AfDB offers Ivory Coast US$150 million fast aid


The African Development Bank (AfDB) said it was restarting operations in Ivory Coast with US$150 million of emergency support for a country emerging from a five-month political crisis.

Former leader Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognise defeat in a November 28 election triggered a power struggle in which thousands died and which paralysed the economy of the world’s top cocoa grower.
“We are pleased to be reactivating operations in Cote d’Ivoire and to be able to provide the country with the support it needs as it begins its recovery process towards a path of sustained economic growth,” AfDB Group President Donald Kaberuka told a web-based teleconference, Reuters reports.

The funding boost comes two days before the presidential inauguration of Alassane Ouattara, who inherits an economy which many analysts believe will register negative growth this year.

An International Monetary Fund document published last month estimated the economy would shrink by 7.6 percent.

Some believe the country could turn in positive growth in 2012 and remain bullish about its $2.3 billion Eurobond, Africa’s biggest. It currently yields around 11 percent after topping 16 percent at the height of the crisis.

The AfDB’s headquarters remain officially in Abidjan but the organisation relocated to the Tunisian capital after the 2002-2003 civil war.

Bank Secretary-General Cecilia Akintomide said no decision had been taken on the date for any possible return.