UPDATE 1-Ivory Coast projects 6.5% GDP growth in 2021 despite power crisis

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ABIDJAN, June 16 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s economy is projected to grow by 6.5% in 2021, up from 2% last year, despite an ongoing electricity supply crisis, the government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Growth in the world’s top cocoa producer slumped in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic activity is currently being slowed by severe power outages.

But government officials have said the economy weathered the pandemic better than expected thanks to strong fundamentals. Prior to the pandemic, Ivory Coast recorded some of the fastest economic growth rates in the world.

“Despite the energy crisis, economic growth is estimated at 6.5% by Ivorian experts against 6% by the IMF,” government spokesman Amadou Coulibaly told reporters on Wednesday, referring to the International Monetary Fund’s projection.

Electricity in Ivory Coast has been rationed to users since late-April due to a drop in generation capacity.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Cooper Inveen; Editing by Aaron Ross and Bernadette Baum