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Market & Business

Chocolate is essential

Agriculture dominates the market of Ivory Coast, particularly the growing of cocoa beans, the state’s greatest export.

Ivory Coast supplies more than a third of the world’s cocoa and its exports for the global chocolate market were worth around 2.5 billion dollars in 2010 (according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation). !

New trees wanted

Outputs of cocoa trees fall after the last important cycle of planting and 30 years was in the 1970s. Some new trees are planted (with backing from big food companies), but they represent a small percentage of output.

Nevertheless, routine blights like black pod disease threaten earnings from cocoa production. Small farmers are not able to afford the routine spraying which would shield their cocoa crops. The sector suffers from under-investment.

Local investment is hampered by high taxes on farmers, with around 40% of the cash paid by commodity buyers going to the authorities. Since most cocoa producers are small scale, this has led some farmers to rely on child labour to make a living. !

Petroleum and natural resources

Natural gas generation and petroleum are a growing sector of the market. Crude oil is processed by a leading refinery at Abidjan from off-shore rigs. Some petroleum is used and the remainder is refined into oil products for export.!

Ivory Coast has mineral resources, including gold and diamonds. Deposits of iron ore, manganese and bauxite are there to be developed.

Production is largely restricted to the refining and processing of agricultural produce (e.g. palm oil, coconut oil, sugar) or the canning of fruits such as pineapples. !

State of the market and business

After independence in 1960, Ivory Coast have decades of steady government and became the most wealthy nation in West Africa, boasting the fourth-biggest market south of the Sahara.!

Many state-owned companies, including water and electricity utilities. But during the 1990s, the market declined with coups and political offices. It suffered farther during the recent violence following elections in 2010 and the civil war of 2002.!

Nevertheless, stability and peace in the last few years have enabled the market to boom, with increase in the petroleum, banking and transport sectors particularly.

Ivorian Contact

The author Ivorian Contact