EU to hand over €44-million in aid to Côte d’Ivoire

A top European Union official will meet Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara on Friday to sign off on €44-million in aid — the first tranche of the €180-million it has pledged to help the recovery of the West African nation, EU officials said on Wednesday.

The first EU official to visit the country since fighting ended last month, Commissoner for Development Andris Piebalgs is to meet Ouattara and ministers in his government to pledge the bloc’s support “for a swift and sustainable recovery”, the European Commission said.

The projects to be signed in Abidjan touch on agriculture and judicial reform and are the first tranche in €180-million of pledged EU assistance.

“I will discuss the priority needs with the authorities and make sure EU aid is rapidly delivered. The EU will stand in the long run by President Ouattara in his endeavour to reconcile and relaunch the development of the country,” the commissioner said ahead of the trip.

Côte d’Ivoire Ivory Coast descended into a four-month crisis when former president Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept the internationally certified results of a November 28 election that declared his rival Ouattara as winner.

The crisis culminated with Gbagbo’s arrest in the wake of 15 days of violence in which some 3 000 people died, according to local authorities. — AFP

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