Children in front of a warehouse of a cocoa cooperative in Côte d'Ivoire

Economic situation The role of cocoa in the economy

Côte d'Ivoire's market share of about 45 per cent means that it is the biggest cocoa producer in the world. Other important agricultural commodities are cashew nuts, palm oil, rubber, cotton and coffee. The country also has mineral resources such as oil, gas, gold, manganese and nickel.

Cocoa cultivation is the source of livelihood for some seven million people. Although the government has set a fixed price for cocoa, the strong influence exerted by corporate interests and the lack of political oversight mean that farmers rarely see all of that money. In addition, only a fraction of the cocoa harvested in Côte d'Ivoire is also processed there, so that the country misses out on a large part of the added value.

An improving business climate

In the period from 2015 to 2019, Côte d'Ivoire's economy grew by an average of 7.3 per cent. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has so far proven to be relatively resilient to crisis. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the growth rate dropped to 2.3 per cent in 2020, but the Fund expects rates to exceed six per cent again from 2021.

The government's goal is to further develop the country through industrialisation and private sector development. The World Bank's Doing Business Index, which analyses the business climate in 190 countries, shows that Côte d'Ivoire has made continuous progress over the last few years, moving up to rank 110 in 2020 (2017: 142). Development constraints that continue to exist are inefficient government institutions, high levels of bureaucracy for people who want to start a business, corruption and nepotism, and the continuing political power struggle.

Environmental situation

Côte d'Ivoire's economic success is based on constant expansion of the land used for agriculture. Studies have shown that about four-fifths of the country's forests have been cleared to make way for agriculture. At least 30 per cent of the cocoa grown is planted illegally in protected forests. In 2017, the most important companies operating in the cocoa and chocolate industries launched the Cacao et forêt (cocoa and forest) initiative. The initiative aims to put an end to cocoa being grown on protected forest land in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

A new forest law was adopted in Côte d'Ivoire in 2019. It provides for officially allowing agro-industrial utilisation of those forest areas that have already been largely destroyed, while providing better protection for those protected areas that are still intact. Through reforestation efforts, the country wants to nearly double the area of forest in Côte d'Ivoire by 2030, bringing it to at least 20 per cent of the country's total area.