Ivory Coast plans investment review to boost economy

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Ivory Coast plans to adopt a new investment code by year-end to encourage the creation of finished-products industries, particularly in the cocoa and coffee sector, Ivorian industry minister Moussa Dosso said on Friday.

The world’s top cocoa producer is recovering from decade-long strife that culminated with a violent four-month post-election standoff which brought the economy of the once regional powerhouse to its knees.

Dosso said a revised code would offer incentives including tax breaks to private sector investments in industries that process goods locally for exports.
“When you take products like cocoa and coffee, the transformation rate is low,” Dosso said.
“Only 25 percent of cocoa is processed into semi-finished products for export and less than 1.5 percent of the total cocoa output is processed into finished products locally,” Dosso said.

The minister did not say what level transformation the government would be targeting.

Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest maker of chocolate products, said in August that it plans to upgrade grinding capacity at its cocoa processing plant in Ivory Coast to 175,000 tonnes a year from 105,000 tonnes.

Ivory Coast has recorded its highest cocoa crop ever and some exporters said the tally may hit 1.5 million tonnes.

Apart from cocoa, Ivory Coast is also a top regional coffee, rubber, banana and cotton producer. It plans to strengthen its mining sector and has said it will almost double gold production by 2013 to about 13 tonnes a year.

The minister said the revised code will make it easier for companies to set up in the country by cutting red-tape

Dosso said the plan is to make it possible for investors to go though the administrative process of creating a company within 24 to 48 hours. Currently the process takes about a month or two.