Bloomberg News

Ivory Coast-Burkina Faso Train Runs for First Time Since Crisis

June 21, 2011

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- A train from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou left today for Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, for the first time since the end of the Ivorian post- election conflict, said Paulin Wango, director of the Societe de Transport Ivoiro-Burkinabe.

“There were passengers, export products and equipment inside,” he said by phone. “It is a test to see if effectively everything is back to normal again.”

The railway halted service in March amid Ivory Coast’s 4 1/2-month crisis that sparked violence between supporters of Alassane Ouattara, who won the November vote, and Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent who refused to cede power.

Landlocked Burkina Faso, Africa’s biggest cotton producer, relies on access to Ivory Coast’s ports for both imports of goods and exports of its commodities. More than 60 percent of Burkinabe imports and exports pass through the harbor at Abidjan, said Hyacinthe Ouedraogo, director-general of the inland port at Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second-biggest city.

The road corridor reopened in May, with shipments of goods including fertilizer and cement being received, Ouedraogo said by phone today.

In recent days, “cashew nuts which were stored in Bobo Dioulasso for a long time left for Ivory Coast,” he said.

Ouattara was sworn in as president of Ivory Coast on May 21, following the April capture of Gbagbo.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Ana Monteiro.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Gongo in Ouagadougou via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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