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Opening address of Mr. Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget

17-05-2016

Mr. André VALLINI, Secretary of State in charge of Development and Francophony, representing the French Government;
Distinguished Ministers;
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of friendly countries;
Mr. The Vice-President of the World Bank;
Mr. The Vice-President of the African Development Bank;
Mr. The Vice-President of the Islamic Development Bank;
Mr. The Governor of the CBWAS;
Mr. The President of the WAEMU Commission;
Mr The Representative of the International Monetary Fund;
Mr. The representative of the United Nations in Côte d'Ivoire;

Mr. The representative of the European Commission;
Distinguished representatives of multilateral, regional and bilateral development finance institutions;
Distinguished Guests,
Dear friends of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen.

It is for me, both an honour and a pleasant duty to speak on behalf of His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic, on the occasion of the solemn opening ceremony of the Consultative Group for the mobilization of the required funding to the implementation of the 2016-2020 National Development Plan (NDP).

I would like to express my warmest thanks to all participants in this important Advisory Group, including the entire international community. Your large and distinguished presence translates once more, your continued commitment alongside Ivory Coast, in its efforts to build an emerging economy, generating high economic growth, sustainable, inclusive and equitably shared.
I would particularly like to thank the Chairman from the World Bank Group of the, Mr. Jim Yong Kim for accepting, again, that his institution brings its invaluable support and guidance for the preparation and organization of this meeting in its Paris premises.

Finally, I wish to reiterate my gratitude to France for its support and renewed commitment to Ivory Coast. This support is reflected in the financing of major direct impact development programs in favour of the Ivorian population in general and in particular by the accompanying provisions of these meetings.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This Consultative Group current meetings, gives me the opportunity to reflect on the actions undertaken by the Government, over the last five, under the authority of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, to provide effective answers to important challenges that followed the post-election crisis that weakened the state and shook the foundations of our social cohesion.

I would like to remind that during 2012-2015the period, three directions were given to public action, namely:

- Ensure peace and security;

- Achieve national reconciliation and social cohesion;

- Ensure economic recovery and national reconstruction.

Concerning peace and security, despite the recent terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam, in March, a rapidly subdued attack; it is easy to say that today the Ivory Coast is characterized by peace, domestic security and the found stability. Indeed, the country has managed to significantly reduce the impact of a decade of crisis as confirmed by the declining evolution of the national index of insecurity, which stood at 1, 11 at the end of 2015 against 3, 8 in 2011 and the one of the United Nations which went from 4 to 2, the same in Geneva and New York.

Regarding national reconciliation and social cohesion, they remain priorities for which substantial progress has been made. Proof are notably, the successful presidential elections of 2015 and the acceptance of the result by all candidates.

The handover by the soldiers of illegally occupied private properties and the start of the process to compensate victims of previous crisis of the previous crisis have significantly helped.
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In terms of economic recovery and national reconstruction, numerous structural and sectoral reforms implemented have ensured the stability of the macroeconomic framework during 2011-2015. Indeed, the average annual growth rate was 9%.

From 2012 to 2015, this growth was primarily driven by three factors:
- the favourable development of exports;
- the growth of final consumption;
- and the strong increase in investment.

The budget deficit represented 2.2% of the GDP in 2013 and 2014 and contained to 2.9% in 2015, when the debt ratio remained sustainable at 41.3% of the GDP at end 2015, when the WAEMU standard is set at 70% of the GDP.

The inflation rate is also contained at 1.2% in 2015, below the WAEMU community standard of 3%.

With the 2012-2015 NDP, Côte d'Ivoire has also fostered public and private investment. The global investment rate has doubled over the 2011-2015 period, from 9% of GDP in 2011 to 20% in 2015. Public investment respectively rose from 3.4% in 2010 to 8% of the GDP in 2015 while private investment went from 8.9% of the GDP to 10.7% over the same period.

These investments led to a marked improvement of the population access to essential new economic infrastructure, basic social services such as healthcare, education, housing, drinking water and electricity.

Moreover, the strong structural and sectoral reforms, such as the improvement of the business climate, of the economy competitiveness and governance, that have been implemented have enabled Côte d’Ivoire to show outstanding performances that should briefly be mentioned:

- ranked in the top 10 global reformers concerning business climate by the Doing Business 2014 and 2015 reports of the World Bank Group;

- Admission in October 2015 to the international "Open Government Partnership (OGP)" initiative;

- Become eligible in December 2015 to the MCC Compact as part of the USA Millenium Challenge Corporation;

- Maintaining the country status in accordance with the in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) obtained in May 2013;
- Ranked the 8th most competitive economy in Africa according to the latest report of the World Economic Forum published with the World Bank, the ADB and the UNDP.

These reforms have also helped to record a significant increase in the average monthly income per active person, in all sectors, going from 40,000 FCFA CFAF in 2008 to 84,000 in February 2015, an increase of + 110% compared to 2008.
The poverty rate went from 51% in 2011 to 46.3% in 2015. Representing about one million people out of poverty. Indeed, pro-poor expenditures rose from 1 080, 3 CFAF in 2012 to 1 337 billion FCFA in 2013, 1521 billion CFAF in 2014 to 1716 billion CFA francs in 2015, a 59% increase over the 2012-2015 period.
We all share these results with all the Technical and Financial Partners (TFP) whose support and multidimensional assistances have had a catalytic effect on our efforts, partners to whom we reiterate our sincere thanks.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, Ivorian Government main commitment, is to work for the structural transformation of our country and the emergence of a new Ivorian.

More broadly, the current challenges on the way to emergence are fivefold:

1) Strengthening the institutions for Peace and Good Governance;

2) The structural transformation of the Ivorian Economy;

3) The improvement of the population living conditions;

4) The promotion of the Youth and Women;

5) and the emergence of a new Ivorian.


Regarding the strengthening of the institutions for Peace and Good Governance, our priorities are:

- The fight against corruption with the creation in September 2013 of the High Authority for Good Governance;
- improving social inclusion to prevent and ensure political stability and sustainable growth;

- Strengthening the governance and capacity of the judicial system, including the establishment of the Commercial Court and the adoption by the Government of the bill establishing the Commercial Court of Appeal;

- The modernization of the public administration;

- The continuation and completion of the reform of the Security Sector (RSS) to meet the new security challenges;

- Strengthening the statistical system to make it more efficient in order to have real time reliable data, for the design of public policies and decision making.

Regarding the structural transformation of the Ivorian economy, action will be oriented in the direction of:

- continued structural and sectoral reforms to create the right conditions to strengthen the contribution of national and international private sector in the economy;

- create new opportunities to diversify our economy based on our comparative advantages and Côte d’Ivoire sustainable integration in the chains of regional and global value;

- accelerate the diversification of the Ivorian economy still dominated by agriculture;

- build an efficient infrastructure system to support economic transformation;

- Improve access to finance for businesses and individuals.

Regarding the improvement of living conditions and well-being, our priorities are to

- increase the supply of social infrastructure and quality of basic services and facilitating access to efficient public services;

- improve the quality of education to support the development of skills, adapted to the needs of the economy;
- strengthen the interaction with the private sector to offer a system adapted to its needs skills;

- the provision of a functioning healthcare system, accessible in particular to the most vulnerable;

- Improve the nutritional status of the population.

Regarding the promotion of Youth and Women, these are:

- the creation of sustainable jobs for young people and the development of initiatives for self-employment;

- generalization of civic service programs designed for young people to prevent an even larger part of this section of the population to fall into the vices linked to the development of cities;

- strengthening the role of women in all sectors of our Nation’s life to fully involve them in the political, economic and social development;

- Continuing and strengthening the development of income generating activities for women, while paying particular attention to the fight against violence against them.

Finally, as regards to the coming of a "new Ivorian", actions aim to work towards a change in mentality to mainstream within the individual actions, values such as:

- Excellence, social responsibility and the interest of the nation;

- Integrity and the sense of responsibility;

- Good work, attendance and punctuality;

- ambition and optimism as a motivator to give the best of oneself, to make Côte d'Ivoire a country that matters and wins.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is the very existence of these challenges, many more to overcome, that gives a meaning and justifies not only the government action, but also the required and sustained support of the all development partner community. It is still the existence of these challenges, sometimes complex, that makes the Consultative group meetings important and essential.

This meeting is presented as an open and constructive dialogue framework between Côte d’Ivoire and all its public and private partners, around its imperatives and development priorities.

To this end, I can assure you that the Government has traced the trajectory of its development by integrating a prospective, planned and programmatic approach through suitable instruments that are «Côte d’Ivoire 2040 National Prospective Study", the 2016-2020 National Development Plan and the 2016- 2018Public Investment Program (PIP).

I would add that Côte d’Ivoire has benefited from the assistance of the OECD Development Centre to develop its strategic plan for the emergence in 2020 and whose main recommendations for reform were incorporated in the 2016-2020 NDP.

This plan also takes into account the environmental protection requirements held by the Paris Agreement on climate. A roadmap for its implementation has just been adopted by the Government. Similarly, we are particularly pressing to initiate, starting now, the needed reforms to enable the optimal implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It is worth mentioning that the Government which aim to ensure to the entire population an optimal nutritional status has adopted the 2016-2020 Multisectoral National Nutrition Plan. This plan worth 267 billion CFAF or 470 million USD is an integral part of the 2016-2020 ND, as one of the key areas of human development.

Overall, the 2016-2020 National Development Plan that we present today is valued at a total amount of 30,000 billion CFA francs, or about 60 billion US dollars (the exchange rate of one US dollar for 500 CFAF). This amount is divided as follows:
- projects from public investment: 11,300 billion CFA francs or 22.6 billion US dollars and 38%;

- Projects from private investment: 18,700 billion CFAF, or 37.4 billion US dollars and 62%.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ambition and the will of the Government, under the high auspices of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, for the next five years, is to maintain macroeconomic stability, to achieve the diversification and structural transformation of the economy and to accelerate structural and sectoral reforms to maintain the economic growth rate at a high level at around 9% over the reference period.

It is also about containing the inflation, ensuring the sound public finances and the sustainability of the public debt. On this last point, I would like to reassure all our partners on the fact that Côte d'Ivoire pays special attention to its debt policy. To this end, it should be noted that at the end of 2015, the ratio of the public debt to GDP is contained at a level of 41.3% against a WAEMU community standard of 70%.


As we can see, there are financing margins that the Government intends to use to meet its development requirements, in strict compliance with the principle of viability and sustainability of public debt.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The implementation of our development plan requires the commitment and support of all stakeholders and the mobilization of substantial public and private financial resources, from endogenous and international sources, at all available counters, including the occasional ones.

In view of the Plan budgetary framework, the need for public funding is estimated for the 2017-2020period at 4425 billion CFA francs (8.8 billion US dollars), or 39% of the public investment.

About it, the Government is engaged in a reform process to:

-optimize the tax capacity in order to increase its own resources;

-increase our absorption capacity regarding the implementation of development projects and programs;

-amplify the efforts made since the 2012 Consultative Group to strengthen the coordination, the monitoring and the evaluation portfolio of the development partners while strengthening its cooperation with all its partners.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The contributions of your respective institutions to the implementation of the 2016-2020 NDP will translate your support for the construction of a strong and emerging Ivorian nation that His Excellency Mr. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic, has promised to build.

I cannot end my speech without ensuring that the Government will take all necessary steps to ensure the efficient management of resources made available to Côte d’Ivoire.

I believe in your commitment to support Côte d'Ivoire in its tracks of economic, social, environmental and cultural development. I assure you in return, of the strong Government determination to make every effort, like during the 2012-2015 period, to meet all the challenges that will mark our evolution towards a better future for our valiant people.

For the future of Côte d'Ivoire and of the West African sub-region as a whole, I wish us, during the different sessions, a fruitful work, constructive and honest exchanges, as part of a win-win partnership at all levels.

It is on this note that I declare open, on behalf of His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic, the Consultative Group meeting for the financing the 2016-2020 National Plan for the Development of the Côte d’Ivoire.

I thank you for your kind attention.

Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Finance and budget

 

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