Thursday, March 31, 2011


Pro-Ouattara forces

As pro-Ouattara forces captured the administrative capital Yamoussoukro, the US government is not talking much about the situation in Ivory Coast because it is "a house divided within itself".  The Obama government recognized the legitimate presidential winner in the November 2010 election, Alassane Ouattara. However, there is group of Christian Right-wingers who support the defeated Laurent Gbagbo. Why? Because Ouattara is Muslim and Gbagbo is not (hence could be labeled as Christian even though he displays Gaddafi-like behaviors).

This is a country that has an outstanding infrastructure - by developing country standards - with a network of more than 8,000 miles of paved roads, excellent telecommunication services with a public data communication network and internet access. Abidjan - a port city - is considered the most modern in West Africa and the largest between Casablanca and Cape Town. In the 1960s this country's GDP grew by 82% and peaked to 360% in the 1970s! Since the economy is highly dependent on the agricultural sector it is very sensitive to international price fluctuations and weather conditions. So when you add in a civil war in 2002 the country does not seem to have a chance to rise back up from its current single digit GDP growth (3.8% - 2009 est.)

Mr. Gbagbo's refusal to step down after his defeat has caused fierce fighting which has left more than 400 dead and over one million refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. This, no doubt, creates an economic burden to already fragile economies in West Africa threatening the stabilization of the West African trading and economic block ECOWAS.

Christian Right-wingers supporting Gbagbo will have to let go of their "Muslim" paranoia projected in Ivory Coast. The UN has passed a resolution to impose economic sanctions against Gbagbo's illegitimate government. The EU and African groups (not the AU) have already taken economic measures to put pressure on Gbagbo and his cohorts. 

Alassane Ouattara is the internationally recognized president-elect. The economic sanctions and Ouattara's call to boycott the country's main export crop, cocoa (it is the world's largest cocoa producer) -  have Gbagbo's days numbered.  We could see an end to this fiasco in the next few weeks.

Gbagbo has been give the final chance for a "peaceful and honorable exit" by Ouattara. He has not yet responded.

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