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Ivory Coast Sets Up Commerce Court to Boost Business Confidence

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, will open a special court to hear legal complaints from the country’s business community in a bid to improve investor confidence in the West African nation.

“Our role will be to give hope so investors feel more comfortable putting their money in Ivory Coast,” Francois Komoin, president of the court, said in Abidjan, the commercial capital where the body will be based, today. Improving the business climate in the West African nation is “something crucial for the recovery” of the country, he said.

Ivory Coast, the biggest economy in West Africa’s monetary union, has forecast growth of 8.2 percent this year after a 4.7 percent contraction in 2011. The country is recovering from post-election violence last year that left at least 3,000 people dead after ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to Alassane Ouattara.

“It is important that investments be secured by the law and by judges charged with implementing it,” Komoin said.

The court will start operating on Oct. 1 and comprise about 75 judges. About 15 of them will be professional judges while about 60 will come from the business community, Komoin said. Judges haven’t been named yet, he said.

The court of commerce in Abidjan is a pilot project, Komoin said. The country should open more courts in the future, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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