On 12 January 2016 Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara announced a Cabinet reshuffle that was broadly anticipated after Cabinet collectively resigned on 6 January 2016 to support Ouattara’s expressed intent to reinvigorate government and improve efficiency.
Coming close on his near 84% electoral dominance in October 2015, Ouattara changed some core posts while keeping numbers at 36. There will be new ministers at Justice (Sansan Kambile), and Foreign Affairs (Albert Toikeusse Mabri) and fresh deputies at Finance (Adama Kone) and Defence (Alain-Richard Donwahi).
Importantly there is demonstrable continuity in the reappointment of Daniel Kablan Duncan as Prime Minister (last week already) while Duncan’s parallel retention of the Finance portfolio – and Ouattara’s continued tenure at Defence ‒ will boost economic optimism and security sector stability.
Similarly, by renaming Ministers Abdourahmane Cisse (Budget), Jean-Claude Brou (Industry and Mines), Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly (Agriculture) and Adama Toungara (Oil & Energy), key stakeholders in various sectors should be reassured that Ouattara is back in command after post-election unrest claimed 3 000 lives.
A steady hand is vital given that foreign direct investment (FDI) constituted 69% of total investment last year. Bolstering the good news story, the Centre for the Promotion of Investment in Ivory Coast (CEPICI) insists recent fears of more political volatility are unfounded.
A lot is riding on peace and Ouattara’s promises to grow industrialisation and local processing capacities (especially of Cocoa) with various reforms and infrastructure plans already off the ground.
With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in agreement that a sense of stability is in the air it has forecast an optimistic 8.6% growth again this year and all eyes will be on the new Cabinet to perform.