Ouattara plans to repair Côte d'Ivoire's shattered economy
In Côte d'Ivoire, President Alassane Ouattara is hosting a government seminar to set out the priorities for the next six months of his presidency. He hopes to restore security, kickstart the economy and reconcile with supporters of former presidentLaurent Gbagbo.
Forty-eight hours and 68 million euros - that's what President Alassane Ouattara is hoping it will take to set out a roadmap for peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Côte d'Ivoire.
At the presidential palace in central Abidjan, members of his government and the heads of all major public agencies gathered to discuss the next six months - seen as key to putting the country back on its feet after more than eight years of civil war and political crisis.
In his opening speech yesterday, Ouattara highlighted the necessity of restoring security not just in Abidjan, but across the country and congratulated his prime minister Guillaume Soro on cracking down on military roadblocks that both intimidate the population and slow down the economy.
And it is precisely this economy that Ouattara is counting on to put Côte d'Ivoire back on top. With the biggest economy in west Africa, getting people back to work could breath life into depressed regions as well as neighbouring countries.
In this light, Ouattara's Emergency Presidential Programme has put thousands back to work, repairing lamp posts, dredging canals, clearing bush back from the sides of the highway, and repainting road dividers.
But much more will be needed to convince the hundreds of thousands of displaced people to return home.
Many of them Gbagbo supporters, they fear retribution back in their neighbourhoods, which sit empty. And those ghost towns are not good for business.
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