Cablegate: Ambassador Addresses Association of International

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R 211328Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Ambassador Addresses Association of International
Visitors at Cote d'Ivoire Anti-Corruption Conference,
September 12, 2009

1. Description of activity: On September 12, 2009, U.S.
Ambassador to the Cote d'Ivoire Wanda L. Nesbitt offered
remarks at a conference on development and corruption
organized by the Association of International Visitors of Cote
d'Ivoire (Association Ivoirienne des Visiteurs Internationaux
aux USA or AIVI-USA). The conference, which was held in
Bouake, the "capital" of the former rebel group, the New
Forces, marked the third stop in an anti-corruption campaign
caravan the association initiated last spring. The Bouake'
conference focused on "transparent public procurement
policies." Earlier conferences were held in Daloa and
Yamoussoukro, on "justice and corruption" and "education and
corruption" on May 22nd and 27th, 2009, respectively. Bouake's
mayor and representatives from the Prime Minister's office and
the prefet were present on the dais and offered welcoming

2. Date of activity: September 12, 2009

3. Program justification / Objectives: AIVI is an IVLP Alumni
Association dedicated to sharing their U.S. experience with
the Ivoirian population. In conveying the anti-corruption
message in the ex-rebel stronghold of Bouake, the AIVI hopes
to reduce the development gap between the North (ex-rebel
zone) and South (governmental zone) by promoting transparency
and good governance values.

4. MSP themes: Democracy, Transparency and Good Governance,
Economic Growth

5. Activities / Impact / Result: the Bouake step welcomed two
special guest speakers: Mrs. Dje Bi Dje, lecturer on Public
Markets at the Faculty of Law at the University of Cocody,
Abidjan, and Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt. The speakers'
presentations discussed various aspects of corruption and the
obstacles it places on the path to development and prosperity.
Mrs. Dje Bi Dje remarks focused on the Government's need to
institute a public procurement policy that would be fair and
transparent and lead to a competitive, merit-based process. In
her opinion, the Government has not always followed such a
policy. While agreeing with the substance of Mrs. Dje Bi Dje
remarks, the Ambassador additionally identified corruption as
a threat to a social welfare.

The audience was made up of women's associations, student
organizations, youth, non-governmental organization members,
journalists and local administrative authorities. The event
sparked a lively discussion during the question-and-answer.
While acknowledging the need for widespread action in fighting
corruption, a woman in the audience suggestion that action
should start at the grassroots level, by educating children at
an early age that corruption is both morally wrong and
detrimental to society. Ambassador Nesbitt stressed the
important role society must play in rewarding those who are
honest over those who are not.

The AIVI Executive bureau reported that since the Caravan
began they have received calls and messages from people
congratulating them on their work and at times, requesting
them to visit their region. As a result, AIVI has decided to
take the anti- corruption message to the remaining fifty three
regions in CQte d'Ivoire in the coming months. PAS plans to
encourage AIVI to apply for an ECA Alumni grant to support
their important work.

6. Quality of USG support: Excellent. The PAS Information
Resource Center (IRC) provided printed materials to the
audience. More than three hundred handouts, including IIP
ejournals, pamphlets and books were distributed. The recently
arrived Deputy Public Affairs officer attended the Bouake
conference to underscore PAS? interest and support for the
activities of the alumni association.

7. Media: The conference was widely covered by the media.
Fraternite Matin reported that the Association of the
International Visitors of Cote d'Ivoire (AIVI-USA) - had
called on Ivorians to fight corruption. "The only way to fight
corruption is to denounce it," the paper quoted Ambassador
Nesbitt as saying. "Nesbitt is waging a war against
corruption," said a another report in Nord-Sud Quotidien.
Other papers ran similar stories.


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