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President Ouattara Promises to Reduce National Unemployment Rate

Allan Oulate

President Outtara of the Ivory Coast

After a remarkable landslide victory in the polls, Ivory Coast’s president told the media that  he hopes to reduce unemployment by 2 million during his second term in office, backing a campaign promise that opponents said he failed to fulfill during his first term. Things seem to be shaping up internally, as more citizens give Ouattara their vote of confidence.

President Alassane Ouattara also told The Associated Press that he had already started reducing unemployment in the agricultural sector, these measures are feasible in the removal of illegal cacao plantations, which vastly increased in the country’s agricultural industry in the midst of crippling civil tensions. Ivory Coast remains one of the world’s top producers of cocoa, and various mandates surrounding its agriculture industry have been made to protect the nation’s output.

Critics note that Since Ouattara came to power in 2011, the cocoa-producing powerhouse has experienced economic growth, and this is where the vote of confidence stems from. Ouattara campaigned on the impressive rebound, but critics also counter with the debate that citizens have not benefited directly from his policies,  and many Ivorians complain about the high cost of living in the country, especially within the capital cities. Notable decisions within the administration have been made, one of which is the establishment of a chocolate  factory, one of the first in the nation.

“Over the past four years I have reduced unemployment by two million people,” he said, adding that a good part of that was in the agricultural sector. “Certainly in the next 5 years we should be able to reach this target to decrease unemployment by another 2 million.”

Ouattara was a favorite going into the Oct. 25 presidential poll and easily won re-election, facing a divided opposition that failed to gain traction. His opponent, before his exit from the media, reminded the country that the elections should serve as a reminder of the fractures still in place within the country.

Alassane vowed to promote justice and reconciliation, though critics have said that such post-conflict reconciliation has been minimal, and justice one-sided.

After Ouattara defeated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo in 2010, Gbagbo’s refusal to leave office led to months of fighting that killed more than 3,000 people and dragged on until Gbagbo’s arrest in April 2011. Gbagbo is set to go on trial next year for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Ouattara said that everyone will be judged.

“In this country, there will be no impunity, no discrimination. All those who committed severe crimes are being pursued and they will be judged,” he told AP.

The Ivory Coast president said he would also focus on changing the constitution with a referendum next year, and that he can guarantee a two-term presidential limit.