Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara changed several key posts in the government of French-speaking West Africa’s largest economy yesterday in a cabinet shake-up that follows his re-election last year.
Ouattara won a second five-year term with nearly 84% of the vote in October and dissolved the government last week, vowing to name a more unified, efficient team.
Post-election reshuffles following victories by incumbent presidents are common in the region and are often seen as little more than a formality.
While Ouattara quickly reappointed Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, the new cabinet, announced at a news conference, saw important changes in the areas of finance, defence, justice and diplomacy.
“This government has a combat mission. We need to quickly carry out the instructions given by the President of the Republic and the promises he’s made to the Ivorian people,” Duncan told reporters after the announcement.
Ivory Coast emerged from a decade of political turmoil in 2011 following a brief civil war sparked by ex-president Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to recognise Ouattara’s victory in an election in late 2010.
Now 74, the former high-flying economist has won plaudits for reviving the economy of the world’s top cocoa producer, which has grown by an average of around 9% over the past four years.
Rights groups, however, accuse his government of pursuing a policy of victors’ justice that has seen Gbagbo’s allies prosecuted while alleged crimes committed during the war by Ouattara’s own backers go unpunished.
Among the major changes, Sansan Kambile, previously the government’s secretary general, will now serve as justice minister, replacing Mamadou Gnenema Coulibaly.
Albert Toikeusse Mabri, formerly planning minister, replaces Charles Diby Koffi as foreign minister.
The defence and finance portfolios will continue to be held by Ouattara and Prime Minister Duncan.
The important deputy minister posts were changed, with the head of Ouattara’s national security council Alain-Richard Donwahi replacing Paul Koffi Koffi at defence. Adama Kone, previously head of the treasury, takes over from Niale Kaba as Duncan’s deputy finance minister.
Thierry Tanoh, who served as CEO of Togo-based pan-African lender Ecobank until he was ousted in 2014, will serve as Ouattara’s economic and finance adviser with the rank of minister.
Duncan is a respected member of Ivory Coast’s Democratic Party (PDCI), which was founded in the 1940s. He took over as prime minister in November 2012.
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