Ivory Coast ministers replaced


Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara replaced ministers in charge of defence, budget and the interior in a reshuffle of key cabinet positions following months of unrest, a government official announced in a statement.

The world’s top cocoa producer has endured waves of army mutinies and public sector strikes this year that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in pay-outs and squeezed a budget already under stress from a drop in export revenues.

The armed uprisings, which swept cities and towns across the country, also tarnished Ivory Coast’s image as a post-war success story and exposed the civilian authorities’ tenuous hold on the military.

Hamed Bakayoko, who was Interior Minister, took over the defence post, according to the statement.
“We must reform the army, because an army must be disciplined,” Bakayoko told reporters. “It’s an enormous challenge we are going to meet together with the soldiers.”

Previous defence minister Alain-Richard Donwahi, the public face of government’s repeated capitulations to the mutineers, will now head the Water and Forestry Ministry.

Sidiki Diakite, the prefect of Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan, replaced Bakayoko as head of the Interior Ministry.

Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly will take on the budget portfolio, assisted by Moussa Sanogo as secretary of state.

Former Budget Minister Abdourahmane Cisse, an ex-Goldman Sachs banker seen as a rising political star in French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy, was named special advisor to Ouattara.
“The changes at the Budget Ministry probably came as a surprise to bondholders,” said Samir Gadio, head of Africa Strategy at Standard Chartered Bank. “That said, there has been no particular market reaction, suggesting investors do not expect a change in policy.”