Viewpoint: Alassane Dramane Ouattara
I have served our country since 2011. When I was running for the Supreme Court in 2010, I never imagined coming to power under the conditions we had experienced: a serious post-electoral crisis; a fragmented country; a torn social fabric; a precarious security situation; and deteriorated infrastructure.
Since my inauguration in May 2011 we have had to deal with emergencies that resulted from the crisis. We have restored peace and security, and have returned the government to legitimacy across the country. We have put Côte d’Ivoire back to work and have provided immediate solutions to the most serious social problems. Everything we have done has been for peace and reconciliation. Today, nearly 80% of the population has access to drinking water, compared to 55% in 2011. All villages of over 500 people will be electrified by the end of 2020. The number of electricity subscribers has increased from 1m in 2011 to 2.4m in 2019. We have restored or reopened 22 regional hospitals, 78 general hospitals, and 233 urban and rural health centres. The rate of access to health services has increased from 44% in 2012 to 69% in 2019. Since 2012 approximately 22 bridges have been built, 40,000 km of rural roads have been rehabilitated, 545 km of new interurban links have been paved, 115 km of highways have been constructed and 245 km of roads have been built. We have created modern infrastructure that is changing the face of our cities and villages, and improving the lives of Ivorians.
Seven universities are now operational. Construction on the university town of Adiaké and on the University of Odiénné will begin in 2020. Development is also under way for a new university in Abengourou. A September 2015 law has made school compulsory for children aged six to 16. This will bring 2m young Ivorians out of illiteracy and child labour.
The poverty rate has dropped from 51% in 2011 to around 37% in 2018, and it is expected to fall to 35% by the end of 2020. Thanks to the collective efforts of Ivorians and an effective economic policy, the country is seeing some of the strongest economic growth in Africa and the world. After a 26-year absence, we sat on the UN Security Council in 2018 and 2019, and chaired it in December 2018. We have taken on leadership in the sub-region, and the country is standing for its achievements in agriculture, economics, diplomacy, sports and culture. On November 8, 2016 Côte d’Ivoire officially adopted a new constitution, after it passed in a national referendum with 93.42% of the vote. Through this modern constitution we will evolve our society and traditions, strengthen our institutions, uphold our international commitments, consolidate peace and ensure political stability. This constitution affirms our commitment to democratic institutions and the promotion of good governance. It preserves and strengthens the rule of law, rights, freedoms and duties for all citizens. It guarantees the right of democratic opposition, protects persons with disabilities, promotes the political rights of women, and establishes equality between men and women. It protects young people against all forms of exploitation and abandonment, and supports their proper integration into working life.
Côte d’Ivoire is thriving and has moved into an era of peace. Our defence and security forces are democratic and professional. The country has showed exceptional economic performance recently; we are now on a path of advancement, taking resolute steps towards progress. We have started to responsibly and prudently reform the CFA franc, and develop a framework to establish the eco currency within ECOWAS.
We are pursuing, in close collaboration with our neighbours and the international community, a relentless fight against terrorism in our sub-region and around the world. I am proud of the many achievements the country has made since 2011.
The above is adapted from a speech given on March 5, 2020 to the parliamentary chambers in Yamoussoukro.
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