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Special Report : Côte d'Ivoire

Tackling inequalities

Par Francine Yao - Publié en janvier 2022

The second social programme will benefit disadvantaged populations, including those in the northern regions.

In 2020, according to the World Bank, “Côte d'Ivoire made a slight jump in the Human Capital Index ranking (0.38). Poverty in the country declined significantly, from 46.3% in 2015 to 39.4% in 2020”. This index, ranging from 0 to 1, measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by age 18, taking into account survival, schooling and health. On the subject of poverty in Côte d'Ivoire, the institution states that “this progress is limited to urban areas; the number of poor people has increased in rural areas over the same period (+2.4%)”. This situation has prompted the government to pay particular attention to combating inequality. “President Alassane Ouattara's concern is that every Ivorian should have access to the social resources they need to live. All these things that make us feel we have a decent life,” said Patrick Achi on 8 November at the Prime Minister's Office. The Head of State's commitment to tackling social inequalities should soon be translated into action, as the Prime Minister indicated: “On the instructions of the President of the Republic, from January 2022 and for three years, we will implement a PSGOUV 2 [the government's second social programme, Ed] with five priorities.” These five priorities are: addressing fragility in the northern border areas; education and training; improving living conditions in rural areas and empowering women; professional integration of young people, civic service and second chance schools; and social protection for vulnerable populations.

Côte d'Ivoire has achieved remarkable macroeconomic performance over the past 10 years, with an average gross domestic product growth rate of 8% between 2012 and 2019, which led to a doubling of per capita wealth. The state budget tripled from just over 2,500 billion CFA francs in 2011 to over 8,000 billion CFA francs in 2021. The overall volume of investments increased sevenfold over the same period. These figures demonstrate the country's capacity to produce wealth; however, there remains the question of its redistribution. Some communities feel, rightly or wrongly, that they do not benefit enough from the fruits of the country's economic growth. In order to better redistribute the wealth, a decentralisation policy is being implemented, notably through the establishment of 12 districts in addition to those of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. According to the Prime Minister, they will strengthen the coordination and evaluation of development programme execution, while ensuring greater supervision of the actions of the State and local authorities. This decentralisation allows for a special focus on the populations in the Grand Nord, an area of the country that is plagued by attacks by terrorist groups who recruit where the pockets of poverty are the most widespread, i.e. in rural areas.​​​​​​​

Fighting terrorism

To ensure that the North does not become a breeding ground for terrorism, the government is working on improving the living conditions of its communities. Mamadou Touré, the Minister for Youth Promotion, Professional Integration and Civic Service, toured the region for several days, starting on Friday 19 November in Kafolo (Kong), a place that has endured two terrorist attacks in 18 months. The aim was to raise awareness of the special fund for young people and to evaluate the programmes set up by the Youth Employment Agency. Nearly 3,000 young people will benefit from this emergency plan. “Neither the state nor the government will ever desert you. The government will be at your side in the fight against terrorism,” promised Mamadou Touré, adding that the first beneficiaries of this fund will be identified in the coming weeks. He added that young people would also be trained in trades such as borehole repair, mechanics, etc.

With these gestures in favour of communities in the North, the government is seeking to respond to the inequalities in employment opportunities, as well as to offer opportunities to disadvantaged young people. The country's strategy for economic and social development takes into account its most vulnerable people. The 2021-2025 National Development Plan is part of a global vision for poverty reduction. It focuses not only on the quest for equitable development between regions, but also for more inclusiveness by offering specific programmes to certain social categories (women and young people) to foster their empowerment and employability.

​​​​​​​The decline in poverty is still limited to urban areas.