Brussels, 23 November 2011
EU confirms support for elections and long-term recovery in Ivory Coast
European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, today met the President of the Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, to announce support for the country's forthcoming elections, as well as to help social and economic recovery. This is President's Ouattara's first ever official visit to the European Commission. A package of €125 million was formally signed today at a ceremony in Brussels. This money will go towards five key projects to improve the lives of the Ivorian population, specifically supporting the health service, professional training (especially helping young people to access the job market), transport, civil society and governance.
The €125 million package is funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) and will specifically go towards:
1. Transport, maintaining the road network and rehabilitating one of the most disrupted roads between Ivory Coast and Ghana, helping to get the country moving once again
2. Professional training; particularly helping young people to get back into the job market. Several training centres will be rehabilitated and equipped.
3. Health, helping to improve healthcare and enable the country's poorest people to access essential medicines.
4. Financial and institutional support, especially to improve the national statistic system of the Ivorian budget system to allow for clearer results
5. Civil society, especially women and young people's groups. This will help to boost participation in democracy and help the process of national reconciliation.
The European Union has around €420 million of ongoing funding being delivered in the Ivory Coast. This will support the country in areas like debt relief, governance, agriculture and the justice sector. In particular the EU is supporting the upcoming elections to the tune of €11 million through the Instrument for Stability (IfS).
This package also includes humanitarian support. The European Union has been on the ground in Ivory Coast since the first days of the humanitarian crisis. In December 2010 it announced a decision to help refugees fleeing the violence to camps in neighbouring countries like Liberia. In Ivory Coast itself the Commission has been helping to meet basic needs like providing water, food and sanitation, as well as civil protection. In order to guarantee a link between humanitarian assistance and long-term development, the Commission will also open a humanitarian aid bureau in Abidjan.
Earlier this year, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, took part in the first official European visit to Ivory Coast since the crisis. Whilst there he met President Outtara and reaffirmed the Commission's support to the country's long-term development – the outcome of which can be seen at today's signing ceremony.
For more on Commissioner Piebalgs' visit there, please see: