Ivory Coast says it will re-open branches of two major French banks on Monday. The West African country’s move to take control of French and American banks largely froze their activities this week. Many of the major banks have already evacuated senior staff, disabling operations.
With serious liquidity problems, the government of disputed leader Laurent Gbagbo said it was nationalising them to keep the economy functioning.
The two main targets were France’s BNP Paribas and Societe Generale. Analysts believe Abidjan chose them because a lot of civil servants and soldiers hold accounts there.
Ivory Coast has been in crisis since the November 28 presidential elections. Most of the international community recognised that Gbagbo’s main rival Alassane Ouattara won but Gbagbo refuses to quit, in spite of strong domestic and foreign pressure.
Economic sanctions include an embargo by the European Union on Ivory Coast’s two main ports.