IMF okays loan tranche for Ivory Coast

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IOL pic oct23 ivory coast alassane ouattara Reuters Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.

Washington - The International Monetary Fund board on Friday approved another $100 million in loans to Ivory Coast, two weeks after the president of the world's top cocoa producer unexpectedly dissolved his government.

President Alassane Ouattara cited a lack of solidarity in his coalition cabinet. The latest tranche of the IMF loan is part of a three-year, $616 million zero-interest loan package approved last year to help the West African country recover from a decade of crisis and civil war.

Ivory Coast gets each disbursement once the IMF decides the country is on track with the loan's conditions, including reform of the cocoa sector and performance measures for the economy.

In October, the IMF raised its 2012 forecast for Ivory Coast to 8.6 percent, and said the country was also on track for strong growth next year.

“The authorities' ambitious investment plan for 2013 should stimulate and enhance private investment, and maintain economic expansion,” IMF deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara said on Friday after the board's discussion.

“However, the magnitude and pace at which private sector engagement will materialize are critical, and would determine growth prospects.”

The IMF said Ivory Coast has delayed some reforms in the energy sector and public banks, though the government is trying to restart them.

Once the star performer for French-speaking West Africa, Ivory Coast was hit by years of stagnation since a failed 2002 coup split the country and a brief post-election war killed thousands last year.

But Ivory Coast is showing signs of revival with the end of the war, and the economy performed better than expected in the first half of the year, the IMF said after its October visit. - Reuters

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