Côte d'Ivoire Economic Outlook

  • The economy grew strongly for the fourth straight year in 2015, with booming agriculture, a better business climate, returning investors, but also international uncertainty; these trends should continue in 2016 and 2017.
  • The incumbent president was re-elected in October 2015 in a peaceful vote that was a big step in consolidating peace and economic confidence in the country.
  • Towns and cities have emerged because of the physical expansion of exported raw-material areas, but these urban centres are not very attractive because of poor electricity supply, inadequate logistics and fragmented regional policies.

Economic growth remained strong despite international uncertainty, estimated at 8.8% in 2015, close to previous years (8.7% in 2013 and 7.9% in 2014) according to the African Development Bank (AfDB). It was driven by agriculture, investment, services and an improved business climate. This performance is projected to continue in 2016 (at 8.6%) and 2017 (at 8.3%). The government intends to continue its efforts, after the success of the 2012-15 national development plan (PND), to make Côte d’Ivoire an emerging country by 2020 and see that growth is more inclusive.

Budget policy focused on increased investment as well as funding other post-conflict development needs. The primary account was nearly balanced in 2014 and 2015, while the overall deficit was around 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). Inflation was 1.5% in 2015, loans to the private sector increased, and foreign reserves remained strong. The current account deficit was expected to widen from 2.5% of GDP in 2015 to 3% in 2016 due to more investment in exports and infrastructure.

The improved business and macroeconomic environment boosted investment with more firms set up, a greater flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) and growth of public-private partnerships (PPP), which need to be better implemented for a fairer distribution of risks. Problems remain in taxation and in access to land titles and funding.

The October 2015 presidential election was a landmark in the consolidation of political peace, with incumbent President Alassane Ouattara re-elected in the first round with 83.7% of the vote. The main challenges of his new five-year term will be to ensure social cohesion, strengthen civil peace and improve the justice system. Access to healthcare and education has increased.

The 2014 census showed that 49.7% of Ivorians lived in towns and cities, including 19.4% in Abidjan where most economic activity is. Except for Abidjan, most urban areas are not very attractive for want of formal planning. Three ongoing projects may change this: investment to double electricity output by 2020, an urban plan for the Abidjan district and upgrading the road between Bamako and San Pedro.