Ivory Coast’s Ouattara appoints Achi as prime minister

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara appointed a close confidant, Patrick Achi, as prime minister on Friday after the West African country’s second prime minister died in less than eight months.

Achi, Ouattara’s former chief of staff, has served as interim prime minister since Hamed Bakayoko, 56, was hospitalized this month with cancer. Bakayoko died on March 10.

Achi’s nomination was announced in a brief statement by Ouattara’s current chief of staff, Fidel Sarassoro.

Bakayoko’s death was another twist in a period of political turmoil for the Ivory Coast.

Ouattara was elected and won a third term in October last year after the death of his then Prime Minister and elected successor, Amadou Gon Coulibaly.

Opposition to Ouattara’s candidacy, which relied on a controversial interpretation of constitutional time limits, led to unrest before and after the vote that killed at least 85 people. It was the country’s worst violence since a civil war in 2010-2011.

Achi and his government will need to address social tensions and take steps to support the economy as it recovers from the effects of coronavirus. Economic growth slowed to below 2% in 2020 from 6.5% a year earlier.

Achi, 65, studied in Paris and joined the government in the late 1990s with the Ivory Coast National Electric Company, where he served as chairman of the board.

(REUTERS)