Financial Data
Updated 14 Jul 2020

Africa’s fastest growing economy and its business potential

Are you an established business looking for worthwhile African markets to expand into? Côte d’Ivoire’s economic growth (and business potential) might be worth investigating.

23 May 2018  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

“Côte d’Ivoire is Africa’s fastest-growing economy. The fast pace of growth is due to a strong macro-economic environment, a solid position in international markets and significant natural resources,” according to Deloitte.

Successfully penetrating the market, however, can present challenges because of governance, stability and security issues – along with a limited skilled labour force and high-priced industrial land.

Additionally, the cost of transportation is high, distribution networks can be inefficient and the country’s fiscal framework remains complex to understand. Despite the challenges, Côte d’Ivoire is a key market for businesses to consider expanding into, according to Standard Bank:

“Standard Bank is more optimistic about the country’s ability to attract private investment, which should boost economic growth and development.” 

Related: Grow your business in Africa using a free trade zone

Key business advancement in Côte d’Ivoire

Positive developments in the agro-processing sector and Abidjan’s metro rail system are set to spark the region’s growth even further.

“Côte d’Ivoire offers relatively well-developed road infrastructure, the second-largest port in West Africa, and a modern airport with a national airline (Air Côte d’Ivoire) that serves all of the major capital cities in the region,” says Deloitte. A recent R9.3 billion financing deal secured with China will go into funding the construction of new roads, while Côte d’Ivoire’s first direct flight from and to the USA will be facilitated by Ethiopian Airlines. 

Sectors that you can capitalise on in Côte d’Ivoire

1. Energy infrastructure solutions 

As a net exporter of electricity to neighbouring countries in the West African Power Pool

(WAPP), stability of Côte d’Ivoire’s electricity system and a very low shortage rate, means moderate electricity prices and a reliable service. The country expects to increase both its gas and hydro-electric power to 4 000MW in 2020, as well as invest a total of USD20 billion over the next 15 years. Experts are need in this field to help the country move forward and reach its goals. 

2. Transport infrastructure solutions

Along with its improving road network, Côte d’Ivoire boasts the second-largest port in West Africa, rivalled only by Durban’s Port in South Africa. “The port of Abidjan is described as the ‘lung of the Ivorian economy’,” says Deloitte. “With modern equipment that can supply all the landlocked countries of the region.” In addition, the country’s railway system is robust, with areas of investment presenting themselves in building and rail restoration, railway construction, and investments in urban trains in Abidjan.

3. Telecommunication infrastructure solutions

Three years ago, Côte d’Ivoire had about 110 000 fixed-Internet subscriptions, making it one of the most developed the countries in the region with regards to access. Today, with an estimated growth rate of 68% per annum, Côte d’Ivoire has the largest market for mobile Internet subscribers in West Africa. “As part of the national development plan (NDP) the country plans to construct 5000km of fibre optic cable to reinforce the ICT system and improve the quality of internet connectivity for network users,” reports Deloitte. This presents work opportunities for business in this field. 

Related: What does it take to successfully grow a company in Africa?

Learn more on expanding your business into Africa 

Expanding -your -business -into -Africa

Standard Bank is sending business broadcaster and podcast host, Lee Kasumba across the African continent to learn more about challenges and opportunities that are driving investment on the continent. Her first stop on this tour is Côte d’Ivoire.

“From their construction to the roadworks you can really see there is this thriving for the city [Abidjan] to become one of the exceptional cities in the world,” she said of her experience. 

Kasumba’s tour forms part of Standard Bank’s Africa Connected series, aimed at presenting entrepreneurs and business stakeholders with trusted insights into Africa’s markets. You can learn more about Africa’s infrastructure, business environment, and your prospects before making an informed investment decision.


Standard Bank supports businesses that need a banking partner who knows Africa. Get first-hand, in-depth insights into Africa’s diverse markets and worthwhile investments in Côte d’Ivoire by contacting one of our Africa banking experts today.

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