Booming Ivory Coast faces elections with confidence.
Oct 20, 2015 Ivory Coast heads into it forthcoming presidential elections with optimism as foreign investment continue to pour into the country after decades of political turmoil and civil war. Incumbent President, Alassane Ouattara, is heavily favored to win a second five-year term as the country look to cement its economic growth.
With elections due this month, many Ivoirians had expected a pause in the growth spurt, however there seems to be no stopping for the world’s biggest cocoa producer.
According to Emmanuel Eslmel of CEPICI, the country’s economy is expected to grow by 9.6 percent this year.
“The investments corp we manage today deals with private investments, and to give you an idea, reached almost 1,500 billion CFA francs (about 2.62 U.S. dollars) over the last four years. This year, our growth trend is about 15 to 17 percent. We have gathered 328 billion in investments to date, compared to 275 billion last year. Close to 6,000 businesses were created this year compared to 3,000 last year, so the trend is increasing, and these are the consequences of government policies precisely implemented to turn the private sector into the engine of economic growth seen in Ivory Coast,”
Kome Cesse, an Ivorian investor, said:
“You know, all over Africa, when there are elections there is also a little bit of tension everywhere, so African investors like me, we are used to it and we just go with it, we do what we can,”
As a member of the West African franc zone, whose currency is pegged to the euro, Ivory Coast offers investors protection from inflation, which currently stands at 1 percent.
The pace of the economic growth notwithstanding, Patrick Angouan , an economic analyst has advised the government to be more cautious.
“Ivory Coast is part of what we call fragile African countries, because it’s an African country that not only still has the presence of United Nations peacekeepers on its soil, but it also still carries a level of uncertainty when elections are held, which is why we classify it as a fragile state. A fragile country is one where risk is hard to measure. In all major democracies in the world, even in stable democracies such as the U.S., there is always a presence of risk when it comes to investment. There is no such thing as zero risk,”
Word on the street has it that the strong growth can be attributed to the generous terms offered to businesses by the current administration. The terms range from VAT exemption, reduced customs duties and promise of compensation in the event of social unrest.
Hans-Peter Duerr, director of Carlson Rezidor Group, expressed his optimism saying:
“We were very optimistic regarding the future of this country, and the economic numbers confirm that there is constant growth. Because the demand for hotel rooms is quite high, there is a good business foundation for investment,”