On 21 April local elections took place in Côte d’Ivoire, registering a 36.4% turnout and generally displaying the biggest win for independent candidates. Despite the boycott of ex- president Gbagbo’s party, a number of violent clashes took place across the country between rivalling candidates’ supporters as well as between activists and police. Even though the course of the elections failed to live up to the expectations, violence did not spiral out of control. In addition, a recent UN report states that radical groups – both rebel groups backing ex-president Gbagbo as former rebel militia who supported current President Ouattara in the post 2010-elections conflict and integrated currently into the national army - are running military smuggling networks and parallel tax nets across the country. Besides terrorising the population, these activities deprive the country from much-needed revenues.

Impact on country risk

Even though the country is obviously still struggling with security concerns, Côte d’Ivoire has been registering strong growth numbers during its post-conflict recovery thanks to a revival of mining and agriculture. However, in order to mobilise private investments, confidence has to be restored and the risk for fresh instability needs to be curbed. President Ouattara faces significant challenges in reconciliation, disarmament, demographics and socio-economic issues. For the sake of durable reconciliation, it is crucial that militias - on both sides - who committed atrocities during the conflict are brought to account.

Analyst: Louise Van Cauwenbergh, l.vancauwenbergh@credendogroup.com