OBG Event

29 Jan 2020

Abidjan, January 29, 2020. The economic research firm Oxford Business Group launched a video at a conference celebrating five years of economic research in Côte d’Ivoire, in the presence of various public and private figures. The video captured the social and economic progress the country has achieved over the past five years, in macroeconomic terms from a multi-sectoral perspective showing notable improvement in FDI levels, GDP per capita and agricultural output.

Cote d’Ivoire has made some remarkable achievements over the past decade. Since the end of the political crisis in 2011, the country has seen its GDP grow by an average of around 8% annually. Thanks to a number of financial and monetary reforms, it has succeeded in bringing its public debt-to-GDP ratio down to one of the lowest in the region (48.6%). At the same time foreign investment has risen from $577m in 2016 to $913m in 2019.

The country has come a long way in fostering an attractive business environment for economic operators. It introduced reforms to its Investment Code in 2012 and once again 2018 to better cater to the needs of investors, and in 2012, it oversaw the rollout of its one-stop shop single window.  

Efforts to diversify the economy and introduce targeted policies to develop key sectors have also played a major role in this regard. Under the National Development Plan – the country’s economic blueprint, first introduced in 2012 and currently in its final phase, the government made industrialisation a key pillar, with the goal to raise the sector’s contribution to GDP from 25% in 2016 to 40% by 2020, while boosting value added in key segments such as agri-business. 

Infrastructure development has been another major focus of the National Development Plan, with significant investment having gone towards the rehabilitation and construction of roads and bridges, particularly in and around Abidjan. Other sectors benefitting from infrastructure development in recent years include telecommunications, power and extractive industries such as mining and hydrocarbons. 

This positive performance has placed Cote d’Ivoire as a top performer in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” reports over the past few years. 
However, a number of challenges remain to be addressed to allow for the full potential of these endeavours to materialise. With cocoa, cashew nuts and cotton comprising the main exported goods, the Ivorian economy remains vulnerable to volatility in commodity prices. Other pressing issues the country will need to address moving forward include youth unemployment, better access to finance and the need to promote social inclusion. 

The rollout of the Universal Health Coverage plan, as well as the recent agreement struck with Ghana to protect cocoa farmer income are initiatives that bode well for the future of the country’s, and with its strengthening economic foundations and sustained pursuit of economic diversification, Cote d’Ivoire is undoubtedly better armed to face these challenges head on.