Since 2012, the economy of Côte d'Ivoire has turned in a stellar performance, marked by a rapid increase in GDP that has triggered the beginnings of a reduction in poverty. For the 2016-2020 period, the Government adopted a new National Development Plan (NDP) designed to transform Côte d'Ivoire into a middle-income economy by 2020 and further reduce the poverty rate. In April 2016, donors pledged $15.4 billion in grants and loans to support the NDP. The World Bank Group committed to doubling its support over the next four years to approximately $5 billion.
Political stability was restored with the re-election of President Ouattara in October 2015 for a second five-year term, and with a referendum, held in October 2016, which established the country's Third Republic. In December 2016, Ivorians cast their votes peacefully to elect deputies to the National Assembly. In early 2017, however, social demands and mutinies led the Government to enter discussions with the main trade unions and the mutineers. The country is gearing up for the forthcoming presidential elections, slated for 2020, with a number of candidates lining up. Like all countries in the sub-region, Côte d’Ivoire has been hit by terrorist attacks, the most notorious being the attack in Grand Bassam in March 2016.
As the world’s leading cocoa and cashew nut producer and an oil exporter with a major manufacturing sector, Côte d’Ivoire wields considerable economic clout in the sub-region. In 2017, Côte d’Ivoire continued to be one of Africa’s most vibrant economies, with a growth rate that is expected to hold steady at around 7.6%. This sound performance is attributable to the rebound in agriculture and attests to the country’s resilience to internal and external shocks. The outlook in the short and medium term remains encouraging.
The economic outlook for the next two to three years is positive, and the GDP growth rate is projected to reach 7% in 2018 and 2019. This bodes well for the maintenance of moderate inflation and the control of public finances through prudent fiscal and monetary policies, as well as the furtherance of reforms aimed at improving the business climate and facilitating the efficient use of public-private partnerships.
However, the Ivorian economy remains vulnerable to such external risks as volatility in the prices of agricultural and mining products, climate conditions, global and regional security risks, and a tightening of regional and international financial markets.
In order to diversify its economy successfully, Côte d'Ivoire must build its human capital so as to meet labor market needs more effectively. Indeed, the production of modern goods and services require skills that are still scarce among local workers.
The key social challenge will be to reduce inequalities significantly by keeping the country's economy on a strong growth path. In 2016, Côte d'Ivoire ranked 171st among 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI). Between 1985 and 2011, the depth and severity of poverty increased considerably, moving from approximately 10% to 51% of the population. However, the findings of the Living Standards Monitoring Survey carried out by the World Bank in 2015 indicate that the recent economic upturn has brought the poverty rate back down to 46%.
The Government of Côte d’Ivoire must now also ensure the redistribution of a greater portion of the spoils of economic growth to the most vulnerable sections of the population.
Recent accomplishments aside, Côte d’Ivoire maintains its position as one of the countries with the world’s highest gender inequality rates, borne out by its ranking (171st out of 188 countries) in the United Nations Gender Equality Index.
Last Updated: May 17, 2018