Natural resources and energy
The Ivory Coast has plenty of oil, natural
gas, gold, diamonds, iron ore, copper, bauxite, nickel
and manganese. A large part of the natural resources are
unused and several planned projects were stopped when
the civil war broke out in 2002. But now a number of new
major projects are underway. The importance of the
mining industry to the economy is expected to increase.
Many foreign companies are active in the mining
Some extraction of gold happens. An Australian
company, Randgold, planned in 2010 to start mining on a
larger scale in Tongon some 40 miles north of Abidjan.
Diamond mining takes place in the former
rebel-controlled northern part of the country, mainly
under craftsmanship. In December 2005, the UN imposed
sanctions against trade in rough diamonds from the Ivory
Coast. But diamonds are smuggled out of the country via
Ghana and Mali and these incomes have partly paid off
the rebel side's arms purchases.
Major exports by Ivory Coast with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Offshore, there is oil and natural gas. Oil
production began in 1980, but ceased in 1993 and then
resumed a few years later. The oil sector has grown
rapidly since 2002. Nowadays natural gas is also
extracted. Ivorian, American, Russian, British, Italian
and other companies are active in the oil industry,
which has not been much affected by the political
crises. In 2011, approximately 50,000 tonnes of oil were
produced per day and the Government expected that new
fields would soon quadruple production. The oil is
mainly exported to the USA.
The Ivory Coast has one of West Africa's largest
refineries, SIR, and also imports oil for its own use,
mainly from Nigeria. When the international oil prices
are high, the refinery has had problems as they have not
been able to charge such high prices in the domestic
market as the government has kept energy prices down.
Angolan oil company Sonangol has bought into SIR. There
are also plans to expand the business possibly with the
help of Chinese money.
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The country's energy needs are largely covered by
wood burning. Oil accounts for about a quarter and
electricity for less than a tenth of the energy used. In
the past, almost all electricity came from hydropower,
but now gas-fired thermal power plants also exist. The
country exports electricity to Ghana, Burkina Faso,
Mali, Benin and Togo, but increased demand in the
domestic market meant that two new gas power plants were
planned for 2013. Lack of both rainfall and maintenance
makes hydropower plants less efficient. A new hydropower
plant is planned in the Sassandra River. Work was
expected to start around the end of 2012, with the help
of Chinese money. The industry's electricity price is
the lowest in the region.
In recent years, recurrent power cuts have created
problems. In 2009, the World Bank granted a $ 50 million
loan to improve electricity supply in several
In 2006, the Ivory Coast was hit by an environmental
disaster. 17 people died and close to 100,000 had to
seek medical care since the multinational company
Trafigura in collaboration with a local
company dumped toxic waste at a number of places in
Abidjan. Insufficient environmental laws, corruption and
neglect on the part of the authorities made this
possible. To get rid of the poison, Trafigura, which was
registered in the Netherlands, paid only a fraction of
what it would have cost to do away with the
environmental toxins in Europe. Following popular
protests, the Minister of the Environment, among others,
was forced to leave the government.
Trafigura employees held by the Ivorian authorities
were released, since the company agreed in 2007 to pay
about $ 200 million to the government for the
remediation of the waste. British media were able to
show that Trafigura knew about the toxicity of the
waste, but the company denied legal liability. Instead,
in 2008, the head of the Ivorian company that handled
the waste was sentenced to 20 years in prison. A port
employee was also sentenced to prison. An independent UN
expert stated in a report that there was a link between
the deaths and the toxic waste. In 2009, Trafigura
offered 31,000 of those affected $ 1,546 each.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
626 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
281 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
11 045 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.5 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
64.5 percent (2015)
The parliamentary elections are won by Ouattaratrogna parties
The situation in the country is still tense before the parliamentary
elections, which are guarded by about 25,000 soldiers. The UN force UNOCI
employs 7,000 local election observers. In the north, former rebels still have a
strong grip on their presence in the new government forces FRCI. Several of the
FRCI commanders are running for election, but the former rebel movement New
Forces has not been transformed into a political party. Gbagbo's party FPI
decides to boycott the election.
Ouattara's party RDR wins and gets 127 seats and the allied PDCI 77 seats.
Together with allied small parties, the coalition thus receives a majority of
approximately 220 of Parliament's 255 seats. Other mandates are won by
independent candidates, many of whom have close ties to RDR. The turnout is
reported to be as low as 36 percent. After the election, unrest erupted in the
western part of the country.
Gbagbo is sent to The Hague
Former President Laurent Gbagbo is extradited to the ICC in The Hague, where
he is to be tried on charges of crimes against humanity . Gbagbo is charged with
four counts of being an "indirect accomplice" in murder, rape, persecution and
other inhumane acts. Gbagbo is the first former head of state prosecuted by the
New financial support is promised
The IMF promises new loans of $ 614 million for the period 2011–2014.
Reconciliation work begins
The Dialogue Truth, Reconciliation Commission, appointed by Ouattara, begins
its work under the leadership of former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny.
Among the members is football star Didier Drogba, who represents Ivorians in
exile. The Commission has been appointed by President Ouattara and modeled on
the South African model. Three vice presidents represent the nzima, the Catholic
Church and the Imams' supreme council. One of Gbagbo's close allies is included,
but Gbagbo's supporters believe the commission's composition is biased.
Ggagbo trailer for trial
Prosecution is being brought against a long line of Gbagbo's aides for
destabilizing the state, forming armed groups, bribery and embezzlement of
public funds. Among the defendants are several former prime ministers, other
former ministers and a son of Gbagbo. Many of the former president's staff have
been arrested. Prosecutors are also prosecuting financial crimes against Laurent
Gbagbo and his wife Simone. This includes, among other things, "attacks on the
national economy", embezzlement of public funds and looting.
TV manager is kicked
The head of state TV is dismissed on President Ouattara's order. The reason
is that no reporter was sent to the airport to report on Ouattara's return from
an official US visit.
ICC is invited to investigate abuse
Ouattara calls for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the
serious human rights violations committed during the unrest, as he believes the
country's own judiciary fails to do so. From Gbagbo's camp comes criticism that
no arrests have been made by Ouattara supporters despite suspicions of crime.
Ouattara's victory is confirmed
The Constitutional Council announces that it has approved Ouattara's victory
in the presidential election.
Several thousand casualties, one million refugees
Since December 2010, some 3,000 people have been killed. From February to the
end of April, at least one million people have been forced to flee, many in the
country. Tens of thousands have also moved across the border to Liberia. France
and the EU pledge $ 840 million in financial aid to the Ivory Coast, with France
accounting for the majority.
The UN and France intervene
The rebel force advances towards Abidjan where fierce fighting erupts. French
troops take control of the city's airport and France sends military
reinforcements to the Ivory Coast. Helicopters from the UN force and the French
troops shoot Gbagbo's residence. The UN Secretary-General claims to have
approved the attack, since Gbagbo used heavy weapons against civilians and UN
forces trying to protect them. Gbagbo's access to the Treasury has been cut off
and more and more soldiers are abandoning him. On April 11, Gbagbo gives up,
since his arrest was stormed by Ouattara-loyal troops with the support of the UN
force and France. In a TV talk, Ouattara says that Gbagbo should be brought to
Gbagbo's party FPI calls on all parties to stop the fighting. Members of
Gbagbo's former government now say they are loyal to Ouattara, others have fled
the country. Ouattara orders its support troops to put down their weapons and
army forces to return to their sites. Police and semi-military police shall be
responsible for law and order.
Accused of war crimes
According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), forces loyal to Gbagbo in
the 2010/2011 conflict have committed war crimes, including murders of
civilians, especially immigrants from Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Niger.
They have also destroyed mosques, shops and housing belonging to immigrants.
Forces that support Ouattara are also accused of gross abuses, such as
extrajudicial executions. Troops loyal to Ouattara are said to have killed
hundreds of civilians in Duékoué in the west and rebels are accused of mass
rape. Both sides are said to have hired Liberian mercenaries . At the end of the
month, Ouattara faithful forces took control of several cities, including the
AU backs up Ouatta
Ouattara attends the AU summit in Addis Ababa, but Gbagbo chooses not to
participate. AU takes Ouattara's party and calls on Gbagbo to leave power. AU
recommends Ouattara to form a national unity government and urge the media to
stop its hate propaganda.
The worry is spreading
At the same time as the AU continues its mediation efforts, reports of deaths
are due to political violence from several parts of the country. In the west,
regular fighting erupts. The same goes for the Abobo area of Abidjan, where
rebels who call themselves Invisible Commands fight against the security forces.
Many people are reported to have been killed by the Gbagbotrogna militia Young
Tighter sanctions and economic crisis
The EU and the US tighten sanctions on the Gbagbo circle. Companies are
laying off employees, food prices are rising rapidly and foreign companies are
cutting back on Ivory Coast operations. Ouattara proposes that important cocoa
exports be stopped for one month, which is supported by the United States.
Several large cocoa companies decide to temporarily suspend their imports from
the Ivory Coast.
At least nine people, including several police officers, are killed in
connection with new clashes in Abidjan.