Donors pledge more than $15 billion to fund Ivory Coast development plan

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast secured more than $15 billion in financial pledges at a donor meeting in Paris on Tuesday, nearly double the amount it was seeking to help fund an ambitious five-year development program, according to a government statement.

It had been seeking nearly 4.5 trillion CFA francs ($7.9 billion) from bilateral donors and multilateral institutions to fill an expected funding gap.

Ivory Coast has recovered from a 2011 civil war to boast one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and is aiming to invest a total of about 30 trillion CFA francs in the next four years to foster economic development and reduce poverty.

“The declared amount of contributions has reached ... $15.4 billion ... demonstrating the full adhesion of the international community (to the development program),” the statement from Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said.

The World Bank doubled its financial commitment to Ivory Coast to $5 billion compared to the previous four-year development plan, it said.

Since emerging from a decade of political turmoil following the 2011 conflict, Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, is increasingly attracting foreign investors.

Under the stewardship of President Alassane Ouattara, who won re-election in a landslide victory in October, its economy has expanded by an average of about 9 percent in each of the past three years.

But the former senior International Monetary Fund official is under pressure to spread more of the wealth that has created in his second, and final, five-year term.

Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Louise Ireland