Foreign (that is, non-French) investment was negligible until the issuance of the 1959 investment code, which eliminated all special privileges for French companies. A new investment code was adopted in 1984. To finance national investment, all businesses had to lend 10% of their profits to the government, but this loan was rebated if they reinvested twice that sum in government-approved industries. Investment incentives included tax holidays, export bonuses, duty-free imports of equipment and machinery, free repatriation of capital and profits, and tax stabilization clauses. The 1984 code was particularly intended to help small-and medium-sized enterprises, with greater incentives for firms locating outside the Abidjan area.
The New Investment Code of 1995 modified the code of 1984 to further encourage private sector investment for larger enterprises. Incentive packages were particularly aimed at attracting foreign investment in the petroleum, telecommunications, and mining sectors, which were being privatized. As a venue for foreign direct investment, Côte d'Ivoire had in its favor a well-developed infrastructure by third world standards (two ports with inland rail linkages, paved roads, advanced telecommunications facilities), a release from overwhelming external debt through the Paris Club and the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) initiative of the IMF and World Bank, and, most famously, a long record of political stability. This last was broken in the coup of 1999, a popular uprising in 2000, and a troop mutiny in March 2002.
Annual foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow fell over 43% between 1997 and 2000-2001—from about $450 million in 1997 to an average of about $256 million in 2000 and 2001. The political turmoil has created uncertainty in the private sector, which due to recent privatizations has delayed planned infrastructure improvements in the railroads, the petroleum sector, telecommunications, and electricity and water supply.
FDI has come primarily from France, which is source of 55% to 60% of accumulated FDI stock. FDI flows account for 40% to 45% of total capital in Ivorian firms, about 25% of which is French. Other important sources of FDI include the United States (8.4% in 1997), United Kingdom (7.3%), and Benelux countries (4.6%)