ABIDJAN, October 20, 2010 -- As Côte d’Ivoire emerges from nearly a decade of military and political crisis, the World Bank is entering a new stage of support for the country.
In September, the World Bank presented the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) at a presentation in Abidjan that brought together some 150 participants from various public and private sector entities, civil society organizations, and technical and financial partners. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of State for Planning and Development, which also presented its first Annual Progress report on the status of implementation of its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) adopted in 2009.
During his presentation, Madani M.Tall, the Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso, reaffirmed the World Bank’s commitment to work alongside Côte d’Ivoire to help it recover from the crisis.
“We will never stop saying that Côte d’Ivoire is the backbone of the WAEMU zone. Supporting it is in the interest of several million persons. Neglecting it would spell disaster for the subregion. It’s as simple as that,” Tall said.
After suspending operations in 2004 because of non-payment of arrears, the World Bank cleared outstanding debt and re-engaged with Côte d’Ivoire in 2008. Preparing an Interim Strategy Note was the first step to re-engagement.
Both the World Bank Group CPS and the Government's PRSP present medium-term strategies for a sustainable recovery from the crisis to allow Côte d’Ivoire to institute the necessary reforms for stable economic growth.
World Bank support from IDA
Chief of Staff for the Minister of State for Planning and Development Alexandre Assémian called on the development partners to “follow the example of the World Bank,” whose re-engagement in 2008 played a critical role in helping Côte d’Ivoire face multiple post-crisis challenges. Between July 2008 and September 2010, approximately US$778 million was disbursed by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.
IDA support cuts across many sectors with a focus on rehabilitating urban infrastructure and improving the road network under the Emergency Urban Infrastructure Project (Project d’Urgence d’Infrastructure Urbaines, or PUIUR) implemented in 2009. Abidjan and Bouake are scheduled first and then plans will extend to places where infrastructure and the quality of life deteriorated the most during the crisis. The total amount allocated for the project is 72 billion CFA plus additional money allocated in July 2010.
World Bank funds also gave special attention to education, the reintegration of ex-combatants and the revitalization of small and medium enterprises.
During the period of suspension of IDA disbursements, the World Bank still remained engaged in Côte d’Ivoire in two areas: analytical assistance and the Low-Income Countries Under Stress program (LICUS) and Post-Conflict Fund (PCF) Trust Funds for the reintegration of child soldiers, the rehabilitation of communities in the zone under the control of the new forces, and employment for at-risk youth; and a US$120 million grant for an Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance Project approved in 2007.
The Transport Sector Adjustment Investment Credit Project (Programme d’Ajustement et d’Investissement du Secteur des Transports or CI-PAST) was restructured and reactivated in 2002 and focuses on around 60 crossings. Today, 50 orders are underway and 40 are already completed and approved, resulting in positive impacts on the cost of operating vehicles; opening agricultural areas in order to improve the conditions faced while exporting raw materials and food products including coffee, cocoa, cashew nuts, cotton, plantain, bananas, plantain, rice, corn; and helping people access infrastructure.
At a crossroads for renewed development
Although the country facing daunting challenges, the World Bank believes that Côte d’Ivoire can and must regain its reputation as a land of peace and prosperity. With the ISN completed, in May 2010 the Board of Executive Directors reviewed a new four-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Côte d’Ivoire from 2010 to 2013.
The CPS is based on four central pillars: (i) strengthening governance and institutions; (ii) improving the performance of the agriculture sector; (iii) strengthening the private sector and improving the investment climate; and (iv) infrastructure renewal and basic services. Job creation, with a particular emphasis on youth, mainstreaming gender, and improving women’s economic opportunities are cross-cutting objectives.
In the words of Country Director Madani M.Tall, the strategy is “a reflection of the Bank’s long-term commitment to help Côte d’Ivoire continue implementing its crisis recovery program.”
Timeline of the World Bank in Côte d’Ivoire
- 1967: The first World Bank operation in Côte d’Ivoire finances a highway
- 2004: Suspension of World Bank operations due to non-payment of arrears. Low-Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) and The Post-Conflict Fund (PCF) grants
- 2007: Signing of the Ouagadougou Political Accord and special approval of the Post-Conflict Assistance Project (US$120 million from the International Development Association) to support crisis recovery
- 2008: Clearance of arrears and World Bank re-engagement. Preparation of the Interim Strategy Note, the first step toward re-engagement
- 2010: Visit by World Bank President Robert Zoellick and Vice President Obiageli Ezekwesili to Côte d’Ivoire. New Country Partnership Strategy drafted for 2010 to 2013