- Top UN envoy to Côte d’Ivoire has told the Security Council today that a full report on the country's progress and future would only be available once the national identification process has been completed.
The Secretary eneral special representative in the country, Choi Young-jin, said the current progress in identifying citizens of Côte d’Ivoire will allow further advances in the slow but steady consolidation of peace in the West African country, which has been divided since 2002 between the government-held south and an opposition-dominated north.
“The definitive settlement of the question of national identity, which could be reached in a few weeks, would be a historic and strategic advance,” said Mr Choi who is head of the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Peace and stability have been largely re-established in Côte d’Ivoire, to the point of allowing UNOCI to propose the reduction of its military forces by one battalion by March 2009,” he told the 15-member body.
He said the identity question is crucial to settling the Ivorian conflict, explaining the country had received a large influx of immigration over the several decades when it was the most prosperous agricultural producer in its region, resulting in tensions when the economy slowed.
In addition, he told the Council at today’s briefing, that the Ivorian parties agreed in December that the holding of the long-postponed elections, last scheduled for 30 November 2008, would now await the completion of the identification process and the disarmament of ex-combatants.
More than 3.5 million people have so far been identified across the length and breadth of the country, and the process had been nearly completed in the two most important political centres of Abidjan and Bouake, he said.
Very soon, he added, millions of Ivorians would get national identity cards for the first time in their lives, which would allow them to become freely engaged in economic activities and to circulate freely in their country as well as in neighbouring States.
“Perhaps even more significant is the fact that this historic and strategic advance was realized up to now without any major incidents,” he said.
Mr Choi said that the identification operation should be completed in the spring, and he would then be in a better position to report to the Council on the progress of the two other crucial questions for the future of the country, disarmament and elections.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.