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Abidjan's port still dead to the world

Text by Jean-Baptiste Marot

Latest update : 2011-04-14

With the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo, Ivorians are hoping for a swift return to normality. And that means a return to work at the port of Abidjan, the country's economic hub. FRANCE 24's Jean-Baptiste Marot takes a look around.

After being closed for over a week, the Autonomous Port of Abidjan (PAA) has now been open for three days. But while it’s still the country’s biggest entry and exit point for merchandise coming to and from west Africa, it has certainly known better days. Dozens of containers line the quays, but there are no ships to take them away.

The doors to the port were closed as the battle between Ouattara and Gbagbo forces in the country’s main city intensified. Today, with the notable exception of UN peacekeepers, there is practically no-one about.
 
Not everyone is pessimistic. A local finance journalist says that activity in the port could pick up quickly: “It really all depends on the return of economic activity in the country and an improvement in security conditions”.
 
And while there might be little going on, at least everything remains in its place. The port was lucky not to fall victim to the looting that ravaged the rest of Abidjan as pro-Ouattara forces, backed by French and UN troops, carried out assaults on Gbagbo’s main positions.
 
Tens of thousands of tonnes of cocoa are sitting in the port, and with the European Union having lifted sanctions Friday, it’s just a case of waiting for the ships to arrive.
 

 

Date created : 2011-04-12

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