Cote d’Ivoire is on the brink of emerging from the list highly-indebted poor countries and will work its way back to the top to become West Africa’s economic giant, international donors said on Monday.
World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) officials, meeting to gather international backing for post-conflict reconciliation and economic recovery in Cote d’Ivoire during a donor-roundtable, said this was possible through economic reforms.
“Development partners will work within this framework with the government of Cote d’Ivoire to put the country back on the path of reaching the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point,” AfDB said in a statement.
The donor-roundtable concluded that to emerge from the HIPC initiative, Cote d’Ivoire must undertake critical reform of the cocoa sector.
Donors expressed ‘positive support’ and commended the remarkable progress made by the Ivorian government in a relatively short period.
“Development partners must work in coordinated way to achieve efficient outcomes for the Ivorian people. It requires deliberate effort by all concerned as well as strong ownership and commitment by the government,” said Aloysius Ordu, AfDB Vice-President, Country and Regional Programmes and Policy.
The donors called for long-term growth plans if Cote d’Ivoire is to regain the economic leadership role of the West African region.
Cote d’Ivoire’s finance and economy minister Koffi Diby appealed for substantial financial support to help the country back on its feet after the political crisis.
“The revival of the economy of Cote d’Ivoire will help the entire sub-region because of the role that our country plays in this part of the continent. This is an inclusive economy and not an exclusive one,” Diby told the roundtable.
Diby was optimistic that Cote d’Ivoire would soon emerge as a middle-income economy if well supported.
“We remain convinced that with this potential…our President, with the commitment of the people and the support of its partners, that we will very soon become an emerging country,” Diby said.
The roundtable took place on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank’s Annual meeting in Washington.
The World Bank and the AfDB agreed in April to work with the Ivorian government to obtain ‘realistic analysis’ of the resource gap resulting from the post-election crisis.
Cote d’Ivoire emerged from a long-drawn presidential power-struggle in April after incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo was forced out of office to pave the way for elected President Alassane Ouattara to exercise authority.
World Bank Vice-President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, called for international support to enable the country to emerge from its long-standing political stalemate.
“Development partners must move quickly to support the new authorities in delivering the peace dividend. The country is central to the economic and central development of the entire West Africa sub-region,” Ezekweseli said.
She said the Ivorian economy was central to the transformation of the stability to the economy of the other neighbouring states through economic linkages.
Once the engine of growth in the West African sub-region, Cote d’Ivoire has the capacity to regain this role