Presentation

Political relations

After the election of October 2010, in line with the position of the United Nations, African organizations and the international community, France acknowledged Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate president of Côte d’Ivoire and called on Laurent Gbagbo to hand over power peacefully. It supported the diplomatic efforts of the international community and mediation by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In accordance with Security Council resolution 1975, it intervened, on the request of the United Nations Secretary-General to the President of the French Republic, to help the UNOCI forces neutralize the heavy weapons used by Laurent Gbagbo’s forces against civilian populations and the UN forces. France’s Force Licorne intervened to protect a large number of French and other nationals in Abidjan, sheltering over 5,000 people at the French base in Port-Bouet. That base has been home to the French Forces in Côte d’Ivoire since January 2015 and is an operational forward base in West Africa.

The election of President Ouattara was the start of a new chapter in Franco-Ivorian relations. These renewed relations were celebrated during the State visit of President Ouattara in early 2012, and of President Hollande to Abidjan in July 2014.

Visits

Main visits to Côte d’Ivoire:

  • 15 March 2016: visit by the Interior and Foreign Ministers in the wake of the terrorist attack in Grand-Bassam.
  • 3 March 2016: visit of the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, André Vallini, for a meeting of the C2D steering and follow-up committee.
  • 27-28 April 2016: visit by the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Matthias Fekl, for the first West and Central Africa-France business forum.
  • 28-29 April 2016: visit by the French Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian
  • 28 July 2016: Visit by the Minister of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, Stéphane Le Foll.
  • 30-31 October 2016: visit by France’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls.
  • 13 April 2017: visit to Abidjan by the Minister of the Economy and Finance, Michel Sapin, to take part in the Franc Zone Finance Ministers Meeting.
  • 20-22 July 2017: visit by the Minister of Sport, Laura Flessel, and the Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, for the 18ᵗʰ Francophonie Games.

Main visits to France:

  • 4 February 2016: President Ouattara met with President Hollande.
  • 17-18 May 2016: Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan attended a meeting of the Advisory Group on Financing for Development of Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 27 June-1 July 2016: visit of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Ramatta Ly Bakayoko.
  • 1 July 2016: Prime Minister Duncan attended the 60ᵗʰ anniversary celebration of the Paris Club.
  • 22-24 September 2016: Prime Minister Duncan attended Africa 2016 meetings.
  • 9-12 October 2016: visit by the Minister of Civil Service and Administration Reform, Pascal Abinan Kouakou.
  • 22 November 2016: President Ouattara met with President Hollande.
  • 15 March 2017: last meeting of President Ouattara with President Hollande.
  • 11 June 2017: meeting of President Ouattara with the French President, as the first African Head of State to be received by President Macron.
  • 12 July 2017: meeting of the President of Côte d’Ivoire’s National Assembly, Guillaume Soro, with his French counterpart, François de Rugy.
  • 31 August 2017: President Ouattara met with the President.

Economic relations

Côte d’Ivoire is our primary trading partner in the Franc Zone and our third-largest in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria. France is Côte d’Ivoire’s second-largest trading partner after Nigeria. Trade between the two countries remained stable in 2016 compared to 2015. French exports totalled €1.1 billion and largely consisted of the following types of product: mechanical, electrical and computer equipment; agricultural, forestry, fishery and aquaculture products; agrifood products; and pharmaceuticals. Our imports totalled €787 million and consist mainly of agricultural products, especially cocoa and coffee.

The major French groups traditionally present in Africa are mostly active in Côte d’Ivoire through subsidiaries. There are around 140 French subsidiaries, employing nearly 40,000 people, and some 500 French SMEs governed by local law, forming France’s largest presence in sub-Saharan Africa.

To help enable an exit from the crisis, France offered Côte d’Ivoire considerable support in international financial forums. France signed a bilateral restructuring agreement on 9 December 2009, which led to the cancellation of debt of $455 million, rescheduling of $697 million and deferral of $2.2 billion. In 2011, following the crisis, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) a loan of €350 million, primarily to pay the salaries and pensions of civil servants and to fund urgent social spending and the economic recovery.

Development

France is Côte d’Ivoire’s leading bilateral donor. In June 2012, Côte d’Ivoire reached the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In July 2012, we signed a bilateral agreement which provided for the clear cancellation of commercial debt of €913 million and additional cancellation of €2.9 billion, via the debt reduction and development contract (C2D) mechanism. The purpose of C2D is to finance fundamental development programmes. In practical terms, the debt repayments are made, then immediately refunded to the recipient country to finance jointly defined projects. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) is the operator.

For example, the first C2D (€630 million) improved drinking water access for 580,000 Ivorians and created jobs for 2,000 young people through labour-intensive projects. The second C2D (2015-2020) involves a total of €1.125 billion. The six main sectors are the same as those under the first C2D: urban development; decentralization; water and sanitation (€195 million); education, training and employment (€191 million); transport infrastructure (€191 million); agriculture, rural development and biodiversity (€122 million); health and social protection (€68 million); and justice (€8 million, raised to €62 million in 2016). €335 million will be earmarked for budget support and a reserve, to be allocated gradually.

In 2016, the AFD resumed its sovereign loan activities with a loan of €120 million in the area of energy. Further sovereign loans are planned for the health, infrastructure and education sectors.

European Union cooperation: under the 11ᵗʰ European Development Fund (EDF), the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Côte d’Ivoire has been allocated €273 million. It includes activities in three key areas: state-building and peace-building (€60 million), support for farming (€60 million), and support for the energy sector (€139 million).

Updated: 25 August 2017

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