Executive Director for Côte d’Ivoire Hails AfDB’s Flexibility in Arrears Clearance Processing

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Tchétché N’Guessan

Question: The African Development Bank has sent out a strong message of support to Côte d’Ivoire, with the approval of an arrears clearance plan, an overall strategy note and a support programme to the country’s economic and financial reforms. It took long to put this « package » together and the process has lasted about two years. How do you feel, in your capacity of executive director for Côte d’Ivoire, about the signing of agreements on the arrears clearance?

Answer: It is a feeling of satisfaction, relief and gratitude.

Regarding my feeling of satisfaction, the process was very complex, long and involving many actors, and it is not easy to reach a conclusion when many actors are involved in an operation. This time around, the coordination was great and we have succeeded and this is the source of my feeling of satisfaction.

A feeling of relief because Côte d’Ivoire needed these sanctions to be lifted for it to reconnect with donors such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. It is therefore a feeling of relief for the people of Côte d’Ivoire given that they have been waiting for it.

A feeling of gratitude because the AfDB President himself got involved in the process and all the institution’s executive directors also got involved. There were guarantees that once the file got approved, the debt would be immediately paid. The institution’s executive directors and staff understood the need for such flexibility. This operation proves, once more, that the AfDB is a smart institution and that its rules are not designed to take the continent hostage. They have, on the contrary, been designed to liberate the continent and to help it prosper economically and socially.

Question: This serves as a new beginning in AfDB-Cote d’Ivoire relations. Today, Côte d’Ivoire is engaged in a process that will lead it out of its political crisis. What are the future prospects for AfDB-Côte d’Ivoire relations?

Answer: It is a new beginning given that we have been under sanctions over the last years and if the sanctions are lifted, then we are on a new path, which implies that all the windows are open to us. This approval opens new prospects and ways in AfDB-Côte d’Ivoire relations. AfDB-Côte d’Ivoire relations have always been good. Negotiations were, for sure, difficult and long given that there were conditions that needed to be met. Côte d’Ivoire must use the Bank’s exceptional availability to emerge from its crisis. Regarding this, Côte d’Ivoire will be up to the challenge it is facing, given that it is aware of the Bank’s message.