The economy of Cote d’Ivoire (aka “Ivory Coast”) continues to benefit from strong growth, though its GDP has declined since 2014. Nevertheless, the economy is still expected to grow by about 7% in 2017, supported by strong export in cocoa and palm oil and with greater efforts to develop the manufacturing sector as well as mining for gold and developing oil exports.
The Internet penetration rate was 26% in 2017. The country is a landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia. Access to additional cable networks in recent years is causing significant reductions in retail pricing for DSL, WiMAX and EV-DO wireless broadband services.
There are two competing companies offering fixed telephone services, whereas five firms offer mobile cellular services. The internet and broadband sectors have remained underdeveloped. This is partly the legacy result of high international bandwidth costs caused by the incumbent having had monopoly access to the only international fibre optic submarine cable serving the country. This was addressed in recent years, with the landing of a second cable in November 2011. The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency of Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI) enforces regulations regarding telecommunications.
Cote d’Ivoire is heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly two-thirds of the population. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to climatic conditions. Cocoa, oil, and coffee are the country’s top export revenue earners, but the country has targeted agricultural processing of cocoa, cashews, mangoes, and other commodities as a high priority. Mining gold and exporting electricity are growing industries outside agriculture.
Following the end of more than a decade of civil conflict in 2011, Cote d’Ivoire has experienced a boom in foreign investment and economic growth. In June 2012, the IMF and the World Bank announced $4.4 billion in debt relief for Cote d’Ivoire under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. For the last 5 years Cote d’Ivoire’s growth rate has been among the highest in the world.
The incumbent operator is CI-Telecom and dominates the fixed-line sector. This operator is majority-owned by Orange Group and was merged with the Group’s local mobile network operator, Orange Côte d’Ivoire, in December 2016. This created a unified service operator able to provide converged fixed-line as well as mobile voice and data services. The merger was in line with the government’s aim of developing a telecom sector with a stronger focus on convergence.
(None reported as of November, 2017)