Cote d'Ivoire's investment promotion body, Centre de
promotion des investissements en Côte d'Ivoire (CEPICI),
has released figures showing that over 5,700 enterprises were
created up to the end of Q3 2016. This equates to 19% growth
compared to the same period in 20151. These are just the
latest in a number of recently released figures that show Cote
d'Ivoire to be the current destination of choice in Sub-Saharan
Africa, particularly among francophone African countries.
CEPICI's growth figures aren't so surprising seeing as
Cote d'Ivoire was shown by an IMF report to have the strongest
growth projections for 2016-17 in Sub-Saharan Africa2.
Growth for the period is expected to be 8% as compared to the
regional mean of 4.5%3. The report states that some
reasons for the positive outlook include the country's relative
sheltering from falls in global commodity prices, especially
compared to oil exporting countries. The stability of the CFA franc
due to its pegging against the euro as opposed to the volatility of
standalone currencies such as the naira are also cited.
The continued increase in political stability following the end
of the violence in 2011 has been a big contributing factor to the
growth of the private sector in Cote d'Ivoire. One would expect
that confidence within the business community would fall during
election periods, however, this has not been the case in Cote
d'Ivoire. The CEPICI figures have shown sustained growth
despite elections in November 2015, October 2016 and December 2016.
Since 2014, many companies that abandoned the country during
the violence have begun moving back and this trend has
continued4 to the current day.
Financial instability of some of the neighbours of Cote
d'Ivoire, especially Ghana, have also added to the creation of
industry. Ghana has been suffering from low growth and high
inflation for most of 2016 and reports have claimed that many
companies have decided to take advantage of the favourable economic
conditions across its borders5.
The prospects continue to be extremely positive for Cote
d'Ivoire. It will remain an attractive opportunity for
investors for at least the next 18 months – two years as the
instability in commodity prices continues to affect many of its
regional peers in the near term. Its own growth in the oil and gas
sector is extremely promising, so long as it learns lessons from
the missteps of countries such as Nigeria and Ghana.
The Ouattara administration must make sure that it borrows
sensibly and within its means while it seeks to carry out major
infrastructural developments in the country. Government debt is
currently at 48.9% of GDP (exactly the average for SSA) and is
expected to remain stable for the 2016-17 period though it must be
noted that these figures were compiled before the announcement of a
number of financing agreements with various partners and upcoming
plans such as the US$159m "Special Plan" of President
Ouattara for Abobo.
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