Côte d'Ivoire: threatened by terrorism, Kafolo dreams of development
In Côte d'Ivoire, the northeastern region bordering Burkina Faso has been battling jihadists for almost two years. The army is heavily deployed in the area, but the government also intends to focus on local development to cut the ground from under the jihadists' feet. Prime Minister Patrick Achi is expected in the area, and in particular in Kafolo this Saturday morning, to announce a funding plan for the region's youth. An economically depressed region.
Kafolo had its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s when the Kafolo Lodge attracted tourists who came to safari in the vast adjoining Comoe Park, which is the size of the Ile de France. But growing security concerns have taken their toll on the hotel business even before the 2020 attack. And since then, what remains of the local economy (agriculture, fishing) has suffered from insecurity and fear.
Kafolo is not refusing the government's help, on the contrary, says youth president Traoré Lamissa. "What is certain is that we want projects to work, to have money, and then create jobs for young people, we will be happy."
The village chief, Bamba Tiémogo, pleads for the tarring of the track that runs around the park from the north and along the border with Burkina Faso. He hopes to be able to tell the Prime Minister. "I think it's the seventh minister who comes, it reassures us a lot. Not only is there security, but what we are still waiting for is the road system. We would like Kafolo to be an administration, a sub-prefecture, a town hall, a police station...that the State be present. The other concern is that we have a water problem. The government should think about that, in relation to a castle.
Bamba Tiémogo is convinced. Development will keep the jihadists away. In June 2020, an attack on an army compound in the village of Kafolo killed 14 people, all soldiers. The same village was attacked again in March 2021. Five people were killed, including two soldiers. Other attacks or IED explosions are regularly reported in this area.