“The time has come to renew the founding values of our beautiful Ivory Coast, and to reunite Ivorians. Let us celebrate peace, without which there can be no development.” H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire
Host to UNESCO sites such as the Biosphere Reserve, the Comoé National Park, the Grand Bassam historic town, the breathtakingly beautiful Mount Nimba Strict Natural Reserve and the richly bio diverse Tai National Park, Côte d’Ivoire is a nation brimming with variety in its beach resorts, rainforests and quirky architectural landmarks such as La Pyramide and St. Paul’s Cathedral. “Côte d’Ivoire is a tourist and business destination,” explains Daniel Karbownik, Regional Director West & Central Africa, Accor. “Developing a tourist destination creates direct and indirect jobs and promotes economic development and prosperity of the country.” With a view to this, in 2018, the government launched its ‘Sublime Côte d’Ivoire’ flagship tourism project. Due for completion in 2025, Sublime’s initial phase looks to transform the tourism landscape via a number of projects and schemes and the creation of 700,000 new jobs aimed at its youths.
The government’s National Development Plan 2021-2025 is intent in maintaining a stable socio-political environment while mobilising its domestic resources following the ramifications of the pandemic. It targets the private-sector investment and construction needed to spur productivity, advance diversification and inclusive growth while boosting job creation, in particular regarding the nation’s youth. With solid relations with international institutions and bilateral partners, Côte d’Ivoire is committed to making its business environment ever more attractive and its economy more competitive by relaxing economic policies in a bid to attract foreign companies and promote business creation, especially in the digital, information and technology sector. Paul-Harry Aithnard, CEO of Ecobank Côte d’Ivoire says, “The private sector is a driving force because all ideas not only come from the state but also come from the private sector. At Ecobank, we believe that digitisation and the digital economy make it possible to have an inclusive economy and that with technology we are capable of anything today. Technology allows for a true inclusive economy and true inclusive development.”
Another important driver to the nation’s development, and indeed its economic backbone, is its natural resources, such as fossil fuels and ores and agriculture. The government has expanded its vision to the encompass the enormous potential inherent in the production of added-value solutions, thereby increasing its manufacturing and processing industries. With a focus upon Green Tourism and carbon neutrality, Côte d’Ivoire’s government is well aware of the importance of boosting sustainability and creating supply chains. Over the last two decades, the world’s largest cocoa bean producer and exporter, has expanded its range to the cultivation of cashew nuts with impressive results. As part of the government’s National Development Plan, the nation is now looking to process its crops so as to harness a new source of income and promote the ‘Made in Côte d’Ivoire’ label. “We have great agricultural potential in the country.” declares Issiaka Savane, Interim Administrator of UNACOOPEC-CI. “If we want a dynamic and strong growth, we must participate in the transformation of agricultural products.”
In 2014, the Ivorian government also implemented one of the most favourable mining codes on the continent, which introduced greater transparency, the extension of exploration permits to ten years, strengthened local development and enhanced mining investment, particularly in the gold sector. As a result, mining activities increased 43% in 2019, generating a revenue of US$1.3 billion and creating almost 55,000 jobs. To this effect, training the local workforce is critical to the continued growth of the mining sector. Abdoulaye Diallo, General Manager of SFTP Mining, is proud to be a part of this initiative that improves the lives of Ivorians. Diallo says, “SFTP mining operations are sustainable and provide a position between the communities and the stakeholders. We train the local community in order to have international standards skills.”
True confirmation of Côte d’Ivoire’s stable outlook and the promise of its strong economic development occurred when Fitch assigned Côte d’Ivoire with a BB rating in July 2021, forecasting GDP growth to average 6.2% in 2021-2022. Léonce Yace, Managing Director of NSIA Banque CI, believes the nation’s multiple achievements is due to a number of factors. “Côte d’Ivoire has a dynamic economic fabric, players, opportunities, well-trained young people and booming banking sector. The government is made up of experts and competent people who understand the issues well and who manage to take the initiatives that drive development under the leadership of His Excellency President Alassane Ouattara. Investors who come to Côte d’Ivoire will find a business hub where their interests will be preserved.”
A gateway to West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire is well positioned as a hub for international trade and a story of success as one of Africa’s most resilient economies promoting inclusive and sustainable growth within a peaceful environment. As Côte d’Ivoire’s record results guarantee its trajectory towards economic recovery, the nation is also firmly moving forward towards a new era of growth, opportunity and a bright and shining future.