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Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

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Key Facts

  • Capital: Abidjan
  • Region: West Africa
  • Official language: French
  • Independence Day: August 07, 1960
  • Area: 322,460 sq km
  • Population (2018): 25.1 million
  • REC membership: CEN-SAD, ECOWAS
  • WTO membership: January 1, 1995
  • GDP (2018): US$ 43.007 billion
  • GNI per capita (2018): US$ 1 600
  • Currency: CFA franc

Economic overview

The economy continues to post good numbers. Real GDP growth was 7.4% in 2018 and 2019, and could remain above 7.0% during 2020-21, assuming good rainfall and favorable terms of trade. The service sector remains the main driver of the economy, contributing 3.4 percentage points to growth in 2018. Industry contributed 1.5 percentage points in 2018 thanks to a dynamic agrifood industry and construction and public works sector. The primary sector contributed 0.8 point thanks to agriculture, which benefited from good rainfall and seed distribution by the government. The contribution of extractive industries fell due to the slump in oil production.

In 2019, taxes and duties on exports are estimated to form about 10% of total tax revenues. Imports of petroleum products and food products are still more than 40% of the country’s total imports. Public debt rose from 49.8% of GDP in 2017 to 52.0% in 2018. The current account deficit deepened to 4.7% in 2018, due to the decline in cashew and rubber prices, but improved to an estimated 3.9% in 2019. The fiscal deficit in 2018, financed mainly by bonds, was at 3.9% of GDP and in 2019 was an estimated 3.1% of GDP.

A demand-side breakdown of growth shows the strong contribution of private investment. For 2019-20, the service sector and private investment will remain the main sources of growth and should benefit from the dynamism induced by new activities in trade, transportation, and telecommunications.

Cacao farming contributes 15% of GDP and about 38% of exports. Market prices promise to be favorable for the 2019-20 harvest. In September 2019, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana (62% of world production) signed an agreement to increase the bean prices paid to farmers. Agricultural processing will benefit from the growth in private investment, which should remain above 10% in 2021.

In July 2019, the Senate passed legislation raising to 30% the quota for women’s representation in elected assemblies. Women currently form only 12% of parliamentarians and 2% of mayors.

In the past three years, the government initiated several reforms in tax administration, but the tax ratio, estimated at 15.6% in 2019, is still below the WAEMU minimum target of 20%. Tax policy suffers from a wide range of exemptions and high taxation of exports, something that many countries have abandoned because it is not socially distributive. Reforms are, however, under way to improve tax revenue collection.

The CFA franc rate appreciated against the US dollar, adversely affecting exports. Public finances face risks related to state-owned enterprises and government agencies, whose total debt approached 8% of GDP at the end of 2018. Orderly elections in the fall of 2020 would help strengthen the favorable political and business climate, as well as sustain the current economic momentum.

Last updated: April 2020