Ivorians raise eyebrows over huge contracts given French firms
Eyebrows are being raised in Ivory Coast over the awarding of a grand multi-million Euro road and bridge construction project to yet another French Company.
As WADR’s Abidjan Correspondent Suy Kahofi reports, the French company Bouygues, which already monopolizes several key sectors of the Ivorian economy, is said to have won the latest procurement bid for road and bridge construction.
Current Ivory President Alassane Ouattara enjoys a very close relations with France, a far cry from the frosty ties that had existed during the reign of his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo, who always vowed to resist “French imperialism”.
This latest infrastructural project doesn’t only give the construction of the facilities to the French firm, but it puts Bouygues in charge of its management for a period of over 30 years.
The French company signed a 232 million Euro contract, which is about 152 Billion CFA Francs to build a 6.4km-long bridge and a road close to Ivory Coast commercial capital, Abidjan.
This project, which is one of the largest in the reconstruction process, will include three lanes road linking the Valery Giscard-d’Estaing highway interchange in the Marcory district.
Once this project is over, it will really ease the traffic congestion in a big city like Abidjan, where commuting between the two parts of the city is a real problem.
About one hundred thousand vehicles will go through this road, which construction is scheduled to start in October 2012 for a period of 25 months.
Even though the project is vital, the anti French feeling which has been deeply rooted in some people in the Ivory Coast, is coming back again. And this puts the Bouygues Consortium in the middle of what some people in Ivory Coast see as the symbol of French economic imperialism.
The 30 years management contract looks like the everlasting French imperialism.
Several questions are being raised by many Ivorians: “Why the debt reduction scheme didn’t allow Ivory Coast to negotiate a better contract for Ivoirians? Why can’t the billions promised by Alassane Ouattara fill the gap? Could the Nederlands, Switzerland, the US, Japan or even China have pegged the price this high?”
Ivorians are requesting answers to these questions.
Thirty years of management of a bridge, what is the French and Ivorian cooperation agreement hiding at a moment, when a controversy over the last cooperation and military agreement between France and Ivory Coast.Tweet