Reuters | Analysis: Post-war Ivory Coast nurtures second “miracle”
By Joe Bavier
From his lagoon-side allotment in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan, Moussa Yanda has a ringside seat to watch the foundations of a $290-million toll bridge slowly rise up from the shore.
"I love watching it," enthused the softly-spoken 45-year-old as he packed up his garden tools for the day. "When things are developing, we realize we’re going to make it through this."
Little over a year ago such optimism was scarce. Mortar bombs were pouring down around Yanda’s city garden as the West African country slipped into a civil war that claimed over 3,000 lives and forced thousands more to flee their homes.
Now, helped by billions of dollars of donor cash, President Alassane Ouattara wants to shore up the peace with a dash for economic growth like the “Ivorian miracle” which turned the country into a regional powerhouse after independence in the 1960s.
Internationally recognized as winner of a presidential election in December 2010, Ouattara had to wait over four months to enter office as incumbent Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down, pushing the country towards self-destruction.
Old ethnic wounds were opened in the violence that brought the economy of the world’s top cocoa-grower to a halt. Ouattara spent much of the conflict in an Abidjan hotel besieged by pro-Gbagbo forces before his northern allies, backed by French troops, ejected Gbagbo from his palace.
Ouattara, a 70-year-old former top International Monetary Fund official, appears determined to make up for lost time. Each day a new strip of pot-holed road is patched up and the mirror-windowed skyscrapers of Abidjan’s Plateau financial district now show few signs of the battles waged there.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)