Ivory Coast economy to grow 4 pct in 2010: finance minister


Ivory Coast’s economy is expected to grow by 4% this year, picking up to a 5% clip in 2011, according to a Finance Ministry estimate obtained by Reuters.

That compares with the 3.7% growth in gross domestic product that the ministry estimated was achieved in 2009.

West Africa’s former economic powerhouse has suffered sluggish economic growth rates ever since a 2002-3 war divided the country in two, choking business and scaring off investors.

The Finance Ministry also expects Ivory Coast’s inflation rate will be 3% this year, falling to 2.75% next year, and that it will run fiscal and trade surpluses this year of 0.7% and 0.9% of GDP, respectively, increasing to 1.5% each the following year.

The predictions come as Ivory Coast gears up for elections currently scheduled for around the end of next month meant to end years of post-war political instability and stalemate that held back its once prosperous economy.

They also come as the world’s top cocoa grower awaits further debt relief from donors under the IMF-World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HPIC) programme.

Ivory Coast has already benefited from extensive debt relief from major donors like France in the past year. Senior World Bank officials are due in Abidjan next week to discuss progress towards achieving debt cancellation under HPIC.

Source: www.af.reuters.com