News / Africa

Ouattara Says Nationalizing Ivory Coast’s Cocoa Sector is ‘Stealing’

Ivory Coast's internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara  (R) chats with Koen Vervaeke, EU's Ambassador to the African Union during his meeting with around 30 diplomats on March 11, 2011 in Addis Ababa
Ivory Coast's internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara (R) chats with Koen Vervaeke, EU's Ambassador to the African Union during his meeting with around 30 diplomats on March 11, 2011 in Addis Ababa

Ivory Coast’s internationally recognized president-elect has described the nationalization of the country’s cocoa industry as ‘stealing’ and promised to reverse a period of economic decline.

A day after receiving a vote of confidence from the African Union, Alasanne Ouattara met with AU accredited diplomats to brief them on his plans as Ivory Coast’s next president. There was no immediate word on when he might be sworn in, though the AU Peace and Security Council ordered the head of Ivory Coast’s Constitutional Court to conduct the ceremony promptly.

Speaking to reporters Friday, the United Nations certified winner of last November's presidential elections said he would immediately undo incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo’s move to nationalize the cocoa sector. He said the takeover of an industry that produces more than 1/3 of the country’s revenue amounts to theft.

"It’s not nationalization. It’s stealing. Because clearly as they did with the banks, now they are trying to rob people, businesses, both Ivorians and foreigners. Obviously they’re not looking for the welfare of the people of Cote d’Ivoire but that will change in a few days," he said.

Ouattara’s comments echoed reaction of the United States and other countries that have condemned Gbagbo’s nationalization move. Experts, however, say the government takeover is unlikely to have much effect, since a ban was imposed on Ivory Coast’s cocoa imports after Gbagbo refused to recognize the results of the presidential runoff vote.

Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, was once one of Africa’s economic giants. But the cocoa export ban is contributing to an overall economic decline during the Gbagbo years.

Reuters news agency this week quoted a high-ranking French diplomat as saying the loss of cocoa revenue and other international sanctions were contributing to a weakening of Gbagbo’s grip on power.

Ouattara, a U.S. trained economist and former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund, says his most difficult challenge as president will be healing the wounds that threaten to push Ivory Coast back to civil war. But he expressed confidence his economic experience would help restore the country to fiscal health.

"For the economy, my compatriots trust me. They know what I’ve done in the past. They know what I’ve done elsewhere in Africa and the world, when I was deputy managing director of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), and I have great plans for Cote d’Ivoire and I am confident that in a few years, the economy will be running at a very high level," he said.

But before he can tackle Ivory Coast’s economic and political crises, one of Ouattara’s first challenges will be getting home. After he flew to Addis Ababa this week, Gbagbo’s government announced a ban on flights from United Nations and French planes in an apparent attempt to block his return.

Ouattara’s camp, however, noted that the U.N. recognized president elect would be stopping in Nigeria on his trip westward for talks with President Goodluck Jonathan. They suggested he might return to Abidjan by another means. They did not elaborate.



You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid