French firms should take part in Ivory Coast’s reconstruction efforts, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said as he pledged assistance to the West African nation during a recent visit.
Fillon, on Friday (July 15), offered 3 billion ($4.2 billion) in aid and defense cooperation, as well as debt relief, for Ivory Coast, which is emerging from a political crisis brought on by former leader Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to hand over power to the internationally recognized winner of last year’s presidential election, Alassane Ouattara. After Gbagbo’s arrest in April, the French government already pledged €400 million ($566 million) worth of aid to Cote d’Ivoire.
“I have come with a significant delegation of business leaders to enable French enterprise to renew cooperation with Ivory Coast,” Fillon said in joint press conference with Ouattara, as reported by Reuters. “There are immense needs in terms of infrastructure and French companies have the know how.”
But Fillon added that he expected any contracts to be awarded through competitive bids.
“France does not want to be an exclusive partner … That was another epoch,” he said.
>> Development Business Opportunities in Ivory Coast
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders – emailed to you FREE every business day.