Monday, October 1, 2012

The economy of Ivory Coast is stable and currently growing, in the aftermath of political instability in recent decades. It is largely market-based and depends heavily on the agricultural sector. Almost 70% of the Ivorian people are engaged in some form of agricultural activity. GDP per capita grew 82% in the 1960s, reaching a peak growth of 360% in the 1970s. But this proved unsustainable and it shrank by 28% in the 1980s and a further 22% in the 1990s. This coupled with high population growth resulted in a steady fall in living standards. Gross national product per capita, now rising again, was about US$ $727 in 1996. (It was substantially higher two decades ago.) After several years of lagging performance, the Ivorian economy began a comeback in 1994, due to the devaluation of the CFA franc and improved prices for cocoa and coffee, growth in non-traditional primary exports such as pineapples and rubber, limited trade and banking liberalization, offshore oil and gas discoveries, and generous external financing and debt rescheduling by multilateral lenders and France. The 50% devaluation of franc zone currencies on 12 January 1994 caused a one-time jump in the inflation rate to 26% in 1994, but the rate fell sharply in 1996-1999. Moreover, government adherence to donor-mandated reforms led to a jump in growth to 5% annually in 1996-99. A majority of the population remains dependent on smallholder cash crop production. Principal exports are cocoa, coffee, and tropical woods. Principal U.S. exports to Ivory Coast are rice and wheat, plastic materials and resins, Kraft paper, agricultural chemicals, telecommunications, and oil and gas equipment. Principal U.S. imports are cocoa and cocoa products, petroleum, rubber, and coffee