Ivory Coast Says Al-Qaeda Raid Won't Upset Economic Progress

  • President Ouattara boosts security, vows to help allies
  • World's largest cocoa producer rebounded from decade of strife

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said he increased security after Islamist militants attacked a beach on Sunday and that he won’t allow the incident to impede the nation’s economic momentum.

“We won’t allow these terrorists to halt our progress towards economic development,” he said in a televised address on Monday. “I’m asking everyone to not give in to fear. You can continue with your daily activities as our forces control the situation and security is ensured throughout the nation.”

Ouattara pledged to boost economic growth to 10 percent annually through 2020 after winning re-election last year, hoping to put an end to almost a decade of strife in the 2000s that drained investment and stunted growth. Militants linked to al-Qaeda killed at least 18 people on Sunday in the first attack in Ivory Coast by the group.

The militants have pledged to widen their targets to French interests in West Africa from their usual base of fighting in northern Mali, where they battle soldiers from France and United Nations peacekeepers. The group has killed more than 65 people by attacking hotels in Mali, Burkina Faso and now Ivory Coast since November.

The economy of Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, has rebounded under Ouattara after almost a decade of conflict in the 2000s and a disputed election in 2010 that left thousands dead and forced the country to default on its foreign debt.

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