Thursday, October 25, 2012

EU grants Ivory Coast 115 million euros budget support


Ivory Coast's President Alassane Quattara talks with European Commission President Barroso during his visit at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan October 25, 2012. Image: Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The European Union granted Ivory Coast 115 million euros in budget support on Thursday, aiming to help the West African nation back on its feet following a decade of political crisis that ended in a brief war last year.

The world's top cocoa grower, Ivory Coast suffered from years of stagnation during the conflict which saw the country divided between northern rebels and southern government loyalists.

President Alassane Ouattara's government has received strong support from foreign partners since fighting ended and the economy is expected to record growth of 8.6 percent this year, following a 4.7 percent contraction in 2011.

"The European Union will remain beside Ivory Coast to help it quickly become once again a pillar of stability and growth in West Africa," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told journalists in Abidjan following the signing of the accord.

The EU, one of the West African nation's top donors, has mobilised 430 million euros to aid Ivory Coast's reconstruction since April 2011. The first disbursement of the new funding is expected before the end of the year.

Ivory Coast increased spending by 17 percent in a 3.814 trillion CFA franc 2013 budget adopted by the cabinet earlier this month that targets long-neglected infrastructure, power production and agriculture.
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