Cote d’Ivoire: UN Mission aids agricultural sector as mission comes to an end

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Cote d’Ivoire has recieved a boost of $10 million dollars from a United Nations agency. The fund is to assist the West African country’s agricultural sector recover from the devastation caused by the armed rebellion in 2002 that crippled and divided its state capacity. 86,000 farming-dependent families were affected by the rebellion.

The donation was made after the president of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Mr. Kanayo Nwanze and Ivorian ambassador to Italy Bah Jeannot Zoro Bi, singed an agreement in Rome. IFAD has financed eight projects in Côte d’Ivoire worth over $76 million since the nation’s civil war.

The agency responsible for financing agricultural development in poor countries would help Cote d’Ivoire boost rice, manioc (cassava) and yam production in the most vulnerable rural communities.

According to reports, thousands of Ivorians have suffered as a result of the war that destroyed the agricultural sector in the country once hailed as a model of stability. Cote d’Ivoire is world’s leading cocoa producer.

Cote d’Ivoire had slipped into the kind of internal conflict that has plagued many African countries. In September 2002, a military mutiny escalated into a full-scale rebellion, voicing a discontent of northern Muslims who felt they were being discriminated against in Ivorian politics.

The UN intervened with its peacekeeping mission troops in 2004 known as UNOCI. The Mission helped ensure a ceasefire and paved the way for peace and democratic elections to bring the rebel-controlled north and government-controlled south together. Thousands had been killed in the conflict.

Despite the efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission, including a ban on diamond exports, travel bans and freezing the assets of some leaders, Cote d’Ivoire remained tense and divided. French forces and UN peacekeepers patrolled the buffer zone which separated the north, held by rebels and the government-controlled south. The UN mission is mandated to stay in the recuperating country until 31 January 2010.

The UNOCI hold as its mission, a mandate to re-unite the country, disarm militias, restore state authority across the land, register voters and organise elections.

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