Ivory Coast sells domestic bonds worth $221 million

Ivory Coast has issued $221 million in bonds to finance its infrastructure development as President Alassane Outtara eases into his third term in power.

The auction includes $148.2 million in seven-year bonds at a 5.80% rate and a $74.1 million 10-year bond at 5.9%, said the lead manager from Sogebourse.

The bonds which will be sold in units of 10,000 CFA francs (its local currency), are being marketed to investors across West Africa’s CFA currency zone and will be sold on West Africa stock exchange.

Ivory Coast, the largest cocoa producer in the world, recently raised $1.2 billion in a Eurobond issue that was five times oversubscribed.

President Alassane Outara had promised to embark on wide scale infrastructure projects upon his swearing in for a third term in office after winning elections which were boycotted by the opposition and marred by electoral violence that killed dozens of people.

60 years after gaining independence from France, Ivory Coast recently surpassed Senegal to become Francophone Africa’s largest economy, though years of civil war between the Muslim majority north and the Christian majority south after the death of the country’s first president Felix Houphouet Boigny have limited its economic progress and left the country with ailing infrastructure.

Ivory Coast also initiated its first protected marine area on Monday to protect sharks and turtles from overfishing near the West African country’s coastline.

The marine conservation area, spanning more than 1,000 square miles (2590 square km) off the town of Grand-Bereby, is part of an effort to bring Ivory Coast’s marine conservation efforts in line with U.N. targets, the government said.

Larger than the commercial capital of Abidjan, the area is home to sea-bed creatures, coral reefs and tropical fish, and is important nesting and foraging ground for turtles, including the vulnerable leatherback.

The area will also “undoubtedly boost local tourism, creating jobs for the benefit of the community,” the environment ministry said in statement last week.

It is the first of five marine protected areas that Ivory Coast has pledged to create in its Atlantic waters.

The United Nations is pushing governments to collectively set aside 30% of the planet’s land and sea areas for conservation when they meet next year in China to negotiate a new global wildlife pact. Scientists have said the world may need more than 30% to survive, if not thrive.

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