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Tuesday, 08 October 2013 13:57

Country profile: Ivory Coast

25 Degrees provides a detailed profile on the Ivory Coast.

The West-African country of the Ivory Coast, or officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, gained independence in 1960. However, it was an evolved independence which started by first becoming a French Protectorate in 1842, an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958 and finally an independent republic outside the French Community in 1960. Since 1983, the Ivory Coast’s official capital has been Yamoussoukro, although Abidjan remains the administrative centre.

Government: Republic, multiparty presidential regime established 1960.

Capital: Yamoussoukro.

Administrative divisions: Agneby, Bafing, Bas-Sassandra, Denguele, Dix-Huit Montagnes, Fromager, Haut-Sassandra, Lacs, Lagunes, Marahoue, Moyen-Cavally, Moyen-Comoe, N’zi-Comoe, Savanes, Sud-Bandama, Sud-Comoe, Vallee du Bandama, Worodougou, Zanzan.

Constitution: Approved by a referendum on 23 July 2000.

Legal system: Civil law system based on the French civil code, judicial review in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

Notable political parties: Citizens Democratic Union or UDCY Democratic Liberty for the Republic or LIDER Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire or PDCI Freedom and Democracy for the Republic or LIBRE Ivorian Popular Front or FPI Ivorian Workers Party or PIT Opposition Movement of the Future or MFA Rally of the Republicans or RDR Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d’Ivoire or UDPCI <BLOCK END>

Unfortunately, like many Islamic African countries, the Ivory Coast has been suffering an ongoing civil war that broke out on 19 September 2002, following an armed uprising against Robert Guei, who overthrew the government with a military coup in late 2000. The presidential election in 2010 led to further dispute in an already politically-challenged country, which resulted in the Second Ivorian War, which saw more than 3 000 people killed across the country centres. Political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth.


The Ivory Coast depends heavily on agriculture activities, which engage roughly 68% of the population. The country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil.

Cocoa, oil and coffee are the Ivory Coast’s top export revenue earners.

In June 2012 the World Bank announced $4,4 billion in debt relief for the country under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Côte d’Ivoire’s long-term challenges include political instability and degrading infrastructure.


Facts and figures:

GDP (purchasing power parity): R400 billion (2012 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate): R246 billion (2012 est.)

Labour force (by occupation): Agriculture: 68% Industry and services: NA% (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line: 42% (2006 est.)

Public debt: 43,7% of GDP (2012 est.)

Exports: R122 billion (2012 est.)

Imports: R84 billion (2012 est.) <BLOCK END>



More than half of the Ivory Coast’s domestic energy needs are met by combustible renewable resources and waste, mainly biomass.

Biomass is the most common energy source, providing up to 75% of the overall energy requirements. The Ivory Coast is an exporter of petroleum products and an exporter of crude oil.

The country’s electricity sector is currently in a crisis regarding high exploitation, investment costs and inadequate revenues. In rural areas, the lack of access to energy services has a considerable influence on the quality of life for households, especially for women, particularly in terms of health. In the commercial sector, a number of businesses have turned to self-generating, due to the unreliability of power supply from the national utility. It was estimated in 2009 that 15,1% of firms predominantly used power they generated themselves.

Until 1990, the state-owned utility Energie Electrique de Côte d’Ivoire (EECI) had a monopoly over electricity generation, transmission and distribution, after which the country’s electric utility was taken over by a private operator due to poor performance and debts.

Since 2007, IPPs accounted for nearly two thirds of the total electricity production.  

In the Cote d’Ivoire Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2009-2015, energy sector targets are set out for 2013 and 2015. The targets include a 3% share of primary energy from renewables by 2013, rising to 5% by 2015. Also, a biomass-fired 60MW project has been announced, in addition to two biogas-fired power generation projects, totalling 33MW.

The attainment of this objective requires an increase in electricity and butane gas production, the development of a master plan on rural electrification and improved access to energy services.

In July 2009, the French carbon dealer ECOSUR received approval under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism for a waste-to-energy carbon offset project in the Ivory Coast that it had submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Abidjan Municipal Waste-to-Energy Project is located in Bingerville, North of Abidjan, and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of more than 71 000 tons of CO2 per year. Project owner Société Ivoirienne de Traitement des Déchets (SITRADE) will collect and treat 200 000 tons of urban waste per year using anaerobic digesters, and the resulting biogas will be used to produce electricity, while residual waste will be transformed into compost.

Despite the current lack of policies or frameworks for the promotion of renewable energy in the country, new regulations are being drafted by the Ministry of Mines and Energy in an effort to provide a better environment for the establishment of renewable energy projects.   The WAPP Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea Power System Re-development Project aims to, at this stage, create a business plan and an institutional development mechanism for the planned inter-connection of the involved countries’ electricity transmission networks.

The development of renewable energy is hindered by a lack of comprehensive planning in the Ivory Coast and the financial means to promote renewables. The coming updates to energy regulation in the country from the Ministry of Mines and Energy need to be implemented. Currently there are no specific regulations or incentives for renewable energy, nor any form of legislative framework.

Further development of electricity service access will create the need for better-defined and executed regulatory mechanisms.


A critical state

At first glance, the Ivory Coast has come a long way since the initial civil war – politically and economically.

Cities are laden with new construction sites and super highways that weave around the Ébrié lagoon in the heart of Abidjan, and the skyline boasts the new high-rise tower for the African Development Bank, which has been absent in the country for more than a decade.

However, tensions remain over the lack of justice and security bubble under the surface. Attacks in the west and the lack of prosecutions undermine the government’s efforts for national reconciliation and stability.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the information given to write this article.

GIL Africa 2017