Côte d'Ivoire: Vulnerable households and small businesses find relief from government program to ease Covid-19 headaches
For Hortense Koné, the manager of a small restaurant in Abobo Belleville, north of Côte d'Ivoire’s economic capital Abidjan, paying her water and electricity bills became a headache last year when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions hit her business.
But a decision by the Ivorian government to cover water and electricity bills for households in the lower income brackets has finally brought her some relief.
“With the lockdown, the curfew and the ban on opening bars and nightclubs to counter coronavirus, frankly, I had no more income. So, nothing to survive on in this situation. I couldn’t pay my water and electricity bills,” recalls Hortense. “When the state announced its decision to pay for me, it took a big thorn out of my side.”
Stanislas Kouassi, a cabinet maker in Attecoubé, in the Abidjan district, has a card-reading electricity meter. “Thanks to the social program set up during the pandemic, I received a recharge of 5,000 CFA francs (€7.6 euros), or 63 kWh of energy,” he said. “This gave me continuous electricity for two months...The program has really helped me.”
Hortense and Stanislas are among the many beneficiaries of a social program implemented by the government in Côte d'Ivoire to cushion the population from the effects of the health crisis and strengthen the resilience of the economy. Côte d'Ivoire has benefited from financial support from the African Development Bank, whose Board of Directors last June approved a loan of €75 million in the form of budgetary support as part of the Covid-19 response support program.