Paris – International donors and partner countries of the Ivory Coast meeting in Paris on Tuesday promised more than $15bn by 2020 to help finance the country’s development.
The Ivory Coast consultative group is meeting for two days of talks to seek financial aid for an ambitious 2016-2020 “national development plan” for the world’s top cocoa producer.
At the end of the first day, attended by Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, representatives of financial institutions and donor countries promised $15.4bn in loans and donations, almost double Abidjan’s initial goal.
“This is in appreciation of the work already accomplished by the government of (President) Alassane Ouattara,” Duncan told reporters, thanking the country’s donors.
Last month, the UN Security Council lifted the last remaining sanctions on Ivory Coast in the latest sign the West African country has bounced back from turmoil after it was wracked by crises under former president Laurent Gbagbo, in office from 2000 to 2011.
Some 3 000 people died during five months of unrest after an election in late 2010, when Gbagbo refused to step down following his defeat to Ouattara.
Gbagbo is currently on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity over the violence.
The main contributor to the country’s development funding announced on Tuesday, the World Bank, promised up to $5bn through various financing bodies.
Former colonial power France said it would provide more than $1.5bn.
The development plan reflects Ivory Coast’s ambition to become an emerging economy by 2020 with lower poverty rates and “a better redistribution of the fruits of growth,” the government said.
The Paris conference is set to continue on Wednesday with private investors looking at business opportunities in the country.
Ivory Coast’s important tourism sector took a hit in March when gunmen from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb killed 18 people at a beach resort.
The jihadist group said it was targeting its sworn enemy France.
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