Côte D'ivoire - Economy

Côte d'Ivoire's wealth rests essentially on the production of coffee, cocoa, cotton, and tropical woods, which account for over 40% of GDP and two-thirds of exports. It has become the largest cotton producer south of the Sahara and is also investing in rubber production, with the goal of joining Liberia as one of Africa's leading rubber producers. The nation is the world's fifth-largest producer of coffee and the world's largest producer of cocoa; bananas, palm oil, and pineapples are other products of importance. Industrial activity, consisting chiefly of processing industries, is well developed. Mining remains of limited significance, with diamonds and offshore oil the only important minerals produced.

For the first 15 years after independence, Côte d'Ivoire's economy expanded at a remarkable rate reaching the double digits. During the 1980s, however, Côte d'Ivoire began experiencing an economic slowdown because of falling export prices, rising import prices, and heavy debt-service costs as a result of borrowing during the boom years.

In January 1994 France devalued the CFA franc, cutting its value in half. Within days of the devaluation, marketplace fights became common as shoppers reacted to merchants' attempts to cut their losses by marking up the prices of existing stocks. The population was forced to stop buying expensive imports in favor of locally produced products, which put more money into the pockets of local farmers and tradesmen. In addition, exports became more competitive, encouraging economic production. Despite the initial trauma, the devaluation ultimately led to average growth rates of 7% per year between 1995 and 1999. Although inflation initially shot up to 32% in 1994, it fell to7.7% in 1995, and 2.5% in 2000. The post-devaluation boom waned in 1999, though, because of lower coffee, palm, rubber, and cocoa prices. The GDP growth rate in 2001 was estimated at -1%. Commodity prices, however, rebounded in 2001.

Due to the instability following the attempted coup that took place in 2002, and the resulting fighting, Côte d'Ivoire's economy suffered greatly, affecting everyone from business people to local artisans and farmers. Côte d'Ivoire's neighbors—including Burkina Faso and Mali—also felt the blow from the civil war.

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