A post-Laurent Gbagbo recovery for Ivory Coast will be challenging both for security reasons and in terms of fixing the economy, according to an analyst who spoke to euronews.
In order for Alassane Ouattara to establish a broad based government and govern with effective authority, he will need to lead a political reconciliation in a highly polarised nation, according to Anne Frühauf, Africa analyst for the London-based political risk consultancy Eurasia Group.
Ouattara will need to “keep his own camp united,” while trying to “incorporate Gbagbo allies” as well as other factions, Frühauf said in an interview. As Ouattara has been in technocratic roles for the past years and never been a military man, he may face challenges in controlling the rebel leaders.
A key security concern is that the country is “awash with arms,” she said. The pro-Gbagbo militias have “a lot to lose” as a result of the power transition, as many of them may face prosecution. They are unlikely to put down their weapons even after Gbagbo loses power.
On the other hand, the conduct of the pro-Ouattara rebels is another cause for worry. “Will they execute their enemies and start a massacre?” Frühauf asked. The violence is unlikely to abate immediately.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported at least 800 people were killed in inter-communal violence in the Ivorian town of Duékoué on 29 March, according to information gathered by its field delegates.
Ivory Coast’s banking system is in disarray and there is a “huge liquidity problem” for the world’s number 1 producer and exporter of cocoa beans. The country’s economy has been “severely undermined by Gbagbo’s commandeering of the economy in recent months,” Frühauf said, adding the full extent of the damage is yet to be assessed.
“Restoring order in fiscal affairs, revenue collection and the like will take time,” she said.
Many of the civil servants have worked under Gbagbo for years. Outtara will have to govern them and pay their salaries.
According to African Economic Outlook, cocoa and oil amounted to 58 percent of all exports from Ivory Coast in 2008-9. Current cocoa prices are strong and the country has had a good harvest this year, Frühauf said. The problem is “restarting the whole system,” she added.
By Ali Sheikholeslami
Photo by Saida Konciute