Commissioner Piebalgs visits Côte d'Ivoire to relaunch political dialogue and reinforce European aid
Commissioner Piebalgs visited Abidjan one year on from his first visit immediately after the end of the fighting. The Commissioner met President Alassane Ouattara and the Prime Minister, Jeannot Kouadio-Ahoussou, to relaunch the political dialogue and jointly identify priority sectors for cooperation. As well as discussing the challenges facing Côte d'Ivoire, the Commissioner raised a number of regional issues with President Ouattara, who is currently President of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States). These included the situation in Mali and the Sahel region.
In the course of his visit the Commissioner also met several other members of the government, as well as representatives of civil society and the business world, and inaugurated an EU-funded water and sanitation programme.
Mr Piebalgs commented: “In May 2011 I promised President Ouattara to speed up European aid to Côte d’Ivoire to help the country restore stability. We released €180 million to support national reconciliation measures and economic recovery. Côte d'Ivoire is now back on the road to political stability. My visit confirms that the European Union is and will remain a reliable partner for Côte d'Ivoire as it pursues its long-term development goals.”
“We shall also be discussing regional issues with President Ouattara, and ways in which the EU can provide further support for the efforts to achieve peace and security in West Africa, particularly in the light of the situation in Mali.”
European aid to Côte d'Ivoire
Total EU aid to Côte d'Ivoire for the period 2008 to 2013 now stands at over €600 million. Since the end of the political crisis a year ago, the EU has doubled its aid to Côte d'Ivoire, allocating first an additional €180 million and then projected budgetary support of €115 million. This aid will take the form of a ‘contract for rebuilding the state apparatus’ and will aim to strengthen essential public services for the population, targeting in particular the police, the judicial system and education.
The European Union is supporting Côte d'Ivoire’s economic recovery and the process of national reconciliation. Five new programmes worth a total of €125 million were launched in 2011, aimed at improving the transport sector, vocational education, economic governance, health and civil society. Since 2011, the EU has also provided €80 million in humanitarian aid in response to the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.
In addition, the European Union is financing the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed in the conflict, and contributing to governance, the judicial system, rural development and social policies. In 2012 water supply and sanitation programmes worth a total of €25 million are being put into effect, and the banana sector is receiving support totalling €44 million.