Ouattara Says Ivory Coast to Supply 50% Global Cocoa by 2020
President Alassane Ouattara said Ivory Coast aims to produce half of the world’s cocoa by 2020 and that he won't make the mistake of overwhelming the nation with debt to sustain growth like other nations in Africa.
"We will continue to boost our production, there is no limit,” Ouattara, 73, said in an interview in his office in Abidjan, the commercial capital, on Wednesday following his landslide re-election on 25 October. "I hope we can surpass 50 per cent of global production in 2020 while continuing to improve the quality."
The nation’s share of global output will rise from about 45 per cent now, Ouattara said. Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa and had a record crop of about 1.8 million tonnes in the 2014-2015 season.
Ouattara took office in 2011, inheriting an economy that had collapsed. Since then, the economy has rebounded, expanding at almost 10 percent this year and drawing investors like French supermarket chain Carrefour, which is set to open its first sub-Saharan African store in Abidjan this year.
The former economist sheltered in a hotel for five months after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to acknowledge defeat in a 2010 election. The stalemate triggered a civil war that left more than 3,000 people dead and halted cocoa exports.
Ouattara, who earlier in his career had been barred from running because he was considered a foreigner, won 84 per cent of the vote on 25 October, avoiding a runoff. Opposition leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan, his closest rival, conceded defeat after the electoral commission published the results.
“It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that we have had no violence during an election,” Ouattara said. “That means that we’ve turned the page of the 2010 crisis and now we can focus on what’s really important: improving the daily life of Ivorians.”
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