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Chapter | Country Profile from The Report: Bahrain 2019

The country’s national plan, Bahrain Economic Vision 2030, aims to enhance private sector growth and continue government investment in infrastructure, affordable housing and human resources. The kingdom maintains a developed industrial sector and hosts the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter, Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), with downstream businesses creating products for export. Other industries in Bahrain include downstream oil and gas products, as well as a growing food industry, serving both the Saudi market and the global economy. This chapter contains a viewpoint from King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

Chapter | Energy & Mining from The Report: Côte d’Ivoire 2019

Côte d’Ivoire has made substantial efforts to increase generation capacity, upgrade infrastructure and expand the electricity network, translating into rising investment. The country is also diversifying the energy mix, which tradition¬ally relied on gas-fuelled and hydraulic power plants. The push into renewables could reshape the energy mix and reduce reliance on gas-fired energy. Additionally, a renewed interest for oil and gas exploration could place the country on the map of hydrocarbon producers. With a largely untapped mining potential, Côte d’Ivoire has become an exploration hotspot in West Africa. While gold remains the primary export, accelerated exploration is necessary to sustain growth. Recovering manganese prices are boosting output and the new focus on rare minerals is diversifying revenues. Effective implementation of the mining code will be key for medium-term growth and the continuance of investor confidence. This chapter contains interviews with Marc Alberola, CEO, Eranove; and Jeff Quartermaine, CEO, Perseus Mining.

Chapter | Insurance from The Report: Côte d’Ivoire 2019

Insurance premium rose by almost 40% be¬tween 2013 and 2017 on the back of econom¬ic expansion, and while the main actors have remained the same, the last few years have seen an influx of foreign and local players to the market. Now, new regulations – particularly min¬imum capital requirements – that will begin to be enforced in 2019 are expected to significantly change the sec¬tor’s landscape, leading to market consolidation and improved services in a country where in¬surance penetration is at less than 2% of GDP. This will provide a strategic opportunity for insurers to both increase the confidence of consumers in products and give a much-needed boost to insurance inclusion. This chapter contains an interview with Mohamed Bah, Deputy Director, Sunu Group.

Chapter | Capital Markets from The Report: Côte d’Ivoire 2019

After four years of high gains following the end of the political instability in Côte d’Ivoire, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières – headquar¬tered in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan – is experiencing challenges marked by a significant drop in indexes, reaching a six-year low in 2018. Increased competition for telecoms companies in Senegal and Burkina Faso, a crisis in the Ivorian banking sector and fears of political unrest do not seem to indicate a short-term recovery in prices. However, bright economic prospects for the UEMOA region and increasingly attractive price-to-earnings ratios present medium-term opportunities for investors. As the bourse’s visibility is increasing and more companies list, interest for the equity market will continue to grow. This chapter contains interviews with Felix Edoh Kossi Aménounvé, CEO, La Bourse; and Niamkey Isidore Tanoé, CEO, Atlantique Finance.

Chapter | Banking from The Report: Côte d’Ivoire 2019

The banking sector has played a key role in financing reconstruction in Côte d’Ivoire since the end of the decade-long political and military crisis in 2011. With headline economic growth expected to hover around a robust 7% per annum over the next five years, Côte d’Ivoire’s banking sector is likely to remain attractive, with more banks attempting to penetrate the market. However, the progressive implementation from January 2018 of international prudential standards means that banks will have to boost their capital if they want to maintain their level of lending. This in turn is expected to drive consolidation in the sector in the medium term. It is hoped this will have the added benefit of improving banks’ risk management. This chapter contains interviews with Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, Governor, Central Bank of West African States; and Aymeric Villebrun, CEO, Société Générale de Banques en Côte d’Ivoire.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Côte d’Ivoire 2019

Although economic growth has been slowing since 2016, the outlook remains bright, with the IMF forecasting an annual expansion of at least 6.5% through to 2023. However, there are still challenges that need to be overcome. The country remains highly vulnerable to external shocks, especially the fluctuation of commodity prices. Economic expansion has been greatly supported by the state, but the government is expected to curtail public spending in the coming years to narrow its fiscal deficit, as agreed with the IMF. Despite rising investment, private sector con-tributions remain weak, meaning further efforts are needed to improve governance, tackle corruption and cement the rule of law. This chapter contains interviews with Adama Koné, Minister of Economy and Finance; Emmanuel Esmel Essis, Director, Investment Promotion Agency; Jean-Marie Ackah, President, General Confederation of Businesses of Côte d’Ivoire; and a viewpoint with Abdallah Boureima, President, UEMOA Commission.