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Economic Partners Stand by Ivory Coast After Terror Attack

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (C) and Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (R) are seen during a press conference at presidential palace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 15, 2016.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara met with delegations from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the IMF, and the French ministers of security and foreign affairs Tuesday. The agenda underscored the potentially deep economic impact of Sunday's terror attack. All three delegations were upbeat about the West African country's economic prospects.

Speaking after meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, the French delegation wanted to make clear that Sunday’s terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, near Abidjan, will not change anything.

The former colonial power will stand by Ivory Coast, diplomatically and economically.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the delegation would like to convey a message of confidence in Ivory Coast. He said upcoming economic meetings will not be canceled, because "It is the best way to answer terrorists..."

A body lays on the beach were gunmen attacked people in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, March 13, 2016.
A body lays on the beach were gunmen attacked people in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, March 13, 2016.

Ivory Coast has spent the past five years working to rebuild its economy, after more than a decade of civil war and political crises. The economy has been growing by 8.5 percent, on average, and foreign investments are on the upswing.

Institute for Security Studies West Africa researcher William Assanvo said terrorist attacks can have an impact on foreign investors.

When something like that happens, he said, foreign investors do not always have the capacity to do an in depth analysis and it has a consequence on the entire country, which is deemed unsafe.

Also meeting the Ivorian president was a U.S. Chamber of Commerce delegation for talks, planned before the attack, aimed at reinforcing the economic partnership between the two countries.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant said the attack will not derail that relationship.

"We feel very close to Côte d’Ivoire because we have suffered our own attacks in our country, and so we understand what is going on here, we understand the significance of it. But in no way will that deter our investments and trade relations here in Côte d’Ivoire. If anything, that will encourage us to be more fruitful and more engaged and more positive about our interactions here," said Brilliant.

During the attack in Grand-Bassam, which was claimed by jihadist group al-Qaida of the Islamic Maghreb, an International Monetary Fund delegation was visiting for an economic evaluation mission.

An IMF representative said Ivory Coast has had very good economic indicators during the past four years, and the economic perspective for the near future is positive.

The IMF also said that according to its first estimate, Ivory Coast's economy grew 8.6 percent in 2015.