AFRICA: Ivory Coast Fallout
Civil War’s Economic Consequences
In addition to the loss of life (at least 500-1,000 dead), thousands more displaced by the violence and a humanitarian crisis for residents of Abidjan — trapped in the country’s largest city without food, water and medicine — the ongoing struggle between two claimants to Ivory Coast’s presidency has taken an economic toll.
The European Union has blocked export of cocoa, the country’s leading cash crop, and Alassane Ouattara, whose November election victory claim is backed by the United Nations and other international organizations, is asking for the export ban to be lifted. Ivory Coast is the world’s leading cocoa producer and the strife has rocked the market driving prices up, then down as stability appeared to be returning.
Central banks throughout the region have not been honoring the drafts of sitting President Laurent Gbagbo’s administration. Some analysts warn the upheaval could pose risks for Bank of Africa units in Benin and Niger.
Meanwhile, several foreign-based companies have halted work in Ivory Coast until things settle down. Bloomberg reports that Singapore’s GMG Global Ltd. has halted operations at its rubber plantation and production plant in Ivory Coast. Last week Reuters reported Australia’s Newcrest Mining has suspended operations at its Bonikro gold mine in Ivory Coast because of the deteriorating security situation.