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Government seeks AfDB support for $5.8bn tourism plan

Côte d’Ivoire is seeking the support of African Development Bank (AfDB) in developing its tourism industry.

Recall that the Ivorian Minister of Tourism Siandou Fofana had on 25 April 2019 presented a strategy document aimed at making Côte d’Ivoire Africa’s fifth biggest tourism destination from 2025 to the African Development Bank.

The document entitled “Sublime Côte d’Ivoire”, was presented to the Bank’s Vice-President responsible for Private sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Pierre Guislain, at the headquarters in Abidjan.

“We have come to share this new vision for Côte d’Ivoire with the Bank and to secure your help and financial support. We need your help to pool resources to carry this project out,” Minister Fofana said, adding that the strategy will rest on nine new flagship projects and would require a $5.8‑billion investment.

“One of these is the ‘Abidjan Business City’, which will be a central point for holding conventions in Côte d’Ivoire. We do not currently have a conference centre and we do not have a hall with the capacity to accommodate 5,000 people. There is, therefore, a need to move quickly in that regard,” he said.

“We will also have a ‘beautiful beach for all’, with a 550-km coastline that has yet to be exploited. In addition, we will build a 100-hectare leisure park to be a place of entertainment for the sub-region, and develop press trips and seven flagship tourist areas,” Fofana added.

Projects envisaged under the strategy include strengthening of the tourism code, establishing additional tourist attractions with a land reserve of 6,000 hectares, the creation of a bank of tourism-sector projects and redesigning of a tourism ‘one-stop shop’. The government also plans to strengthen security and health care, develop the aviation sector and increase airport passenger flow to three million, and train and certify 230,000 sector professionals.

“All this will drive employment and our intention is to create 375,000 new jobs. From 2025, we plan to welcome four to five million tourists, (there were 3.08 million in 2016 and 3.47 million in 2017), to make this sector the fourth economic pillar of the country and to make Côte d’Ivoire the fifth biggest tourism power on the continent and the joint leader in African business tourism,” said Fofana.

AfDB Vice-President Guislain commended Côte d’Ivoire’s “progress” in the tourism sector, saying it was essential for investors.

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He briefed the delegation on the Bank’s financing instruments for the public and private sectors, highlighting the existence of private investment funds and the Bank’s priority focus on supporting bankable projects for partners with sufficient financial capacity.

“We are glad to have been visited by you and to have learnt about your strategy. This is important. Business tourism needs to be consolidated and your ambitions are good. The African Development Bank has a strong partnership with Côte d’Ivoire, the host country of our headquarters. The Bank finances many infrastructure projects (energy and roads) that are essential to the development of tourism. We also financed the expansion of Air Côte d’Ivoire, whose development is essential for tourism to flourish in the country,” Guislain said.

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