Oscar T. GAGUY – Administrative Secretary of the CSCI (Côte d’Ivoire)
In Paris on 24 July 2012 a bilateral agreement cancelling Côte d’Ivoire’s debt was signed between Côte d’Ivoire and France as the outcome of the point of completing the HIPC initiative. This agreement, called “Debt reduction and development contract” (C2D), saw the cancellation of debts of 600 billion CFA francs for Côte d’Ivoire and a donation of 1,900 billion CFA francs to finance development projects and to reduce poverty. C2D is a mechanism to cancel debts of Official Development Assistance (ODA) by refinancing through subsidies, maturity dates of the debt reimbursed by Côte d’Ivoire.
I. The position of the CSCI in the process of debt reduction and development
Citizens’ participation is a promise of development. In fact, according to the work of the 3rd High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which took place in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008, CSOs were admitted as major actors by the side of state actors and development partners. This trend was reaffirmed in Busan in South Korea, in November 2011, at the 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.
Buoyed by these gains, the Ivorian Civil Society Convention (CSCI) is implementing the Independent C2D Monitoring Project in Côte d’Ivoire in cooperation with the Plateforme Française Dette et Développement (PFDD – French Debt and Development Platform).
II. An assessment of the first year of independent monitoring carried out by the CSCI
The CSCI presented its first annual report for the year 2017 which observes that the majority of projects monitored were completed or are being implemented. Nevertheless, it states that major challenges can imperil the success of projects. It is a question of the transfer of skills to officers of the State and to decentralized communities as well as the durability of projects. For the Coordinator of CSCI and the Spokesperson for the French Debt and Development Platform, “the responsibility of the Ivorian State is to earmark in its budget, more and better than today, all the financial means to ensure the viability and durability in the long term for everything that is being developed and will be developed thanks to C2D. Our shared wish is that social infrastructures are handed over as operational and so will be immediately effective and long-term.”
In addition, the CSCI and the French Debt and Development Platform are equally concerned by the level of re-indebtedness of the country. In fact, the objective of the HIPC initiative, which resulted in the current C2D, was to provide debt relief to countries in crisis and to make their level of debt “sustainable”. And yet, “Ivorian debt, at more than 40% of its GDP, even if it remains at a level considered reasonable for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), has exploded in recent years. Foreign debt in particular has increased 202% since 2012 (after the cancellation of its debt within the framework of HIPC) and it has been observed that it has recourse increasingly to Eurobonds and to bonds payable at non-concessional rates. This increase in the level of indebtedness of the country, within the general context of massive re-indebtedness in sub-Saharan Africa, as recently highlighted by the IMF, is obviously a serious question, a real warning”.