AfDB-Côte d’Ivoire: Return under favorable economic recovery
After a decade of stagnation, the Ivoirian economy is picking up. The signs are obvious here and there, and especially in Abidjan, the economic capital. They are the construction of high roads and the setting up of improved health and sanitation services systems undertaken by the government both in Abidjan and in the hinterland, as well as property development engineered by the private sector.
The most visible signs are those of construction works in Abidjan, which include the building of the 3rd bridge in Abidjan, the rehabilitation of the University of Abidjan, the motorway intersections in Riviera 2 and Marcory. Today, the city of Abidjan is a large building site, as observed by the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, during the Boards of Directors meeting held in February 2013 in Abidjan.
An impressive recovery
The crisis exit efforts undertaken by the government, with the support of development partners including the AfDB are in terms of economic recovery remarkable. From 3% in 2010, the growth rate fell in 2011 to -4.7%. Beginning 2012, this spectacular recovery stands today at 9.8% with inflation levels kept low at 1.3 %. In view of the noteworthy progress made, the government received the congratulations of the AfDB, the World Bank and the IMF during their joint mission in March 2013.
Already in 2012, the country launched an economic recovery drive. It had reached at the time, the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. This enabled the government to reduce about 2/3 of its debt. From a stock of about 6.500 billion CFA Francs, the overall reduction today stands at nearly 4.300 billion CFA Francs.
It is thus within this framework that the AfDB is preparing its return scheduled for 2014. The first sign of the Bank’s return was the holding of the Board of Directors meeting in February 2013, the first meeting held in Abidjan since relocation to Tunisia in 2003. This meeting was preceded by a consultation mission of Directors of the Board to look into the progress made in projects financed by the AfDB, as well as the country’s overall economic revival.
This mission offered the AfDB an occasion to remind the authorities of its commitment to help the country in its post-conflict reconstruction efforts. In this light, the AfDB will make a contribution of 1 billion dollar - out of the sum of 8.75 billion pledged by the donors at the Consultative Group Meeting held in Paris in December 2012 - to support the country’s 2012-2015 National Development Plan.
During its stay, the AfDB delegation held several meetings with the authorities. President Donald Kaberuka was received by the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, and they discussed matters of regional integration and development in the Sahel region. Other meetings with development partners, the World Bank, IMF, European Union and the UNDP were also organized.
A return full of hope and promise
The AfDB delegation also conferred with private sector partners and civil society organizations. The objective was to seek the opinions of these groups and so give AfDB interventions a major impact on the ground.
These meetings were interspersed with visits to various working sites, the ongoing rehabilitation of the AfDB head office and projects funded by the Bank. Among these were the headquarters, the CCIA building under renovation that should host part of the members of staff, the Integrated Management of the Gourou Basin project, Henri Konan Bédié Bridge, called the 3rd bridge and the Azito thermal power plant.
The reported return of the Bank and these missions to Côte d’Ivoire are a gleam of hope for the population and the government, following several years of strife. This will bring back the country to its rightful place at the international scene and provide stronger support to economic recovery, job creation, economic revival and the financing of new projects that would contribute to an improved standard of living for the population.