ICoast leader pledges seven pc growth but coy about re-electionTue, 18 Jun 2024 17:48:03 GMT

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara told parliament Tuesday that he was aiming for a seven percent growth over the next three years in the world’s top cocoa producer but did not spell out if he would seek a fourth term next year.Ouattara, 82, has been called upon by the ruling party to run in the 2025 election but has not spelt out if he will run.”On the economic front, Ivory Coast continues to demonstrate its resilience after the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite international and sub-regional impacts, the growth rate should average 7 percent or more per year over the period 2024 to 2027″, Ouattara said in his annual address to parliament.He made no mention of his political future for the next presidential election — expected to be held in October 2025.Finishing up his 45-minute speech, he said: “I’m told you’re a little disappointed. That’s for next time.”There was also no mention of a possible amnesty for one of Ouattara’s main opponents and possible candidate for the election, Laurent Gbagbo, who is illegible to run in the next election over a judicial conviction.Gbagbo, the West African nation’s president from 2000 to 2011, was the first former head of state to face a crimes against humanity trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague where he was acquitted in 2019.The 78-year-old was however ordered jailed for 20 years in 2018 for his role in the looting of a bank. He was pardoned in 2022 but still cannot run for public office. “Many members of parliament, like myself, have been disappointed,” said Michel Gbagbo, deputy for his father’s party, the African Peoples’ Party – Ivory Coast (PPA-CI).He added: “The debate today is whether President Gbagbo is on the electoral roll, or not, and whether Ouattara is planning, like all African dictators, to serve a 4th term.”