The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) and Ghanaian think tank, IMANI, are collaborating in a discussion to seek solutions to the political crisis in the Ivory Coast and its implications and impact on Ghana.

Leading the discussions will be business analyst Kofi Bentil of IMANI; Dr Kwesi Anin, Research Director the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC); Mr Samuel Atuobi also of the KAIPTC; Mr Ernest Lartey KAIPTC; Mr Yofi Grant of Databank and Mr Samuel Codjoe of the University of Ghana.

A backgrounder to the discussion which is scheduled for the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra on Thursday, March 24, says “The ongoing political crisis in the Ivory Coast that began after the presidential runoffs in November 2010 has significant impact on Ghana’s economy, politics and social life.

“Because of the export ban that was placed on the Ivory Coast, prices for Cocoa, one of Ghana’s major export goods, have jumped 15 per cent. The Ivory Coast normally exports 1.2 m tonnes of cocoa a year. Currently, Ghana is filling a part of the gap whilst reinforcing security at its border to end the increased smuggling of cocoa into Ghana.

“Ghana is a direct neighbour to the Ivory Coast. Thousands of Ghanaians live in Abidjan and its suburbs. On the other hand, numerous refugees from the Ivory have already been registered at the Ghanaian border. Ghana faces problems in managing relations with Ivory Coast. Ghana’s leadership is opposed to military intervention. The Ivory Coast’s current crisis is a significant test of the resolve, leverage and integrity of the ECOWAS and the African Union after Allassane Quattara, the internationally recognised winner of the elections, had called for a West African intervention force to remove Laurent Gbagbo.

“What should Ghana do and what should the ECOWAS and the AU do under the current situation?

“There are many unresolved issues. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) in collaboration with IMANI aims at shedding light on the main problems and possible consequences for Ghana and West Africa. We would like to come out with some tangible solutions.”