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 industry.
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.
- COUNTRYAAH: 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 metropolitan areas.
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 ICC.
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 justice.
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 capital Yamoussoukro.
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 Patriots.
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.