President Alassane Dramane Ouattara on measures being taken to promote growth and renewal

President Alassane Dramane Ouattara

As I was acceding to my country’s highest office, the Ivoirian state had collapsed due to the post-electoral crisis and 10 years of poor governance. Respect for human rights was being flouted, owing to the widespread impunity that had prevailed over the last 10 years. Our task consisted of providing Côte d’Ivoire with republican institutions and restoring order to our defence and security apparatuses. Following the establishment of the National Security Council and the creation of the Authority for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration, the reform of the security sector will be accelerated in order to ensure the unity, modernisation and efficacy of our security apparatuses. We will pay particular attention to our reunified forces’ training to inculcate the absolute necessity of respecting human rights. Our determination for security to reign everywhere is strong, and it is a right of all Ivoirians and those who live in Côte d’Ivoire.

Furthermore, following free and transparent legislative elections, the Parliament is now enacting laws. I have instructed Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan to accelerate the implementation of our programme and ensure, through governmental action, a rigorous fight against corruption. Also, every day, our democracy becomes more entrenched, more serene and more aligned with the progressive establishment of the rule of law and strong, impartial institutions.

Today, Côte d’Ivoire is writing a new page of its history. The country has found renewed peace, security and stability, and it is full of hope and resolutely turned toward the future. Our country has found its tradition of hospitality anew. All the active forces of the nation have begun to work again with fervour and enthusiasm. Every day, the construction of a bridge progresses, a local service is rehabilitated or a large road is built. Meanwhile, sanitation in cities continues, a new house is connected to the electric grid, a new water pump creates joy for a whole village, a student in a renovated university connects to the internet, thousands of children with free school kits study on new benches, and more sick people receive care in renovated hospitals and dispensaries. Each day, new sites are opened, mining exploration and drilling progress, fields are cultivated again, and farmers finally receive an equitable share of the fruits of their labour.

Côte d’Ivoire’s climate is one of increasing peace. Each day, brothers and sisters find themselves a part of the unstoppable movement towards national reconciliation. The Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission is hard at work. The few episodes of localised violence have been quickly restrained and will not stop this movement towards a better future. In effect, the vast majority of Ivoirians, from every region and social class, aspire to live in a peaceful climate where security, fraternity, transparency and good governance reign. The path will certainly be long and the task arduous, but Côte d’Ivoire knows that it can count on renewed and reinforced support from the international community as it enters a new era.

Côte d’Ivoire is succeeding in its economic take-off. Macroeconomic stability has returned, and external debt, after reaching the completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in June 2012, represents only 18% of GDP. The economic results are much better than were forecasted, and for the second consecutive year, the IMF has revised its growth forecasts upwards for Côte d’Ivoire. With a rate of 9.8% in 2012, Côte d’Ivoire has rejoined the countries that have the strongest growth rates in Africa and in the world.

The 2012-15 National Development Plan defines an economic strategy based on frank diagnostics without detours. It represents a departure from past policies. This strategy is defined around growth drivers that are transversal, such as rule of law, good governance, education, health and environment; and vertical, such as agriculture, construction, public works, transport, mines, energy, industry, information and communication technology, tourism and the financial sector. Its establishment will enable us to achieve strong, consistent and inclusive growth that will respect the environment as it generates jobs, notably for young people and former combatants. A coherent agenda of structural measures to create a competitive economy is being implemented with the support of the World Bank, the IMF, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the EU and certain countries.

Our objective is to build the foundation to make Côte d’Ivoire an emerging country by 2020 and to reduce the poverty rate by half before 2015. The growth rate for the next three years should reach around 9% in 2013 and 10% in 2014-15. These results come from the substantial increase in private and public investment, judiciously targeted at growth-driving sectors. Public investment cannot be financed entirely with our own resources. This is why we are soliciting the aid of the international community to cover public financing needs, which are around CFA2.02trn (€3.03bn) over the 2013-15 period. The government will continue to reinforce public finances by ameliorating the recovery of fiscal revenues and ensuring the good management of external debt policy. The government also intends to prioritise the private sector, notably through direct investment, public-private partnerships and other forms of public-private contracts.

Additionally, the business climate is improving, especially with the adoption in June 2012 of a new investment code that is more favourable to investors, the establishment of commercial courts and the creation of a single window for investors as part of the Investment Promotion Centre of Côte d’Ivoire. This has been restructured to offer the opportunity to economic operators to carry out all the necessary formalities for the creation of a company in one place and within an improved timeframe. We are tirelessly continuing our efforts to return to being among the highest-ranked African countries in the UNDP’s Human Development Index, attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and rejoin exemplary countries, in terms of good governance and in the fight against corruption. In effect, I am convinced that private investment and company creation are the necessary foundations for a competitive and dynamic economy.

Côte d’Ivoire is in the process of finding its former place in the sub-region. The country’s growth rate has had a non-negligible impact on the rest of the countries in the sub-region, particularly on the landlocked countries of the Sahel. Investing in Côte d’Ivoire means investing in the sub-region and therefore, contributing to reducing poverty beyond our borders. Investing in Côte d’Ivoire also means permitting access to a vast market, since our country is a member of ECOWAS, comprising of 15 countries and with a population of over 300m inhabitants. Côte d’Ivoire is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, comprising of eight countries and with a population of around 100m inhabitants. Investing in Côte d’Ivoire permits access to quality infrastructure, with two ports, San Pédro and Abidjan; three international airports, Abidjan, Yamoussoukro and Bouaké; road infrastructure; dense and interconnected telecommunications networks; and a diversified banking system.

With our partner countries of ECOWAS, we are currently launching large regional projects in the infrastructure sector, which will notably permit Burkina Faso, Niger and hopefully, Mali to supply their vast natural resources and foster regional trade. Furthermore, we have the ambition to create regional centres of excellence in the health, education, scientific and technical research sectors, as well as for Customs and security cooperation. The international community could also amplify its efforts by further encouraging the financing of regional projects, with regional budget support. This will allow for the implementation of reforms that will extend beyond the geographic borders of beneficiary countries. In my current role as the chairman of ECOWAS, rest assured that I will spare no effort in consolidating our regional integration. I will continue to implement changes with the help of my peers to prevent conflicts and ensure respect for democracy.

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President Alassane Dramane Ouattara

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