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close this bookThe Courier N° 133 - May - June 1992 - Dossier : Environment and Development - Country Reports - Côte d'lvoire - Papua New Guinea (EC Courier, 1992, 104 p.)
close this folderCountry reports
close this folderCôte d'Ivoire
View the documentDemocracy: Putting principles into practice
View the documentInterview with Prime Minister, Alassane Ouattara
View the documentInterview with Lambert Konan, Minister of Agriculture
View the documentInterview with Professor Alain Ekra, Minister of Health
View the documentThe National Blood Transfusion Centre
View the documentSeydou DIARRA, Head of SACO: From diplomat to industrialist
View the documentOpposition - Running for government means building a credible force
View the documentThe Basilica at Yamoussoukro: The Work of an unfathomable conscience
View the documentEC-Côte d'Ivoire cooperation

Democracy: Putting principles into practice

Democracy is emerging in the countries of Africa rather as independence did. Whereas some states in the 1950s and 1960s had to fight hard for their international sovereignty, others were proffered it, as de Gaulle put it, like a poisoned chalice. This to a very large extent falsified the meaning of independence inside these newly independent countries and led them into making national and international political choices which, even on matters of general agreement such as the anti-apartheid campaign or just the aims and means of economic development, went down different paths.

Democracy has arrived in much the same way. After vainly resisting the 'injunctions' delivered at La Baule, the African States ended up in mourning, with the multiparty system seen as an 'external vision' of democracy and a 'luxury which the African countries could not afford'!

But realism lives on, of course, and the choice between two evils had to be made. It was democracy with aid or the status quo without. They opted for the principles, not always a painless process... and now they have to be put into practice.

Cd'Ivoire was not just standing on the sidelines while all this went on. Despite one or two national and international options which have been major talking points, in the space of 30 years it has contrived to build up a solid, food-producing farm sector and a communications infrastructure network, both en viable bases for sustained industrialisation in the long term. Once a 'second-rank' state in comparison with Senegal, which was the hub of the region in the colonial era, it took a leaf out of Dakar's book and became the promised land for virtually all the peoples living in that part of the world. This was real economic success. It was relative, certainly, in that the income gap between those who were productive and those who were not remained wide, but it was a feather in the cap of three decades of Houphouet-Boigny government - and a help in the mess the country finds itself in today. And the Ouattara Government's new economic policy aims to right the wrongs of misguided management and put the economy back in the hands of the business sector, with privatisation on every front (in banking, energy, farming etc) and clear confidence in private management (see statements by Alessane Ouattara, the Prime Minister, Lambert Konan, the Minister of Agriculture, and Professor Ekra, the Minister of Health).

But as the Prime Minister himself agrees, economics and politics cannot be kept apart, and the ongoing economic reforms will only work if there are the proper political structures to go with them. As far as principles are concerned, the single party system is a thing of the past and the big question now is the day-today running of democracy and the real role of the political parties, the administrative bodies and the trade unions which contribute to that democracy. The democratic good faith of Dr Ouattara cannot and should not be doubted. But how much room does he in fact have for a proper State of law when both the (albeit changing) administration and the (solidly established) army are the product of a regime which put itself above all criticism? How much room does he have with the clumsy manœuvres of ill-structured opposition parties armed with no credible programmes reflecting the profound frustrations of years devoid of democracy ?

The recent troubles in Cd'Ivoire, the Government's questionable way of dealing with them and the irresponsible reactions of the press and the General Secretary of the Party, which have only made things worse, show that there is still a huge gap between the principles of democracy, which have been adopted, and the practice of it-for practical democracy means the separation of powers and the drawing of a firm line between the work of the Government and action by the forces which support it. No doubt the sudden switch to a process accelerated by the international political climate and the nation's very serious economic problems has something to do with this straying from the path. The cost of living in Abidjan and the country in general is very high and, as all over Africa, there are clouds on the horizon, particularly for young people.

However, these economic and political difficulties must be seen in relative terms. This is an enviable situation in comparison with other African States with similar resources, or indeed some with wonderful mineral wealth and oil and apparently brighter futures in store. And when it comes to the basic freedom of ordinary people within its frontiers, this is a country which has a lot to teach others-and not just in Africa either.

Cd'Ivoire's big problem today, over and above the crucial management issue, is how to build a thriving democracy which will safeguard and develop fundamental freedoms and give the nation an economy which creates employment and brings hope to the most vulnerable members of its population, the young people.


Interview with Prime Minister, Alassane Ouattara

'It will take work to reach the level of other countries'

In this interview with the Courier, the Prime Minister of Cd'lvoire explains the actions of the Government, during the current period of political and economic uncertainty.

· Prime Minister, I should like to start with current events, if I may. I should like to ask you to look beyond any judgments made in the heat of the moment about those events, and beyond the violence, open or latent, affecting Cd'lvoire at the moment and say what you see as the root cause of this trouble. Some analyses, for example, suggest that no-one has put any' blame on State powers based on a single-party system, particularly when it comes to the administration, the State media, the army and the police force.

-I am deeply sorry about the violence in February. But I should like to make clear once again that Cd'lvoire has always been a State of law, that it has had a Constitution providing for a multiparty system since 1960, that it has had pluralist elections, albeit in the framework of a single party, since 1980 and that a multiparty system was actually set up in April 1990. So as far as we are concerned, your general analyses don't apply to this country.

'The State is working better and more efficiently'

We completely overhauled the administration a year ago. People now feel younger, the authorities are more dynamic and the private investors who come to see us here agree that the State is working better and more efficiently. Violence is something we deplore, because we set great store by a State of law. We wish to continue to nurture and develop the pluralist democracy set up, as I said, in April 1990-and we shall give it all we've got. But it is also the authorities' duty to protect people and property so the Government will do whatever is required here too.

· What about the other things - the army and the police and the State media:' Have you completely liberalised in these areas too ?

-When it comes to the media, Cd'lvoire is one of the rare countries in Africa south of the Sahara to have two public TV channels without any State interference in programme management.

The army is a professional body whose job is to protect our borders and ensure that the citizens feel safe from the problems which some of our neighbours have had for many years and which have led to a large influx of refugees coming here. So as far as we are concerned, when it comes to the army and the press, the problems you mentioned don't apply to this country.

Relaunching the economy

· What major reforms have there been since you became Prime Minister two years ago ?

-The answer to that could take a very long time, but I shall do my best to summarise. First of all, I was made Chairman of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs in April 1990 and Prime Minister in November of that year, so I have indeed been coordinating the nation's economic management for nearly two years now.

The guidelines of our economic policy are very simple-to get our production apparatus off the ground again despite an international economic and financial crisis which of course has repercussions at national level too. We all know what caused the crisis. The terms of trade declined suddenly. In particular, cocoa and coffee prices dropped by two thirds in three years, depriving us of important export revenue. In spite of that, 1 think our policy has contrived to stop the decline in public finances and even stabilise them, because, in 1990, we cut the public sector deficit by 5% of GDP. I don't know any other country in the world which has managed that. If the industrialised countries manage a point or half a point of GDP, the Group of Seven congratulates them. And we managed five points in 1990 and we think we made almost two or two and a half points in 1991 ... We had to do it too, so that we could strike a fresh macro-economic balance in our budget and our finances.

While applying this policy, we also ran sectoral programmes to make the economy more efficient. We had financing and loans from the African Development Bank and the World Bank to help us here, particularly with farming and energy and other schemes. These programmes went well and recently we overhauled the administration and developed human resources, with technical and financial support from our external partners too. We got one of the loans to improve competitiveness in the financial sector, because the banking system had also been hard hit by dwindling cash flow. It was impossible to cash a cheque at one stage because the banks had no liquid assets and several of them had to close down. But all that is more or less behind us now.

The stabilisation of sectoral restructuring is going to mean we can start moving along the path to strong, lasting growth. That is one of the aims of our current privatisation policy, whereby we can release new, extra resources both to maintain our infrastructure-some of the best on the continent-and go in for new, productive investments. We are now in the active phase of privatisation, a committee is working on a range of dossiers and 1992 will see a series of former State and semi-public firms go private. All that will help get the Ivorian economy off the ground again.

· Boosting export trade is one of the keys to economic revival and growth. What outlets are you aiming for with a strong export policy?

-As you know, cocoa and coffee were more than half the country's export trade until very recently, but they only brought in just over a third of our export revenue in 1991.

We have gone into diversification in a big way with cotton, palm oil and bananas-products also destined for markets in the North, if you like-but at the same time, industry has developed a great deal and we are starting to try and capture regional markets. The countries around us like Ivorian products. We now have an aggressive policy here and the drive for regional integration is a help.

'Competitive with everybody'

· The policy of growth and competitiveness which you want to apply is taking place against a background of poor domestic demand and heavy competition from abroad and particularly from the countries of South East Asia. How are you going to cope with these two handicaps?

-Competition from South East Asia is everybody's problem, not just Cd'Ivoire's. We want to be competitive with everybody, on regional markets and international markets alike. Our idea is to be universally competitive-which is why we have a structural adjustment and competition plan which has gone a long way to freeing trade and distribution. Things are going well here and the figures bear this out, because our exports are still going up in spite of the crisis.

It is growth which will make domestic demand grow. I do not share the view of economists who think demand has to be created by injecting money, because, ultimately, all that leads to is inflation or a deficit in the balance of payments. That is obvious from one or two of our neighbours and countries a little further afield which have an annual inflation rate of 1 000% or 2 000%. I do not know what benefit people with modest incomes may derive from recovery based on demand. As we see it, recovery has to be based on investments and exports.

· Are you counting on national investments first and foremost or on investments from abroad ?

-Savings can be national savings or foreign savings. It doesn't matter. What we want is maximum savings so the investment rate can go up.


· But they still say that Ivorians don't invest enough at home, so perhaps they have no confidence in their own economic situation. You know better than anyone that foreign investors will only invest their money if they think nationals believe in their own Government's investment policy. What do you think about that?

-I'm surprised to hear it, because, while there are foreigners coming here to invest, I can see no reason for Ivorians not to believe in their country. I don't have the exact figures, but we have plenty of small and medium-sized firms, young Ivorians using their savings and running up debts with the local banks to make a go of their businesses.

· So what about the report that the Ivorians have a lot of money abroad and, if only they could spend some of it on investments in their country, the economic situation would improve far more quickly ?

-You hear so many stories. I should like to see the statistics on the Ivorians' assets abroad. I heard that tale in 1990 when I arrived at the head of the Government and asked people to make an effort. 'Listen', they said, 'get them to bring the capital back'. I don't know where all this capital was. But what I do see is that activity is getting going again now and that the privatisation programmes are generating enthusiasm among foreigners and Ivorians alike and I think we should continue along these lines. If by chance there were a mass of resources abroad, I think the economic policy we are following at the moment should provide adequate assurance for all and sundry.

Exports halved in two years

· Where does the Government stand on the coffee and cocoa negotiations which have now reached stalemate ?

-We hope to see an agreement, of course, and we hope to see the work and the efforts of the peasants in the producing countries taken into proper account. But these are negotiations and the producers have to get on with each other. Our position is one of several among the producers and we are trying to find as much common ground as possible so as to improve our chances of success. Fluctuation is behind some of the current problems I have already mentioned. I cannot think of any developed nation which could have had its exports cut in half in two years without experiencing very serious social upheaval.

· Are you for an agreement with or without a quota ?

-These are under negotiation and the important thing is that we have specialists discussing in London. A great deal of open-mindedness is needed to reach agreement and the sooner we reach it the better.

Delays in disbursement

· Have you any criticism of your cooperation with the European Community ?

- We hope people will notice the efforts being made in this country and that the procedures are speeded up so the payments come in time to relieve our problems and back up the drive we are making. I have no special criticism of the Community. Overall, ours is a relationship of a developing country with an industrialised country, in which each is trying to take account of the constraints of the other. Implementation should perhaps be faster. Our experience leads me to say that payments are sometimes very, very slow.

· Is this the Community's fault, do you think ?

-Of course it is, because we ourselves have tried to be up to date with our dossiers for some time now. You can check it with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, where there isn't the same slowness and difficulty we have with the Community.

· So how do you account for the fact that implementation of the 5th Fund is only now coming to an end although the 7th Fund started up nearly' two years ago ?

-Things may well have been slow in the past, but I think we have done something about it.

· Parity of the CFAF, and the Ivorian CFAF especially, is a handicap for some of your exports. Do you think that, from the Community' policy any/e, you will eventually have to review where the CFAF stands in relation to the French franc and perhaps to the ECU, the forthcoming European currency?

-The CFAF is a sound currency. It is the only convertible currency on this continent and even in the developing world as a whole and having a strong currency isn't a weakness, you know, it's the opposite.

· A strong currency in a weak economy'?

-We haven't got a weak economy. With declining terms of trade and in times of soaring prices, we should perhaps have adjusted the parity of our currency. But we didn't. We opted for stability. The terms of trade are deteriorating further at the moment, but we are maintaining the stability of our currency because it means we can contain and even stabilise our prices. That is essential for us here in the poor countries.

We are in a monetary union and the monetary policy is not the business of just one State-even Cd'lvoire.

As I said, we are restructuring the economy and it is going well. France and the international institutions are backing our competition programme geared to improving exports, so things are going well. The matter of parity of the CFAF is a matter for France and the French treasury too and as long as all the parties think the present arrangements are in their interest, I think things will continue as they are. I don't find your questions on the CFAF difficult. I am a banker, as you know, and sometimes it is right to manipulate the exchange rate and at other times it is pointless. Furthermore, in the case in point, it would take a joint decision by France and the 14 African countries making up the franc zone.

· How do you see the present broader political situation in the African countries and, more generally, what do you think about the way they are developing?

-I think it is true that the countries of Africa are coming up against all kinds of problems and I persist in thinking that economic constraints are behind many of them in many places. As you said, economic problems and political problems go together. In our case, if we had not lost between a third and a half of our export revenue and a third to a half of our budget revenue as a result, we would not have had so many problems and would have had better conditions in which to implement our political reforms. So they go hand in hand. The economy has to look up before the political reforms can go any further.

'Reforms will never be successful in a poverty situation'

· Political problems are currently overshadowing economic reform, aren't they? What is the answer? Tackle the economic issues first or find a political basis on which to tackle the economic reform ?

-In running a State, I think, there is no such thing as an isolated subject. Politics cannot be separated from economics and those who have tried to separate them have soon realised it doesn't work. There are countries which have set up what are called national conferences in the mistaken belief that this would solve all their problems, only to find six months later that they couldn't pay their civil servants or their students' grants and that the people who claimed to be going for democracy were on strike. So economic issues too are central to all this and I think it is wise to continue with both together. I am not a partisan of aid. I prefer to see things achieved through savings and trade. Yet the more the industrialised countries realise that they have to give economic and financial support to the poor ones, the better the political reforms will be, because we cannot convince people who are living in poverty if they do not believe in what we are doing and reforms will never be successful in a poverty situation. Many African countries are in total poverty at the present time, alas, but they really have to get it behind them.

· Do you agree with those who claim that the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe will lead to the African countries being marginalised on the international scene because Africa's partners win be looking more to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe than they have done so far?

-We never joined the communist world, as you know. Politically and economically speaking, Cd'Ivoire has always been a liberal country and we believe that we need a competitive economy and that we should go on exporting and developing our trade and be sufficient unto ourselves. What is all this about the marginalisation of Africa ?

I don't know what it means. Does it mean that we want no more aid?

· It's something I have heard plenty of African Ministers say...

-Yes, and I should like to know what it means. Why marginalise? Because there's someone's cake to share? That is not the way we see our national policy. We want to do without other people, like any country which has its self-respect. We want to live from our own national resources and manage our own affairs so as to be self-sufficient in food and trade. Our trade balance is showing a surplus, so, one or two products apart, we do actually produce enough food and we have programmes going to develop the sectors with deficits so we can compete at international level and sell things like everybody else. Talking about marginalisation is always tantamount to holding your hand out. That is no policy of ours.

When it comes to Eastern Europe, perhaps you know that Cd'Ivoire is one of the four or five countries where Russia has kept an embassy. I see these new countries as an opportunity to develop trade rather than something that will marginalise Africa. It will take work to reach the level of the other countries of the world. Interview by L.P.

Interview with Lambert Konan, Minister of Agriculture

Tax imported meat and rice and boost national output

An important programme of development launched by Lambert Konan, Minister of Agriculture

· Cd'lvoire has a problem with coffee and cocoa, its two main agricultural exports, Minister, hasn't it ? How is the big decline in the price of these commodities- and they are the country's most important ones-affecting production ?

-Coffee and cocoa are indeed the keys to our agriculture, as you say, and they are still the main export products despite all our diversification into palm oil, rubber and cotton. We have industrial plantations and we are developing various food products, but it has to be admitted that coffee and cocoa are still very much to the fore and, obviously, the effect of dwindling prices on a country like ours is dramatic. To be more precise, the drop in prices has affected coffee production badly. Output dropped from 284 000 tonnes in 1990 down to only 200 000 t in 1991. When we were forced to make drastic cuts in the prices paid to the producers, it slumped immediately by almost a third, because the farmers could no longer afford to pay the labourers. There was a complete loss of interest and processing was slack, which affected quality. So, since last year, we have been raising the farmers' morale, telling them that it is quality products from them that will get us back to the top and that we must pull ourselves together.

Cocoa is less of a problem because the purchasing price has stayed a little bit above the price the farmers get for coffee.

· The negotiations for another International Coffee and Cocoa Agreement have come up against the demands of some countries which want quotas and others which don't. Where does Cd'lvoire stand on this?

-Listen-I think it is fair to say that some countries are ideologically opposed to the very idea of an agreement. But we here in Cd'Ivoire believe that we need an agreement and we do not wish to discourage the people who produce. We believe that we need an agreement and that, ultimately, a bad agreement is better than no agreement at all, which is why we support the drive to produce one. The Minister responsible for these issues, Alain Gauze, has consulted a lot of producing countries, friends of ours, and he has been in contact with consumer countries too and I think we are seeing a reversal of the trend at the moment. Some of the countries which are ideologically opposed to agreements are shifting their ground a little bit. But what changes things a little bit today, of course, is, as you say, the arrangements for the forthcoming agreement. Some countries have been looking for purely administrative agreements with no economic clauses, but we in Cd'lvoire do not believe that to be efficient. It is something we have tried out in the past. We, like most producing countries, believe we have to regulate the quantities put on the market -which is why the countries in the cocoa producers' alliance went to Abidjan and made proposals involving setting up a system of buffer stocks rather than quotas. That is what the producers suggest. Some of us think the quota system is too much of a constraint and not more efficient, as I have already mentioned. This is where the discussion has stuck for the moment, but I have every hope that we will find grounds for agreement.

One of the shortcomings of our agriculture...

· Isn't export-oriented agricultural diversification having an effect on food production in this country?

-One of the shortcomings of our agricultural system at the moment, I have to say, is the poor performance we are putting up with our food crops. Although we have no famine as such, it has to be admitted that something like rice, now a staple and widely consumed, is a major weakness. For example, we consume more than 600 000 t of rice every year, but we only produce about half of it. We cover 51% of consumption with the 330 000 t we produce and we can see that, with the towns expanding and pushing up rice consumption, because rice is good and it keeps, we have to make a firm, deliberate move to increase our rice output to self-sufficiency level if we want to avoid import bills of almost CFAF 65 billion (at today's rates) for the almost million tonnes of white rice we shall need come the year 2000.

A rice development plan has been put on the Government's desk and the Government is looking at the finance and everything else involved and we shall soon be giving all it takes to re-establish the country's food balance. There will be two sorts of production-rainfed rice accounting for 80% of output and irrigated lowland rice for the other 20%. This is a deliberate choice because, as you know, although you get a better yield from irrigated rice, it costs a lot more in terms of infrastructure. The year 2000 is only eight years away and we want to be self-sufficient and produce a million tonnes of white rice, the equivalent of 2 million tonnes of paddy, by then. We shall be developing 34 000 ha of lowlands, which will account for 20%, and the other 80% will be improved rainfed rice. We have developed 25 000 ha of lowland plots over the past 25 years, let me tell you, and it may not be easy, but we want to manage 34 000 ha more over the next eight or ten years.

· And your imported rice, I imagine, comes mainly from Asia. Do you import any from any African countries?

-I haven't finished answering your previous question on the measures we are going to take yet. I only dealt with production...

Well, we want the decisions on production and importation to be coordinated. Imports have been the business of the Ministry of Trade so far and production has been in the hands of the Agriculture Ministry and there is a certain dichotomy as a result. The statistics aren't harmonised. You might even say there is competition, harmful competition between cheaper, imported rice and the local rice we produce here, which costs more. We want to put a stop to that and we want to see imported products- because make no mistake about the fact that other countries produce rice more cheaply than we can-taxed and part of that tax go straight into financing local production. Those are the main lines of our policy. The tax added to bring the price of foreign products up would go straight into national production. That is a new and fundamental option.

· That's rather like what happens in Europe wits, the common agricultural policy. The tax on anything produced in the Community is low to encourage producers to trade within the common market and the tax on anything brought in from outside is higher...

-That's exactly what we want to do here. It will cost quite a lot to finance too -an estimated CFAF 1 12 billion to set it up and provide the infrastructure, the storage silos, the industrial processing units and so on-and we plan to cover a good percentage of this outlay with domestic revenue, i.e. tax. The rest will be multilateral aid. The European Community, for example, is giving us a lot of help with this.

· Where do your imports come from ? As you know, other African countries produce rice but don't manage to sell it at home or anywhere else in Africa. What do you think?

-The bulk of our imported rice does indeed come from Asia, mainly from Thailand, Pakistan and Vietnam more recently. But you have to realise that very little of the world rice output, barely 5% in fact, is actually marketed and that the biggest producers-China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines-eat almost all they produce and let only a very tiny amount go on the international market. The FAO has come up with some very reliable statistics showing that there could well be a huge shortfall in rice on the international market by the year 2000, which is one of the things behind our decision to produce rice ourselves. If our rice cannot be made competitive price-wise and quality-wise, we could well see ourselves with supplies that are both unreliable and very expensive by the year 2000. And I should add that we import a small amount of rice from the USA, which gives us the benefit of what they call PL480. It comes as aid, in a way, from the States and we sell it and use the money to develop local production. We are talking to the USA at the moment with a view to increasing the amount of PL480 rice we receive and we want to be able to process it ourselves in order to get our considerable industrial facilities working. Our industrial processing potential is now up past the 400 000 l-mark, but we don't use it all.

Is Cd'lvoire cooperating with other African countries on this:'

-There are two kinds of cooperation with African countries. First of all, on the research front, we have an inter-African organisation called WARDA, the West African Rice Development Association, which has its headquarters here in Bouake in Cd'lvoire and concentrates on different strains and growing methods. We also have working relations with Nigeria in the very high-powered Research Institute in Ibadan. Then all the Agriculture Ministers of West and Central Africa recently met in Dakar and then in Brussels to try and lay the foundations for an economic area in which a cereal market would be prominent. I know that Cameroon' for example, is making a success of growing rice at reasonable cost in the northern part of the country with the SEMRY programme in Yagoua and I am planning to send technicians from my department over to Cameroon to see what they are doing there and how we can develop our cooperation in the rice sector.

· Citrus fruit don't get such a good deal from the agricultural programme, do they... ?

-You are absolutely right. It has been neglected a bit, and wrongly, and the development plan we have just set up will be reviewing all that and we shall be running a major citrus growing and processing operation in central and northern Cd'Ivoire. We want to develop all this in conjunction with other things such as rice or livestock. We want modules for the savannah regions combining trees, food crops and fish farming and herding, with small processing units on the spot.

But you are right. Take pineapples. We set up local processing units which can handle something like 120000 t--and there we made the mistake of thinking too big.

Livestock and competition from imports

· The European Community is financing livestock programmes here, but they either don't work properly or could easily fail because there are people who apparently import second-grade meat from all over the world and Ivorian meat can't compete. So the livestock industry does badly. What can be done to protect your emergent animal industry?

-Briefly, the country has developed the animal sector in three stages. During the first phase, from independence to about 1980, we deliberately reduced our production potential under agreements we had with other countries in the subregion, especially those in the Sahel with no resources other than livestock. Cd'Ivoire voluntarily decided not to push up its production here, but to import from the other countries instead as proof of South-South cooperation. But when the climate changed in these countries and they had disaster on their hands and their herds were destroyed, we had to launch a programme to develop our own national production. Our herds increased a lot, by more than 4% p.a., between 1980 and 1986. But at this very moment, as we are moving into phase three, we are still a long way from self sufficiency, as we can cover barely 35-40% of the people's meat consumption. So we still import meat from the Sahel nations, but as you will remember, we have had unfair competition to cope with from meat from other countries-including, alas, the EEC. This has spoiled our production drive. One of the first things I did when I took over as head of this department was to slap compensatory levies on imported meat and use the revenue to develop national production. It seemed a bit Utopian to begin with, but it has had good results-we made almost CFAF I million in the first year, which isn't bad, and we are going to be able to do a lot for animal production with that. One of the big problems today is that we do not seem able to market large quantities even though we are not self-sufficient. This is because the marketing circuits are badly organised. Some of the people running them prefer imports despite the fact that we produce meat of our own. The money we make on the levies is being used to study the marketing system with a view to getting a better deal for the meat we and our sister countries produce.

· You are a long way behind in your implementation of Community cooperation, aren't you, Minister? What is the position in agriculture?

-I think it is fair to say that we get a great deal of help from the Community and that the aid comes through various channels. A few months ago, Mr Frisch came out here and we signed our indicative programme with the Community for the next five years. It comes to ECU 105 million and we have agreed that 50% of it should go into developing the rural sector. We need an enormous amount for rural development and there is no question of the funds not being put to full use. Quite the contrary-we are asking for funds.

Where things are lagging a little is in the schemes financed from EIB lines of credit. These resources are not always used, we have discovered, because there is a shortage of viable projects, but we are going to put this right by submitting proper schemes, particularly timber and agro-industrial ones.

· One last question-Stabex. What do you think about it? Does it get used properly ?

-Thank you for asking. As you know, Stabex, alas, does not cover all the losses we incur, because it only helps with those made on export earnings. The amounts we obtain from it are very helpful and we have always made good use of them in the agricultural sector. But this year, unfortunately, we are faced with problems which our countries fail to understand- and I think I can speak for more than Cd'Ivoire here. I go to Brussels for ACP-EEC meetings every year and I hear my colleagues saying how surprised they are at the problems of getting the Stabex funds moving this year. These delayed payments cause great losses in the cocoa and coffee industries. We lost almost CFAF 600 million on consignments we should have made in October-December 1991 and if we don't get our consignments going in February and March 1992, it will be another CFAF 2 billion. There are clauses which surprise us, because if you read Lomit doesn't lay down all the conditions we are forced to abide by today. This year, let me tell you, the conditions are far tighter than those of other funders, the World Bank and so on. It came as a great surprise and I hope that explanations will be given at the next ACP-EEC meetings.

Interview by L.P.

Interview with Professor Alain Ekra, Minister of Health

'The real problem in the health sector in this country is organising the service and motivating the staff'

Alain Ekra is a doctor and Professor of Cardiology. Before becoming a Minister, he was Head of the Haemodynamics and Echocardiography Department and Deputy Director of the Institute of Cardiology in Abidjan. So he knew all about medicine before he took over the political management of the Ivorians' health. In this interview, he answered questions from The Courier, starting with the poor financial situation of medicine in Cd'lvoire.

- When you hear about medicine being the poor relation of government policy, it is all relative, I think. In comparison with what goes on in the countries around us, I have to say, we ' have made real progress here in Cd'Ivoire. It is all a question of organisation. Cd'Ivoire has indeed built a lot of health infrastructure, but to be honest, things have been handled badly, alas, and now we seem to be lagging behind with our health system. It remains only a relative lag, however, given the percentage of the national budget spent on health-which goes down every year because of the economic crisis, although it is currently still CFAF 40 billion out of a general budget of CFAF 400 billion or so. That is worth remembering.

· What are the best things about the Ivorian health service and where does it fall short ?

- I said just now that the most successful things, nevertheless, are the health and hospital infrastructure in general. You won't find facilities like them anywhere else in Africa.

· But what about the medicine itself?

-I shall come to that. I am talking about the health infrastructure because I want to emphasise the fact that, even if you go into the most out-of-the-way village in this country today, you will find a health post, whereas just after independence, there was nothing outside Abidjan and one or two towns in the interior, Bonake for instance.

'The real problem is that there are not enough means'

But what are we doing in the health service? Training staff, first of all. Just after independence, there were barely 20 African doctors in this country, because colonial doctors did most of the work. But now we have 100 Ivorian doctors practising all over Cd'Ivoire and the same goes for ancillary staff, for nurses and midwives too. We have about 2345 nurses and 1500 midwives. All these staff are available to the various health centres and they do their job well-fortunately for the Ministry of Health. The Ivorian health service enables the staff to be efficient and keep up with progress in modern medicine. The real problem today is that there are not nearly enough means available to the Ministry of Health to make the infrastructure work better. Two years ago, it was disastrous. The hospitals had no medicines and no medicines means no treatment. It is unthinkable to be treated in a hospital with no medicines. But we are putting all that behind us now, I think, and the staff are now less casual and more motivated.

Weakness of the public sector

· Nevertheless, 1 heard from people directly involved with health problems that medicine costs a great deal in this country, which keeps down the numbers who can afford treatment, even for small things.

-That is partly true. I think it comes from the fact that Ivorians got used to free medical treatment as soon as the country became independent. That is the plain fact of the matter and now it is very difficult to make a distinction between those who can pay and those who really can't. Habits are such that no-one wants to pay for health. So it is not quite right to say that treatment is very expensive in this country, because there are plenty of private clinics here and people go to them. Maybe they are insured? Well, no. It isn't always those who have health insurance who go into private clinics. The real problem in the health sector in this country is organising the service and motivating the staff-and I know what I am talking about, because, as I said at the beginning of our talk, I have practised medicine myself, here in the Institute of Cardiology. With the health service as it is today, I should say that plenty of patients might prefer to go to a private clinic and pay and see a doctor-which they are by no means sure of doing in the public service. That is the real problem.

'People have to know what happens to the money they give for their health'

· Bearing in mind all you have just said, what is the current health policy:?

-It is a simple policy. As I said, we found a catastrophic situation, staff who had lost interest, a severe shortage of medicines in the hospitals and other health places and-most important- we found that infrastructure and equipment had been neglected. We wondered about a different approach. But what? Well, we think we have to try to set up a health policy which costs the State less. And that, we think, means starting with the primary structures and taking a greater interest in basic health care. So our policy is geared far more to primary health facilities - but not forgetting curative medicine of a high standard. If we are to make a start on a lasting solution to this country's health problems, then health service users have to be able to contribute to the costs. We are trying to get this idea of responsibility over to the users. They are coming round gradually-but, of course, they have to know what happens to the money they give for their health.

· What might make the people want to make an active contribution to health financing ?

-In Cd'Ivoire, you know, they have always contributed to it through the rural development fund, the system whereby the people pay a third of the costs of building health posts in their villages. Now we have a crisis on our hands, we make sure that these building schemes are done properly and then the Government-and this is the authorities' duty-have to fit them out and provide the staff. We also maintain that the population absolutely must be involved in managing the health posts, by setting up village committees, and soon, with the decentralisation we are organising, they will be able to take an active part in running much bigger structures, such as regional hospital centres and departmental and general hospitals, too. It is vital for the people to participate.

A rapid spread of HIV

· The experts, even national sources, say that the AIDS situation is fairly critical, as the virus has spread fairly rapidly in this country. Why has III V spread rapidly here ? Do Ivorian men and women have any specific behaviour patterns which might explain it?

-First of all, if it has been found that AIDS has spread rapidly in this country, then this country must be congratulated for recognising the fact and saying so. Many countries fail to say what the exact situation is and issue entirely misleading figures. We have set up an AIDS epidemiological system which is very good at detecting the disease and we are now able to say exactly how many cases we have.

Why has the incidence of AIDS rocketed in this country ? For very much the same reasons as in the other countries of Africa or anywhere else. There are traditional problems and there is individual behaviour. Africans have always said that AIDS isn't an illness and that it is being used to prevent them from living their lives... Condoms aren't really accepted yet either. All that has something to do with it. Then, if you look closely, there is the drug problem which has started to affect Africa, especially a crossroads like Cd'lvoire. All these things explain why HIV has spread so fast here.

· So you do not just have the classic AIDS victims who have caught it through sexual contact or blood transfusions, but just as many who have been contaminated through drug abuse as there are in Europe ?

-Absolutely. We are aware of the phenomenon. It cannot be explained otherwise. There is also the fact that Cd'lvoire is known to welcome visitors. Everyone can come and go and that has something to do with it too and it is difficult to control. But it would be wrong to hide the fact that most of the many cases recorded here are Ivorians and not foreigners.

· A very high percentage of your AIDS victims are very young, which could well undermine the country's economic future and not just its economic future...

-Indeed, the age bracket with the highest incidence in both sexes is the 5-39s. This is a disaster and there is no doubt that it could seriously undermine the country's future. We are aware of the fact and we are trying to do something about it with prevention and information. There are regular awareness sessions for young people in Abidjan to try to wake them up to the fact that AIDS is a grave danger.

· Does this campaign include anything in the schools, for example, and, if so, what? am thing particularly about sex education in schools here...

-I have to say no. Sex education is not on the syllabus very early on, but we do bring the parents into it. It is up to the parents in the early stages, I think, and we carry on the good work with the older pupils and in the advanced classes in high schools and colleges. That is the age at which they are made aware of it all. There have been a lot of seminars for practically all the high schools and colleges in the economic capital (Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, where President Houphouet-Boigny was born, being the administrative capital) and in the interior. The job is done, although it has to be admitted that, for various reasons, it is done modestly.

· Minister, what criticism do you have of the various forms of cooperation, starting with Community cooperation, in the health sector ?

-To be honest, there is very little to criticise in our relations with the Community. We ask for aid and our partners and friends give us what they can.

As to cooperation in general, all I can say is that the people who assist us do not force their opinions on us. They would be open to criticism if they did. We get on, but imposing a policy on us I would find rather humiliating-and I have to say that it is a problem I have never come up against in my job here as head of the Ministry. So, as far as cooperation is concerned, I am satisfied-particularly with cooperation with the EEC.

'No threat...'

· The Community does a lot for public health in this country, doesn't it ? Can you summarise the main areas concerned ?

-Overall, I think, we are satisfied with the fields of Community assistance and particularly with the medicines supply operation where Community aid is very effective. As I said just now, when I took over here, there were no medicines in the hospitals, but things are far better now. I have just done a grand tour of western Cd'Ivoire and realised that the people are happy because they have basic medicines. That is thanks to EEC cooperation. The Community is also helping us with the AIDS campaign by improving the blood transfusion facilities-go to the transfusion centre and you can see just what has been done-and with staff training, as you said. It has been efficient in this cooperation and I have to say that we are hoping it will do a lot more, particularly in the health sector. The EEC could also help with our policy of rehabilitating infrastructure. It's more a question of rehabilitating than building these days, for there is no point in putting up vast complexes which are difficult to manage. To sum up, what I should say is that, when it comes to cooperation in the health sector, the biggest and the best comes from the EEC.

· Unlike other African leaders, you in the health sector here do not seem worried about the Community cutting its aid to Africa in general and its health services in particular so it can concentrate on the countries of Eastern Europe...

-I don't think it will. In the beginning, I did think about it, I have to say, but I do not think that the European Community, with the great union soon to be formed, can drop Africa. It would be a shame. My belief is, as the President of the Republic said, that the raw materials are in Africa and the countries of Europe will always need them. They will be forced to help us develop. In my opinion, the Twelve's commitments to Eastern Europe are no threat to the future of relations between Africa and the Community. L.P.

The National Blood Transfusion Centre

Blood donations and AIDS control

As Professor Alain Ekra, Minister of Health and Social Security points out, HIV has spread across Abidjan (2.5 million people) and the rest of the country like wildfire. One of the many reasons for this' says Dr Alain Bondurand, Head of the National Blood Transfusion Centre, is the fact that 'the danger of AIDS has not got home to the people . It is not that they are unaware, he says, but that they just do not take it seriously.

What makes the inhabitants of the capital behave like this towards what is, after all' an unprecedented threat to human life and the continuation of the human race? AIDS is the commonest of the sexually transmitted diseases (14%) and one explanation for what Dr Bondurand has found could well be that, with all the serious economic problems they face, the underprivileged have simply laid down their arms and surrendered to despair.

The health authorities are tackling the disturbing spread of HIV in Cd'Ivoire with more and more nationwide campaigns to inform, prevent and, of course, detect the disease. HIV is being traced through the blood donations at three transfusion centres, two of which are in Korhogo and Bouake.

Blood donors are not paid, but the National Transfusion Centre still has many volunteers and their numbers have increased, particularly since reception facilities for visitors improved and the Centre began paying for their transport (CFAF 500) and offering snacks after taking blood.

We have the authorities and the National Blood Transfusion Centre to thank for the fact that we can pinpoint the AIDS situation in Cd'Ivoire exactly.

Aid from the European Community helps equip the Centre with all the technical resources it needs to perform its tasks. In the course of the year, the Centre will be made a National Public Establishment with its own budget and considerable leeway in its operation-a move intended to make for greater efficiency and better yield, particularly when it comes to the country's new general prices policy.

The change in status should mean that income can be generated through sales- of bags of blood and not blood itself, as organ-trading is to be avoided. L.P.

Seydou DIARRA, Head of SACO: From diplomat to industrialist

Development is everybody's problem and economic policies, however perfect, mean nothing until they are put into practice and there are results to judge them by.

In the Ivorian battle to reshape the economy, there are few lines to draw now between the administrators and the operatives-an example embodied, possibly unintentionally, by Seydou Diarra, Cd'Ivoire's former Ambassador to Brussels, London and Rio de Janeiro, whom many in the Commission and, of course, the ACP Group have had the. opportunity to know and appreciate.

Seydou Diarra went home in 1985, keen to leave the diplomatic corps and move into industry, to 'get some actual hands-on experience of development'. It was his desire to get to grips with fundamentals and improve effectiveness which prompted this agricultural engineer and chemist to spend five months on the shop floor, on the chocolate production lines in Melun (Paris), before he took over SACO, the African Cocoa Company, in the Chocolatiers Barry group.

When The Courier met Seydou Diarra, now Managing Director of Cd'Ivoire's major cocoa-processing industry, at SACO headquarters, he grabbed an overall and ushered us off round the plant to explain the various stages in the chocolate-making process.

The first task he set himself was to reorganise and modernise. This has been done.

The output of all three units has gone up and SACO is now handling 85 000 t of liquor equivalent, 45 000 t of it in the Abidjan Zone 4 plant.

SACO turns out semi-finished products (butter and oilcake), which are exported to the USA, one or two States in the CIS and, of course, Europe (where the Netherlands, France, Italy and Switzerland are the main customers). It also makes finished products, such as choco late (800 t p.a.), much of which goes to other countries in Africa and to Europe and the USA, as well as groundnut paste, which is consumed locally.

The 670-strong staff includes 37 senior employees (technicians and engineers), five of whom are European. The company has a turnover of nearly CFAF 40 billion.

The managing director's conviction that he has taken the right turning is very strong. His chosen career is a difficult one, no doubt, but it enables him to fulfil himself in a different way from before.

As Seydou Diarra puts it, 'the challenge of business is highly stimulating'..,


Opposition - Running for government means building a credible force

Holding the reins of power is no easy task, which is perhaps why, in many countries, especially in Africa, the holders of power have opted for an unassailable single party. But now the hour of democracy has struck, it is no easy task being in opposition either. One of the many reasons for this lies in the nature of the opposition parties themselves, especially in Africa, where they have all the handicaps of being divided, fragmented and lacking any credible political, economic or social plans or programmes with which to back up their criticism of governments with decades of experience behind them.

This is the situation in Cd'Ivoire, although the country has no monopoly, on it. Beyond all the judicial and other impediments which, with its political, advantage and its control of the State machinery, the Government can put in the way of the opposition, the opposition parties are failing properly to gauge the full weight of opinion they have to shift, nor do they suspect how seriously they are handicapped by having no experience of power.

There may well be a genuine, deep seated desire for change in Cd'lvoire, but the plain fact of the matter is that the people want to know just who their would-be rulers are. Whatever the courage and charisma of the leader of the de facto opposition, Laurent Gbagbo, the FPI (Ivorian Popular Front) Secretary General who once ran against Houphouet-Boigny in the presidential elections, he has never had the plans or arguments to win people over. Indeed, one or two of his tactical errors gave the Government a golden opportunity to reduce his chances drastically.

But there is variety in the Ivorian opposition. Take Professor Bernard Zadi, Secretary-General of the USD (Union of Social Democrats), a democracy activist for more than 20 years, first in France, with the FEANF (French Federation of Black and African Students), and then in Cd'Ivoire, where he has been arrested on a number of occasions. How does he see politics in his country now that the multi-party system has been recognised?

'This is the first ray of sunshine in politics here', he says. His big concern is the difficulty of organising the forces of democratic change in Cd'Ivoire. 'Once the parties were recognised, the FPI came straight in with its opposition coordination initiative,' the Professor told me. But, as he made clear, there was no organic basis to it and it only served to underline the inconsistencies between the opposition parties, particularly after presidential elections were announced in October 1990. 'People were confident in the opposition while it was united, by and large, but the crack which the FPI created sowed doubt'-and enabled President Houphouet-Boigny to be elected again. 'The FPI is a populist party based on the charismatic image of Laurent Gbagbo and it takes a hot-headed, slapdash approach to serious, complex economic issues and the running of the State. The crowds which attend meetings and demonstrations are not always militants. Most of them are people with nothing to do, whose enthusiasm is no sorner kindled than it dies down again'. Professor Zadi added. The personal reputation of the leader of the FPI was not high enough to win him the presidential elections. That was something he had failed to understand.

The opposition must be credible if it wants to govern

What the USD wants now is to build up the opposition forces so they are credible and can win the elections and govern the country democratically, Bernard Zadi says. They must learn from what has gone before. They must try to get joint opposition party schemes off the ground again with such things as flexible coordination and proposals embracing every aspect of the economic political and social life of the nation. They must think about how democracy should function, for, he maintains, the conditions for it are not right at the moment. 'There is no separation of State bodies and ruling party at the moment' Professor Zadi says. 'The Government does not yet see the opposition as essential to democracy. Equally, the President of the Republic is not yet seen as the President of all the Ivorians but as the President of his supporters and his party. The opposition does not get invited to the ceremonies of the Republic as it would in any proper democracy'. And then of course there is the problem of financing the political parties in such a way as to avoid any confusion between public monies and spending by the ruling party.

Anything likely to diminish the opposition's credibility must be avoided, Zadi maintains, and the USD indeed spoke out against the scheme which some opposition parties were hoping to use to stop the national assembly from debating the press law, although it was in fact itself against it. The Leader of the USD also said he disagreed with the way the Government had put down the February demonstration in Abidjan and had treated the MPs and political leaders who were, rightly or wrongly, caught up in it. L.P.

The Basilica at Yamoussoukro: The Work of an unfathomable conscience

Everyone has heard, or seen pictures, of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro. This is the building whose consecration by Pope John Paul II on 10 September 1990 prompted a major controversy between supporters and opponents of the Church. Without wishing to join in the debate, which in any case is now largely over, The Courier decided nevertheless to have a look at the edifice which had provoked such strong feelings on either side.

Travelling along one of Africa's most attractive roads, between Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, one reaches the village where President Houphouet-Boigny was born. At the entrance to the village, which is actually a major regional centre, the road suddenly widens and turns into a huge avenue. At the far end stands what is now the most celebrated building in Cd'lvoire-the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. Impressive even at a distance, the Basilica at Yamoussoukro compels admiration and wonder. Both outside and inside, it is beautiful. One feels one must slacken one's pace so that the eyes have time to take in the perfection of a monument whose very reason for existing is to be found only in the unfathomable conscience of its creator. But to that, of course, we have no access ... At any rate, be it the pillars, the altar, the baptismal font, the dome, the seats or the stained glass windows where the President and Servant of God, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, is to be seen amid all the company of heaven, the immediate effect of everything in the church is one which surpasses rational thought.

As soon as one comes out, reality quickly takes hold again, and it is difficult -unless one is moved by the spirit of the place or by God-not to wonder, at the very least, how strong the religious convictions of a man who somehow found the resources to put up such a colossal monument can really be. It is undeniably an architectural triumph.

Perhaps the answer is contained in a sentence to be found in the introductory booklet to Our Lady of Peace. 'God is mad with love for each one of us,' it reads. Could it be that man, too, is mad with love of the godhead or, indeed, of a history which has for so long forged that other, black consciousness? It is not for us to say.

Whether you are for or against Our Lady of Peace, though, is now beside the point. The Basilica has become a place where large numbers of visitors, believers and non-believers alike, come together. So, in fact, has the town of Yamoussoukro, with its fine avenues, prettier in parts than those of Abidjan, its schools, its five-star hotel, its African Library, its street souvenir sellers and its high prices, which are in inverse proportion to the incomes of Cd'Ivoire's people... And not forgetting the crocodile pool !


EC-Côte d'Ivoire cooperation

by Francisco da CAMARA S.C. GOMES

Cd'lvoire and the Community have been cooperating for many years, ever since the pioneering era of independence and the establishment of the European Development Fund.

Great mutual understanding over three decades of combined effort has made these privileged relations what they are today.

Cd'Ivoire has been closely involved in the gradual extension of Community cooperation and its range of instruments under the Yaounde and then the Lomonventions, both as an active negotiator in the AASM and the ACP Group and as a partner in the application of successive policies, and it is clearly aware of the full potential of these varied and complementary instruments, although it is also realistic about the fact that this exemplary cooperation has its limits. The constructive, permanent dialogue which has been firmly established reflects peaceful acceptance of the level of interdependence reached, great mutual frankness... and the occasional impatience.

The fact that agricultural exports are decisive to the Ivorian economy and exports are the driving force of the development model adopted in the first 10 to 20 years of independence (and even before) could have made the importance of financial and technical cooperation merely relative, because everything hinged on the terms of access of the output to the Community market, the workings of international commodity agreements and the use of financial machinery to stabilise export earnings. In fact-notwithstanding the substantial benefit which Cd'lvoire has had from the trade arrangements, product agreements and Stabex-financial and technical cooperation has never been neglected.

Community development aid has had a solid impact, largely because the successive focal sectors have been chosen in the light of the needs of the moment. Initially, the (first) European Development Fund concentrated on social infrastructure (50%) and economic infrastructure (38%), with the building of schools, health facilities, water supplies, roads, railways and so on.

With Yaounde II and the 2nd EDF, priority went on rural modernisation (72%), diversifying cash crops being the main idea behind the oil palm plan. This move towards rural production gained ground with Yaounde II (3rd EDF), when 66% went into rice development and other agricultural schemes. Lom (4th EDF) saw economic infrastructure projects disappear completely from EC-Cd'lvoire cooperation, to the benefit of rural development (44 %) and social development (40.5%), with diversification catered for by rubber plantations and food security by rice and livestock.

The priority on rural development was clearer still under LomI (5th EDF), when 57% went on agricultural projects, with 22% for social infrastructure and 9% for microprojects. Diversification was still there with oil palms and fruit growing, while food security was catered for by further extensions to the rice crops, plus marketing support for the cooperative movement. LomII (6th EDF) would have developed along the same lines had it not been for the serious economic and financial crisis which struck the country in the 1980s, forcing it to run an adjustment plan and ask for Community aid to be reoriented to provide direct support for the stabilisation policy.

Cd'Ivoire handled this unprecedented crisis, which had a great deal to with the drop in its export prices, with corrective measures on a large scale. The 6th EDF national indicative programme (ECU 82 million) had rural development in the broadest meaning of the term as its focal sector, with special priority on self sufficiency in food, settling young people in rural areas and developing the savannah region. It was 46% committed when the National Authorising Officer asked the Commission to reorient the aid to provide a sectoral import programme as backing for the stabilisation and economic recovery policy.

So 50% of the 6th EDF indicative programme-ECU 41 million-was switched and used to finance oil imports, which yielded counterpart funds to cover budget spending targeted on farming and public health. In agriculture, Cd'Ivoire's contributions could be paid to projects cofinanced with the Member States and the World Bank.

In public health, all health posts, centres etc were resupplied with basic medicines under a health policy reform which put priority on primary health care, rationalised hospital management and a reduction in the cost of medicines.

The other half of the 6th EDF programme was spent on the original priorities, which were, mainly, village oil palm plantations (ECU 20.85 million), the cattle and sheep development support programme (ECU 11 million) and the three micro-project programmes (ECU 3.76 million). Commitments from the 6th EDF programme totalled more than ECU 80 million in March 1992.

Total community resources to Cd’Ivoire, Ecu million - situation as of 6 March 1992

The national indicative programme for the period of the first financial protocol of LomV (7th EDF) was signed on 11 July 1991. The Government produced a summary of the stabilisation programme designed in 1989 (this was positive overall, with a large cut in the primary budget deficit and reforms running in various sectors) and set up a medium-term economic programme in that year too. The 7th EDF indicative programme reflects a desire to overcome the structural and cyclical problems of the economy. The focal sectors are:

a) rural development (50% of programme resources), with schemes to step up productivity, augment and diversify production and improve the marketing of food and cash crops, the protection of the environment, improvements to sectoral policy programming and support for the cooperative movement and the professional organisations;
b) the urban sector (30%), with decentralised management schemes to improve urban centres of economic and social development. These will be mainly on the coast, as a complement to other funders' operations, as part of the development programme devised in conjunction with the municipal councils. They will provide support for the drive to improve the management potential and boost the resources of the local authorities, improve the urban standard of living and environment and develop economic activity;
c) human resources (10%), with particular reference to health. Community aid will offer support for the human resource development programme, the programme to improve national planning and programming potential (Ministry of Health and Welfare), the basic medicines and cost recovery programme and the setting up of permanent training and information facilities for nurses;
d) a 10% reserve not specifically allocated can be used to finance schemes to back up the regional programmes and provide support for priority schemes following implementation of the indicative programme.

ECU 105.5 million is available for this 7th EDF programme. ECU 90 million of it is in the form of grants and a first allocation of ECU 15.5 million as specific resources from the structural adjustment support facility-to which will no doubt be added a significant amount in non programme aid, in particular for Stabex. Lomon-programme resources are large-far in excess of the amounts of the indicative programmes (see table)-and the biggest single instrument is, of course, Stabex, accounting for transfers of more than ECU 0.5 billion to date.

With LomV, Stabex now helps in two ways - by supporting various sectors which have suffered losses in export earnings and, macroeconomically, by neatly fitting into the series of resources which can be mobilised to support structural adjustment. In Cd'lvoire's case, there is a mutual framework for obligations (signed on 21 December 1991) fixing the uses involved in this new approach. The Stabex 1990 transfer was intended to help run the country's structural adjustment policy (supported by Bretton Woods and the main funders), back up its reorganisation of the coffee and cocoa sector and support diversification, in particular into cotton and rubber.

This short account of trends in EC-Cd'lvoire cooperation, from its origins down to the present day, clearly reveals a constant concern with helping the drive to develop the country and revive its economy in the right way at the right time. The current priorities

-export competitivity, agricultural diversification, environmental, protection, decentralisation and improvement of local authorities, structural adjustment (particularly the social aspects), health service reform and reorganisation of the cocoa-coffee sector- have coherent backing from all the instruments of Community aid.

Nevertheless, these instruments can only help the country correct the endogenous causes of its serious economic and financial crisis. They cannot replace the national effort.

Cd'lvoire is also working on an international plan to get better terms for debt and commodity prices, the two big external causes of crisis. It has a great deal of faith in what the Community can do to help here, particularly when it comes to getting the International Cocoa and Coffee Agreements going again.

F. da C.G.