Côte d'Ivoire Economic Outlook

  • Economic growth remains strong but still relies on exporting raw materials, especially crops, which are subject to variations in global prices and climate risks.
  • Significant progress has been made in access to health care, education and social protection, but the past five years’ growth does not cover the strong social demand.
  • Major political reforms were undertaken in 2016 in a context still marked by a weak opposition and large protests.

In a context marked by a slowdown in agricultural output, the Ivoirian economy grew strongly for the fifth straight year at 8.4% in 2016 (African Development Bank estimate). Growth is projected to slow to 7.3% in 2017 as agricultural exports decline, even though domestic demand remains high, but the outlook remains good until 2020. The steady pace of growth in 2016 was supported by public and private investments, as well as by robust consumption. Although strong, economic growth still relies on exporting raw materials with little local processing of output. The economy thus remains vulnerable to external shocks, such as in 2016 when the global prices of the main export products (cocoa and oil) fell and agricultural output was affected by unfavourable climate conditions.

The government is implementing a new development plan (Plan national de développement 2016‑20 – PND), which emphasises diversifying production by capitalising on comparative advantages, especially the improved share of processed raw materials and the full value chains that have been developed in the agricultural sector. The cost of the PND is estimated at XOF 30 trillion (CFA Franc BCEAO), or USD 60 billion, 62% of which will be financed by private investments, mainly in the form of public-private partnerships, and 38% by national and international public resources. The 2016-20 PND has been strongly backed by Côte d’Ivoire’s development partners, which committed USD 15 billion in financial support at the May 2016 advisory group meeting in Paris.

An increase in expenditure in favour of the poor, though substantial, still does not meet the strong social demand for better living conditions for government officials. There have been continuous improvements to the business climate. The political context is marked by major reforms: a new constitution has been adopted, a vice-president has been appointed and a senate has been created. Elections have been held according to plan, with legislative elections, a new national assembly and a new government. The major challenges for the current five-year term will be: i) to pursue reconciliation efforts in the political community, where the opposition has been weakened by internal divisions; ii) to provide appropriate responses to strong and pressing social demands; iii) to step up efforts in the area of justice, which is still perceived as non-impartial by part of the population; and iv) to settle longstanding conflicts in the areas of nationality and land ownership. Reinforcing security also remains a challenge in a regional and national context marred by terrorist attacks due mainly to causes exogenous to the country.