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 agricultural sector is very highly developed. Its market share of 40 per cent means that the country is the biggest cocoa producer in the world.

Other important agricultural commodities are cashew nuts, palm oil, rubber, cotton and coffee. Furthermore, the country also has mineral resources such as oil, gas, gold, manganese and nickel.

About a third of the population depends on the cultivation of cocoa to earn a living. 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 small 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.

Improving business climate

Following the political crisis in 2011, Côte d’Ivoire's economy shrank by 4.4 per cent. The situation has now stabilised. In 2018, the economy grew by 7.4 per cent; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting economic growth of more than seven per cent for 2019 and 2020.

The government is striving to increase domestic revenues and strengthen the private sector. 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 steadily up the rankings (2017: 142nd, 2018: 139th, 2019: 122nd, 2020: 110th).

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. About 30 per cent of the cocoa grown is planted illegally in protected forests. The Ivorian government has announced a legal reform intended to prevent this situation re-occurring.

In addition, in 2017, the most important companies operating in the cocoa and chocolate industries launched the initiative "Cacao et forêt" (in English: cocoa and forest). The initiative aims to put an end to cocoa being grown on protected forest land in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.