Ivory Coast’s 2016
Steven Wyble is online content editor at Scotsman Guide Media.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ivory Coast, a West African country also known as Cote d’Ivoire, declared independence from France in 1960. Nevertheless, ties to France persist: Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s
commercial capital, is the third-largest French-speaking city in the world, and the
French military maintains a presence in the country to this day.
Despite its connection to France, the country’s fate is inexorably entwined with that
of the African continent, and it remains one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.
At 8. 5 percent, its GDP growth rate in 2016 was second only to Ethiopia’s. Its growth
is slowing, however. As of second-quarter 2017, the country’s year-over-year GDP
growth rate had fallen to 7. 9 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects
Ivory Coast’s GDP to grow by an average of 7. 4 percent between 2017 and 2020.
The country was long embroiled in a violent civil war that began in 2002 and climaxed
in 2011, following a disputed presidential election. The conflict ended later that year,
and the country has since maintained a tentative peace that has bolstered foreign investment and economic growth, according to the CIA World Factbook. The year after
the civil war ended, the IMF and World Bank pledged $4.4 billion in debt relief to the
country under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
Debt remains a problem, however. Ivory Coast’s fiscal deficit rose from 2.9 percent of
its GDP in 2015 to 4 percent of GDP in 2016, according to the World Bank. Reducing
the deficit in the coming years will be crucial to ensuring economic growth, as servicing the debt currently accounts for a quarter of the government’s budget.
A major driver of the country’s economy is its agricultural industry. In addition to producing significant amounts of coffee and palm oil, Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer
and exporter of cocoa beans. The country has contended with a significant oversupply of
the key crop, however. The surplus has caused cocoa prices to drop, prompting low-paid
farmers to smuggle their harvests into neighboring countries that offer better prices.
Although cocoa is the backbone of the country’s economy, Ivory Coast plans to accelerate growth by tapping into its considerable oil and natural gas reserves. The
government says it aims to double the country’s oil and gas output by 2020, to
around 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent, a common measurement for oil production.
Urbanization is fueling growth in other industries as well, including in energy, communications and transportation, according to the World Bank.
Ivory Coast’s commercial real estate market is poised to benefit from Africa’s population boom. Construction is driving growth in the country and real estate demand
As Ivory Coast’s population has grown, so has the strain on its energy supply. To help
alleviate the power shortage, the country flipped the switch on a new hydroelectric
power plant in November 2017 that is expected to increase electricity output by more
than 10 percent. n
By Steven Wyble
Ivory Coast’s year-over-year
GDP growth rate as of second-
Ivory Coast’s year-over-year
inflation rate for October 2017