Mr. President of the Independent Electoral Commission;
Members of the national and local media;
Ladies and gentlemen;
It is a pleasure to be here today to participate in a handover ceremony with the Independent Electoral Commission.
As the presidential electoral process is currently underway with the voter registration phase, it is essential for the national electoral body to effectively manage and disseminate elections-related information to the Ivoirian people in an accurate, transparent, and timely manner. Good communications will help build the population’s confidence in the overall electoral process and solidify the legitimacy of the next president for the next term.
The United States is very optimistic that the election will be peaceful, inclusive, and credible and that it will confirm that Côte d’Ivoire is on its way to returning to its place as a major driver of regional growth and development. Nevertheless, the presidential election will be a significant test of the durability of the progress made since the end of the 2011 post-electoral crisis. With GDP growth rates around eight percent, the country is poised to regain its place as an economic engine for West Africa, making the Ivoirian economy attractive to both domestic and foreign investors as it seeks to become an emerging economy by 2020.
The United States Government has supported multiple efforts to support the Ivoirian government during this electoral period. Our electoral assistance includes work by our implementing partners, NDI and IFES. Both structures have a long history in supporting the electoral system and the democratic process in the world. NDI and IFES, two well respected Ivoirian institutions, have been providing the technical expertise necessary to complete the reforms in cooperation with the authorities in charge of elections. In addition, the USAID’s Office of Transition Assistance is providing assistance to reinforce the CEI’s information management efforts by helping to make information available to the general public, in particular voters and election candidates. This work will help to create a better understanding of the electoral process and by extension may increase confidence in declared election results.
This provision of communications equipment, in addition to technical support in the form of archival and information consultants, is valued at approximately 40 million CFA. It will help stand up the CEI’s central archives and allow voters and candidates to consult original documentation for evidence of voting patterns. At present, there is no centralized and digitized store of elections documentation, so the general public cannot consult these documents. The creation of this center will remove a major impediment to the ability of the CEI and support the public in its right to access and scrutinize official records.
Mr. President of the Independent Electoral Commission, Honorable Commissioners,
The United States supports Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to organize peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections in 2015. We urge the Independent Electoral Commission to communicate effectively and regularly with the Ivoirian people to encourage as many eligible voters to the polls as possible. The Government of the United States of America stands with you and reaffirms its commitment to support this beautiful country of Cote d’Ivoire on the path of peace, democracy and development.