Interview : Emmanuel Esmel Essis
What role does CEPICI play in promoting Côte d’Ivoire’s economic progress?
EMMANUEL ESMEL ESSIS: CEPICI is the one-stop shop for private investment in Côte d’Ivoire. To this end, it is the designated body to federate, coordinate and rationalise all government initiatives and actions in the area of investment promotion and private sector development under the supervision of the State Secretariat for the Promotion of Private Sector Investment.
With more than CFA350bn (€525m) of investments attracted in the first half of 2018 and an increase in the number of companies created every day from 56 in 2017 to 67 in 2018, CEPICI’s actions in promoting private investment contribute to the country’s economic growth and have made Côte d’Ivoire one of the most attractive destinations according to the World Bank’s 2019 “Doing Business” report, which ranks the country among the top-10 most reform-oriented countries in the world.
These actions are broken down into structural and institutional reforms aimed at constantly improving the business environment. These include the implementation of several tools to facilitate business, the most important of which over the past two years is the dematerialisation of administrative acts and services through a single portal of investment services named 225Invest Côte d’Ivoire. It is an IT reform that brings together different classes of online services — specifically those related to information and transactions. From simple and basic information to all of the formalities that typically have to be completed, all of these services are now accessible to investors directly online.
The 225Invest portal will help improve the quality of services to the investor by decreasing the number of procedures, reducing delays in completing formalities, increasing the degree of transparency, and improving the reliability and security of transactions. In addition, as part of the improvement of the business environment, Côte d’Ivoire has instituted a single identification number to register legally incorporated entity under Ivorian law.
What measures have been taken in order to bolster local manufacturing?
ESSIS: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) “World Investment Report 2018” discusses the results of a global survey of industrial policies over the last decade. This report shows that about 90% of modern industrial policies include investment measures, mainly those related to incentives and performance requirements, the creation of special economic zones for the promotion and facilitation of investment, as well as investment-selection mechanisms. Therefore, modern industrial policies are one of the main drivers of the evolution of investment policies.
In the analysis of the UNCTAD report, important challenges are to be integrated in the economic vision of Côte d’Ivoire. This concerns the acceleration of the implementation of industrial policy initiatives and the substantial increase in inward foreign direct investment in the country.
One of the major challenges is to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth through the promotion of private investment.
Côte d’Ivoire is aiming to significantly increase the size and scope of its investment destinations in order to support strong and sustainable growth, and enable the private sector to take ownership of the increasing amount of public investment that has been mobilised since 2011.
The country intends to stay the course with the implementation of projects such as the dematerialisation of the national register of securities, judicial activity, declaration and payment of social security contributions, and the establishment of a unified geographic information and geolocation application.
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