Although Côte d’Ivoire has regained stability since the end of the 2010-2011 post-electoral war, the approach of the 2020 presidential election is giving rise to some uncertainty. President Alassane Ouattara has not yet indicated whether he will seek a third term.
Former president Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted by the International Criminal Court but granted conditional release pending appeal proceedings. Upon completion of these proceedings, he could possibly join the presidential race. Recent tensions within the ruling RHDP coalition have culminated in the resignation of the speaker of the Parliament, Guillaume Soro.
A new independent electoral commission (CEI), tasked with organizing the upcoming elections, was established following discussions between the government and an opposition party. The Parti Démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (DCI) led by Henri Konan Bédié and the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), led by Laurent Gbagbo, as well as parties close to the former speaker of the Parliament, Guillaume Soro, did not participate in the discussions. They are calling for new talks related to overhaul of the CEI.
Intercommunal confrontations in May in the central region of the country and the recent arrest of political opponents followed by clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators are raising fears of heightened political tensions with the approach of the presidential election scheduled for October 2020.
- The economy has expanded by an average of 8% per year since 2011, making Côte d’Ivoire one of the fastest growing countries in the world. However, the country’s GDP growth has gradually declined from 10.1% in 2012 to 7.7% in 2017 and is estimated at 7.4% in 2018.
- The country is facing the dual challenge of maintaining a rapid growth rate while making this growth more inclusive (poverty remains high at 46.3%) and reducing fiscal imbalances.
- The proximity of the national elections (slated for October 2020) may create uncertainty and have a negative impact on private investment.
Social Context and Development Challenges
- The excellent economic performance of Côte d’Ivoire has not produced the results expected in terms of social inclusion and a reduction in the poverty rate, which remains high. In 2018, Côte d’Ivoire ranked 170th among 189 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index and has a low human capital index score (0.35) according to World Bank rankings.
- Despite recent efforts, Côte d’Ivoire remains one of the countries with the highest gender inequality rates in the world.
- Low completion rates of lower secondary education (35.5%), disparities in learning between girls and boys (the secondary completion rate for girls is 42.7% while for boys, it is 55.5%), maternal mortality (645 deaths per 100,000 live births), infant malnutrition, and youth unemployment (36% of young people between the ages of 15 and 35) are some of the main challenges to the development of Côte d’Ivoire.
- Following a sharp rise in the poverty rate from 10% to 51% of the population between 1985 and 2011, it is projected to have fallen to 46.3%, according to the most recent Living Standards Monitoring Survey carried out by the government.
It would be to the advantage of Côte d’Ivoire to target the most vulnerable segments of the population for greater redistribution of the benefits reaped from its sound economic performance, to further integrate women into the economy, and to develop its human capital to better meet the needs of the labor market.
The production of modern goods and services requires skills that are still lacking in the local labor force.
Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019