Ivory Coast: March 17, 2003


The war is bad for business, wreaking havoc on local companies now faced with closure if the borders do not open up soon. Local firms have lost an estimated $228 million in earnings since the start of the war on September 19, 2002. Road links between Ivory Coast, its neighbors and the vast hinterland have been cut since then (except for the road linking it to its eastern neighbor Ghana). Outgoing trans-border commercial traffic using the remaining land route has plummeted, from an average of 250 vehicles daily to about 20 at present. 

Lucrative markets in landlocked Burkina Faso and Mali are also gone, since they sealed their borders with Ivory Coast. Niger is also cut off. Many countries depending mainly on goods shipped through the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan (West Africas second port) have turned towards other ports in Benin and Ghana. The Ivory Coast, once a former jewel in Frances African empire hailed as a model of free enterprise, has also been crippled by the flood of foreign workers fleeing the country. - Adam Geibel


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