1. Our Ivorian authorities would like to thank the Board, Management and Staff for the Fund’s continuous support to their development agenda. Fund engagement has been instrumental in Côte d’Ivoire’s turnaround since 2011. Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) concluded with the Fund in November 2011—and subsequently extended by one year—in support of the implementation of the 2012–15 National Development Plan (NDP), Côte d’Ivoire made significant inroads in achieving macroeconomic stability, improving economic governance, sustaining strong growth and reducing poverty over the last five years. In addition, the ECF-supported program contributed to catalyzing external financing both from donors and the private sector and helped the authorities achieve the goals set forth in the 2012–15 NDP. Buoyed by public and private investments mainly in infrastructure, growth averaged 9 percent over the 2012–15 period and important strides were also made in accelerating poverty reduction and strengthening socio-political stability.
2. Looking ahead, Côte d’Ivoire has adopted a new National Development Plan (2016–2020 NDP) aimed at embarking the country on a path toward emerging-market status by 2020 and halving poverty. Under the 2016–20 NDP, priority is given to the need to strengthen further institutional quality and good governance, promote structural transformation of the economy, consolidate the macroeconomic framework, and improve the redistribution of the benefits of growth in order to halve the poverty rate. The requested arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) will support the NDP objectives, including by helping to create fiscal space for further enhancing the infrastructure base, make growth more inclusive, and foster economic transformation. The authorities are of the view that a program supported by a blend of resources from the ECF and EFF arrangements will help Côte d’Ivoire to continue reform implementation, notably with a view to strengthening further the business environment as well as the energy and financial sectors.