Côte d’Ivoire is actively seeking investors, both public and private, from home and abroad, as part of a broader aim to transform the tourism sector into one of the top three income-generating industries in the country. Creating investment opportunities is one of the four principle elements of Côte d’Ivoire’s tourism development strategy (see overview), alongside promotion of the destination, diversifying the range of experiences available and developing the hotel industry across the board.
In April 2017 the Moroccan investment bank Attijariwafa signed an agreement to work with the country to establish two investment funds dedicated to the tourism and hospitality sector. The two funds will be worth a total of CFA3trn (€4.5bn), and will finance projects over four years.
In addition to Attijariwafa, the funds enjoy the support of Groupe Banque Populaire, another key financing player in the tourism sector, as well as CMR Capital, Al Aijal Funds, CIMR and Wafa Assurance. The funds will be used to invest, via subsidiary companies, in creating or taking on touristic assets, such as hotels or tourist entertainment complexes. Holdings can also be acquired in existing groups dedicated to tourism.
While the first of the two funds will be a private investment fund, the second fund will be a sovereign capital fund, financed with sovereign capital from allied countries and with the participation of the state of Côte d’Ivoire, according to Siandou Fofana, minister of tourism. This will enable the country to direct funds to the tourism sector, while also attracting and promoting foreign investment.
In addition, the government has taken more general steps to facilitate investment. The Côte d’Ivoire Investment Promotion Centre aims to match opportunities with potential investors, acting as a firststep information resource for new investors. The public-private partnership projects section of the centre’s website currently advertises participation in the following renovation schemes: the Hôtel du Golf and the Ivoire Golf Club d’Abidjan, the Hôtel Président de Yamoussoukro, the Golf Hotel de Yamoussoukro, the Animal Park of Abokouamékro and five former Sietho hotels. Additional funding is being sought to build 25 three-star hotels in regional capitals.
Other tourism-related projects feature in the government’s 2016-2020 National Development Plan, with 63% of the funding to come from the private sector, and the government to cover the remaining 37%. In addition to key investments in the hotel industry, projects include the construction of the international Abidjan motorway, running from the country’s economic capital to Monrovia; the renovation of coastal roads such as the Abidjan to San Pedro motorway, which is essential for coastal tourism; and the renovation of the international airport in Taki.
In April 2017 the African Development Club, together with the Ivorian Society Bank organised a conference titled Investment Opportunities in the Tourist Sector. Among the projects on showcase were an entertainment park at Jacqueville, hotels in provincial capitals, an aquatic park in Assinie and a wildlife park in Bingerville. In attendance were Fofana and Abderrafie Zouiten, then director-general of the National Moroccan Office for Tourism, in another sign of information-sharing and cooperation between the two countries. In line with Morocco’s current strategy, Zouiten highlighted the importance of implementing an efficient and competitive transport infrastructure, and adapting promotional strategies for the internet.
If the government is to succeed in making tourism one of the country’s three leading industries, it will have to attract greater investment to the sector. While the commitment of the Attijariwafa group to its investment fund is a major boost for the industry, stakeholders within the sector will be hoping moves to attract sovereign investment are augmented with continued interest from international investors.
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