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World Bank gives funds to rebuild Ivory Coast

The World Bank has announced an extensive funding package for the Ivory Coast, to help rebuild the nation following the Ouagadougou peace pact struck in March.
The Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved an International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$120 million in support of the Ivorian government's crisis recovery program, which is being implemented within the framework of the Ouagadougou Peace Accord.

Ivorian Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, a former rebel leader, concluded the accord 4 March 2007 in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, with President Laurent Gbagbo.

This was in a bid to reunite the country and pave the way for elections which are aimed at re-establishing lasting peace in the West African nation.

The agreement sets out a series of measures to deal with the political divide in the Ivory Coast, which has been split between the Government-controlled south and the rebel Forces Nouvelles-held north since 2002.

“The Post-Conflict Assistance Project (PCAP) will be a critical component of the peace process, supporting key elements of stabilization in Côte d'Ivoire,” the World Bank said in a statement.

“The project seeks to sustain the peace momentum generated by the Ouagadougou Peace Accord by contributing to the national identification process and by improving economic opportunities and access to social services for conflict-affected communities and individuals.”

The project will notably provide funding for:
· the economic (re)integration of ex-combatants, youth associated with armed groups and of youth-at-risk in general;
· the national identification process, including the modernisation of the national civil registry, which is a pre-condition not only for free and fair elections but also for restoring equitable access by the whole population to social services;
· the rehabilitation and re-equipment of social and economic infrastructure in the communities most affected by conflict, and
· the strengthening of social capital throughout the country.

The United Nations Security Council on Monday renewed the mandates of the UN Operation in Cote d' Ivoire (UNOCI) and of the French forces which support it, until 1 January 2008.

The UN mission and the French forces backing it, whose mandates expired on Monday, will "support the organisation in Cote d'Ivoire of free, fair and transparent elections," the 15-member council said in a resolution adopted unanimously.

The resolution requested UNOCI to "support the full implementation of the Ouagadougou political agreement," which was signed in last March by rival Ivorian parties.

It called for the protection of women and children and urged the concerned parties to ensure the protection of civilian populations.

The council also said it would review the mandates of the UN mission and the French forces by 15 October "in light of progress achieved in the implementation of the key steps in the peace process."

Two days after the Ouagadougou Peace Accord was signed, South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki received a copy of the landmark Ivorian peace agreement from Ivory Coast Special Presidential envoy, Madam Sarata Ottro-Toure in Pretoria.

South Africa, at the request of the African Union, has been mediating to defuse the crisis and help the Ivorians establish peace in their country.

In January, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad attended the 12th International Working Group (IWG) on Cote d'Ivoire in Abijan.

This was in the context of South Africa's commitment to assist the leadership and people of the Ivory Coast find a political solution to their current challenges.

Article published courtesy of BuaNews

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