Initiative to kill off “African time”

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Poor punctuality is such a brake on Ivory Coast’s economic development that the West African country has come up with a novel way to combat tardiness: win a house if you demonstrate you can turn up on time.

Backed by President Laurent Gbagbo and devised by a local public relations firm, “Punctuality Night” kicked off at eight o’clock sharp Saturday night, rewarding business people and civil servants for exceptional timekeeping.

Pitched with the slogan “‘African time’ is killing Africa, let’s fight it,” its organizers hope to heighten awareness of how missed appointments, meetings or even late buses cut productivity in a region where languid tardiness is the norm.

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