The French Are Coming.. Back To Ivory Coast

Allan Oulate

Beaches of the Ivory Coast

In Cote D’ Ivoire, business is booming and the biggest economy in French-Speaking West Africa has seen a resurgence in its financial and agricultural sector, with many directing praise to the newly elected president Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara, an overwhelming favorite of the majority, won a second term this year, much to the reported delight of the nation’s former colonial administrator- France. New infrastructure manifesting on the country’s landscape is a testament to these new developments, much of which can be attributed to France. Quartz Magazine reports that the French construction giant Bouygues built a new lagoon bridge and are set to partner in a deal to build Abidjan’s first light rail system. Bollore’, another country which operates the container port has also signed a deal to manage a second terminal which has been under construction for a few years. Additional developments include Sofitel’s revamp of the Hotel Ivoire, Air France’s new route, flying from Paris to Abidjan and  new retailers Carrefour and FNAC opening. In the agricultural sector where Cote d’Ivoire is king, reigning as the world’s top cocoa exporter and a big producer of cotton, rubber, palm oil and other products, global industrial giants like Cargill have also taken interest. This activity has not come without its positives, as interest in the country has heightened for the first time after almost  a decade of crippling conflict which ended in 2011 lurked in the international background where the country is concerned. Quartz also reports that “ The French connection continues with Ouattara himself, a former top IMF official who is also a friend of Nicolas Sarkozy and others in the French elite.” Ouattara’s dealings with the french might pose a sense of worry for nationals who fear that french investment will draw away Ivory Coast’s sovereignty over the country’s natural resources. Despite mounting international interest, France still takes the most leads, and what also appears to be the most loses as foreign expats who have lived in the country for over a decade, running small businesses, might see some short falls due to the fixed ero peg of the regional currency, the CFA franc and the conservative policy of the regional central bank.

To learn more about the booming economy in Ivory Coast, visit this article by Quartz