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On 30 September, the African Development Bank (AfDB) formally approved a grant of 8.226 billion CFA francs (approximately US $14.4 million) to Côte d’Ivoire from the African Development Fund (ADF) to fund the Support to Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Project (PARCSI).
This project forms part of a broader AfDB assistance package to support implementation of the country’s restructuring programme, which includes efforts to modernise businesses and update Côte d’Ivoire’s export strategy. The PARCSI project seeks to leverage the competitiveness of industrial firms and to improve processing practices in the fruit and vegetables sector, with a view to meeting the challenges of trade liberalisation and job creation. This, in turn, should help to boost social cohesion and reduce vulnerability within the country.
The beneficiaries of the project are industrial sector firms and businesses operating in the fruit and vegetables value chain (input and packaging suppliers, logistics providers, etc.). It also aims to provide decent job opportunities for young people and women within the modern Ivorian economy and to strengthen State entities involved in boosting the competitiveness of the industrial sector. The project is expected to deliver wider benefits for the population as a whole, both directly (through job creation and increased State resources) and indirectly (by ensuring that high-quality, locally produced consumer products are available on the domestic market).
The project has a number of specific objectives. The first is to support the restructuring and modernisation of businesses by conducting a strategic assessment to identify needs and provide technical assistance to the 150 firms that have signed up for the programme (out of a total of 270 businesses approached). The second is to support the industrial development of the fruit and vegetables sector, with a view to promoting investment in the sector (and in pineapple and mango production in particular) in an integrated manner in order to increase the industrial processing rate (which stood at 2% in 2014).
The PARCSI project also aims to boost storage and preservation capacity and improve storage and preservation practices within the sector, as well as stimulating exports. The project’s final ambition is to strengthen capacities among entities responsible for supporting the industrial sector, ensuring that they are able to fulfil their role effectively in terms of enhancing standardisation, quality, productivity and competitiveness.