What Is Ivory Coast’S Main Export: Expert Tell You

Ivory Coast's main export plays a crucial role in its economy, with a rich history and diverse range of top products. Discover the economic impact.

The Importance of Ivory Coast’s Main Export

Ivory Coast relies heavily on agriculture and exports for economic growth. Ivory Coast’s major export products include cocoa beans, coffee, palm oil products, petroleum products and timber. Exports account for over 40% of its GDP. [Ivory Coast] (https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/ivory-coast/ “Ivory Coast”) economy is centered on agriculture and relies heavily on exports of a limited range of products, with cocoa beans accounting for 30% of exports, making the economy vulnerable to volatility in commodity prices.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

ivory coast, coffee, person holding cup of coffee
Photo by Brigitte Tohm / Unsplash

History and Development of Ivory Coast’s Export Industry

Ivory Coast’s export industry began with the trade of agricultural commodities like cocoa, coffee and palm oil in colonial times. Agricultural exports grew steadily in the early years after independence in 1960 boosted by favourable world prices and government policies. The government invested in expanding agricultural production through the National Office for Coffee and Cocoa which distributed seedlings, fertilizers and pesticides to farmers.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the government established Export Processing Zones (EPZs) to diversify exports beyond agricultural commodities. The EPZs attracted foreign investment in labour-intensive manufacturing industries like textiles, furniture and electronics assembly. However, agricultural exports remained dominant, accounting for over 70% of total exports.

The structure of Ivory Coast’s exports has changed little over the past decades:

  • Cocoa beans: 30-40% of total exports
  • Petroleum products: 10-15%
  • Coffee: 5-10%
  • Palm oil products: 5-10%
  • Wood products: 5-10%

The government continues to promote agricultural production and processing through initiatives like the 2012 National Coffee and Cocoa Plan seeking to boost production, processing and value addition of cocoa and coffee exports. However, Ivory Coast’s heavy reliance on a narrow range of primary commodities leaves the economy vulnerable to external shocks. Diversification of exports remains a key challenge.

ivory coast, palm oil, low angle photography green coconut tree
Photo by Alec Bennett / Unsplash

Top Export Products of Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast’s top export products are agricultural commodities and mineral fuels.

Cocoa beans have been by far the largest export crop for decades, accounting for around 30-40% of total exports annually. Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans, supplying around 30-35% of global cocoa supplies.

Petroleum products, mainly refined petroleum, account for the second largest share at around 10-15% of total exports. Ivory Coast has modest oil reserves and some refining capacity, exporting the surplus production regionally.

Coffee is the third major export crop, contributing around 5-10% of export earnings. Ivory Coast is the fifth largest producer of coffee globally.

  • Cocoa beans 35%
  • Petroleum products 13%
  • Coffee 8%
  • Palm oil and products 7%
  • Wood products 6%

Other major exports include:

Overall, Ivory Coast’s narrow range of primary commodity exports leaves the economy vulnerable to external shocks and price volatility in global commodity markets.

ivory coast, cocoa, brown and black coffee beans
Photo by Leonard Asuque / Unsplash

Economic Impact of Ivory Coast’s Main Export

Export revenues have a major economic impact on Ivory Coast through several channels:

Government revenues. Export duties, taxes and royalties on agricultural and mineral commodities constitute a large part of government revenues. In 2019, export revenues contributed around 35% of government revenues. This finances important social and development expenditures.

Employment. The agricultural sector and related export industries are major sources of employment, directly and indirectly supporting the livelihoods of over 60% of the workforce especially in rural areas.

Economic growth. Export revenues fuel domestic demand and investment, contributing significantly to GDP growth – over the past decade, Ivory Coast achieved average annual GDP growth rates of around 8% partly due to growing agricultural exports.

However, vulnerabilities remain due to the dependence on a narrow export base:

  • Volatile global commodity prices expose export revenues and economic growth to external price shocks.
  • Ivory Coast faces greater weather risks like flooding and drought, impacting agricultural production and exports.
  • The economy has a limited capacity to easily switch production and absorb external shocks.

To achieve sustainable growth, experts recommend that Ivory Coast:

  • Further develop manufacturing and service industries to diversify its sources of growth.
  • Increase processing and value addition of agricultural exports to generate more revenues and jobs.
  • Improve resilience to weather risks through investments in irrigation, crop diversification and crop insurance schemes.

Overall, exports currently drive the Ivory Coast economy. But achieving a balanced, diversified and resilient economy will be key to spreading the benefits of growth more widely and sustainably.

ivory coast, cocoa, mug of chocolate drink
Photo by Sam Hojati / Unsplash

More Helpful Guide

Frequently Asked Question

What is the population of Ivory Coast?

The population is around 26 million (2019 estimate).

What are some cultural traditions in Ivory Coast?

Traditions involve music, oral literature, masks, and sculpture. Major holidays celebrate independence and Islamic events.

What is the climate like in Ivory Coast?

Ivory Coast has a tropical climate. The south has two rainy seasons and high temperatures year-round. The north is drier.

What are the largest cities in Ivory Coast?

Largest cities are Abidjan, Bouaké, Daloa, Korhogo, San-Pédro, and Yamoussoukro.

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