Ivory Coast economic round up 3/2012

I’ve been a bit late with this one, but here’s the weekly round-up of economic news.

– a couple of rankings, neither particularly complementary. According to the Fund For Peace’s Failed State index, Ivory Coast comes in at 11th from bottom with a score of 103.6 – Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and North Korea are all apparently better off. Then today a ranking of 70 of the world’s cities put’s Abidjan as the fourth worst place to live on the planet. Haven’t spent most of the last few years living in ‘the world’s worst cities’ (Brazzaville was ranked as second only to Baghdad when I was there), I’ve learned to take these with a hefty pinch of salt. They’re probably bad news for the country as they create a negative impression (which the government does little to correct due to the fact of having a very poor marketing policy). But for well-informed investors, it is perhaps an advantage because when you know life is actually far better than these lists make out, you can be a step ahead of the crowd.

– As Reuters reported, Ivory Coast paid its first Eurobond payment for two years, which helps restore relations with creditors. The bond seems to be performing well now.

– the tendor for a second container port in Abidjan is attracting many of the big names. CMA-CGM were in the headlines in the week with an investment plan of $250 million.

– Reuters also had an interesting interview with the head of SMB, the bitumen manufacturer next to the oil refinery in Abidjan which serves several countries in the region and is one of the country’s leading companies. Apparently they plan to invest $54 million to expand (though these sorts of interviews always tend to lead on investment plans on it’s never clear how advanced the plans are). I thought it offered some good stats – Ghana has bought 40,000 tons of bitumen on average these last few years and is expecting 70,000 this year. Ivory Coast, for all the road work announcements, is at 24,500 tons. Still, there are big plans for 2013.

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