ABIDJAN, December 17, 2015—Côte d'Ivoire is wrapping up a very good year. Peaceful presidential elections have just been held. The country’s growth rate is among the highest in Africa. It even won the Africa Cup of Nations. However, a new World Bank’s report on the economic situation in Côte d’Ivoire reveals that in recent years, this robust economic health is not translating to quality employment for the majority of the Ivorian population.
The report entitled “The Might of the Elephant—Benefitting from Strong Growth to Create Better Jobs” (La force de l’Éléphant, pour que sa croissance génère plus d’emplois de qualité) does not point to a significant decline in the poverty rate, despite the country’s robust economic growth. Cote d’Ivoire must now share the fruits of this growth with the population living below the poverty line. It must also narrow the income gap between the poor and the rest of the population. The report discusses ways in which to do this, notably by boosting productivity in three employment categories—self-employment, wage employment, and agricultural employment, and offers recommendations for achieving this.
“If Côte d'Ivoire does not manage to achieve simultaneous productivity gains in all employment categories, it runs the risk of becoming a two-tracked country. A new policy inspiring hope is needed to boost the income of all Ivorians and strengthen social cohesion,” notes Jacques Morisset, Program Leader at the World Bank and co-author of the report.
According to the report, the working-age population in Cote d'Ivoire stands at 14 million, the vast majority of whom are employed, with an unemployment rate under 7%. The main challenge is guaranteeing quality jobs for all Ivorians. Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director in Cote d’Ivoire, noted that “this report paints a bright picture of the Ivorian economy, which has been booming since 2012. It proposes options that can be explored and identifies reforms aimed at rapidly creating good jobs.”
This report also notes that the employment market in Cote d'Ivoire is highly segmented. Two-thirds of the working-age population is either employed in a family business or is self-employed in microenterprises and on farm-related activities. Their average monthly income stands at roughly CFAF 65,000 ($109). The other share of the population, which includes employees, farmers, and owners of industrial and service enterprises, earns an average monthly income of CFAF 350,000 ($588). Of this latter group, those employed in finance and the mining sector earn the highest salaries, with an average monthly income of over CFAF 2.3 and 1.6 million ($3,864 and $2,688), respectively.
Cote d’Ivoire’s main challenge is guaranteeing quality jobs for the majority of the working-age population. To achieve this, the productivity of the Ivorian economy needs to be boosted using two main approaches: encouraging the transfer of workers to more productive sectors of the economy, and achieving productivity gains in the sectors that employ the majority of Ivorian workers, namely, self-employment and agriculture.