IVORY Coast received more than $15 billion in pledges from donors and lenders to fund its five-year development plan, almost double the amount it sought at a Paris meeting that showcased the world’s top cocoa grower as an investors’ favourite in Africa.
The West African nation wanted to secure at least 4,425 billion CFA francs ($8.8 billion) in pledges to fund part of a $60 billion investment plan for the period 2016-2020, according to a government statement e-mailed late Tuesday. The high level of pledges showed the “full support of the international community” for its policies, the statement said.
“This is really spectacular news for the country,” John Ashbourne, an Africa economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London, said in e-mailed comments Wednesday. “It’s more than twice the country’s total government budget.”
President Alassane Ouattara, an economist who has led the country’s recovery since assuming office in 2011, will complete his second presidential term in 2020.
His government has built highways and bridges and boosted the energy sector, pushing growth to 10.3% last year, the highest rate in sub-Saharan Africa. Ivory Coast wants to be among the top 50 in the World Bank’s global ranking of nations with a favourable business climate by 2020, according to the statement.
Cocoa prices rose last year, strengthening Ivory Coast’s outlook, while South Africa and Nigeria, the region’s two biggest economies, have been battered by a global slump in commodity prices.
The country’s successful Paris meeting will put “a lot more attention on countries like Kenya and Ivory Coast, which have relatively diversified economies and which have avoided the commodity-induced bust we’ve seen elsewhere,” Ashbourne said.