Ivory Coast tourism attracts $5bn from Arab investors

A man walks in front of a flooded farm in the village of Yaou near Bonoua, in southern Ivory Coast on October 17, 2019 after heavy rains. (AFP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Ivory Coast tourism attracts $5bn from Arab investors

  • The tourism ministry said “a round table of investors in Dubai” expressed interest In Ivory Coast
  • The initiative, dubbed “Sublime Cote d’Ivoire” (Magnificent Ivory Coast), was launched in May

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast announced Tuesday that Arab investors had pledged $5 billion to support its program to attract foreign tourists to the West African nation.
The tourism ministry said “a round table of investors in Dubai” on Sunday and Monday expressed interest In Ivory Coast and in total, the minister for tourism and leisure, Siandou Fofana, “enlisted from them pledges worth just over $5 billion” (4.49 billion euros).
Ivory Coast’s charm offensive in the United Arab Emirates included a delegation with recently retired star footballer Didier Drogba and A’Salfo, lead singer with the pop group Magic System, who gave two concerts.
The initiative, dubbed “Sublime Cote d’Ivoire” (Magnificent Ivory Coast), was launched in May.
“Our goal is to become the fifth biggest destination for tourism in Africa by 2025,” Fofana said in the ministry’s statement.
If objectives are reached, tourism would account for 12 percent of GDP compared with 5.5 percent today, and jobs in the tourism sector would grow from 270,000, as of 2016, to 365,000.
The economy today is hugely dependent on rural earnings, especially cacao and coffee.
The plan is to attract tourists to the remote west of the country, a region of unspoiled mountains and beaches.


Former Wirecard COO Marsalek’s entry into Philippines forged, justice minister says

Updated 04 July 2020

Former Wirecard COO Marsalek’s entry into Philippines forged, justice minister says

  • Immigration officers who inputted the fictitious entries have been relieved of their duties and face administrative sanctions

MANILA: Immigration records showing Wirecard’s former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on June 23 and departed for China the next day were falsified, Philippines Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Saturday.
Guevarra said the immigration officers who inputted the fictitious entries have been relieved of their duties and face administrative sanctions.
“The investigation has now turned to persons who made the false entries in the database, their motives and their cohorts,” Guevarra told reporters.
Marsalek, 40, was fired as COO of the German firm on June 18 after auditor EY refused to sign off on Wirecard’s accounts. The company, once one of the hottest fintech companies in Europe, collapsed a week later owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a $2.1 billion hole in its accounts that auditor EY said was the result of a sophisticated global fraud.
The missing money was purportedly held in escrow accounts at two Philippine banks, which have denied any links with the Wirecard.
Guevarra said it was possible Marsalek could be in the country, telling Reuters, “Notwithstanding the Bureau of Immigration report, I do not totally discount the possibility that Marsalek may be in the Philippines.”
“We are an island country, and there are backdoors through which undocumented foreigners may slip through,” he said.
Munich prosecutors obtained arrest warrants against ex-CEO Markus Braun and Marsalek on June 22. Braun turned himself in that day, but Marsalek has disappeared and his mobile number is no longer in service.
Both are suspected of market manipulation, false accounting and fraud, while the circle of suspects has widened to the entire management board of Wirecard.
Marsalek’s lawyer has declined all requests for comment.
Marsalek had oversight of Wirecard’s Asian operations, which are at the center of suspicion by auditors and prosecutors of attempts to falsely inflate cash balances, turnover and profit.
Guevarra said earlier immigration records had shown that Marsalek had been in the Philippines from March 3 to 5.