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Economy of Ivory Coast

The economy of Ivory Coast is stable and currently growing, in the aftermath of political instability in recent decades.

The Ivory Coast 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 aspineapples and rubber, limited trade and banking liberalization, offshore oil and gas discoveries, and generous extenal 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.

Sectors

Agriculture

Ivory Coast is among the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to weather conditions. Despite attempts by the government to diversify the economy, it is still largely dependent on agriculture and related activities. Forced labor by children bought and sold as slaves is endemic in cacao production.

Animal husbandry

Much of the country lies within tsetse-infested areas, and cattle are therefore concentrated in the more northerly districts. . There are 33 million chickens; 31,214 tons of eggs were produced in 2004. Milk production is small and there are no processing facilities so the milk is consumed fresh; production in 2004 was 25,912 tons. The total catch was 71,841 tons in 2004, with commercial fishing accounting for 25 percent; artisanal fishing, 74 percent; and aquaculture, 1 percent.Forestry

There are three types of forest in Ivory Coast: rain forest, deciduous forest, and the secondary forest of the savanna region. Total forest area in 2000 was 7,117,000 hectares; the natural rain forest constitutes the main forest area, as only 184,000 hectares (455,000 acres) are planted forests. he RD, where logging is permitted, covers 66 percent of the total land area of Ivory Coast. However, the effective area for forestry production is estimated at 2.9 million hectares.

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