Duncan scoops finance job as well

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Abidjan - Ivory Coast announced a new government on Thursday in which newly appointed Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan will also take the finance and economy portfolio.

Ivory Coast, which is recovering from a 2011 civil war, holds a defaulted $2.3-billion bond and recently came to an agreement with investors on rescheduling missed coupon payments over the next two years.

President Alassane Ouattara named Duncan, a member of his allied PDCI party and foreign minister in the previous cabinet, as prime minister on Wednesday, after dissolving his government last week over a lack of coalition solidarity.

Charles Koffi Diby, the former finance minister who has been the lead figure in Ivory Coast's efforts to renegotiate its bond, will take over the foreign ministry, a statement from the president's office said.

Niale Kaba, an economist who served as minister of housing promotion in the previous cabinet, will serve as minister delegated to the prime minister responsible for the economy and finance.

Many people in Ivory Coast had predicted sweeping changes to the cabinet after the surprise dismissal of the ministers last week. Though the number of cabinet positions was slashed to 28 from 39 in the reshuffle, other changes were minor.

There were no changes at the defence or agriculture ministries in the West African state, which is the world's largest cocoa grower and also a significant coffee producer.

Duncan's nomination ensures Ouattara is sticking to a deal that saw the PDCI throw its weight behind him during a 2010 election run-off in return for the prime minister's job.

Duncan, an economist, has served as prime minister once before under former president Henri Konan Bedie and was economy and finance minister under Ouattara's premiership in the early 1990s.

“Overall I think there's no earthquake. What's interesting is that Daniel Kablan Duncan is the new prime minister and will also assume the economy and finance portfolios,” Samir Gadio, emerging markets analyst with Standard Bank, said.

“One could even argue that the reform-minded duo who attempted to stabilise the faltering Ivorian economy in the early 1990s has been re-assembled,” he said. - Reuters

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