African Development Bank's (AfDB) vice-president for agriculture, human and social development Beth Dunford, led a mission to Cote d’Ivoire’s (Ivory Coast) capital Yamoussoukro, to assess the progress on a bank-supported agro-industrial cluster in Bélier
AfDB contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states. The bank has provided US$121mn in financing the Bélier agro-industrial cluster. This represents 80% of the project cost, the first agropole in Côte d'Ivoire. The project aims to revive the agricultural sector and help achieve food self-sufficiency in a region that has experienced 30 years of economic decline despite having great potential.
The mission, that included director general for West Africa Marie-Laure Akin Olugbade and bank directors for Agriculture and agro-industry as well as for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Martin Fregene and Atsuko Toda, respectively, was received by Côte d'Ivoire’s minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Adjoumani Kobenan. Also present were Kaba Nialé, who serves as minister of Planning and Development and as an African Development Bank governor for Côte d'Ivoire, as well as Augustin Thiam, political governor of Yamoussoukro district.
Project officials said Bélier has achieved 44% of its work plan and is expected to be complete by December 2022. Work is complete on 542 km of a planned 700-km track and officials to the mission that land preparation for rice cultivation and market gardening is also nearly complete. The project has already repaired 100 manual pumps and constructed 50 boreholes and 30 latrines. This hydraulic infrastructure will serve more than 180 villages with nearly 628,000 people, including an estimated 310,000 women.
“The agriculture business is developing well. We are working to revitalise the promising sectors of rice, corn, cassava and vegetable cultivation, piggery, and fish farming,” said project coordinator Valerie Acka.