News / Africa

    Ivory Coast Economy Drops Amid Political Impasse

    Ivorian farmers protest an ongoing cocoa embargo by major foreign export companies
    Ivorian farmers protest an ongoing cocoa embargo by major foreign export companies

    Multimedia

    Nico Colombant

    As the political impasse persists in divided Ivory Coast, the West African country, which was once the region's economic powerhouse, faces further decline.  Residents, diplomats, and analysts are very worried about the situation.

    At a recent protest, Ivorian farmers complained about an ongoing cocoa embargo by major foreign export companies.  One of the protestors said Ivorians need cocoa money to survive.  

    Other hardships facing Ivorians include shortages in cooking gas and rising prices on food markets.  Mechanic Lamine Sylla has been doing work for government officials, but he says he has not been paid in several months.

     

    "If you work for the government, all the money has been trapped," said Sylla.  "You can no longer get paid."

    Many banks are now shut down, while companies are laying off employees as outside economic sanctions against disputed incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo stiffen. Mr. Gbagbo has refused to cede power following controversial elections last year despite repeated mediation attempts.

    The United Nations, African groupings and most countries recognize Mr. Gbagbo's challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner of last year's presidential election.  

    Cocoa is the area where sanctions have been most felt, both inside and outside Ivory Coast.

    Jean-Marc Anga is the executive director of the London-based International Cocoa Organization. "As you know Cote d'Ivoire is a leading cocoa producer in the world with close to 30 to 40 percent of world supply so in the cocoa sector if anything happens in the Cote d'Ivoire it is a matter of concern for us," said Anga.

    Cocoa has always been crucial in the history of Ivory Coast. After independence from France in 1960, the country's economic success story was mostly built on the lucrative bean, which is used to make chocolate.

    But many cocoa laborers, who originally came from neighboring countries, and their descendants, increasingly felt marginalized. This contributed to a rebellion in 2002 which split Ivory Coast in two.

    Africa analyst with British-based Chatham House Paul Melly recently told a gathering of students in Washington that while other West African countries have had economic growth in recent years, Ivory Coast has faced a steady decline.

    "Cote d'Ivoire, the great success story has spent a decade stagnating, caught between civil war and this sort of peace that barely functions with interminable political wrangling and consequently an almost total absence of long term government strategy," said Melly.

    In addition to economic pressure against Mr. Gbagbo, some countries, like the United States, have started recognizing ambassadors appointed by Mr. Ouattara.  

    Daouda Diabate, the new ambassador in Washington, was recently welcomed by Ivorian immigrants.

    He says he believes as soon as Mr. Gbagbo leaves power, economic problems will be resolved. "Cote d'Ivoire used to be qualified as an economic miracle in Africa and this is the kind of thing that we know that once again we can achieve," said Gbagbo.  "We have the people. We have the resources. We have the opportunities. We just need peace and stability and we just want to see the right man at the right place do the job."

    Mr. Ouattara is a former international banker, while Mr. Gbagbo is a former history professor.

    The incumbent president and his supporters say they are fighting for a second independence to fully assume sovereignty from external actors, including economic ones. But their opponents say they are sacrificing the livelihood of all Ivorians and refusing to accept they lost the elections.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora