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World

Ivory Coast President Ouattara pledges big investment if re-elected

  • He said the government would tap regional and international debt markets to finance the plan, but did not give details.
20 Oct 2020

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will launch a 62 trillion CFA francs ($112 billion) investment plan over five years in the West African nation if re-elected on Oct. 31, a senior aide told business leaders on Tuesday.

The plan, from 2021 to 2025, would focus on improving infrastructure in the world's top cocoa grower, said Patrick Achi, secretary general of Ivory Coast's presidency and Ouattara's campaign manager. It would also aim to remove red-tape, fight corruption and boost private sector investment.

Ouattara, who has presided over a period of steady growth averaging around 8% annually between 2011 and 2020 - one of world's fastest as the country emerged from civil wars in 2002 and 2010-2011 - is seeking a third term that his opponents say violates the constitution.

Violence has erupted in the country with more than a dozen killed since August, while two opposition candidates have called for a boycott.

The election in the regional economic powerhouse comes at a delicate moment for West Africa.

In neighbouring Guinea, voters went to the polls on Sunday for a presidential election in which octogenarian President Alpha Conde is also seeking a third term after forcing a constitutional referendum that allowed him to run, despite violent opposition protests.

Achi told business leaders in Abidjan that the framework of Ouattara's investment plan had been discussed with the International Monetary Fund.

He said the government would tap regional and international debt markets to finance the plan, but did not give details.

Business leaders in the country are, however, worried about the ongoing violence, fearing it could potentially escalate after the election.

"It is possible to achieve the ambitious plan, it but it will take stability as between 2011 and 2020, otherwise it will not be possible," said a chief executive of a construction company, who participated in the meeting.