Ivory Coast has become eligible for a 300 billion CFA franc ($500 million) grant from U.S. foreign aid agency the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said on Thursday.
He said the grant, to be released over five years for development projects, would help attract other investors to Ivory Coast, the world's largest producer of cocoa and the top economy in French-speaking West Africa.
"The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has decided to make Ivory Coast eligible for the compact program," Duncan told journalists, saying the decision was taken on Wednesday. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. embassy in Ivory Coast. "Compact" MCC grants run over five years and are awarded to countries based on performance in good governance, investing in people and economic freedom.
The MCC was established by the U.S. Congress in 2004 to help fight poverty using the principles of competitive selection and implementation by the recipient country.
Ivory Coast emerged from a brief civil war in 2011 that capped a decade of political turmoil and has since seen rapid economic growth, becoming a darling for investors. President Alassane Ouattara was elected by a landslide in October to a second five-year term.
($1 = 605.2400 CFA francs)