Economy of Ivory Coast

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Economy of Côte d'Ivoire
CurrencyWest African CFA franc (XOF, CFA)
655.957 CFA francs per euro
Calendar year
Trade organisations
Country group
PopulationIncrease 27,481,086 (2020)[3]
  • Increase $44.439 billion (nominal, 2019 est.)[4]
  • Increase $117.110 billion (PPP, 2019 est.)[4]
GDP rank
GDP growth
  • 7.7% (2017) 7.4% (2018)
  • 7.3% (2019e) 7.0% (2020f)[5]
GDP per capita
  • Increase $1,691 (nominal, 2019 est.)[4]
  • Increase $4,457 (PPP, 2019 est.)[4]
GDP per capita rank
GDP by sector
2.0% (2020 est.)[4]
Population below poverty line
  • 46.3% (2015 est.)[3]
  • 57.4% on less than $3.20/day (2015)[6]
41.5 medium (2015)[7]
Labour force
  • Increase 8,583,001 (2019)[10]
  • Decrease 54.2% employment rate (2017)[11]
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 68% (2007 est.)[3]
Unemployment9.4% (2013 est.)[3]
Main industries
foodstuffs, beverages; wood products, oil refining, gold mining, truck and bus assembly, textiles, fertilizer, building materials, electricity
Increase 110th (medium, 2020)[12]
ExportsDecrease $11.74 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Export goods
cocoa, coffee, timber, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, fish
Main export partners
ImportsIncrease $9.447 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Import goods
fuel, capital equipment, foodstuffs
Main import partners
FDI stock
Decrease −$1.86 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Negative increase $13.07 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Public finances
Steady 47% of GDP (2017 est.)[3]
−4.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)[3]
Revenues7.749 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Expenses9.464 billion (2017 est.)[3]
Economic aidrecipient: ODA, $1 billion (1996 est.)
Foreign reserves
Increase $6.257 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[3]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The economy of Ivory Coast is stable and currently growing, in the aftermath of political instability in recent decades. The Ivory Coast is largely market-based and depends heavily on the agricultural sector. Almost 70% of the Ivorian people are engaged in some form of agricultural activity. GDP per capita grew 82% in the 1960s, reaching a peak growth of 360% in the 1970s. But this proved unsustainable and it shrank by 28% in the 1980s and a further 22% in the 1990s. This coupled with high population growth resulted in a steady fall in living standards. Gross national product per capita, now rising again, was about US$727 in 1996. (It was substantially higher two decades ago.) After several years of lagging performance, the Ivorian economy began a comeback in 1994, due to the devaluation of the CFA franc and improved prices for cocoa and coffee, growth in non-traditional primary exports such as pineapples and rubber, limited trade and banking liberalization, offshore oil and gas discoveries, and generous external financing and debt rescheduling by multilateral lenders and France. The 50% devaluation of franc zone currencies on 12 January 1994 caused a one-time jump in the inflation rate to 26% in 1994, but the rate fell sharply in 1996-1999. Moreover, government adherence to donor-mandated reforms led to a jump in growth to 5% annually in 1996-99. A majority of the population remains dependent on smallholder cash crop production. Principal exports are cocoa, coffee, and tropical woods.


By developing-country standards, Ivory Coast has outstanding infrastructure. There is a network of more than 13,000 kilometres (8,000 mi) of paved roads; modern telecommunications services, including a public data communications network; cellular phones and Internet access; two active ports, one of which, Abidjan, is the most modern in West Africa; rail links-in the process of being upgraded-both within the country and to Burkina Faso; regular air service within the region and to and from Europe; and real estate developments for commercial, industrial, retail, and residential use. Ivory Coast's location and connections to neighboring countries makes it a preferred platform from which Europeans conduct West African business operations. The city of Abidjan is one of the most modern and liveable cities in the region for wealthy French expatriates. Its school system is highly regarded and includes an excellent international school based on a U.S. curriculum and several excellent French-based schools.

Ivory Coast has stepped up public investment programs after the stagnation of the pre-devaluation era. The government's public investment plan accords priority to investment in human capital, but it also will provide for significant spending on economic infrastructure needed to sustain growth. Continued infrastructure development is also expected to occur because of private sector activity.

In the new environment of government disengagement from productive activities and in the wake of recent privatizations, anticipated investments in the petroleum, electricity, water, and telecommunications sectors, and in part of the transport sector, will be financed without any direct government intervention.

Mean wages were $1.05 per man-hour in 2009.


Ivory Coast is among the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to weather conditions. Despite attempts by the government to diversify the economy, it is still largely dependent on agriculture and related activities. Forced labor by children bought and sold as slaves is endemic in cacao production.[15]

Animal husbandry[edit]

Much of the country lies within tsetse-infested areas, and cattle are therefore concentrated in the more northerly districts. In 2004 there were an estimated 1,460,000 head of cows (compared with 383,000 in 1968), 1,192,000 goats, 1,523,000 sheep, and 342,700 hogs. There are 33 million chickens; 31,214 tons of eggs were produced in 2004. Milk production is small and there are no processing facilities so the milk is consumed fresh; production in 2004 was 25,912 tons.

In 2005, meat productions included (in pounds): beef, 52,200; poultry, 69,300; pork, 11,760; and sheep and goat, 9,429. Nomadic production accounts for around half of cattle herds and is mainly undertaken by non-Ivoirian herders. Settled herders are concentrated in the dry north, mainly in Korhogo, Ferkessedougou, Bouna, Boundiali, Odienne, and Dabakala. Sheep and goat rearing is a secondary activity for many herders. Pork production is periodically affected by African swine fever; potential increases are limited by the fact that Muslims (who do not eat pork, which they consider to be unclean) account for 40 percent of the population.

Fishing In 1964 a modern fishing wharf was opened at Abidjan, which is Africa’s largest tuna fishing port, handling about 100,000 tons of tuna each year. There are fish hatcheries in Bouaké, Bamoro, and Korhogo. Commercial fishing for tuna is carried on in the Gulf of Guinea; sardines are also caught in quantity. The total catch was 71,841 tons in 2004, with commercial fishing accounting for 25 percent; artisanal fishing, 74 percent; and aquaculture, 1 percent.


There are three types of forest in Ivory Coast: rain forest, deciduous forest, and the secondary forest of the savanna region. Total forest area in 2000 was 7,117,000 hectares; the natural rain forest constitutes the main forest area, as only 184,000 hectares (455,000 acres) are planted forests. In 1983, the government acknowledged that the nation’s forest area, which totalled approximately 16 million hectares at independence in 1960, had dwindled to about 4 million hectares. However, the deforestation rate still averaged 3.1 percent during 1990–2000. The lingering political instability since the outbreak of hostilities in 2002 has contributed to illegal logging and increased deforestation.

The forested area is divided into two zones, the Permanent Domain (PD) and the Rural Domain (RD). The PD consists of classified forests, national parks, and forest areas. This includes major forested areas made up of 231 classified forest areas, 9 national parks and 3 forest reserves, 7 semi-classified forests, and 51 unclassified forests. The total area of the national parks and reserves is 1,959,203 hectares. Forest exploitation activities are prohibited in the classified forest areas, which cover an estimated 4,196,000 hectares. However, for maintenance purposes, limited logging is permitted occasionally in classified forests, which amounted to 148,271 cu m in 2003. These forests are spread throughout the country in three zones: 31.8 percent in the humid dense forest in the south, 30.5 percent in the semi-deciduous forests of central Ivory Coast, and 33.7 percent in the savannah forests in the north. The RD, where logging is permitted, covers 66 percent of the total land area of Ivory Coast. However, the effective area for forestry production is estimated at 2.9 million hectares.

In 2003, forest products accounted for $269 million in export value, providing the third most important source of foreign revenue after cocoa and petroleum products. The major export markets were Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, India, Ireland, Senegal, and Morocco. The total 2003 roundwood harvest was 11,615,000 cu m. Tropical hardwood production primarily consists of logs, 70 percent; lumber, 20 percent; and veneer and plywood, 10 percent. At one time, mahogany was the only wood exploited, but now more than 25 different types of wood are utilized commercially. The major species planted are teak, frake, framire, pine, samba, cedar, gmelina, niangon, and bete. The increasing scarcity of forest resources is adversely impacting value-added industries, leaving lumber and veneer production in a steady state of decline.


Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan includes a casino.

Ivory Coast has made progress in diversifying its economy, and since the 1970s, has steadily expanded the facilities offered to tourists. Resort lodgings in coastal areas have been developed. There are numerous hotels in Abidjan, including international chains such as Novotel and Sofitel.

External trade and investment[edit]

Ivoirian exports in 2006

Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a key role in the Ivorian economy, accounting for between 40% and 45% of total capital in Ivorian firms. France is overwhelmingly the most important foreign investor. In recent years, French investment has accounted for about one-quarter of the total capital in Ivorian enterprises, and between 55% and 60% of the total stock of foreign investment capital.

The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in Ivory Coast was $2,327 million in 2005 by the World Bank.[16]

Economic data[edit]

The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.[17]

Year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
GDP in $
15.38 bil. 20.37 bil. 25.52 bil. 30.32 bil. 39.35 bil. 44.21 bil. 46.25 bil. 48.32 bil. 50.52 bil. 52.56 bil. 54.28 bil. 53.07 bil. 59.51 bil. 66.08 bil. 73.18 bil. 80.51 bil. 88.34 bil. 96.92 bil.
GDP per capita in $
1,924 2,138 2,269 2,142 2,439 2,409 2,458 2,503 2,550 2,586 2,603 2,480 2,711 2,934 3,167 3,396 3,631 3,883
GDP growth
5.2 % 3.6 % −1.0 % 5.6 % −2.1 % 1.7 % 1.5 % 1.8 % 2.5 % 3.3 % 2.0 % −4.2 % 10.1 % 9.3 % 8.8 % 8.8 % 8.3 % 7.8 %
(in Percent)
8.8 % 1.8 % −0.7 % 14.1 % 2.5 % 3.9 % 2.5 % 1.9 % 6.3 % 1.0 % 1.4 % 4.9 % 1.3 % 2.6 % 0.4 % 1.2 % 0.7 % 0.8 %
Government debt
(in Percent of GDP)
... ... ... ... 102 % 80 % 79 % 74 % 71 % 64 % 63 % 69 % 45 % 43 % 45 % 47 % 47 % 46 %

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.4% industry: 28.8% services: 53.8% (2017 est.)[18]

Labor force: 8.747 million (60% agricultural) (2017 est.)[18]

Unemployment rate: 9.4% (2013 est.)[18]

Population below poverty line: 46.3% (2015 est.)[18]

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.2% highest 10%: 31.8% (2008)[18]

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 41.5 (2008)[18]

Investment (gross fixed): 8.7% of GDP (2005 est.)

Budget: revenues: $7.121 billion, expenditures: $8.886 billion (2017 est.)[18]

Agriculture - products: coffee, cocoa beans, bananas, palm kernels, corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sweet potatoes, sugar, cotton, rubber; timber[18]

Industries: foodstuffs, beverages; wood products, oil refining, gold mining, truck and bus assembly, textiles, fertilizer, building materials, electricity[18]

Industrial production growth rate: 7% (2017 est.)[18]

Electricity - production: 8.262 billion kWh (2015 est.)[18]

Electricity - consumption: 5.669 billion kWh (2015 est.)[18]

Electricity - exports: 872 million kWh (2015 est.)[18]

Electricity - imports: 23 million kWh (2015 est.)[18]

Oil - production: 30,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)[18]

Oil - consumption: 20,000 bbl/d (3,200 m3/d) (2003 est.)

Oil - exports: 34,720 bbl/day (2014 est.)[18]

Oil - imports: 65,540 bbl/day (2014 est.)[18]

Oil - proved reserves: 100 million bbl (1 January 2017 est.)[18]

Natural gas - production: 2.063 billion cu m (2015 est.)[18] Natural gas - consumption: 2.063 billion cu m (2015 est.)[18]

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)[18]

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)[18]

Natural gas - proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2017 est.)[18]

Current account balance: $-$490 million (2017 est.)[18]

Exports: $11.08 billion (2017 est.)[18]

Exports - commodities: cocoa, coffee, timber, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, fish[18]

Exports - partners: Netherlands 11.8%, US 7.9%, France 6.4%, Belgium 6.4%, Germany 5.8%, Burkina Faso 4.5%, India 4.4%, Mali 4.2% (2017)[18]

Imports: $8.789 billion (2017 est.)[18]

Imports - commodities: fuel, capital equipment, foodstuffs[18]

Imports - partners: Nigeria 15%, France 13.4%, China 11.3%, US 4.3% (2017)[18]

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $4.688 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

Debt - external: $12.38 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: ODA, $1 billion (1996 est.)

Currency (code): Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States

Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 594.3 (2017 est.) 593.01 (2016 est.) 593.01 (2015 est.) 591.45 (2014 est.) 494.42 (2013 est.)

Fiscal year: calendar year

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2019". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  2. ^ "World Bank Country and Lending Groups". World Bank. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Global Economic Prospects, January 2020 : Slow Growth, Policy Challenges" (PDF). World Bank. p. 147. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Poverty headcount ratio at $3.20 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population) - Cote d'Ivoire". World Bank. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  7. ^ "GINI index (World Bank estimate)". World Bank. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Human Development Index (HDI)". HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI)". HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Labor force, total - Cote d'Ivoire". World Bank. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Employment to population ratio, 15+, total (%) (national estimate) - Cote d'Ivoire". World Bank. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Cote d'Ivoire". Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Moody's upgrades Côte d'Ivoire's sovereign ratings to Ba3 from B1, outlook stable". moody's. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Fitch Upgrades Cote d'Ivoire to 'B+'; Outlook Stable". Fitch Group. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  15. ^ Bloody Valentine: Child Slavery in Ivory Coast's Cocoa Fields
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "CIA World Factbook, 2018". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 22 October 2018.

External links[edit]