Côte d’Ivoire Readies to Import Russian Grains and Ice Cream

The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire has abandoned its import substitution policy and other economic measures including the budgetary allocation for modernizing local agriculture and support for boosting domestic agricultural production. It, however, boast of  around 64.8% of arable and agricultural land which largely remains uncultivated.

Arguably Côte d’Ivoire, located on the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean), could support its own fishing industry by spending reasonably adequate funds on acquiring simple fishing equipment for local people and even start its own large-scale fish ponds, but instead plans to increase fish imports into the country.

Our monitoring shows that Côte d’Ivoire might spend an estimated  $100 million on exports of Russian food and agricultural products this second quarter 2023. The Russian Agriculture Ministry’s Agroexport Center said it was ready exports such products to Côte d’Ivoire as its market is promising for exports including grain, fish, sunflower and soybean oil, processed grain products and prepared meat products, among others.

Russian exports of agribusiness products to the Côte d’Ivoire more than doubled to $41.6 million in 2021 from $18 million a year earlier, the report said. This included 96,100 tonnes of wheat worth $26.2 million, 12,900 tonnes of fish worth $8.7 million, 1,100 tonnes of sunflower oil worth $1.7 million and 400 tonnes of ice cream worth $0.5 million.

Statistics show that imports from the Côte d’Ivoire are far higher, and grew to $237.5 million in 2021 from $223.7 million in 2020, although by volume they dropped to 72,600 tonnes from 74,500 tonnes. These imports included 43,800 tonnes of cocoa beans worth $141.8 million, 18,100 tonnes of cocoa paste worth $69.3 million and 3,400 tonnes of cocoa powder worth $8.5 million.

“The decrease in Russian imports by volume was due to the reduction of purchases of cocoa beans and cocoa powder. At the same time, cocoa paste imports showed significant growth: 27% by volume and 37.2% by value,” the report said.

Around 7.5 million people made up the workforce. The workforce took a hit, especially in the private sector, with numerous economic crises since 2000s. Decreasing job markets posed a huge issue as unemployment rates grew.

With rising unemployment especially among the youth, experts suggested the government engage in economic diversification, focus on support for improving local production. Therefore, preliminary solutions proposed to decrease unemployment included diversifying the economy, increase financial support in addressing domestic food security.

With an estimated 29 million population, the economy of Côte d’Ivoire has grown faster than that of most other African countries since independence. One possible reason for this might be taxes on exported agriculture. It is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. In 2021, cocoa-bean farmers earned $2.53 billion for cocoa exports. Generally, it is the fourth-largest exporter of general goods in sub-Saharan Africa (following South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola)

By geographical description, Côte d’Ivoire is a country in western sub-Saharan Africa. It borders Liberia and Guinea in the west, Mali and Burkina Faso in the north, Ghana in the east, and on the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean).


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