Cote d’Ivoire

Political and economic situation

Cote d’Ivoire is a democratic republic, in which the president has strong executive powers. The agricultural sector is most important and employs two-third of the population. The Country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices and weather conditions. The country also has gold mines. Cote d’Ivoire discovered two offshore oil fields in 2012. Following the end of more than a decade of civil war in 2011, Cote d’Ivoire has experienced a boom in foreign investment and economic growth. In June 2012, the IMF and World Bank announced a USD 4.4 billion debt relief package.

Economic growth remained robust for the second straight year in 2014, reaching an estimated 8.3%, with similar expansion expected in 2015 and 2016, driven by internal and external demand. Growth was also fuelled by efforts under the national development plan (Plan national de développement) to improve the business climate and speed up structural reform. This had made the country more attractive, especially for foreign direct investment. The challenge will be to sustain growth in the long run and increase its impact in rural areas and city suburbs. More jobs are being created but this is still not enough for the large number of jobless young people.

Cote d’Ivoire has many obvious advantages, including a denser road network than in most African countries and several types of farmland and climate that enable the development of a range of agro-industrial and food products which are in strong demand worldwide.

After a decade-long conflict and civil war that ended in 2011, the political situation in Cote d’Ivoire is now much improved. But it is still hampered by insufficient dialogue among political groups. The government of President Alassane Ouattara has taken steps to calm the political climate, releasing pro-opposition prisoners, allowing the return of high-level political refugees and unfreezing their bank accounts.

The national currency is the West African CFA franc (9 Sept. 2015: USD 1 = XOF 584, EUR 1 = XOF 656).