France gets Ivory Coast relief package through IMF

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With an immense support from France, the Ivory Coast has been set Debt Free by the International Monetary Fund. The sum of $3 billion out of the country’s 12.8 billion debt record has been canceled. An armed rebellion in 2002 split the nation in two and it has since struggled to recover.

The decision to relieve the Ivory Coast of some of its debts is to allow the country plan towards development and growth.

On Friday the 27th, of March 2009, the IMF agreed to lend Ivory Coast $565m, on condition that poverty reduction and financial transparency will be shown by the government.

Experts in the IMF say that the country will benefit tremendously from the reform and if the relief package is well utilized, more packages will follow. Hopes are however on the low as the government and the main political players have struggled to find a lasting political solution.

In September 2002 a troop mutiny in the Ivory Coast escalated into a full-scale rebellion, with the plotters using it as a platform to voice the discontent of northern Muslims who felt they were being discriminated against in Ivorian politics.

Armed conflict reports claim that thousands were killed during the civil unrest and although the fighting has stopped the country is still tense and divided. French and UN peacekeepers patrol the buffer zone which separates the north, held by rebels known as the New Forces, and the government-controlled south.

Peace talks brokered by other African nations and France have been opposed by some of the rebels as they seek to reunite the country. Under a 2003 peace deal the government is to disband loyalist militias and pass political reforms. In return, the New Forces are to lay down their weapons.

With numerous Peace pacts in place, opposing political and military factions are expected to respect the agreements on ground.

Ivory Coast president, Mr. Laurent Gbagbo has thanked France for its role in the IMF’s initiative to bail out heavily Indebted Poor Countries. The president called it a welcoming development. Mr. Laurent Gbagbo, who was elected president in 2000 for a five-year mandate, was given a seventh successive year in power in November 2006 under a UN plan to find lasting peace.

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