Technology and Business Opportunities in West Africa

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Côte d'Ivoire

  • 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.

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, 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 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.

Côte d’Ivoire’s industrial fabric stands amongst the most developed in the Economic Community of West African States. Ivoirian industry currently accounts for nearly 25% of GDP, involving oil products, agri-business (particularly agro-food), energy, construction, chemistry, building materials, ironwork, foundry, assembly and small mechanical engineering.

Since 2012, the sector’s performances have made continuous progress, with a harmonised industrial production index rising by 12.8% in 2012, 8.8% in 2013, 6.1% in 2014 and 10.5% in the first quarter of 2015. Côte d’Ivoire is Africa’s eighth largest industrial power, with more than half of Ivoirian firms in the agro-food sector.

Nearly 87% of the industrial sector is constituted by small and medium-sized enterprises and industries (SMEs/SMIs). The rest are for the most part large companies held by foreign capital, accounting for 80% of industrial value added and 70% of industrial labor.

Non-oil mining has enjoyed significant investments in research and in the opening of new mines, and there has been substantial growth in demand in the areas of construction, building materials, foundry and metalwork manufacturing.

Growth has recovered in the agro-food sector, and businesses in the sector have begun expanding their capacities. Performance in the oil industry has been uneven due to problems in the competitiveness of refineries, the silting up of some oil wells and an increase in domestic demand for gas.

The situation of the electricity sector is positive, with its production index having risen by 16.5% in 2016 thanks to better supply from the two main energy sources, thermal (Azito and Ciprel) and hydroelectric (dams). Domestic consumption and exports have increased continuously, by 8.8% and 93.3%, respectively, at end-2016.

 Industrial development is one of the four pillars of Côte d’Ivoire’s vision for 2040. Following an analysis of the industrial sector conducted in 2012 with support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as the Côte d’Ivoire 2040 study by the Ivoirian business community, the country developed an industrialization strategy, the main lines of which are included in the PND 2016–20.

 The policy aims to:

  1. reinforce the linkage between production and processing in order to generate more value added and large numbers of decent permanent jobs;
  2. establish new development hubs for industrial sectors.

The policy allowed the country to adopt a three-line strategy based on:

  1. a strong contribution from the private sector;
  2. the use of comparative advantages;
  3. and targeted state support (quality, standards, restructuring, access to credit and to industrial parks, targeted tax benefits, etc.).

The growth sectors will be:

  1. agri-business (cashews, cotton, cocoa, rubber trees, oil palm, etc.)
  2. non-agricultural natural resources (gas, hydrocarbons and other natural energy sources)
  3. core industries, such as those related to metalwork (steel mills, cement factories and chemicals), consumer goods (generic drugs, packaging, plastics processing and textiles) and light manufacturing industries.

Industrial policy is implemented through six instruments:

  1. stronger incentives
  2. a better business climate
  3. specific support to certain industrial processing sectors
  4. support for quality and support for anti-counterfeit measures
  5. the restructuring and streamlining of companies
  6. further development of industrial infrastructure. Private sector initiatives are supplementing state efforts to promote entrepreneurship.

For instance, each year since 2012 the Ivoirian enterprise confederation (Confédération Générale des entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire – Cegeci) has organized the Cegeci Academy forum to promote entrepreneurship, support high-potential entrepreneurs and enhance the country’s private sector. Obstacles to the development of entrepreneurship are a weak entrepreneurial culture, low levels of education, a lack of training in entrepreneurial skills, and limited access to relevant information for entrepreneurial activities. SMEs have limited access to financing, due to the conditions that financial establishments set. The cost of credit (12 to 15% a year for long-term investments) is considered excessive. This is compounded by the inadequacy of the financing supply, with banks tending to support short-term financing.

Aware that information and communication technology (ICT) constitutes a lever and an accelerator for the country’s development, the government has committed to a policy that aims to promote emergence by developing a digital economy in which ICT is integrated into all spheres of national activity. It has set fie development strategy lines for this: i) the development and implementation of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework; ii) the development of broadband infrastructure; iii) the promotion of access to ICT; iv) incentives to develop local content; and v) the development of national ICT expertise. This will be supplemented with the revival of the Grand-Bassam biotechnology and ICT duty-free zone.

Côte d’Ivoire has also taken measures to facilitate starting a business and to promote entrepreneurship amongst youth and women. These measures have raised the country’s ranking in the World Bank Report Doing Business from 179th in 2013 to 147th in 2015. It achieved this by reducing administrative costs and the time required to start a company, as well as by easing administrative constraints.

Moreover, implementation of the project to support the revitalization of SMEs made funding available to set up a trade tribunal and a one-stop shop and to improve the capacities of more than 100 companies, thus increasing entrepreneurs’ confidence in the legal framework. Lastly, to develop a national climate favorable to the capacities of SMEs, the government has implemented regional job-creation strategies and improved SMEs’ access to government contracts. A draft framework act on national policy for promoting SMEs aims to establish a legal, institutional and tax environment that encourages entrepreneurship so that Ivoirian SMEs can be competitive, create many more jobs and make a strong contribution to the country’s economic growth.

Authors: Pascal Yembiline, Idrissa Diagne, El Allassane Baguia


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Opening Hours: 10:00 AM - 18:00 PM
Location: Radisson Hotel Center
Space: 800 m2
Number of Stands: 45
Professional visitors: 1000

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Supporters: Minister of Commerce, Minister of agriculture CI, International chamber of commerce Abidjan CI, African Institutions,

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Organizer: Fair Concept Africa Germany, Fair Concept Africa-CI

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