Figures of the Week: Employment and labor productivity in Côte d’Ivoire

The Jobs Group, a joint International Finance Corporation-World Bank initiative, works to provide a diagnosis of employment challenges and the existing remedies to create jobs strategies in multiple sectors in their client countries. In recent months, the group has released a series of reports on the status of employment in Côte d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Tajikistan, and Zambia. The aim of the reports is to inform policymakers by providing a comprehensive analysis of the state of employment and the existing challenges and opportunities surrounding the job market. This week, we highlight figures from the report, titled Jobs Diagnostic Côte d’Ivoire: Employment Productivity and Inclusion for Poverty Reduction

Côte d’Ivoire has a high labor force participation rate of 76.8 percent and a low unemployment rate of 6.7 percent (Figure 1). In rural areas, the labor participation rate reaches 85 percent against 68 percent in urban areas. This trend is also seen in the disparity in the unemployment rate that exists between urban and rural areas. Rural areas have an unemployment rate of 3 percent against 12 percent in urban areas. The report attributes the large difference to the higher self-employment rate in rural areas. The country also suffers from high youth unemployment (7.9 percent), a common trend across sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s inactive population lies at 23.2 percent, 54.2 percent of which are between the ages of 14 and 34. The report states that a large share of the inactive population is made up of youth people starting the transition from school to full-time employment.

Figure 1: Overview of the employment situation in Cote d’Ivoire in February 2014


Although the labor participation rate is relatively high and the unemployment rate is low, Côte d’Ivoire’s existing jobs tend to be concentrated in low productivity activities. Only 23 percent of the workers are employed in in wage-jobs (Figure 2). The report states that the remaining 77 percent operate in informal activities such as self-employment on family farms, or selling goods and services. These activities tend to have relative low productivity. In addition, rural residents and women tend to be highly represented in self-employment; 87 percent of employed women are self-employed against 69 percent of employed men. Eighty-nine percent of rural residents are self-employed against 59 percent of urban residents.

Figure 2: Composition of employment in Côte d’Ivoire


The report concludes with policy recommendations to broaden the jobs strategy to create “better jobs,” i.e., ones with higher earnings, and advocates for the productive inclusion (ensuring that people have jobs and that said jobs yield high productivity) of the poor, women, and rural population. The report recommends that the country redirects its job policy away from increasing the number of jobs and toward improving the quality, inclusiveness, and the productivity of the employment that presently exists in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, the report recommends that, given the large share of employment in agriculture, increasing productivity in the sector can serve as an important contributor to the country’s strategy toward increasing the available number of jobs as well as boosting the productivity of the existing jobs.