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In the presence of Côte d’Ivoire Prime Minister Patrick Achi, Team Europe today announced several actions through which the country's European partners will support its post-COVID economic recovery and the strengthening of its health and solidarity system.

As in many other countries, the pandemic has negatively affected the private sector — including the informal sector — in Côte d’Ivoire, and has highlighted the need to strengthen the health system. To overcome the COVID-induced economic slowdown, Côte d’Ivoire has set up several funds making it possible to grant low or zero-interest loans to beneficiary companies and establish a sustainable system of social safety nets to directly benefit the most vulnerable people. At the same time, the government has identified the need to improve health services to be better equipped to face health challenges.

The European Union, European Investment Bank (EIB) and Germany — as Team Europe — want to support the efforts of Côte d’Ivoire by providing over CFAF 100 billion.

Germany and the European Union have announced the payment of €54 million (CFAF 35.4 billion) — €24 million (CFAF 15.7 billion) from the EU and €30 million (CFAF 19.7 billion) from Germany — as budget support. This will enable funds dedicated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates to be used to provide short-term access to liquidity on favourable terms, including via low or zero-interest loans.

In addition, the European Union and Côte d'Ivoire signed the finance contract for budget support of €5 million (CFAF 3.3 billion) aiming to support the Solidarity Fund. This support will help the Ministry of Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty to put in place social safety nets to directly benefit vulnerable people.

The EIB and the European Union also announced the deployment of the new African Health Diagnostics Platform in Côte d'Ivoire to support the health system, in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This new initiative will mobilise EIB loans to governments and the private sector for major investments making it possible to improve laboratory diagnostics in several African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire. The implementation in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative will be assisted by the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD). This initiative, which aims to attract more private financing to African countries, will help improve the quality of care for low-income populations and is a response to potential future epidemics.

These announcements by Team Europe were made at the same time as the visit to Côte d'Ivoire of EIB Director of International Operations Maria Shaw-Barragan and Director for Africa at the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA) Sandra Kramer.

The European Union has supported Côte d’Ivoire since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the country. The “solidarity caravan” provided immediate assistance to over 11 000 vulnerable families from the beginning of the pandemic. The European Union then redirected some of its financial assistance towards supporting the health and economic response plan of the Côte d’Ivoire government. This included the provision of medical equipment and serological tests and technical assistance amounting to CFAF 629 million.

Team Europe — the European Union, the EIB and the EU Member States — also supported the COVAX scheme, which has provided Côte d’Ivoire with 3 million vaccine doses. Together with the Minister for Health and Sanitation, the EU and EIB representatives also visited a COVID-19 vaccination centre in Cocody on Thursday.