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Vol 38 No 25

Published 19th December 1997

Côte d'Ivoire

Doing the business

With the country deep in debt, what matters now is business and its political links

Helped by a mini-economic boom and political strong-arm tactics, President Henri Konan Bédié is looking more comfortable in power four years after the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Yet the government is unlikely to allow the most credible opposition politician, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, to stand for the presidency in 2000. Two forces could challenge that determination: the weakening of France's resolve to back its friends in Africa and the vast debt which overhangs both the government's finances and the nation's prosperity.

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