ICoast secures $8 bln donor funds

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

Paris - Ivory Coast secured $8.6 billion in donor financing on Wednesday to fund a 2013-2015 development plan, nearly twice the amount the government was seeking, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said.

Duncan, who also holds the finance and economy portfolio, said the strong response from donors would help Ivory Coast to meet an economic growth target of 10 percent for 2014.

President Alassane Outtara's government had convened a two-day conference of wealthy nations and multilateral organisations in Paris to help it plug a $4 billion funding gap in the $20 billion plan, which it hopes will help alleviate poverty in the West African country.

“We actually have over-financing compared to what we were seeking, so this has been a great success,” Duncan told Reuters.

The World Bank alone had pledged $2 billion, he added.

Ouattara's government is also seeking 5.3 trillion CFA francs ($10.56 billion) of private sector investment for the plan, mostly in agriculture, transport infrastructure and energy production.

A number of private sector firms had expressed interest but detailed business plans would take time to draft, Duncan said.

Ivory Coast's economy has bounced back strongly this year following a brief but brutal civil war after ex-President Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters refused to recognise Ouattara's 2010 election victory.

Ouattara, a former World Bank executive, finally took office in May 2011 with French military backing, bringing hopes for an end to a decade of political instability and violence.

The IMF has forecast the economy of the world's largest cocoa producer will grow by 8.6 percent this year.

“It is not out of the question that we could be above 8.6 percent by year-end,” said Duncan, adding that such growth rates were sustainable because Ivory Coast had high levels of unused capacity, solid infrastructure and well-educated workers.

“This plan is going to boost infrastructure and construction ... We believe that a growth rate of 10 percent by 2014 is achievable. We might even get a little bit higher.” - Reuters

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