Cablegate: Chinese Engagement in Cote D'ivoire; Few Potential Areas For

DE RUEHAB #0160 0430936
R 120933Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Chinese Engagement in Cote d'Ivoire; Few Potential Areas for

REF: STATE 10152

1. (SBU) On February 4, Pol/Econ Chief met with Lu Pang,
Economic Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy, along with
first secretary Luo-Fa Yang to discuss reftel issues. Both men
said that China has very few commercial activities or assistance
programs in Cote d'Ivoire, citing difficulties in dealing with an
uncoordinated government where each Ministry is run by a different
political party, and where there is no "primary channel" with which
to deal.

2. (SBU) In terms of development assistance, China has a small (2
million renmimbi or $300,000 annually) program to provide
anti-malarial drugs to Cote d'Ivoire. Pang noted, however, that
this program was in jeopardy, as WHO guidelines now advised against
using some of the drugs that China had been supplying. Instead,
the GOCI has suggested that the Chinese help equip some hospitals,
a request that they are considering, according to Pang. In
addition, China has a small rice cultivation program in Kikotou,
and is building a hospital in Gagnoa.

3. (SBU) According to statistics from 1996-2006, Chinese
investment in Cote d'Ivoire is the automobile, wood, mechanics,
pharmaceutical, textile, and fishing sectors, and totals around USD
30 million. Pang reviewed this list, confirming them all except
for a 2006 chemical plant project. He said there had been no new
investments since 2006, although many have been under discussion:
"The process is too long." One of their last major projects was
construction of the "Maison des Deputes" in Yamoussoukro (for the
use of the National Assembly members) in 2006, according to Pang.
Asked about rumors that the Chinese had been given a contract to
construct the third major bridge in Abidjan, Pang laughed and said
that it was news to him, noting that he suspected the French would
wind up building it. With regards to a proposed 750 MW
hydro-electric dam, Pang replied that the Chinese Export Import
Bank and the World Bank have been discussing this project for three
or four years, but have yet to finalize all the details. He said
the GOCI was not an obstacle to the project, however.

4. (SBU) In a early February meeting with her Chinese
counterpart, the DCM was told that the Chinese government is taking
a wait and see attitude about further engagement in Cote d'Ivoire
until after Presidential elections (Note: which have been
postponed six times, and which are currently at an impasse due to
political wrangling. End Note). Given USG bilateral sanctions
against the GOCI, chances for any meaningful collaboration between
our two countries until after elections take place appear to be
slim to non-existent.

5. (SBU) Comment: Given the fact that the USG currently has
bilateral sanctions against the GOCI, coupled with a rather
lackluster Chinese involvement in Coted'Ivoire, it does not appear
that there is much scope for collaboration between o

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