Interview: Amadou Gon Coulibaly
How are the living conditions for lower-income citizens being improved?
AMADOU GON COULIBALY: To revitalise the government’s actions aimed at meeting the expectations of our population, the state has put in place a number of projects with large social implications. Concerning access to clean water, important hydraulic projects have been put in place, not only in Abidjan, but also across other parts of the country. Regarding access to health care services, sanitary facilities have undergone upgrades in matters related to infrastructure, technical capacity, human resources and operational means. In addition, the Electricity for All programme, aims at electrifying all villages of more than 550 inhabitants before 2020.
Strong efforts are engendered in the areas of infrastructure development, most noticeably roads, but also railroads, with the beginning of rehabilitation works on the Abidjan-Kara stretch. The Compulsory Schooling Programme is directed at all children between the ages of six and 16, and aims to heighten awareness of preschool education, and ensure basic education to all, with a special emphasis on young girls and their sustainable inclusion within the education system.
In an attempt to better address youth employment, alongside the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the authorities have instituted the Ministry of Youth, Youth Employment and Civil Engagement, as well as the Youth Employment Agency. Several actions and reforms have been initiated by the government in an effort to favour stable and quality job opportunities for young people, focused around the creation of income-generating activities, vocational training, innovation and self-employment. Since 2011 close to 2m new job opportunities have been created across a wide range of sectors, including 600,000 in 2016 alone.
Within the implementation of the collective solidarity mechanism, and to continue widening the field of social protection, we have begun enacting the Universal Health Cover scheme, with the creation of the National Health Insurance Fund in 2014. The first phase has begun with the enrolment of 150,000 higher-education students, the rehabilitation of nine university health care facilities worth CFA2.2bn (€3.3m) and the sponsoring of students over a 6-month period, for a cost of CFA900m (€1.4m).
What measures are currently in place to enhance diversification efforts?
COULIBALY: The priority in this regard is the expansion of secondary industry. The objective is to put in place an environment that will allow us to significantly increase the processing rate of key raw materials. For example, in the areas of cacao and cashews we are seeking to increase local processing: that is, from 30% to 50 or 60% for the former, and from 7% to 50% for the latter, with the aim of meeting these by the year 2020.
In this context, we benefit from the support of international financing institutions, such as the World Bank, through an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development enclave partial risk guarantee for cacao and cashews. Furthermore, the government maintains an ongoing dialogue with all actors across the value chain, and seeks to ensure that a large share of the financing comes from local banks, under competitive conditions. The revision of the Investment Code aims to rationalise and optimise fiscal advantages, in order to sustain the diversification efforts of our economy. Côte d’Ivoire is part of a group of five countries chosen to participate in the pilot phase of the private sector development project under the framework of the International Development Association. In addition to our admission into the G20’s Compact with Africa, Côte d’Ivoire has a bilateral agreement with Germany.
Our efforts are supported by the implementation of a budgetary policy able to sustain our investments and strengthen security expenditure, which translates into a medium-term debt management strategy that enables us to consolidate our macroeconomic stability.
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