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Côte d’Ivoire Govt Applauds AfDB’s Intervention In Agricultural Sector

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Government of Côte d’Ivoire has commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its support for the development of the agricultural sector. of its economy.

Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi gave the commendation during the launch of the agro-industrial project in northern Côte d’Ivoire supported by the AfDB.

The project which is aimed at developing a northern agro-industrial hub, demonstrates the dynamic nature of the cooperation between the Bank the West African nation.

To fund the project, the AfDB has decided to allocate €87.6 million using three funding mechanisms, including a loan of €42 million from the Bank, €12 million from the African Development Fund (ADF), its concessional financing window and €33.6 million granted by the Africa Growing Together Fund, which is co-financed by China.

Other donors are also contributing to the project include the Economic Community of West African States Bank for Investment and Development in the amount of €72.2 million, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fund for international development for €51.8 million and the South Korean Fund for Globalisation (Saemaul) for €6 million.

The project will allow Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa and second-largest exporter of cashew nuts, to increase its production of rice, maize, mango, cashews, animal, and fish products. It will strengthen the country’s food and nutritional security, reduce its dependence on food imports and increase its exports of agricultural products.

Among other things, the project includes the creation of a fully serviced central hub, including roads and various utilities, electricity derived from green sources, solar lighting, sanitation, a one-stop shop and waste recycling – that will host major industrial units and associated services (logistics, etc.). Five aggregation and service centres will be built to operate as service, secondary packaging, and primary processing centres for agricultural products.

The project will equally benefit around half a million people, including 51 percent women and 60 percent young people – who will see their revenues increase. But in total, 1.2 million people will benefit indirectly from the project, which will help increase and diversify agricultural products, and create 25,000 direct and 45,000 indirect jobs in the intervention area.

Achi thanked the Bank for agreeing to support his country in establishing nine agricultural hubs across the country.

“It is clear that, if we give the private sector the space it needs, we will build a high-performance agricultural sector. Developing agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire is about increasing our people’s well-being on a daily basis”, he said.

“Our country is an agricultural powerhouse. We need to continue to strengthen it and drive growth, by producing more and better, and improving processing for better exports. This project is a huge initiative that is part of our ambition towards developing a new kind of agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire.

“Thanks to the project, we will be able to accelerate and improve agricultural productivity. It will give us the opportunity to create 300 small and medium-sized businesses and support 1,000 young entrepreneurs”, he said.

The site where the event was held will soon host an industrial zone covering 100 hectares. The minister laid the foundation stone for the project, surrounded by several members of his government, along with his Congolese counterpart, Anatole Makosso.

Among others present were representatives from the AfDB, the lead funder of the project, represented by Attiogbevi-Somado Eklou, head of the Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Division for the West Africa region, and the French ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire, Jean-Christophe Belliard.

AfDB’s Director General for West Africa, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade said Côte d’Ivoire is a pioneering country in the development of agricultural hub projects, which are now being rolled out in 20 African countries.

She noted that the northern agro-industrial hub is the second project of its kind, following one in the Bélier region in Yamoussoukro, the capital.

“In total, there are nine agricultural hubs across the country, whose implementation was entrusted to the Bank in accordance with the national priorities set out in Côte d’Ivoire’s National Agricultural Investment Plan (2018-2025). Obviously, the set-up has taken account of the implementation of its predecessor in Bélier and other similar projects funded by the Bank, including in Nigeria, Togo, and Senegal”, she further explained.

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