental health required close monitoring and appropriate treatment.

Preparations for Gbagbo’s trial for crimes against humanity including murder, rape and persecution have been on hold since June, when he told judges the ill-treatment he had received at the hands of his captors in Ivory Coast had left him unfit to stand trial.

Judges found Gbagbo, 67, was able to understand the charges against him, which relate to the civil war that followed his refusal to stand down after losing presidential elections in 2010. Some 3,000 were killed and more than a million were displaced in four months of fighting.

The trial can only begin once judges have confimed the charges against Gbagbo and no date has been set yet.

One of the doctors the court consulted found that Gbagbo was “a shadow of his former self”, while another said he tired easily and had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

When he arrived in The Hague last December, Gbagbo said he was ill after having been held in a windowless room.

“The question is not whether Mr Gbagbo is at present in full possession of the higher or better faculties he may have had in the past,” they wrote, “but whether his current capacities are sufficient for him to take part in proceedings against him.”

A third doctor cited in the judges’ ruling said Gbagbo seemed “more concerned with salvaging his image” than with addressing the specifics of the case.

Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be brought before the 10-year-old ICC – the world’s first permanent war crimes court – which earlier this year handed down its first conviction, jailing Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga for 14 years.


By Thomas Escritt | Reuters

EU grants Ivory Coast 115 million euros budget support.

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – The European Union granted Ivory Coast 115 million euros in budget supporton Thursday, aiming to help the West African nation back on its feet following a decade of political crisis that ended in a brief war last year.

The world’s top cocoa grower, Ivory Coast suffered from years of stagnation during the conflict which saw the country divided between northern rebels and southern government loyalists.

President Alassane Ouattara’s government has received strong support from foreign partners since fighting ended and the economy is expected to record growth of 8.6 percent this year, following a 4.7 percent contraction in 2011.

“The European Union will remain beside Ivory Coast to help it quickly become once again a pillar of stability and growth in West Africa,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told journalists in Abidjan following the signing of the accord.

The EU, one of the West African nation’s top donors, has mobilised 430 million euros to aid Ivory Coast’s reconstruction since April 2011. The first disbursement of the new funding is expected before the end of the year.

Ivory Coast increased spending by 17 percent in a 3.814 trillion CFA franc 2013 budget adopted by the cabinet earlier this month that targets long-neglected infrastructure, power production and agriculture.



Ousted Gbagbo general jailed in Ivory Coast.


ABIDJAN (Reuters) – A top military commander under Ivory Coast‘s former president Laurent Gbagbo was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday in the first trial involving an accused instigator of last year’s post-election violence.

General Bruno Dogbo Ble headed the elite Republican Guard during the brief conflict, which killed more than 3,000 people and erupted after Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat to rival Alassane Ouattarain an election held in late 2010.

“Dogbo Ble is guilty of complicity in kidnapping, illegal detention and murder … The tribunal condemns him to 15 years of military detention,” lead judge Mathurin Yao Kanga told a court in the commercial capital Abidjan.

The prosecution had requested a sentence of 20 years.

A staunch Gbagbo loyalist, Dogno Ble and four co-defendants were charged over the abduction and killing of retired Colonel-Major Adama Dosso in March 2011, at the height of the violence.

Dosso was leaving Ouattara’s headquarters at Abidjan’s lagoon-side Golf Hotel when he was stopped at a roadblock manned by pro-Gbagbo soldiers. It was widely believed he was planning to throw his allegiance behind Ouattara.

His body was later discovered beside a motorway.

While several of his co-defendants admitted to their role in the killing during the trial, Dogbo Ble denied ordering the murder and told the court he was proud of his service during the conflict.

The four other men, all of them soldiers, were convicted and given sentences ranging from five to 15 years.

A lawyer representing Dosso’s family at the trial said they were satisfied with the decision, but Dogbo Ble’s defence team said they planned to appeal the verdict.

“We raised objections that were not respected … We’re going to appeal,” Mathurin Dirabou said.

Gbagbo was captured by fighters backing Ouattara during the final battle for Abidjan and is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity charges for his alleged role in the violence.

Most of his political and military allies are either in detention in Ivory Coast or living in exile in neighbouring West African nations.

United Nations investigators have accused key members of the Gbagbo regime of establishing a base in neighbouring Ghana from which they are working to destabilise the current Ivorian government, according to a report seen by Reuters this week.


By Loucoumane Coulibaly | Reuters

IMF raises growth forecast for Ivory Coast to 8.6 pct in 2012.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its 2012 economic growth forecast for Ivory Coast to 8.6 percent and said the country, a top cocoa producer, was on track for the release of another $100 million in IMF loans.

The IMF previously forecast growth at 8.1 percent. Inflation was 1.7 percent as of June, below 1.9 percent at the end of last year.

“The prospects for 2013 are positive, with continued strong growth and low inflation,” said Michel Lazare, the head of the IMF mission in Ivory Coast.

The latest loan tranche, which still requires approval from the IMF board, would come under a three-year, $616 million loan package approved last year to help Ivory Coast recover from a decade of crisis and civil war. The loans carry no interest rate until 2013.

Once the star performer for French-speaking West Africa, Ivory Coast was hit by years of stagnation since a failed 2002 coup split the country and a brief post-election war killed thousands last year.

But Ivory Coast is showing signs of revival with the end of the war, and the economy performed better than expected in the first half of the year, the IMF said after a visit this month.

President Alassane Ouattara, who took office in 2011, has focused on economic reforms and investment in infrastructure. The government also launched a major overhaul of its cocoa sector to guarantee minimum wages for farmers and encourage investment in aging plantations.

The reforms helped the country win deals with the IMF, World Bank and Paris Club to cancel over $10 billion of an estimated $12.5 billion in external debt.

The IMF commended Ivory Coast for the changes, but said there were some delays in reforming the electricity sector to help deal with rising world energy prices.

“The continued implementation of authorities’ reform agenda supported by the Fund (loan) arrangement should result in substantial job creation, increased funding possibilities for pro-poor expenditures, and higher living standards more generally for the people of Côte d’Ivoire,” the IMF said.



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