Ivory Coast prime minister in hospital in France for tests

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara is a close friend of Prime Minister Patrick Achi.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara is a close friend of Prime Minister Patrick Achi.

Ivory Coast Prime Minister Patrick Achi, 65, has been admitted to hospital in Paris for medical tests, two sources close to him said.

Achi, a close confidant of President Alassane Ouattara, was named prime minister in March following the death of the West African cocoa producer's second premier in less than eight months.

The sources said Achi was being treated for "severe fatigue" suffered since his appointment in March. Achi replaced Hamed Bakayoko, who died of cancer at 56. Bakayoko had replaced Amadou Gon Coulibaly, who died following cardiac issues last July.

A government spokesman was not immediately for comment.

In the cases of both Gon Coulibaly and Bakayoko, government sources told reporters in the weeks before their deaths that they were suffering from fatigue.

Achi is seen as a potential successor to Ouattara, who won re-election to a third term in October. Ouattara had designated Gon Coulibaly to be the ruling party's candidate but decided to run after Gon Coulibaly died.

Achi is a key figure in discussions to resolve a large power generation deficit that has strained electricity supplies in urban areas for several weeks.

He visited France for health reasons last week but left prematurely to participate in discussions about the power problems, the sources said. He then returned to Paris on Tuesday, cancelling a tour of hydroelectric dams.

Achi will have routine examinations in Paris and rest for several days before returning to Ivory Coast, the sources said.

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