Foresight Africa viewpoint – Emerging from crisis: Côte d’Ivoire’s success story

Editor's note:

Below is a viewpoint from Chapter 1 of the Foresight Africa 2018 report, which explores six overarching themes that provide opportunities for Africa to overcome its obstacles and spur inclusive growth. Read the full chapter on African leadership here.

Despite a lost decade, culminating in the post-electoral crisis of 2010, Côte d’Ivoire has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with an average annual GDP growth rate of 9 percent since 2012. 

During that decade, the country was marked by insecurity and political instability, public debt exploded, the business environment degraded, the total investment rate fell below 10 percent of GDP, and economic growth averaged close to zero. As a result, basic socio-economic infrastructures and services, including schools, health facilities, electricity, and water supply deteriorated, affecting youth employment and poverty. Today, Côte d’Ivoire is a success story and one of Africa’s most resilient economies to external shocks.

How did we achieve this success?

First, priority was given to security and political stability through the reform of the security sector including the demobilization of more than 64,000 ex-combatants, and a national reconciliation and social cohesion program.

Second, two comprehensive National Development Plans (2012-2015 and 2016-2020) worth around $72 billion were designed with contributions from civil society, private sector, and development partners. To enhance accountability, they are monitored through key performance indicators.

We are creating inclusive growth by allocating more than a third of our annual budget to social expenditures, particularly in health and education, with a focus on gender equality, compulsory education, and universal medical coverage. From 2011 to 2015, we produced as much clean water as during the 50 years following our independence, and the access rate to electricity now stands at 80 percent of the population. Accordingly, the poverty rate declined from 51 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2015.

Facilitating private sector activity has been a key pillar of our strategy to diversify our economy and create employment, especially for youth. As a result, our business environment has improved and total investment has now reached 20 percent of GDP, compared to 9 percent in 2011. We have achieved a stable macroeconomic environment through strengthened public finance management, inflation below 2 percent, and a sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio of 42 percent.

The main lessons of post-crisis management in Côte d’Ivoire can be summed up in the launching of a well-designed strategy with the appropriate prioritization and monitoring, as well as a strong political will for its concrete implementation.

Future challenges will be to maintain our current trajectory in becoming an emerging market economy, ensure a successful demographic transition, and lay the foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth in a peaceful environment.