Côte d’Ivoire: Infrastructure funding boost
With essential backing from external donors now secured, Côte d’Ivoire is rolling out a raft of projects aimed at rebuilding much of its infrastructure following more than a decade of conflict.
External financing remains a key component of Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to drive forward its infrastructure projects due to insufficient lending from local banks. The funding will be used to make improvements to transport and urban infrastructure, particularly road and water supply networks in Abidjan and other densely populated areas that have felt the strain of recent rapid urbanisation.
Work has already started on a €232m-€270m bridge project in Abidjan linking Marcory to Cocody, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2014. The bridge is expected to help reduce bottlenecks on the city’s other two bridges, which are used by around 200,000 vehicles daily.
Design and construction work is being undertaken by the Bouygues Travaux Publics, which won the tender for the 30-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract in June. The firm, a subsidiary of French conglomerate Bouygues, will also build an interchange for the Valéry Giscard d’Estaing thoroughfare.
Financing for the project was put in place in November when the African Development Bank (AfDB) released the first instalment of a €58m loan. Agreements for funding have also been made with the West African Development Bank, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the African Finance Corporation (AFC), the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE), the Dutch development bank FMO, the Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) and the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
The importance of improving the capital city’s road network was highlighted in August when the district of Indénié was hit by floods. Following the disaster, the World Bank pledged €2.3m to finance the construction of basins that will slow flooding and retain water. The project, which will be undertaken by Franzetti, a subsidiary of France’s SADE-CGTH, is particularly good news for the estimated 2.8m people who live in Abobo, Cocody and the Plateau districts where flooding is a risk.
Côte d’Ivoire is also poised to roll out a wave of initiatives aimed at improving other roads in and around Abidjan, with projects earmarked for Cocody’s Zone d’Angre, Yopougon’s Niangon district, the Abidjan-Bassam highway, in the Vridi district and the Riviera-2 interchange.
Alongside road improvements, the authorities are driving forward a number of initiatives aimed at improving drinking water supplies in cities within the next two years. A lack of investment during the past two decades has resulted in a 30% undersupply of potable water in Abidjan, while shortcomings are even more acute outside the city where there is an average supply gap of 50%.
In a bid to address the problem, the government has implemented an Emergency Presidential Programme (PPU) that includes an initiative to rehabilitate and reinforce potable water supply equipment. The project, which has already reduced shortfalls in Abidjan by almost 60% and led to the repair of nearly 80% of rural pumps, is continuing to gain pace, with new developments on the horizon, including a 2000-cu-metre-per-hour water treatment facility to be overseen by Franzetti.
In a separate initiative, a major drive to reinforce Abidjan’s water supply was launched in early August 2012, which will target the groundwater in Bonoua. The first phase of the €137m project, which is being financed by a Chinese government loan through Eximbank, aims to provide sufficient capacity to supply Abidjan’s Bonoua district and Grand Bassam.
Under the initiative, the China Geology Engineering Company will construct reservoirs, recovery stations and 124 km of pipes, while also undertaking drilling work. The second phase of the project will be financed by the French government through its Debt and Development Contract (C2D), signed on December 1, which will channel €150m to Abidjan’s urban development, water and sanitation. The government also plans to launch a 10-15-year project in 2014 aimed at developing water supply for the Abidjan metropolitan area from Sud-Comoé groundwater.
In another key move, the World Bank approved $100m of financing in June for Côte d’Ivoire’s Emergency Infrastructure Renewal Project, which is expected to have an overall cost of $200m. The Bank will channel 30% of its funding to urban transport, 27% to water supply, 20% to flood protection, 12% to rural and inter-urban roads and highways, and 11% to transmission and distribution of electricity.
With bilateral donors and international financial institutions choosing to throw their weight behind Côte d’Ivoire’s development, the next few years should provide investors with a wide choice of infrastructure project opportunities. Observers suggest, however, that Côte d’Ivoire will now need to focus on improving the business climate if it is to fulfil its potential and keep its broad range of stakeholders satisfied.