Following the end of a violent post-election civil conflict in 2011, Côte d’Ivoire has become Africa’s most resurgent economy, posting growth figures the envy of the world. This year, the IMF predicts the Ivorian economy to be the second fastest growing on the globe (after Myanmar) as the 23-milllion-person country continues through a boom period of expansion buttressed by an ambitious development plan. Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan explains the country’s developmental strategy.
Can you explain Côte d’Ivoire’s development plan?
Our National Development Plan for 2020 features projects designed to support an industralizing nation, such as renovating the Port of Abidjan, developing the education sector, and expanding the supply of our power grid. Indeed, our average GDP growth has been over 9% the past four years and we are optimistic that these projects will improve on this while engendering long-term relationships with fast-growing nations like China. This plan will have clear spillover effects. For example, added investment in higher education is transforming Abidjan into a regional training center. And a greater focus on achieving industralization will support value-adding processing facilities for our agricultural products, including cocoa, cotton and cashew nuts.
How much investment is being targeted?
Our development plan is set to feature about $50 billion of investment, and we want 70% of that to be funded by foreign entities. We have seen substantial interest from Chinese investors, such as the nearly $900 million committed for the Port of Abidjan expansion.
What models are being used to attract large-scale investment?
Our plan is to use the build-operate-transfer and build-own-operate models using concession-based contracts, with these assets eventually handed back to the state. This means private investors achieve financial return through operating and possibly owning each project. We used these structures for the upgrade of Abidjan International Airport.