News / Africa

    Economic Sanctions Hurting Ivory Coast Economy

    A woman sells food next to an open sewer in the Adjame neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, January 28, 2011
    A woman sells food next to an open sewer in the Adjame neighborhood of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, January 28, 2011

    The political crisis between rival governments in Ivory Coast is beginning to effect its economy, as sanctions against the incumbent president lead to fuel and currency shortages.

    The United States, the European Union and West Africa's regional economic alliance have all imposed sanctions against the government of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, because he is refusing to give up power to the United-Nations-certified winner of the vote, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.

    People in the commercial capital, Abidjan, say they are beginning to feel the impact of those sanctions. Mechanic Lamine Sylla says people do not have money to fix their vehicles.

    Lamine says there have been many problems. If you work for the government, your money has been trapped.  You can no longer get paid. He says he has done five months of work on government vehicles and there is no money to pay him.

    As the world's largest cocoa producer, Ivory Coast was once the economic giant of West Africa. But a brief civil war, years of division, and the political crisis that has followed November's election has brought power cuts, piles of uncollected trash and shortages of medicine.

    Market Trader Fidel Sacre says it is something Ivorians have never seen.

    Sacre says the impact of the crisis on the business sector is catastrophic.  He says it is the first time anyone in Ivory Coast has ever seen this in their own country.

    With the Gbagbo government cutoff from the region's central bank, many cash machines in Abidjan are running out of money. Banks are limiting withdrawals and are having trouble clearing checks because connections to the regional banking system were severed when the Gbagbo government seized control of the central bank's local office.

    That has been restricting the amount of cash in circulation, cutting into business for mobile phone seller Kadidiatou Sanoussi.

    Before the crisis, Sanoussi sold five or ten mobile phones a day. But now things are quite difficult. Just to sell three mobile phones a day, Sanoussi says traders really need to hustle and bargain with customers to convince them to buy.

    Ivory Coast's state-run oil firm says sanctions may eventually shut its refinery, reducing supplies of petroleum. Dealer Desire Allah says there is already a shortage of cooking gas.

    With regular customers, Allah says business can hold up for two more weeks.  But there are other dealers who have nothing left and are struggling to find gas canisters.  Allah says the people can hold on for another week, but after that it will be very difficult as everyone switches to charcoal.

    Gbagbo and Ouattara are both blaming each other for the economic hardships of this political crisis. Five heads of state from the African Union meet this week to discuss how best to resolve the dispute. West African leaders say they will await the outcome of that mediation but reserve the right to use military force to remove Gbagbo.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora