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 remained amongst the few Sub-Saharan African economies that maintained growth in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and in 2021 GDP growth accelerated to an estimated 6% (IMF). This strong rebound was driven by a recovery in exports and investment and robust domestic consumption (IMF). Assuming global conditions continue to normalize, GDP growth is projected to reach 6.5% in 2022 and 6.4% in 2023 (IMF). In addition to the continuation of the ongoing reform agenda, exploration of recently discovered oil and gas deposits will boost activity (Focus Economics).

Ivory Coast demonstrated strong resilience to the pandemic due to solid pre-crisis fundamentals, relative economic diversification and timely relaxing of the fiscal stance (IMF). The government put in place an emergency spending plan to tackle the health crisis and limit the growth deceleration. In 2021, the economy recovered strongly, but public accounts consolidation was postponed due to increased security expenditures. Fiscal deficit was maintained at 5.6% GDP in 2021, and authorities target a 4.6% GDP deficit for 2022. The 2022 budget is 15% higher than the previous one, and the largest among WAEMU countries. The return to the 3% WAEMU norm is planned for 2024. Public debt increased from 47.7% GDP in 2020 to 50.2% GDP in 2021, and is expected to reach 51.1% GDP in 2022 and 51.2% GDP in 2023. Supply chain and energy shortages issues fuelled inflation, which increased from 0.8% in 2019 to an estimated 3% in 2021 according to the IMF. In December 2021, inflation reached 4.2% according to the national statistics office (INS). The IMF expects inflation to decrease to 2.5% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023. 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 2020. According to UNDP, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 27.5% of households are technically unemployed and 44.4% of households were forced to work part-time.

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 58.5461.23e68.8575.0882.12
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 6.22.0e6.06.56.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 2,228e2,271e2,4892,6462,820
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 38.847.7e50.251.151.2
Inflation Rate (%) 0.82.44.25.52.3
Current Account (billions USD) -1.35e-2.12-2.64-2.52-2.85
Current Account (in % of GDP) -2.3-3.5e-3.8-3.4-3.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

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 21.4% 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 20.9% 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 42.1% of the GDP and employs 47% of the workforce (World Bank).
 
The COVID-19 pandemic particularly affected the service sector, including telecommunications, transport, tourism, retail trade and construction (Coface). The agriculture sector also suffered from a decline in exports, especially of cocoa.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 40.2 12.9 47.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 20.7 21.2 43.1
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.6 10.4 6.2

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 42% (World Bank, latest available data). The country mainly exports foodstuffs, including cocoa, coconut, banana and fish, refined petroleum, gold, and rubber. The main import commodities are crude petroleum, rice, frozen fish, medicine, vehicles, and machinery.

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 10.7% of its products, followed by the USA (6%), France (5.9%), Malaysia (5%), and Vietnam (4.9%). The Ivory Coast's three main suppliers are China (17.2%), Nigeria (13.5%) and France (10.7%), followed by the USA (5%) and India (4.3%).

The Ivory Coast has a structurally positive trade balance and this trend should continue in the upcoming years. In 2020, the country exported USD 11.9 billion worth of goods while it imported USD 10.6 billion of goods (WTO). Exports of services amounted to USD 1 billion, while imports reached USD 3.1 billion (WTO). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exports of agriculture products (cocoa, coffee, cashew nuts, cotton, bananas and pineapples) suffered from the drop in global demand and transport disruptions while imports of capital goods and energy moderated due to softer domestic demand (Coface).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 9,7359,60510,97010,48310,650
Exports of Goods (million USD) 11,76711,85311,91212,62911,922
Imports of Services (million USD) n/a3,1803,3853,3313,119
Exports of Services (million USD) 7838691,1301,1211,017
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.511.013.41.2n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -6.810.0-0.117.8n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 22.923.623.422.6n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 24.624.922.623.8n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 3,0683,3742,2033,151n/a
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,0771,007-99910n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 47.548.546.146.4n/a

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

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2019
Netherlands 10.7%
United States 6.0%
France 5.9%
Malaysia 5.0%
Vietnam 4.9%
See More Countries 67.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2019
China 17.2%
Nigeria 13.5%
France 10.7%
United States 5.0%
India 4.3%
See More Countries 49.4%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

Main Products

12.7 bn USD of products exported in 2019
Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roastedCocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted 28.1%
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 8.5%
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 8.5%
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 7.1%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 7.1%
See More Products 40.7%
10.5 bn USD of products imported in 2019
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 14.2%
RiceRice 5.8%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish...Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 5.0%
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 5.0%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.3%
See More Products 66.8%

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 Dramane OUATTARA (since 4 December 2010)
Prime Minister: Patrick ACHI (since 10 March 2021)
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

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

 

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

COVID-19 epidemic evolution
To find out about the latest status of the evolution of the COVID19 pandemic and the most up-to-date statistics on the COVID19 disease in Côte d’Ivoire, please visit the Ivorian government platform, containing the official data. Official information on the progress of the epidemic in Côte d'Ivoire is available at info-covid19.gouv.ci. This platform provides a daily epidemiological update, which includes key national figures.
For the international outlook you can consult the latest
situation reports published by the World Health Organisation as well as the global daily statistics on the coronavirus pandemic evolution including data on confirmed cases and deaths by country.
Sanitary measures
To find out about the latest public health situation in Côte d’Ivoire and the sanitary measures currently in force, please consult the platform info-covid19.gouv.ci  including updated information on the containment measures put in place and public health recommendations.
Travel restrictions
The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new variants, evolves rapidly and differs from country to country. All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling. Regularly updated information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related travel restrictions in place including entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
It is also highly recommended to consult COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on the daily basis by IATA.
The US government website of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provides COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination.

The UK Foreign travel advice also provides travelling abroad advice for all countries, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.
Import & export restrictions
For information on all the measures applicable to the movement of goods during the period of sanitary emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak (including possible import and export restrictions, if applicable), consult the Ivorian Ivorian government platform.
For a general overview of trade restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Côte d’Ivoire on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For information on the economic recovery plan put in place by the Ivorian government to address the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on the Ivorian economy, please visit  the Ivorian government platform. Information on the recovery programme is available here.
For a general overview of the key economic policy measures (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) taken by the government of Côte d’Ivoire to limit the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the section dedicated to Côte d’Ivoire in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For information on the local business support programme set up by the Ivorian government to help small and medium enterprises cope with the economic impacts of the COVID19 epidemic on their activity, please consult Ivorian government platform. Information on support to SME's is available here.
For a general overview of international SME support policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, please refer to the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.
Support plan for exporters
Official government sources do not provide information on specific support programmes for exporting enterprises following the coronavirus outbreak.
 

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Latest Update: July 2022