Economic and Political Overview

flag Ivory Coast Ivory Coast: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Ivory Coast’s economy proved resilient to the Covid-19 pandemic, and is amongst the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. After reaching 7% in 2021, GDP growth slowed down to 5.5% in 2022, due to subdued global demand, worsened terms of trade and increased uncertainty (IMF). However, economic growth is expected to accelerate to 6.5% in 2023 and 6.6% in 2024 (IMF). Investments, industrial activity, reforms and consumption should support growth.

After a strong recovery from the pandemic in 2021, Ivory Coast’s economy remained solid in 2022, but was impacted by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. The Ivorian authorities took several temporary measures to tackle this external shock, such as introducing price ceilings on several food items (IMF). Fiscal deficit increased to -5.3% GDP in 2022 from 5% GDP in 2021, but it is expected to decrease to 4% in 2023 through fiscal consolidation efforts (IMF). The return to the 3% WAEMU norm is planned for 2024. Public debt increased from 52.1% GDP in 2021 to 56.0% GDP in 2022, and it is expected to slightly decrease to 55.1% GDP in 2023 and 53.7% GDP in 2024 (IMF). Despite the moderate risk of debt distress, the space to absorb future shocks is very limited, highlighting the need to accelerate efforts to mobilize domestic revenue (IMF). Inflation increased to 5.5% in 2022, from 4.2% in 2020, and is expected to remain high in 2023 (4%) before declining to 1.8% in 2024 (IMF). The authorities are committed to pursue fiscal consolidation, and adopt tighter monetary policy. The new National Development Plan 2021-2025 focuses on governance and modernization of the State, economic diversification, human capital, social inclusion and infrastructure. According to the IMF, over the medium term the main challenges include addressing pressing development needs, limiting debt vulnerabilities and increasing domestic revenue mobilization. Coface identifies the low share of investment, the high share allocated to the wage bill, the gradual rollout of universal health coverage and improvements to the quality of education and health as the main challenges.

Despite good economic performance, the poverty rate grew sharply compared to its level three decades ago. More than 45% of the population lives under the poverty threshold, and around a quarter of the working population remains unemployed. Unemployment rate was estimated by the World Bank at 3.5% in 2021. According to UNDP, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 27.5% of households were technically unemployed and 44.4% of households were forced to work part-time.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 70.1879.4386.8994.47102.31
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 6.76.26.66.46.3
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,4732,7282,9093,0823,253
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 56.856.857.056.155.3
Inflation Rate (%) n/a4.32.32.01.9
Current Account (billions USD) -4.57-3.73-3.33-3.34-3.01
Current Account (in % of GDP) -6.5-4.7-3.8-3.5-2.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Côte d'Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa (30% of the world production), one of the three bigger producer and exporter of cashew, and a major exporter of palm oil, coffee and oil. The country’s economy is mainly based on agriculture. The primary sector contributes to 19.9% of the GDP and employs 40% of the country's active population (World Bank). The government is trying to maximise agricultural output by developing raw material processing units. It launched a 5-year (2018-2023) plan funded by the World Bank, valued at XOF 107 billion and aiming at making the cashew sector more profitable. In recent years, rubber output has increased substantially. The oil sector has been gaining weight over the past few years, leveraging a steady growth rate and major investments. The country has some mining activities, particularly of precious minerals, such as gold and diamonds, but also others like nickel.

The industrial sector contributes to 21.4% of the GDP and employs 13% of active population (World Bank). The country's main industrial sectors include food processing, textiles, construction materials, fertilizers, tuna canning and motorbikes, vehicles and bicycles assembling.

Like in many other African countries, the tertiary sector has grown at relatively rapid rate in the last several years. The telecommunications sector is booming and, together with other sectors, are key drivers of services. The services sector contributes to 52.2% of the GDP and employs 47% of the workforce (World Bank).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 45.0 10.8 44.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 16.7 22.0 53.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 5.1 8.1 6.8

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 16.6816.8816.3816.5014.63

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
61,7/100
World Rank:
91
Regional Rank:
7

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

The Ivory Coast is the hub of commercial activities in West Africa. The share of foreign trade in the country's GDP is 46% (World Bank, latest available data). The country mainly exports foodstuffs, including cocoa, coconut, banana and fish, refined petroleum, gold, rubber and cotton. The main import commodities are crude petroleum, frozen fish, rice, medicine, vehicles, and machinery (Comtrade).

The Ivory Coast is a member of the UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union), which enforces a Common External Tariff (CET). It also belongs to the Free Trade Zone. In 2008, the Ivory Coast signed a stepping stone economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). This agreement entered into provisional application on 3 September 2016 and essentially aims at maintaining the preferential trade system that exists between the EU and the Ivory Coast. It will be replaced by the regional EU-West Africa EPA. Ivory Coast is also a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. According to Comtrade, the country's main export partner is the Netherlands, which imports 10% of its products, followed by the USA (6.7%), Switzerland (6.5%), Vietnam (6.4%) and Belgium (5.4%). The Ivory Coast's three main suppliers are China (15%), Nigeria (13.1%) and France (10.8%), followed by India (5.1%) and the USA (4%).

The Ivory Coast has a structurally positive trade balance and this trend should continue in the upcoming years. In 2021, the country exported USD 14.99 billion worth of goods while it imported USD 14 billion of goods (WTO). Exports of services amounted to USD 871 million, while imports reached USD 3.65 billion (WTO). Port strikes negatively impacted exports in 2022 (Focus Economics).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 10,97010,48310,52714,00717,948
Exports of Goods (million USD) 11,91212,71812,45415,33316,436
Imports of Services (million USD) 3,4683,4033,1423,9243,858
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,1671,162732910958
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.42.76.113.46.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -3.79.010.710.610.2
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 23.321.520.122.527.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 22.723.021.022.624.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 2,2033,1512,9823,053n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -9991057240n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 46.044.541.145.152.3

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Mali 8.9%
Netherlands 8.7%
Switzerland 8.1%
United States 5.3%
Burkina Faso 5.2%
See More Countries 63.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 14.4%
Nigeria 12.1%
France 6.7%
India 5.2%
United States 4.7%
See More Countries 56.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

Main Products

16.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roastedCocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 19.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 12.4%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 11.7%
Natural rubber, balata, gutta-percha, guayule,...Natural rubber, balata, gutta-percha, guayule, chicle and similar natural gums, in primary forms or in plates, sheets or strip 11.4%
Coconuts, brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or...Coconuts, brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled 6.1%
See More Products 39.0%
17.9 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 13.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 10.7%
RiceRice 4.5%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 4.1%
Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating...Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks, floating or submersible drilling or production platforms (excl. fishing vessels and warships) 3.6%
See More Products 63.7%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Economy and Finance (in French)
Statistical Office
Côte d'Ivoire National Institute of Statistics
Central Bank
Central Bank of West African States
Stock Exchange
BRVM
Search Engines
Google
Abidjan.net
Africaonline
Economic Portals
Ivory Cost Economic Portal

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Alassane Ouattara (since 4 December 2010)
Prime Minister: Robert Beugré Mambé (since 16 October 2023)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: October 2025
Senate: 2023
National Assembly: 2026
Main Political Parties
There are many legal political parties in the Ivory Coast, but very few have secured national support. The Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) currently holds more than half of parliamentary seats. The main political parties are:

- Rally of Republicans (RDR): centre, advocates liberal ideology
- Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI): centre-right, the oldest political party, advocates democratic values
- Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire (UDPCI): party to the ruling coalition
- Ivorian Popular Front (FPI): centre left, former presidential party
- Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP): party to the ruling coalition
- Movement of Forces of the Future (MFA): party to the ruling coalition
- Union for Côte d'Ivoire (UPCI)
- Ivorian Workers Party ( PIT): centre-left, democratic socialist
- The Renaissance
- Liberty and Democracy for the Republic (LIDER)
Type of State
Republic based on parliamentary democracy.
Executive Power
The President, elected for five years by universal suffrage, enjoys most of the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and is appointed by the President to serve a term of five years. The Prime Minister works under the President. The Council of Ministers (cabinet) is also appointed by the President.

The new Constitution of 2016 provides for the creation of a new vice-presidential position.

Legislative Power
Until the end of 2016 and the approval of a new Constitution, the legislative power in Côte d'Ivoire was unicameral. The parliament, called the National Assembly, consisted of 255 seats. Its members were elected in single or multi-member district elections by direct universal suffrage for five years. Since April 2018, the legislature has been bicameral with the creation of a Senate, whose members are elected for five years. They are two-thirds elected by direct universal suffrage, while the president appoints the remaining third "among the former presidents of institutions, former prime ministers and national personalities and skills." The conditions for revision of the Constitution will be facilitated while the House of Kings and Traditional Chiefs will be constitutionalized.
Ivorian citizens enjoy very limited political rights. The president can dissolve parliament or veto its provisions.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
66/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
5/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Côte d'Ivoire, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: December 2023