There is no question but that the 1999 coup was a severe setback to the image of Côte d'Ivoire as a secure and stable civilian-led country where the rule of law was respected and the business environment was encouraging for domestic and foreign investment alike. It is fortunate that the matter was speedily settled, but the subsequent elections were resolved only by civilian demonstrations and international pressure. A major task for the new government is to reestablish the strength of democratic procedures and ensure the support of the armed forces.
The strong rebound in Côte d'Ivoire's economic performance following the 1994 devaluation permitted sustained improvement in per capita incomes after several years of decline. This performance was marked by a return to low inflation and a sizeable reduction in external debt, as well as the substantial progress with the extensive economic reform program. However, growth was expected to slow down in 2000 because of the country's difficulty in meeting the conditions of international donors, continued low prices of key exports, and post-coup uncertainty.
The authorities recognize that the private sector is the engine of growth and employment and seem inclined to strengthen the climate for private sector activity through continued enterprise reform. If the governance issues can be addressed and the management of the public sector improved, Côte d'Ivoire should be able to realize its growth potential and bring about a sustained reduction in poverty.