During the first 20 years of independence, the Ivory
Coast had a very high rate of growth in the economy. In real
terms, GDP increased by 11 per cent in the years 1960-70 and
by 6.7 per cent in the years 1970-80. The country's economy
was heavily dependent on coffee, cocoa and timber exports,
and therefore also very sensitive to price fluctuations in
the world market. Falling world market prices in the early
and late 1980s as well as the late 1990s had major negative
consequences for the country's economy.
In order to reduce the unilateral dependence on few
export products, in 1991 an economic structural adjustment
program was introduced and in 1994 a 50 percent devaluation.
This, together with the privatization and deregulation of
the banking system, had positive effects on the economy, but
the political unrest and the civil war in the early 00s
again led to a deterioration of the country's economy. Some
recovery of the economy occurred during the late 00s, but
the country still suffers from political unrest and is
considered to be severely affected by corruption.
countryaah, the agricultural sector is the Ivory Coast's most
important economic sector. The most important export
products are cocoa, coffee, oil palm products and natural
rubber. Ivory Coast is also a major producer of cotton, but
unrest in the northern parts of the country has created
major problems for growers. Cultivation of cocoa and coffee
takes place mainly in the southern and southeastern parts.
Ivory Coast has been since 1977/78, when it passed Ghana,
the world's largest producer of cocoa.
Since the 1960s, the production of oil palm products has
been extensive, and the aim is to become world-leading in
this regard as well. Increased domestic demand, conditional
on population growth, led to investments in food production
in the 1970s and 1980s. As for the most important food crops
maize, cassava and jams, Ivory Coast is self-sufficient.
Large investments have been made to increase rice and sugar
Forestry used to be an important source of export income,
but its importance has diminished in recent years. The
decrease is mainly due to excessive sutures and deficiencies
in the replanting programs. Increased domestic demand has
also led to reduced export volumes. However, hardwood is
still being exported.
Abidjan is Africa's largest fishing port in terms of
catches of tuna. Fish is an important part of the
population's protein intake, but the importance of fish for
the country's economy has decreased. In 2007, the catch
volume was 33,000 tonnes, which is one third of what it was
in 1990. Most of the catch is landed by foreign ships.
The country is rich in gold, diamonds, iron ore, copper,
bauxite and nickel, but the utilization rate is low. Only
the gold deposits mined by a French mining company in the
western parts of the country, and diamonds mined in the
northern parts of the country, are used to a greater extent.
Of these, diamond production has the greatest impact on the
country's economy, but due to extensive smuggling via
neighboring countries Ghana and Mali, the size of production
is difficult to assess. There are also plans to exploit the
iron ore and nickel deposits.
Ivory Coast's energy needs are covered by 65-70 percent
of wood burning, oil accounts for about 25 percent and
electricity accounts for 5 percent. The country had a fairly
large expansion of water genin during the 1980s, but several
dry periods caused the development to stop.
In 1977 and 1980 oil discoveries were made off the Ivory
Coast, south of Grand Bassam. During the 1980s, small
amounts of oil were produced, but production ceased after a
few years, mainly because the oil was difficult to recover.
Renewed exploitation in 1994 led to new discoveries, and
since then production has resumed. Oil and natural gas
production has risen sharply since the beginning of the
1990s, and the country is now self-sufficient in oil and
natural gas. Ivory Coast also has smaller exports to some
To compensate for imports from especially Senegal, the
Ivory Coast has since the country became independent in 1960
has had a very dynamic industrial sector.
In the main, the industrial sector consists of the
process industry for agricultural products, e.g. for palm
oil manufacturing and textile industry. During periods of
political turmoil, parts of the industry have been hit hard
and many textile factories have been closed due to commodity
shortages. The Ivory Coast also has a large oil refinery in
Abidjan. The refinery has the capacity both to meet domestic
demand and to supply neighboring countries.
The Ivory Coast has always had a positive trade balance
during peacetime. However, falling and fluctuating prices
for the most important export crops have, during periods,
decreased surplus. Exports are dominated by agricultural
products and timber. Imports are dominated by crude oil and
refined petroleum products. The most important trading
partner is France. Other important trading partners on the
import side are Nigeria and China. The main exporting
countries are the Netherlands, the United States and France.