Months after a bitter political crisis threatened the country with civil war, Cote d’Ivoire has made great progress in returning to peace, stability and economic development. The West African nation has moved from violence and conflict last spring following an election disputed by its former president to successful legislative elections in December.
The United States is encouraged by these developments and is committed to helping the nation achieve more progress. As the government of Alassane Ouattara works to reconcile the divisions remaining from the 2010 political crisis, the Ivorian people need to see that the rule of law is working and that justice is impartial.
President Ouattara discussed his hopes for the nation with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a recent visit by the Secretary there and to three other nations to highlight U.S. support for good governance and economic development in West Africa. The United States is assisting with security sector reform efforts to help Ivoirians enhance the professionalism of its security forces and to effectively address cross-border crime, maritime security, drug trafficking, arms proliferation and terrorism. Regarding economic development, President Barack Obama has reinstated Cote d’Ivoire into the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which gives eligible nations in Sub-Saharan Africa favorable terms in trade with the United States. We are also encouraged by reforms Cote d’Ivoire has made in its key cocoa sector, which will guarantee farmers a percentage of world cocoa prices.
With continued economic and political advances, Cote d’Ivoire can be the engine of growth not only for the Ivorian people, but also for the region.