Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meanwhile, in Cote d'Ivoire...

With all of the upheaval in Tunisia and now Egypt, I haven't kept you up on the slow standoff in the Ivory Coast between the generally accepted winner of the November elections, Alessane Ouattara, and the incumbent president who is holding on to his position with all his might, Laurent Gbagbo.

The recent news is that last weekend, West African leaders forced the resignation of the pro-Gbagbo governor of the Central Bank of West African States, which "effectively gave control of state accounts to Mr Ouattara, who ordered that two offices of the bank close." Today, the news is that Gbagbo has ordered the seizure of all local bank branches. The BBC reports that "gendarmes and armoured vehicles have surrounded the bank's HQ in the city."

Ouattara has also called "for a month-long ban on cocoa exports intended to increase financial pressure on Mr Gbagbo to cede power." In case you were wondering, "Ivory Coast produces about a third of the world's cocoa." So don't think this doesn't affect you.

This editorial from the Financial Times raises the interesting point that "The repercussions of allowing another African vote to be stolen could be severe in a year when 17 or so incumbents face the ballot box, equally tempted to jettison fair play." I had noticed there were a lot of elections coming up, but 17!

A delegation from West Africa will be meeting with President Obama today. We shall see.

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