77th Plenary Meeting of the ICAC
New Registration
About Côte d'Ivoire

Geographical location and population

A former French colony that declared its independence on 7 August, 1960, Côte d’Ivoire is a country in the West African subregion, in the tropical zone between 4°30 and 10°30 north latitude. It is bordered by Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, by Guinea and Liberia to the west, by Ghana to the east, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

The Ivorian population is estimated at 22.6 million inhabitants (general census of 2014).

The country covers an area of 322,462 square kilometres, with forest vegetation in the southern half and savannah in the northern half. The official language of Côte d’Ivoire is French.

Business and infrastructure

Since it declared its independence in 1960, Côte d’Ivoire’s economy has been driven by agriculture. Today, the agricultural sector contributes 28% to the country's gross domestic product. It is the world's leading cocoa-producing country and also is one of the top African producers of coffee, natural rubber, cotton, palm oil, bananas, pineapples, and cola.

Côte d’Ivoire has two ports, in Abidjan (second-largest port in sub-Saharan Africa) and San Pedro (world’s top cocoa port), and a national airline, Air Côte d'Ivoire, which serves more than 20 destinations from Abidjan.

An important road network goes across the country. Energy self-sufficiency is ensured through the use of gas, oil, hydroelectric dams and thermal power stations, which enable the country to export electricity and petroleum products to the subregion.

Côte d’Ivoire is a developing country with excellent future growth prospects. In 2012, after a decade of political and social crises that had heavily affected the country's economic health, the government's recovery plan contributed significantly to reviving growth and initiating a recovery. Growth is back, with a 9% expansion in GDP between 2012 and 2016, and a gain of 7.8% in 2017 alone.

The new National Development Program (Programme National de Développement) for the 2016-2020 period provides for major structural reforms aimed at stimulating sustained private sector growth and boosting the economy. Among these reforms is the transformation of agricultural products to give added value.

Yamoussoukro, the political capital

Located in the centre of Côte d’Ivoire in the Lakes region, 240 km north of Abidjan, Yamoussoukro has been the country's political and administrative capital since 1983, and had a population of about 207,000 inhabitants in 2014. It is the fifth-most populous city in Côte d’Ivoire, after Abidjan, Bouaké, Daloa and Korhogo. It is located on a flat ground, covered with a savannah and has streams running through it, including the Marahoué and the N'Zi, two Bandama affluents.

Abidjan, the economic capital and host city

Abidjan is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire. It is also the most populated city in West Africa and the fifth-largest city in Africa. It has 4,707,000 inhabitants according to the last census of 2014. Considered as the West African cultural hub, Abidjan is experiencing strong growth characterised by industrialisation and urbanisation. The city enjoys a sub-equatorial climate — hot and humid — with rainfall of more than 1,500 mm per year.

The temperature is almost always about 27° C and the average annual humidity is about 80%. Abidjan has the largest port in the West African subregion and the second-largest in all of Africa, after Durban in South Africa. It is a transhipment and container port.

Abidjan, nicknamed “pearl of the lagoons”, is a cosmopolitan city. With its modern facilities and hotels such as the iconic Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire, Golf Hotel and many others, as well as its beautiful natural wonders, it is a city built for business.

Abidjan has much to offer the leisure traveller as well, especially due to its beaches, palm trees and coconut trees on the lagoon strip of the Vridi district, which is very popular on weekends.

In terms of entertainment, Abidjan has many options for both relaxation and excitement, the most popular of which is the Palace of Culture, where local and international artists display their work every week.

The Ivorian cotton industry

After its independence, the Ivorian State controlled the cotton sector through the creation of the Ivorian Company for Textile Development (Compagnie Ivoirienne pour le Développement des Textiles) in 1974, a Crown corporation that held a monopoly on cotton until 1998, when it was opened up and some of the CIDT assets were sold to private operators.

Today, the country has six ginning companies with a total of 15 cotton ginning units, offering a potential processing capacity of 600,000 tons of seed cotton per year, which means it can produce up to 250,000 tons of fibre annually.

The importance of cotton to the Ivorian economy

Cotton is cultivated in the centre and north of Côte d’Ivoire on approximately 58% of the national territory, with a high density of production in the extreme north and north central regions.

Commonly known as white gold, cotton is the country’s fourth-largest agricultural product for export after cocoa, rubber and cashews. It represents about 3% of Côte d’Ivoire’s export earnings, and directly and indirectly provides income for about 3.5 million people.

With a production of 172,000 tons of cotton seed in 2016/17, Côte d’Ivoire is the fourth-largest cotton-producing country in Africa after Burkina Faso, Mali and Benin. Globally, it resides in 12th to 14th place among the producing countries, depending on the year. Like others in the West African subregion, Côte d’Ivoire’s cotton-based crop system contributes to food security through its impact on the production of cereals and legumes. Those crops, which are rotated with the cotton plant, form the basic diet of most residents in the production areas.

Thanks to cotton, several regions have experienced growth in industrialised jobs. Cotton has also contributed to the improvement of housing and to the construction of social infrastructure such as health centres, schools, etc. Cotton cultivation has led to the modernisation of farms in production areas through the use of agricultural inputs, animal traction and motorisation. Several development projects have been implemented using cotton (support to producer groups, literacy, etc.). Cotton is the first agricultural sector to have established an interprofessional framework for collaboration and the management of value chains.

Organisational chart of the cotton sector

A new organisational and institutional framework for the cotton sector was implemented in 2013 during the latest sector reform. This new framework is based on two entities:

1. The Cotton and Cashew Council, which is a body for the regulation, monitoring and development of the sectors, was created in 2013. 

2. INTERCOTTON, which is the interprofessional organisation of agriculture, created in 2002 to connect stakeholders in the cotton sector: cotton producers, ginning companies and industrialists of the second and third transformations (fibre weaving/printing, and seed processing).

- Producers are grouped in the Federation of Cotton Producers of Côte d’Ivoire (FPC-CI).

- The cotton companies are grouped within the Professional Association of Cotton Companies (APROCOB).

- The businesses in the second and third transformations are grouped within the Association of Professionals of Textile (APROTEXTILE) and the Association of Cotton Triturators of Côte d’Ivoire (ATC-CI), respectively.

Recent reform of the cotton sector

In order to ensure the optimisation and sustainability of cotton production in Côte d’Ivoire, the government adopted major structural reforms through the Act No. 2013-656 dated 13 September, 2013, laying down rules on the marketing of cotton and cashews and the regulation for cotton and cashew chains. The main structural change made through the reform is the allocation of an exclusive zone of activity to each of the cotton companies in the country (agro-industrial zoning). It aims to optimise production by reducing costs, improving advice to producers and increasing productivity.

This reform has been accompanied by specific programs such as the implementation of a single classification scheme for cotton fibres complying with international standards, support for the production of cotton seed, relaunching cotton research, and promoting product quality in order to improve the quality of Ivorian cotton on the international market.