The government has introduced several new policies to enhance the country’s industrial sector and, in turn, enable private and foreign investors to enter the market. While agro-industry remains the country’s largest industrial segment, the authorities plan to develop other industries and export sectors as the country’s population becomes increasingly urbanised.

Industrial Development

The National Development Plan (Plan National de Développement, PND) 2021-25 focuses on governance and modernisation through diversification, human capital, social inclusion and infrastructure. Pillar two of the PND is job creation, emphasising the government’s role in the structural transformation of the economy through industrialisation and private investment. This is supported by the improved categorisation of industrial segments in the 2018 Investment Code, which has made it easier for private investors to access incentive schemes.

The Industrial Services Improvement Project, running from November 2020 to December 2022, is expected to help advance industry. A $357,500 investment from the African Development Bank’s Middle Income Country Technical Assistance Fund will support long-term employment programmes in a more competitive industrial landscape. The funds, managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will contribute to a feasibility study for the creation of the Industrial Development Fund, a technical study for the development of the Assouba-Aboisso industrial zone in the south-east and a monographic study of the existing industrial zones in San-Pédro in the south-west.

Growing Industries

In addition to developing its agro-industry through the expansion of processing facilities for key food products, Côte d’Ivoire has begun to develop other industrial activities through greater private investment. There is significant promise in the downstream oil and gas, minerals and pharmaceuticals segments, all of which have attracted greater interest from investors following the introduction of the PND.

Côte d’Ivoire is expanding its refining capabilities to produce low-sulphur fuels, including diesel that complies with Euro 5 and AFRI 6 emissions standards. The state-owned refining firm Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage has signed an agreement with Honeywell UOP to incorporate new technologies into the company’s 3.8m-tonnes-per-year refinery in Abidjan. The continent as a whole is targeting a sulphur content of 10 parts per million in its diesel fuels by 2030, meaning that Côte d’Ivoire could substantially expand its export market by boosting output. Oil and mineral fuels were the fifth-biggest commodity export in 2020, at 5.7% of total exports and a value of $673.5m.

The minerals and metals industries have also grown, with gold output reaching almost 42 tonnes in 2021, an increase from 38 tonnes in 2020. The government hopes to achieve 65 tonnes of gold output by 2025. Côte d’Ivoire has five gold mines in operation and expects to start production across four more by 2026. As the fourth-largest export category, gems and precious metals exports accounted for $995m in 2020 and represented 8.4% of all commodity exports. The government aims to increase the sector’s contribution to GDP to 5% by 2023 and to 6% by 2025. A favourable mining code has streamlined operations for private companies.

In October 2021 France’s Triden Pharma entered the market, expanding the pharmaceuticals segment. Triden intends to establish manufacturing and distribution capacities at a drug manufacturing unit to be completed in 2023. The project is expected to cost around CFA50bn ($86m) and create 400 jobs. In July 2021 the government signed a $300m financing agreement with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to expand clinics across the country and acquire medical equipment from Philips and GE. Increased funding could allow clinics to become subregional hospitals and open possibilities for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment manufacturing, transforming the country into a medical centre for the greater West African region.