Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Appoints Duncan as Prime Minister

Ivory Coast’s former foreign affairs minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, was named prime minister of the world’s biggest cocoa producer a week after the country’s government was dissolved.

Duncan, a 69-year-old economist, was appointed in a decree from President Alassane Ouattara, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, general secretary of the presidency, told reporters today in Abidjan, the commercial capital. He replaces Jeannot Kouadio Ahoussou, who held the top government job since March. Duncan said he will announce ministerial appointments soon, without giving details.

Ouattara dissolved the administration on Nov. 14 after members of the ruling coalition opposed a bill proposing that women have the same rights as men to head a family. The Parti Democratique de Cote d’Ivoire, or PDCI, which backed Ouattara in a November 2010 election, keeps one of its top officials as the head of the nation’s government in Duncan.

Ivory Coast, which produces about a third of the world’s cocoa, is recovering from violence that left at least 3,000 dead following ex-leader Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to cede power to Ouattara after the election. Ouattara, a member of the Rally of Republicans party, was inaugurated in May 2011.

Duncan pledged to make private industry and poverty reduction his government’s priorities and said Ouattara wants to boost economic growth to above 10 percent in 2014 and create jobs for youth.

Cocoa Gains

“There is hope,” he told reporters. “As a result of the work that has been done, growth is back with 8.6 percent this year and 9 percent next year.”

The Ivorian presidency said last week that the lack of support for the marriage-reform bill from some members of the PDCI and from another smaller coalition party, the UDPCI, raised concern about their backing of the government. The bill was passed by lawmakers today, said Guillaume Soro, head of the National Assembly.

Cocoa traded on the ICE Futures market in New York gained for a third day, adding 0.3 percent to $2,464 a metric ton by 1:19 p.m.

Duncan, who was finance minister from 1990 to 1993 and prime minister from 1993 to 1999, has worked at the International Monetary Fund and the Dakar-based Central Bank of West African States, according to a biography on a government website.

The leader is “a good choice,” Souleymane Ouattara, an Abidjan-based economist who is not related to the president, said by phone. “Duncan is a technocrat, a hard worker. He’s more a technician than a politician.”

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