IVORY COAST – Ivory Coast has launched an agro-industrial project in the Northern region of the country, aimed to transform the agro-industrial sector and stimulate inclusive agricultural growth, thereby reducing poverty and the country’s food imports.

The project is financed to the tune of 87.6 million euros (US$89.6m), through three loans i.e., 42 million euros (US$42.9m) from the African Development Bank, 12 million euros (US$12.2m) from the African Development Fund – the concessional financing window of the Bank Group and 33.6 million euros (US$34.3m), granted through the Africa Growth Together Fund, a fund co-financed with China.

The initiative has also benefited from the financial support of several other donors i.e., the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) dishing out 72.2 million euros (US$73.85m); the OPEC fund issuing 51.8 million euros (US$52.9m) and 6 million euros (US$6.14m) from Saemaul Foundation for globalization.

It targets the rice, corn, mango, cashew, shea sectors as well as animal and fish products, in particular installation of a serviced central hub (roads and various networks, electricity with green energy and solar lighting, sanitation, one-stop shop, waste recycling, etc.) to accommodate large industrial units and related services.

According to Agribusiness Communities News, five aggregation and service centers will be built to serve as sites for storage, secondary packaging and primary processing of agricultural products.

The project provides for the construction of several dams: six hydro-agricultural dams to irrigate 5,000 hectares of cultivable land and twenty agro-pastoral dams to supply vegetable plots,

It will cover the regions of Bagoué, Hambol, Poro and Tchologo, which have approximately 2.16 million inhabitants, or 9.4% of the Ivorian population. Agriculture and livestock represent 60 to 65% of economic activity.

Some 400,000 people (half women and young people) are expected to directly benefit from the Agro-Industrial Pole Development Project in the Northern Region, and see their incomes increase.

This should reduce unemployment and underemployment and, conversely, strengthen food and nutritional security.

The project, which will generate 25,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs, will indirectly benefit some 1.2 million people.

Ultimately, it will contribute to boosting and diversifying agricultural production in Côte d’Ivoire, with processed agricultural products available in greater quantities.

The incomes and quality of life of beneficiary populations, especially women, will also be sustainably improved, and the creation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be facilitated – almost a third of which are owned by women entrepreneurs.

The AfDB has further granted the West African nation a loan of €151.18 million to implement its Emergency Food Production Plan.

The plan is also supported by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the tune of €68.14 million.

This funding will enable Ivory Coast to increase its national production of rice, maize and cassava, to cope with soaring food prices.

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