Cote d’Ivoire: construction and transportation opportunities as post election recovery kicks in – By Songhai Advisory LLP
Songhai Advisory LLP is a bespoke business intelligence consultancy providing critical insight on market opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The storm that was Cí´te d’Ivoire’s turbulent post-election crisis- which brought about the death of over three thousand people and the internal displacement of a million- has finally calmed. The new political dispensation under the guidance of president Alassane Ouattara, the former Deputy Manager of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is on the move.
Months of political deadlock resulting from a battle for power between Ouattara and his political nemesis and former president Laurent Gbagbo in November 2010 came to something of a denouement in April 2011, when Gbagbo was captured and Ouattara was inaugurated a month later. But the effect on the economy was stark, with Finance Minister Charles Diby stating that the economy contracted by 5.6%, as a number of small and medium-sized enterprises buckled under the strain and the banking sector ground to a near halt during the worst stages of the crisis. This is a country seeking to restore its position as a formidable power in the West Africa region and indeed Africa in general. The business community however requires strong assurances that insecurity issues are being tackled for investments to really start flowing in.
Insecurity, a major impediment to business confidence, is probably Cí´te d’Ivoire’s biggest challenge at present. Parliamentary elections are set for the end of this year, and the ambitious timetable is drawing in concern about the government’s ability to control the militias in Abidjan, the West of the country and in the North.
The government’s charm offensive encouraging investment in certain sectors, particularly in housing, is gaining some attention. Two Spanish firms have recently concluded a deal with the Ivorian government for the construction of homes some 13km outside of the commercial capital of Abidjan in Grand Bassam. Addressing the nationwide housing shortage is one of the key priorities of Ouattara’s government. The country is faced with an estimated shortage of 400,000 housing units, set to increase by 40,000 annually in the urban areas and 20,000 in the more rural zones.
According to Vincent Coupet, The French housing group Lafarge’s director for export, a market leader when it comes to housing and construction, is poised to construct 300 homes along the Bingerville road in Abidjan. Iran is also keen on investing in the Ivorian housing market. At a meeting in mid-October with Iranian traders and businessmen in the Iranian province of Golestan, the emissary to Cí´te d’Ivoire Reza Noubakhti outlined his country’s proposal to construct 3000 housing units in the country. The West African nation is also short of buses, and Iran is reportedly to sending over 600 to help plug the transportation gap. There are also reportedly plans for the Iran Khodro Company IKCO to establish a manufacturing plant in Cí´te d’Ivoire to make diesel-run buses.
|A View From the Ground|
|“The housing frenzy which is gripping Cí´te d’Ivoire is viewed by the government as a very good signbecause they have promised investments at a good price. And if it comes to pass, then that’s good forthe Ivorian population because housing is very expensive”.A resident of Abidjan.
“Leisure is a sector which has been devastated for such a long while now, to such a point that our children
must content themselves with playing in the bush. There are also no merry go rounds The two state-run swimming pools which were created during the time of Houphouet-Boigny are in such bad condition now. Also the cinemas have been bought by a number of evangelical churches and have been turned into places ofworship. Thankfully, football tournaments are still there for the meantime to engage our youth”.
A young father living and working in Abidjan.