News / Africa

    Ivory Coast PM: ‘We Can Astonish the World’

    FILE - Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan (R) is seen meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
    FILE - Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan (R) is seen meeting with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
    Margaret Besheer
    Ivory Coast’s prime minister says his country is on track to reach double digit economic growth this year and become an emerging market by 2020.  In an interview with VOA, Daniel Kablan Duncan said the government has worked hard to restore security and investor confidence following 2010’s post-election violence that killed 3,000 people.

    Prime Minister Duncan said Ivory Coast has a favorable business climate and is a gateway to western Africa.  He said the country has an ambitious development plan that aims to generate enough growth to double national revenue and make it an emerging market in the next six years.
     
    “We are on the way and we can reach the target.  Cote d’Ivoire is changing quickly.  You can see by the highways, the roads, even the agriculture sector is changing,” said Duncan.
     
    Ivory Coast - or Cote d’Ivoire as it is known in French - is best known as the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, but it also is a major producer of coffee beans, cashew nuts, palm oil and rubber.   And it is working to expand its mining, oil and gas sectors.
     
    On Monday, Duncan addressed potential financiers at a conference in New York City on investing in Ivory Coast.  Afterwards, he held hours of one-on-one meetings with representatives of a wide array of international companies interested in working in the West African nation.
     
    The prime minister said he knows that if the country is to have strong sustained economic growth, it needs peace and security on the ground, which includes national reconciliation and accountability for crimes committed in the post-election period.
     
    Serving justice

    In November 2010, Ivory Coast had contested presidential elections that led to months of violence.  At least 3,000 people were killed during the crisis as armed forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo and newly elected President Alassane Ouattara committed what human rights groups say were war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.  Today, Gbagbo is in custody at The Hague awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court.
     
    Gbagbo’s wife, Simone, is in Ivory Coast and authorities say they will try her in the national courts.  Last month, the Ouattara government handed over to the ICC Charles Blé Goudé, another Gbagbo ally who is charged with committing crimes against humanity during the post-election violence.
     
    Critics of the Ouattara government have accused it of only holding its rivals accountable, but not its loyalists.  Duncan dismissed that, saying justice in a country like his takes time.
     
    “You cannot ask a country like Cote d’Ivoire, with the number of judges we have, to make these kind of things work quickly.  Tomorrow we will say that it’s not justice, it is banana justice.  So let the justice do his work.  And we will see finally that the people will have fair justice on both sides,” said Duncan.
     
    The prime minister said the country is rebuilding the court system and training judges to deal with charges such as crimes against humanity - something with which they have no prior experience.
     
    Despite challenges, Duncan said Ivory Coast is on its way to becoming an African “showcase” on the political, economic, social and cultural levels.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora