DECLARATION BY THE GOVERNMENT
1. At the time when Côte d'Ivoire is preparing to turn the darkest page of its history since its accession to independence, it is confronted with major challenges. The country must deal both with the organization of general elections open to all, free and fair and meet the aspirations of the Ivorian population through the effective implementation of its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), the outcome of a long participatory process. Moreover, Côte d'Ivoire is half way between the 2015 deadline set by United Nations for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to which it committed itself at the Millennium Summit held in New York in 2000.
2. Indeed, afflicted by six years of crisis, Côte d'Ivoire has been weakened by a break in social cohesion, increasing insecurity, a slowdown in economic development, massive youth unemployment and the spread of poor governance. This was followed by a deterioration of the country's image, suspension of the relationships with the international financial community and accelerated degradation of the basic socio-economic infrastructure that contributed to increase the poverty rate, evaluated at 48.9% in 2008.
3. The Government of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, in the face of this situation, is called upon to find urgent and efficient solutions to these problems, notably in terms of consolidation of peace, reconstruction of the country and sustainable development. Hence, concerned about guaranteeing the welfare of the population, the Government has always made the eradication of poverty an issue of major concern. This commitment has already been expressed by the adoption of the priority orientations of the fight against poverty in 1997 and through the start of the process of development of the PRSP in 2000, as part of the initiative in favor of the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). This process, which led to the adoption of the interim PRSP in March 2002 by the International Community, was unfortunately interrupted by the military-political crisis of September 2002.
4. However, despite the expenses associated with the crisis recovery process, the Government continued to implement the PRSP-I. The resolution of the latter benefitted from the active involvement of the international community through several resolutions of the UN Security Council and the signing of a series of peace accords, the latest being the Ouagadougou Political Accord (APO). This accord, which defined the conditions for a return to lasting peace, has enabled Côte d'Ivoire to normalize its relations with the International Financial Community. The peaceful context also favored the launching of the process of elaboration of the PRSP on the 3rd, 4th and 5th December 2007 in Yamoussoukro. With the PRSP, Côte d'Ivoire has, today, a reference and coordination framework for the economic, financial, social and cultural policies that permits the eradication of poverty.
5. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper aims at improving the living conditions of the population, notably the most vulnerable population groups, through healthy and adequate food, access to potable water, to basic energy services, quality health care services, education, a sound environment and decent habitat. It integrates the promotion and respect of human rights, gender equality and attainment of the MDGs as preconditions for achieving sustainable development. In this perspective, issues relating to vulnerable population infected and affected by major pandemics like HIV/AIDS have been given particular attention. It also offers the opportunity to Côte d'Ivoire to affirm its vocation as a country of hospitality and solidarity. In that regard, the issue of sub-regional integration has been given priority attention and constitutes one of its strategic orientations.
6. For its development, the Government made it a point of honor to involve and ensure the participation of all its components. In that regard, it notes with satisfaction that this participatory approach has helped to address the specific concerns of the population of each of the regions, notably those of the Centre North West (CNW) zones, who severely suffered from the throes of the war. Moreover, the massive support of the population for this approach obviously confirms its interest, its desire and its commitment to assume its responsibility in the fight against poverty.
7. The Government wishes to congratulate the PRSP drafting committee, which left no stone unturned to develop this paper. In the same vein, it expresses its gratitude to the development partners for their constant support and assistance during these difficult times. The Government reaffirms its commitment and its entire determination, as was the case in 2001, before the national and international community, to implement the PRSP with all the principles of good governance.
8. The Government launches an appeal to all the inhabitants of Côte d'Ivoire, to all its friends and all those who have a stake in it, to support the efforts of the country, by contributing to the successful implementation of the strategies and actions contained in this PRSP. It invites particularly all Ivorian men and women to look in the same direction, to combine their energies and to strive for the same cause, that of smooth and sustainable development for a strong and prosperous Nation.
9. For its part, the Government, drawing lessons from previous experiences, indicates its determination to promote the rule of law, to build a model and modern State in the respect of moral and democratic values within a context of social justice, merit, rigor and integrity. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper is presented in this sense as the frame of reference for coordination of all the interventions for meeting these major challenges.
For the Government