Deforestation in Côte d’IvoireCôte d’Ivoire, commonly known as Ivory Coast, is a West African country renowned for its cocoa production. Nevertheless, the nation is experiencing a problem of rapid deforestation, which intensifies poverty and exacerbates social inequality.

Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire

In Côte d’Ivoire, people cleared vast areas of forest for agriculture and timber extraction dating back to the colonial period. Nonetheless, population growth and an expanded desire for land and resources led to a sharp escalation in the extent of deforestation that occurred in the latter half of the 20th century.

Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire has several factors, including illegal cocoa farming, agricultural expansion and logging for wood and charcoal. According to Global Forest Watch (GFW), the country, in 2010, had natural forest coverage of 13.9Mha, and this accounted for 43% of its total land area. However, by 2021, it experienced a loss of 182kha of natural forest.

The consequences of deforestation in the country are far-reaching, ranging from soil erosion to biodiversity loss and climate change. In addition, deforestation negatively affects the livelihoods of rural communities that rely on forests for their lives. Deforestation has led to water scarcity, lower agricultural productivity and increased poverty, especially for small-scale farmers.

Deforestation and Poverty

In Côte d’Ivoire, one-quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line. In 2017, the Earthworm Organization interviewed 755 people from 66 villages in the Cavally Reserve to investigate the causes of illegal cocoa farming. According to these interviews, many locals (86%) earn insufficient income to meet their basic needs; the primary reasons for the illegal cultivation of cocoa included a lack of alternative employment opportunities and extreme poverty.

Stopping Deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire

Reports suggest that halting deforestation and poverty in Côte d’Ivoire requires a multi-pronged approach. One of the critical solutions is to promote sustainable land use practices that protect the forest while improving the livelihoods of rural communities. Integrating trees into agricultural systems through agroforestry could be a critical solution to halting deforestation and poverty in the country.

other suggestions involve addressing the root causes of deforestation, such as weak forest governance, illegal logging and land grabbing. International cooperation and finance are also crucial for assisting sustainable forest management in Côte d’Ivoire. This entails encouraging ethical investment and trade, lowering the demand for non-sustainable goods and funding assisted conservation initiatives, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Looking Ahead

In 2020, the Green Climate Fund approved an $11.8 million project by the FAO to promote zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change by stopping agriculture-related deforestation, improving productivity, conserving biodiversity, replenishing forest cover and improving the livelihood of the farmers. Around 7,550 farmers and 2 million smallholder producers will benefit directly. Additionally, around 600,000 smallholder producers will benefit indirectly.

Nestlé is also enhancing its environmentally responsible strategy to combat deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire. The Ivorian subsidiary of the company plans to strengthen its supply chain for cocoa in the country to guarantee the sustainability of the forests by training local farmers on agricultural practices and agroforestry. It also plans to distribute more than one million indigenous and fruit trees to make farms more climate resilient.

– Amber Kim
Photo: Flickr

Human Trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire
Human trafficking refers to the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud, coercion or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit,” according to Anti-Slavery International. According to the U.S. Department of State, Côte d’Ivoire, a country situated on the southern coast of West Africa, ranks as a Tier 2 country, meaning it “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so” as set out in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act or TVPA. However, Côte d’Ivoire has made progress over the years, upgrading to Tier 2 in the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

The country initially ranked as a Tier 2 Watch List country, which encompasses countries that are making an effort to comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards but fail to provide evidence of this and note an increasing number of victims. Through continued efforts, human trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire can significantly improve.

The Current State of Human Trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire

According to the TIP 2022 report, the Côte d’Ivoire government has developed “a draft national referral mechanism (NRM) and provided anti-trafficking training to law enforcement and judicial officials.” Paule Marlène Dogbo, the director of the cabinet of the Ministry of Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, says the new referral mechanism will allow the Ivory Coast to move up to Tier 1 by conforming to the TVPA.

The government also coordinated the creation of a National Committee for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (CNTLP), with an inauguration for its headquarters held in October 2022 in Cocody-Angré.

According to the 2022 TIP report, the Ivorian government identified 1,190 trafficking victims, in contrast to the identification of 302 trafficking victims the year prior. Children accounted for most victims. Additionally, out of the total number of victims, sex trafficking victims equaled 437 people and forced labor victims amounted to 753 people.

Despite these positive efforts, the country does not fully meet the TVPA’s minimum standards. Although convictions of traffickers are on the rise (43 convicted compared to 12 in the previous report), Côte d’Ivoire “did not report any investigations, prosecutions or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking crimes,” the TIP report says. This is an issue as corruption prevents the proper enforcement of the law. Some individuals have alleged that officers situated on the border take bribes to facilitate the passage of trafficking victims in Ghana and Mali.

“Law enforcement lacked the specialized training and resources to investigate trafficking cases and identify victims,” the report highlights. Furthermore, the CNLTP, which stands as the body for leading anti-trafficking efforts, “did not meet or coordinate anti-trafficking activities and the government did not allocate a dedicated budget for the CNLTP’s operations” for the third year in a row. Additionally, “shelter and services, especially for adult victims, remained inadequate,” the report says.

Action to Address Child Labor and Child Trafficking

In terms of child labor in general and child labor arising from trafficking, Côte d’Ivoire has made significant progress. Côte d’Ivoire is the main producer of cocoa on the international market, representing 45% of all production. Unfortunately, the cocoa agricultural sector relies on child labor to achieve high levels of production.

Because of domestic and international pressure, the Ivorian government took action and passed several laws to prevent child trafficking. For example, in 2010, it passed the prohibition of child trafficking and the worst forms of child labor laws, the Guardian reports.

The Ivorian government made school attendance both free and mandatory for children between 6 and 16, which relieved some of the burdens on parents that had no choice but to send their children off to work as they could not afford school. School attendance in cocoa-producing regions increased from 58% to 80% from 2008 to 2019.

To combat human trafficking in Côte d’Ivoire, in 2020, the government also established six police units dedicated to reducing child labor and trafficking. The units patrol the cocoa plantations and randomly search vehicles in cocoa-growing regions. According to the government, in total, authorities have arrested more than 1,000 traffickers since 2012.

The Centre for Victims of Child Labor opened its doors in 2018 and aims to reunite children with their families, whether abroad or locally, and get the children back into the education system. Because of the trauma children have faced, a nurse and psychologist from part of the organization’s staff.

Finally, in 2021, for the first time, an Ivorian court sentenced 10 people found guilty of child trafficking in cocoa plantations to 10 years in jail.

Looking Ahead

Although improvements are visible, increased funding and resources will help strengthen anti-trafficking efforts in the country. With continued positive efforts and adequate reporting, Côte d’Ivoire can move closer to its goal of ranking as a fully compliant Tier 1 country.

– Raphaelle Copin
Photo: Flickr

Counterfeit Pain Relief in Côte d'IvoireCôte d’Ivoire — the world’s largest cocoa producer has beautiful landscapes that attract thousands of yearly visitors. It is also a breeding ground for the distribution of counterfeit and illicit drugs. Though the use of counterfeit medicines carries many risks, many Ivorians still seek them out. The growing need for counterfeit pain relief in Côte d’Ivoire has resulted in the expansion of a new sector dominated by adolescents and those in need of a different form of relief.

The Dilemma

In sub-Saharan Africa, counterfeit drugs run rampant, but in Côte d’Ivoire, they run everything. Pharmacies produce only 30% of the drugs circulated in Côte d’Ivoire while the other 70% are counterfeits. Overall, about 42% of the world’s counterfeit drugs were found in Africa, a continent whose inhabitants are the most susceptible to poverty. Since 1998, Côte d’Ivoire’s percentage of counterfeit drug usage has increased by 50%, but the rate of health care availability has remained stagnant.
A 2020 World Bank report found that 33% of Ivorians did not live in close proximity to a hospital or clinic. In two regions, this percentage exceeded 50%. Health care specialists mainly work in major, more developed cities and government spending typically goes for the more developed parts of Côte d’Ivoire. Furthermore, many Ivorians do not have health insurance to aid payments towards their medical bills. As a result, they are at risk of adopting high health expenditures— 74% of it due to their overspending on medications, according to a World Bank report.


Non-branded or generic medications cost seven times higher than the international standard. Brand-named medications cost 18 more than the international guidelines, according to the same report. The quantity and variety of available medications differ depending on the sector. Just 32% of drugs essential to Côte d’Ivoire’s population made their way into the public sector while 57% of essential drugs are available to the private sector— one that comprises 80% of wealthy Ivorians.

Getting medications after obtaining prescriptions is a time-consuming process. At times, drugs are not readily available for patients. Sometimes, restocking and transferring to neighboring pharmacies can take a while. Consequently, patients will purchase counterfeit drugs from local street vendors as it is a more convenient alternative.
Over a two-year span, law enforcement seized almost 400 tonnes of counterfeit pain relief in Côte d’Ivoire and pharmacies suffered a $173 million loss that was later attributed to the presence of counterfeits. Authentic medications will run the average Ivorian 10,000 CFA or $15. For most, this is too much to pay. Ivorians typically bring in $200 a month.

A Cheaper Alternative

Unlike pharmacies, counterfeit drug markets are open around the clock. Due to the unregulated nature of the informal sector, people in need of medications can purchase any quantity of their desired drug, according to a 2021 research article. A patient in need of just a few pills of their prescription can buy medications individually instead of buying them in a pack like most pharmacies require, further lowering their expenses. However, there are some who take advantage of the cheapness of the drugs and the illegality of counterfeits, buying them to fulfill an addiction, according to the same article. Others buy from counterfeit drug markets because they can’t find traditional forms of medicines in pharmacies, due to cultural or religious reasons.

Many street vendors sell counterfeit pain relief in Côte d’Ivoire to relieve themselves of poverty. Among them are children and teens who function similarly to cashiers, negotiating prices with customers and finding drugs that match a given description.
Counterfeit drugs present buyers with what they perceive to be a cheap alternative with good enough quality. In reality, these drugs are adulterated. Meaning an active pharmaceutical ingredient is present, but is coupled with inferior substance(s). The most common replacement for starchy components found in drugs is flour with water being the substitute for liquid components. Or the counterfeits consist of entirely different substances.
Taking poorly made counterfeits result in the annual deaths of more than 100,000 people in Africa. The cultivation of counterfeit drug products has allowed their effects to go undetected and has started to show signs of the fostering of antimicrobial resistance, according to a WHO study.

Encouraging A New Côte d’Ivoire

Ten years ago Côte d’Ivoire’s government launched a new initiative that provided affordable health care to millions. Unfortunately, it ended up downsizing after government spending exceeded the allocated amount, limiting coverage to women and children under the age of 6.
But in recent years, Côte d’Ivoire began with a universal health coverage plan that is said to broaden the scope of health care and increase its accessibility. The plan includes financial reforms, medical assistance schemes, larger medicinal access and an increased budget to ensure that every Ivorian receives quality health care.
Meditect is a social enterprise that aims to put an end to counterfeit drugs by increasing access to ones of quality. The app tracks the medicine supply from the time it hits the pharmacy to the time it reaches the street, ensuring that the drugs in circulation are authentic and of good quality. It directs patients to a nearby pharmacy that presents them with the best financial and medical options.

Currently, Meditect is available in three francophone countries in West Africa, providing services to the Senegalese, Cameroonian and Ivorian people. Its goal is to expand this initiative to more countries until no African country is facing the issue of the presence of counterfeits.

– Dorothy Quanteh
Photo: Unsplash

Impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cote d’Ivoire
The breakout of COVID-19 in 2020 had dramatic consequences on the economy of Cote d’Ivoire. Closing public spaces, quarantines and curfews helped to limit the spread of COVID-19 but created a rise in unemployment. Consequently, there has been a significant impact on poverty in Cote d’Ivoire due to COVID-19.

The Increase in Extreme Poverty After the COVID-19 Outbreak

As a result of measures to counter COVID-19, 85% of the informal workers in the country lost their jobs. Furthermore, COVID-19 measures have destroyed more than 1.3 million jobs and 71.7% of the households have a lower income than before the health crisis.

However, the poorest people of Cote d’Ivoire were the ones who suffered the most from the consequences of anti-COVID policies. In fact, 1.37 million households went under the poverty line and the poorest people lost on average more than 30% of their revenues, the UNDP reported.

According to the UNDP, extreme poverty in the country increased by four between 2019 and 2020 due to the COVID-19 consequences on the economy. Then, between 2020 and 2021, the share of the population living with less than $1.90 per day went from 18.3% to 20.2%. It shows how urgent it is to counter the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Cote d’Ivoire.

New Measures to Fight Against Extreme Poverty

The government developed policies and programs in 2020 to help the economy recover as well as to reduce as much as possible extreme poverty. As a matter of fact, the country’s budget increased from $14.8 billion in 2021 to $16 billion in order to increase the number of anti-poverty policies and strengthen the health sector.

Furthermore, as 93% of the labor force works in the informal sector, many policies have been implemented to support this critical economic sector and to avoid more poverty among the workers in this sector. Indeed, starting from March 2020, workers from the informal sector are benefiting from the same social security through the Social Regime for the Self-Employed (RSTI).

The Informal Sector Support Fund (FASI)

In addition to the RSTI, which Cote d’Ivoire adopted before the pandemic, the government launched the Informal Sector Support Fund (FASI) in May 2020 to financially support the companies and the workers of the informal sector which suffered heavily from the economic consequences of COVID-19. The implementation plan of the FASI has four phases. Between June and August 2020, the first phase aimed to identify potential beneficiaries and grant subsidies and loans. The second phase between September 2020 and February 2021 was about training and follow-up support for beneficiaries to avoid bankruptcy and the destruction of jobs following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Solidarity and Fight Against Poverty started its research on extreme poverty in October 2021. This research provided a better view of extreme poverty with detailed statistics and determinants of extreme poverty within all the regions of Cote d’Ivoire in the period following the COVID-19 crisis.

Conclusion of the Study

This study helped increase the efficiency of the National Register for poor and vulnerable households. Since the launching of its operational phase in 2019, the register is one of the most important policies the government implemented to tackle poverty in Cote d’Ivoire. Indeed, this unique database currently helps to examine the social needs that come from the consequences of COVID-19 on the economy and provide social programs to the ones who need them with high efficiency. This is because the database informs governments of exactly where and for what they need to send help.

The United Nations agencies, and especially the UNDP which provided $1.8 million to Cote d’Ivoire, are supporting on a daily basis the government of Cote d’Ivoire in their fight against COVID-19 consequences.

With such ambitious policies, the government is facing the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of Cote d’Ivoire, hoping to eradicate extreme poverty and allow an even brighter future for the country at the same time.

– Evan Da Costa Marques
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

E-Health PlatformIn June 2022, Côte d’Ivoire became the first Sub-Saharan country to benefit from Orange Santé. It is an e-health platform that serves both patients and doctors with facilities such as online appointment booking, digital medical records, teleconsultations, etc. Orange Santé is the product of a partnership between Orange and DabaDoc. Dabadoc is a recent Morrocan start-up that aims to “democratize access to health care with its practice management solution and disruptive online booking technology.” This e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire could help solve many issues within the health care sector.

Health Care in Côte d’Ivoire

In Côte d’Ivoire, the public health care system is lacking. First and foremost, the hospitals and medical centers are understaffed, with only one doctor per 10,000 inhabitants. This makes Côte d’Ivoire one of Africa’s weakest countries in regard to health care. In addition, the staff are reportedly poorly trained and nurses are sometimes referred to as doctors. In order to become a doctor in Côte d’Ivoire, a prospective student must take exams to be entered into the Institut National de Formation des Agents de Santé (INFAS).

Retired doctor, Dr. Koné E, said that it is common for a family to bribe the department that proctors the exam, so the child is able to pass. In his interview with Africa Blogging, he also said this strengthens the claim that in Côte d’Ivoire, “money is at the forefront of everything.” Thus, the lack of proper training results in inadequate care for the patients that are able to see a doctor.

According to Africa Blogging, health centers in Côte d’Ivoire are more focused on money than their patients. Health centers accept patients “only on the presentation of banknotes, whatever their condition is.” Socio-political situations from 1999 and the post-election crisis in 2010 had a negative impact on the health care system in the country. The social protection system in Côte d’Ivoire only covers costs for “occupational accidents and illnesses.” This attitude of valuing the pay more than the patient, however, led to incidents of fatal medical negligence in health care facilities, Africa Blogging reports.

Renovating Health Care in Côte d’Ivoire

The e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire, Orange Santé, could be the starting point for renovating health care in the country. This platform digitized medical records to contribute to the organization and patient history. Doctors can better serve their patients with knowledge of and access to their complete medical history. Institut National de Formation des Agents de Santé aims at Ivorian health care facilities, allowing them to be listed on its platform. The platform then aids the member facilities with online booking and managing their digital medical records, so the facilities improve their organization and visibility. Patients are able to see a variety of specialists and choose with whom they would like to consult.

The Future

By 2023, Orange Santé plans to add other services to the Côte d’Ivoire platform such as remote consultations and also expand to other Sub-Saharan countries. The lack of medical infrastructure helps facilitate the shortage of healthcare. An e-health platform in Côte d’Ivoire with online consultations could solve this issue by not requiring any buildings to serve patients in need of care. Remote parts of the country that have scarce health care could no longer be at a disadvantage and more people could have access to proper healthcare.

– Jordan Oh
Photo: Flickr

Foreign Aid to Côte d'Ivoire
An unlikely form of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire is on the rise: donated sports stadiums from China. However, these gifts do not come free.

Côte d’Ivoire’s Olympic-Sized Gift From China

In an act of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire, China gifted a massive 130 million euro stadium in Ebimpé. Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara boasts an impressive 60,000 person capacity. It is the biggest stadium in Côte d’Ivoire and the ninth-largest in all of Africa. The new Olympic level venue will host the African Cup of Nations finals in 2023, a major soccer tournament.

Stadium Diplomacy

For decades, China donated massive new sports stadiums to numerous African countries in an act of goodwill and self-interest. Stadium diplomacy, the term for this new political strategy, offers China and the other country a unique deal. The receiving nation sees a boost to its economy through the revenue these stadiums generate. Additionally, China gets numerous benefits in return.

In the last 50 years, China constructed more than 100 sports stadiums all over the continent of Africa. This guaranteed itself access to natural resources, privileged trading contracts, strengthened relations, access to political leaders and supporters in the United Nations. China is now the biggest trading partner of all of Africa. Stadium diplomacy falls under the category of soft power, a type of diplomacy that uses attraction, negotiation and cooperation rather than force.

How Can Stadiums Fight Poverty?

While Côte d’Ivoire boasts one of West Africa’s most robust economies, 39.4% of its population still lives in poverty. Furthermore, the economy experienced a recent downturn since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The services and manufacturing sectors, both involved in constructing and running a stadium, are among those people expected to bring the nation’s economy back on track.

The stadium will bring an influx of people and infrastructure to the region. It will also bolster the economy, fueling the service and manufacturing sectors and provide jobs, all as a result of foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire. Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara will also help develop the nearby Anyama region, which is building its first metro line in preparation for the crowd.

Criticism of the Stadiums

However, stadium diplomacy has its critics, with many Africans desiring more direct help. While Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara praised the stadium as “one of the most beautiful things our country has accomplished in the field of sports,” other nations have expressed concern and even anger.

Gabon, a nation that lies along the western coast of Central Africa, faced a major backlash among its citizens for participating in stadium diplomacy. Engong Stadium, located in Oyem, had a quick and dramatic turnaround from construction to abandonment. The lavish complex sports has three basketball courts, a tennis court and an international standard track-and-field. However, it is now empty and unused. Locals were angry about what they saw as a misuse of resources and money. “We cannot eat your stadiums” they chanted, adorned in combat uniforms. At the same time, groups stormed the overgrown field and burned down the presidential box.

Whether Côte d’Ivoire’s new stadium will turn its economy around will become more clear in the future. However, one thing is certain: stadium diplomacy in Côte d’Ivoire offers an extremely innovative and very plausible way to alleviate regional poverty.

– Caroline Bersch
Photo: Unsplash

Female Genital Mutilation in Côte d’Ivoire
Female genital mutilation is the process of partially or totally removing the external female genitalia, and is a violation of the human rights of women and girls around the globe. While many strive to ban this non-medical practice, FGM still has a grip on many countries. One such country where FGM is prevalent is Côte d’Ivoire. Here is some information regarding the practice of female genital mutilation in Côte d’Ivoire and the measures to eradicate it.

Female Genital Mutilation in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire, also known as the Ivory Coast, is a country located along the south coast of West Africa. With a population of about 25 million, FGM practices affect approximately 36.7% of women ages 15-67, the highest prevalence being 60% to 75% among the ethnic groups of the northwest regions of Nord, Nord-Ouest and Ouest. However, girls and women of all ages and from all different regions of Côte d’Ivoire are at risk of FGM.

The prevalence of female genital mutilation in Côte d’Ivoire stems from two reasons, the first being social and cultural traditions. Those who perform the actual cut are typically the older women that make it their living and perform the procedure without anesthesia and the use of medical facilities. Pressure for older girls to undergo FGM often takes place when the prospective husband and his family will not accept a bride that has not experienced it.

The second reason for FGM’s prevalence in Côte d’Ivoire traces back to the large migrant population coming in and out of the country. Many migrants originate from countries where there is little to no legal action against FGM, such as the border nations of Guinea and Mali. The frequent crossing of borders attributes to the high percentages of women and girls who experience FGM in the northwest regions.

Harms of Female Genital Mutilation

Of the four major types of FGM that the World Health Organization (WHO) identified, Côte d’Ivoire practices Type 2. There are no health benefits to any type of FGM, as the non-medical practice mutilates a normal organ of a woman’s body. Instead, FGM harms those who undergo the procedure, and the victims become increasingly at risk to develop health complications in the present moment or in the future. Women and girls who experience FGM largely suffer from the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Infection
  • Urinary and vaginal problems
  • Childbirth complications

Steps Against Female Genital Mutilation

The government of  Côte d’Ivoire created legislation targeting the practice of FGM. Article 5 of the Constitution of Côte d’Ivoire prohibits “female genital mutilation as well as any other forms of degradation of human beings.” Law No. 98-757 of 23 December 1998 criminalized the practice of FGM in all forms, which includes actions by medical professionals and by those who aid in its performance.

Since the creation of Law No. 98-757, few people who practice FGM have experienced prosecution. The Ministry for Women and the Protection of the Child and Solidarity is a major government authority in Côte d’Ivoire. It protects the country’s women and girls and ensures equality in economic, social and cultural areas. From 2008-2012, the government put a National Action Plan in place that protects women and girls from sexual violence, including FGM. Since the National Action Plan’s end, there have been no new talks to implement a new plan.

Looking Ahead

While more work is necessary to completely end female genital mutilation in Côte d’Ivoire and the Ivory Coast, the work of those advocating to end FGM is making a difference in the local communities. Many are starting to see the harms that the practice inflicts. Small steps are still steps toward a brighter future for the women and girls affected.

– Grace Ingles
Photo: Flickr

Construction sector in Côte d'IvoireIvory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire, is a country located in West Africa. Although it is mostly known as the largest producer and exporter of cocoa globally, another successful industry is emerging in the country. As of 2019, the construction sector in Côte d’Ivoire accounts for 10% of the workforce, making it the third-largest source of employment. This sector has contributed to economic expansion since 2012. The COVID-19 pandemic may have stunted the growth of this sector, but it is expected to grow at least 6% once the country resumes normal conditions.

5 Key Facts About the Construction Sector in Côte d’Ivoire

1. Growth of the Sector: In 2011, the transportation sector became a priority, increasing the need for the construction sector. Spurred by public investment in roads and urban areas, construction saw major growth in GDP from 2015-2018. Through the years, more local companies have gotten involved. An increase in funding will allow the sector to continue its growth before the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Impact of COVID-19: Construction became more difficult due to the pandemic. An increase in health regulations, a decline in access to supplies and lockdown all stunted the construction sector’s growth. However, Ivory Coast was able to slow the economic impact of COVID-19. Not only did the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assist them with a financial package, but the country’s economic diversification and government’s effective emergency spending plan also helped them become one of the few Sub-Saharan African countries to continue to achieve economic growth.

3. Global Assistance: The growth of the construction sector in Côte d’Ivoire has resulted in much global interest. In fact, many businesses in China have funded construction projects in the Ivory Coast, such as a hydroelectric dam in Soubré and a motorway in Abidjan. There are many projects still in development, including three stadiums for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

4. National Development Plan: The country’s new National Development Plan 2021-2025 intends to strengthen infrastructure development, which will help the construction sector’s growth. This agenda will also help increase exports and public investment.

5. Impact on Poverty: Ivory Coast has a high poverty rate despite its economic growth. As of 2020, the country’s poverty rate is at least 45%. If the construction sector continues its growth and increase in GDP, local construction projects will help develop an influx of jobs. As a result, the economy will continue to grow and help lower these rates of poverty.

Interweave Solutions

The nonprofit organization Interweave Solutions focuses on different sectors of a country. Their Masters of Business in the Streets, Literacy and Success Ambassador Programs allow for an increase in business understanding to improve homes and communities. By linking these three areas, this nonprofit works to increase self-reliance and lower poverty levels. This nonprofit wants citizens to have the ability to achieve a higher income by participating in these programs.

Ivory Coast’s construction sector will benefit from this nonprofit due to its unification of businesses and communities. The construction industry grew in GDP due to public investment, so Interweave Solutions’ focus on community involvement will continue to help the sector grow. The nonprofit’s focus on reducing poverty levels will help the country’s economy and help the GDP of the construction sector. The emerging construction sector of Ivory Coast has expanded over the years. Conclusively, The pandemic only serves as a roadblock for this construction’s economic growth.

– Mia Banuelos
Photo: Flickr

E-waste in Ivory Coast
The growing domestic demand for technology is causing e-waste in Ivory Coast, a country that people also know as Côte d’Ivoire. Ivory Coast is a West African country with a population of nearly 26 million.

The Scale of the Problem

E-waste produces persistent organic pollutants (POPs). These pollutants do not break down under natural conditions and they can cause numerous health issues in humans. This ranges from tissue damage to developmental disorders and cancer. Ivory Coast’s population includes 45% in poverty. Additionally, only 35% of the country’s rural inhabitants have access to clean water.

In 2009, Ivory Coast generated 15,000 tons of e-waste. While the country generates the majority of this waste domestically, a significant portion comes from developed countries in the E.U. An issue is that some of the imported waste is not recyclable, so it goes to local landfills. Ivory Coast’s government designed a system to prevent this. It hired an international waste management company, SGS, to inspect all incoming e-waste to make sure it was not pure waste. Since 2016, a system that National Waste Management Strategy developed created a specific supply chain for technology waste. The new system relies heavily on informal manual recycling of parts by locals. A major issue with waste management in Ivory Coast is that a robust waste exchange and sorting system is not present.

Ivory Coast Partners Working to Collect E-waste

A supermarket chain, Promusa, established technology waste deposit stations at all of its markets. It works to collect and refurbish the waste that undergoes collection for second, third or fourth-hand use, along with the cellphone company MTN Group and recycling outfit Ewa-Paganetti. In 2016, the MTN Group used a similar system to recycle 75 tons of technology waste. Five sites under the Mesad Electronic Waste Project exist in Ivory Coast. These recycling sites focus on mobile phones and other electronic handhelds. They hire Ivory Coast citizens to collect, sort and pack electronic waste for recycling in France. However, some locals are creating initiatives that complete all the steps of the recycling process in their communities.

A solidarity project called Create Lab in Abidjan has been teaching locals how to repair, reuse and recycle technology waste in their communities through 2020. Create Lab teaches locals in its community skills like how to strip wire and copper from waste or how to create new spools of wire. It then repurposes this technology to create household wind turbines and other community technology improvements. Bakary Bola, a local IT specialist who is also an internet café owner, manages the project. He said that the majority of electronic waste the program uses comes from local refuse.

The Benefits of Local-based Technology Recycling

Bakary Bola outlined a few benefits of electronic recycling. The first is that the locals can learn valuable maintenance skills to keep their technology lasting longer which means less technology waste ends up in landfills. The trained repairers then can fix the e-waste in order to provide laptops, phones and other equipment to their community. Through this work, the amount of POPs in communities reduces. All of these benefits build on each other to create a community that can turn a potential hazard into a valuable resource for its people.

– Jacob Richard Bergeron
Photo: Flickr

Côte d’Ivoire Health Care
Côte d’Ivoire health care has faced challenges in recent years and even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2020 Helen Keller International report, Moriame Sidibé, a mom and homemaker from northern Côte d’Ivoire was a “Vitamin A Hero” because every six months for the past three years she spent three full days walking door to door and village to village to give young children Vitamin A and deworming pills. Sidibé faced challenges because sometimes she needed to convince mothers of the importance and safety of the pills, coax the children to swallow the pills and mark the children’s fingers with black ink so she would not accidentally give them a second pill.

Sidibé left her own four young children to do this, but it was worth it to her because she has training as a community health volunteer who is part of a collaboration between the Ivorian government, Helen Keller International, the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Nutritional International fighting the extreme form of malnutrition in children called micronutrient deficiency or “hidden hunger.”

The Situation

Twenty-five percent of Ivorian children get enough calories, but not foods with sufficient Vitamin A, zinc, iodine or iron.  That “hidden hunger” puts one in four Ivorian children at risk of blindness, impaired brain development and some fatal infections. Deworming pills kill the parasites that prevent children from absorbing micronutrients including Vitamin A, and together the deworming pills and the Vitamin A can save children’s lives. In December 2019, the campaign reached 5 million children or 98% of all Ivorian children, an incredible accomplishment of a ministry of health working with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and trained community health volunteers.

Côte d’Ivoire, the West African nation of 25 million, enjoyed a strong 8% average GDP growth between 2011 and 2018. According to the World Bank, the country had one of the strongest economies in sub-Saharan Africa due to an expanded middle class that supported demand in industry, agriculture and services. The Côte d’Ivoire health care indicators, however, lagged behind other less-developed nations, and in 2018, Côte d’Ivoire ranked 165 of 189 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index.

As noted in a 2020 Oxford Business Group report, planned increases in health care spending should improve these indicators. Côte d’Ivoire spent $1.8 billion on health care in 2016, $2 billion in 2019 and intends to spend $2.3 billion in 2021. The country invested in access to services, renovation and building of medical facilities, and development of technical platforms aligned with international health standards. The Ivorian government worked with a number of programs like the Helen Keller International Vitamin A Heroes; however, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Despite COVID, Côte d’Ivoire Health Care Initiatives Regroup to Persevere

Based on the World Health Organization COVID-19 transmission guidance, the Vitamin A Heroes collaboration discontinued its door-to-door campaign. Nevertheless, during the pandemic, the campaign has resolutely distributed Vitamin A and deworming pills at local health clinics when children come with their families for other reasons. Once the pandemic subsides, it will renew its crucial Vitamin A Heroes campaign.

Predicted to Rebound Post COVID and Target Health Care

Côte d’Ivoire’s pre-COVID targeted investment in health care services, facilities and technical innovation gives Côte d’Ivoire health care a positive outlook according to the Oxford Business Group report. The International Monetary Fund predicts that Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP growth will climb back up to 8.7% in 2021 as the new investment in Côte d’Ivoire health care parallels the successful investment in other sectors.

Moving Forward, Côte d’Ivoire to Roll Out Planned Health Care Initiatives

One example of a Côte d’Ivoire health care collaboration of governmental, NGO and local organizations that launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is Harness the Power of Partnerships. Harness the Power of Partnerships is a Côte d’Ivoire health care initiative to use faith-based organizations in the HIV response. Faith-based leadership is working with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) on long-term strategies to reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS and to keep Ivorians on their antiretroviral therapies. This PEPFAR/UNAIDS program exemplifies how the Ivorian government continues to partner with non-government groups, including local groups, in order to improve Côte d’Ivoire health care indicators.

Improving Côte d’Ivoire health care will not be an easy task, but creating collaborations with international powerhouses like PEPFAR, UNAIDS, Helen Keller International and local nonprofits and community leaders is definitely a strategy worth watching as COVID-19  subsides and the Ivorian economy rebounds.

– Shelly Saltzman
Photo: Wikipedia Commons