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Patrick N'gouan: "We need to look again at the way in which Ivory Coast is governed."

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Patrick N'gouan: "We need to look again at the way in which Ivory Coast is governed."

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Patrick N’gouan heads a collective of civil society groups in Ivory Coast. It is an independent national body working to resolve the crisis there. The crisis, which has brought the country to its knees, has lasted for 10 years.

Francois Chignac, euronews:
“Patrick N’gouan, today are you worried? Can the country expect more violence in the hours to come?”

Patrick N’gouan:
“That is absolutely possible. When you look at the whole African environment, where we have always made a distinction between democratic African countries, and well-governed and badly-governed African countries; well, in those African countries, all elections lead to confrontations, violence and grief, and that is the case in Ivory Coast. So we need to look again at the way in which Ivory Coast is governed. That is why we need to involve civil society, the religious professions and the private sector to define a shared future based on consensus but also a shared present for Ivory Coast.”

euronews:
“Does that mean that the country will never be able to move on from this political and military crisis?”

Patrick N’gouan:
“Ivory Coast can move on, provided we can really identify, in an objective way, the root causes of this crisis and then take the appropriate measures. Not staged diplomatic productions or political deals, as is the case today.”

euronews:
“What is this crisis really about? Is it a political crisis? An economic crisis? Or is it a social or cultural crisis?”

Patrick N’gouan:
“There are three aspects to the Ivorian crisis. It has an economic aspect. The country has been in an economic crisis for several years now. The resources available are not enough to deal with the population’s economic and social needs. All the macro and micro economic indicators have been in decline for the last 20 years. Added to that, there is a political crisis. All the social indicators have deteriorated. So there is a precariousness which means that today at least half the population is living in poverty. An economic crisis and social precariousness open the way to political instability.”

euronews:
“So in practical terms, what is the answer?”

Patrick N’gouan:
“We have to make it so that Ivory Coast is run in a participative way by all of the population and all of the systems which emphasise values and principles and not in a context where the wishes of certain people determine a whole nation’s fate. Unfortunately, that is how it is today.”