ABIDJAN, July 24, 2017— Côte d'Ivoire could achieve economic gains of $6 billion to $8 billion over time, if it could improve gender parity and gradually eliminate discrimination against women, according to the World Bank report on Cote d’Ivoire’s economic situation, released today.
Entitled “Are Women the Key to Unlocking Economic Emergence in Côte d’Ivoire? How Côte d’Ivoire could reap at least $6 billion in benefits”, this fifth report argues that policies in favor of gender parity could help Cote d’Ivoire become a middle-income country. It emphasizes that better educated women, with greater access to healthcare and with more influence in political institutions, businesses, and families, would have positive effects on all aspects of Ivoirien society. The authors of the report, who hope to stimulate a dialogue and encourage an exchange of ideas, have also made several recommendations and put forward an action plan.
With the second fastest GDP growth rate in Africa, the report states that Cote d‘Ivoire maintained excellent performance in 2016. Prospects are still good, even if growth in the coming years is expected to slow slightly to about 6.5 percent, compared to over 9 percent recorded from 2012 to 2015. Despite this small downturn, “the Ivoirian economy, which had to confront a drop in the price of cocoa and social unrest of the last months, is still going strong. What the report points out to is that women continue to face inequalities in several sectors, including lack of economic opportunities. The country needs an extra push to support its women, that, in turn could bring excellent benefits and move the country into the middle-income status,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Cote d’Ivoire.
The report points out that the success of many industrialized and emerging nations can be partially explained by the elimination of gender inequality. Cote d’Ivoire, however, remains one of the countries in the world in which the disparities between women and men are the greatest. Despite efforts to reform the laws, women do not always have equal access to the same levels of education and professional possibilities as men. They need better access to healthcare and family planning.
“The promotion of gender parity in Cote d’Ivoire entails a three-fold approach: first, a proactive policy aimed at reducing inequalities with regard to women, in particular in the field of education, and then identifying champions, and better yet, female champions, able to carry this agenda forward, and finally, good management of the adjustment costs, which could affect families and the labor markets during the implementation of this policy,” said Jacques Morisset, World Bank Chief Economist for Côte d’Ivoire, and principal author of the report.
Gender parity is a social and humanitarian obligation, but it is also an important instrument of economic policy for any nation that is striving to become, as quickly as possible, a middle-income country.