State Power and Water Monopolies to be privatised
In a landmark decision not only for the region but also as possible role model for the rest of Africa battling power outages, water restrictions and lack of utilities in rural areas, Ivory Coast will break up its long-standing electricity and water monopolies and introduce competition to reduce prices amid growing public concern over price increases, President Alassane Ouattara said.
The government decided in June last year to increase electricity prices by 16% over three years to keep pace with production costs. Under the arrangement electricity prices were scheduled to increase by 5% in January. But some customers saw rates rise by as much as 40%, according to a government investigation, prompting Ouattara to cancel the January inc…
Finally open for Business again
Ivory Coast is re-emerging as the prime investment destination in French-speaking West Africa after a decade of political turmoil, but President Alassane Ouattara must weed out corruption and promote reconciliation to keep cash flowing in. Long considered the jewel in the crown of France’s former West African territories, a 1999 coup destroyed the reputation of Ivory Coast – the world’s largest cocoa producer – as an island of stability in a troubled region. A bloody presidential election in 2000 and a rebellion two years later triggered an exodus of capital that undid decades of development, dubbed the Ivorian Miracle.
With peace finally restored, French construction firm Bouyges, oil companies such as Tullow and Lukoil, and South Af…
Weak Ghana Currency boosts Cocoa Smuggling
Smugglers have trafficked around 40 000 tons of Ghanaian cocoa beans into top grower Ivory Coast since November to take advantage of a drop in Ghana’s cedi currency, exporters and merchants say.
Cocoa smuggling between the two countries is common, but over the past decade it has mainly involved Ivorian beans being taken illegally to Ghana, the world’s second largest producer, where the government buys output at a fixed price.
However, Ivory Coast abandoned a decade of sector liberalisation last season and introduced a minimum price for farmers – a measure that has helped to reduce illicit exports.
Exporters say the Ivorian price is now seen as more attractive by Ghanaian farmers, who can make bigger profits sell…
New Laws for Citizenship and Land Ownwership passed
Ivory Coast’s parliament approved new laws to ease access to citizenship for millions of foreigners and improve state regulation of land ownership, two issues at the heart of a decade of political crisis and violence. Immigrants from Ivory Coast’s arid neighbors flocked to the West African nation following independence in 1960, lured by then President Felix Houphouet-Boigny’s promises of land for anyone willing to develop it for agriculture. The open-door policy helped build Ivory Coast into the world’s top cocoa grower and a regional economic powerhouse. But millions of immigrants and their children were unable to become Ivorian nationals. When soldiers launched a failed coup attempt in 2002, igniting a civil war that divided the countr…
Ivorians to the Polls
Weeks of unrest and clashes are – for now – a thing of the past. After the refusal to accept defeat by Gbago in 2010 and the bloody aftermath that cost the lives of more than 3 000 Ivorians, it is now time to vote again for them. at least in their local election. This morning the polls opened half an hour late but without any major incident and the voting commenced. It is seen as a trial run for a presidential poll in 2015 amid high tensions as the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo boycotted the poll. Voting began in Abidjan ‘s working-class Koumassi district with longer delays reported elsewhere in the west African country’s main city and other urban centres. The day will show, if we can expect fair, democratic and peaceful elect…
Economic Decision Making Power for the President
Ivory Coast’s parliament granted President Alassane Ouattara the power to take decisions concerning the economy by decree this year, giving him a free hand to implement programs aimed at spurring the West African nation’s post-war recovery. The world’s top cocoa producer is emerging from a decade-long political crisis that ended with a brief civil war in 2011 and is in the midst of an economic revival, having posted GDP growth of 9.8 percent last year. Heavy investment in infrastructure renewal and energy production coupled with the expansion of the nascent mining and petroleum sectors are intended to restore the country’s status as a regional economic powerhouse. "The president asked for the National Assembly’s authorization to act on e…