WASHINGTON, September 24, 2011 – The World Bank and the African Development Bank co-chaired a roundtable today where they reaffirmed their commitment with other international partners to support Côte d’Ivoire’s post-crisis reconstruction and reconciliation program. The roundtable, held on the sidelines of the 2011 World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, was aimed at bringing together key development partners and representatives of Côte d’Ivoire to follow up on the first roundtable that took place in April during the 2011 Spring Meetings.
Participants discussed the key reforms that Côte d’Ivoire must undertake to spur growth and poverty reduction in-country and across the sub-region, and to secure the international community’s support for the country’s reconciliation, reconstruction, and growth efforts. At the previous roundtable, Côte d’Ivoire’s international partners also committed to work with the authorities to obtain a realistic analysis of the resource gap resulting from the post-election crisis; and to ensure a harmonized and robust donor response to the country.
Charles Koffi Diby, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Economy and Finance, reiterated the need for substantial financial support from the international community to help the post-conflict country get back on its feet. “The revival of the economy of Côte d’Ivoire will help the entire sub-region because of the role that our country plays in this part of the continent. This is an inclusive economy and not an exclusive one,” said the Minister. Ending on a note of hope, he said “We remain convinced that with this potential…our president, with the commitment of his people, and the support of its partners, that we will very soon become an emerging country.”
Emphasizing the critical need for development partners to work in concert to support the country, Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, said: “Today, more than ever, the people of Côte d’Ivoire need our strong support as it emerges from a longstanding stalemate. Development partners must move together quickly to support the new authorities in delivering the peace dividend. The country is central to the economic and social development of the entire West Africa sub-region – a population of about 100 million -- and its wellbeing is fundamental to the stability and transformation of many of its neighbors through economic and social linkages.”
Once the engine of growth in the sub-region, Côte d’Ivoire has the capacity to regain this role. However, the country faces many challenges as it emerges from almost two decades of political upheaval and recurrent conflict, economic stress and infrastructure neglect. Declining governance has also been a factor. However, there is optimism about the country’s medium- to long-term prospects. Aloysius Ordu, Vice President, Country and Regional Programs and Policy at the African Development Bank, said: “Development partners must work in a coordinated way to achieve efficient outcomes for the Ivoirian people. Coordination is not easy. This is the lesson from all world regions. It requires a deliberate effort by all concerned as well as strong ownership and commitment by the government. In the case of Côte d’Ivoire , the donors here expressed positive support and commended the remarkable progress made by the new Ivorian government in a relatively short time.”
Development partners jointly agreed on the way forward to support the reconstruction process and the peace and reconciliation framework adopted by the new Ivorian authorities. This includes the top priorities of re-establishing security and responding to humanitarian needs. Bilateral and regional partners, as well as international finance institutions, will also work closely to reinforce the authorities’ priority program to ensure strong ownership and sustainability of the political, security and economic aspects of the reconstruction and peace-building process. Within this framework, development partners will work with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to put the country back on the path of reaching the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Completion Point, which includes the critical need for reform of the cocoa sector; establishing long term shared growth, and regaining its economic leadership role in the sub-region.
Participants at the roundtable also included Moussa Dosso, Minister of Industry and Private Sector Promotion for Côte d’Ivoire ; Doris Ross, Mission Chief for Côte d’Ivoire, International Monetary Fund; Nanette Ahmed, Team Leader, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as well as representatives from the African Union, the West African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Saudi Arabia.