U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Côte d’IvoireCôte d’Ivoire, located in West Africa, is also known as the Ivory Coast. Agriculture dominates its economy, with oil and natural gases improving economic growth, too. Another aspect helping the economy is foreign aid, and the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire as well.

A Strong Partnership

The U.S. has been building diplomatic relations with Côte d’Ivoire since 1960 when it became independent from France. The U.S. mainly focuses on four areas to assist Côte d’Ivoire:

  1. Upgrading the health care system
  2. Facilitating democracy and governance
  3. Exploring economic potentials
  4. Improving security reform

In 1999, a coup in Côte d’Ivoire disputed elections and spurred rebellion. The U.S. assisted Côte d’Ivoire in moving beyond its decade-long crisis by restoring peace, offering more than 25 percent of the funding for U.N. operations in Côte d’Ivoire. Later on, the U.S. Agency for International Development promoted the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is a U.S. Trade Act issued on May 18, 2000.

U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Côte d’Ivoire in Trade

Since then, the U.S. and Côte d’Ivoire have shared bilateral economic relations, and the amount of U.S imports from Côte d’Ivoire grew from $384 million in 2000 to $1,163 million in 2016. This is just one of the ways the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire.

Côte d’Ivoire is viewed as one of Africa’s fastest economic growing countries. From 2006 to 2016, Côte d’Ivoire’s gross domestic product has grown from $17.8 billion to $36.3 billion. In 2015, Côte d’Ivoire exported $12.7 billion in products and 29 percent was cocoa beans. Another noticeable product was refined petroleum, which composed 8.8 percent of the country’s exportation.

AGOA created duty-free imports for certain products from several sub-Saharan African countries. This act further stimulates the U.S. and sub-Saharan African trade and investment and integrates sub-Saharan African economy into the global picture.

Côte d’Ivoire’s economy is heavily based on the agricultural sector, especially cocoa beans. The U.S. is one of the biggest cocoa beans consumers and has easier and cheaper access to import cocoa beans from Côte d’Ivoire. In 2016, the U.S. had imported $834 million of cocoa beans from Côte d’Ivoire. AGOA eliminates extra costs for the U.S. on daily necessities. In this way, the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire.

A Boost for the Future

In Nov. 2017, Côte d’Ivoire signed $525 million compacts from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. The money will be spent in a five-year period to stimulate economic growth and eliminate poverty.

The government of Côte d’Ivoire will contribute another $22 million to various projects, such as the Abidjan Transport Project, which can maintain and improve transportation conditions. Another project receiving funding will be the Skills for Employability and Productivity Project, which will facilitate education systems and provide more opportunities to access secondary education.

Côte d’Ivoire is becoming an even stronger country with U.S. support. Its economic development is accelerating, and its social system is improving as well. Now, Côte d’Ivoire is trying to move its economic anchor from agriculture to other aspects. The U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Côte d’Ivoire will increase if Côte d’Ivoire can develop into a more integrated economic model.

– Judy Lu

Photo: Flickr