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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora