Côte d’Ivoire , the first African country with a poor subsoil to surpass a country in Hispanic America in wealth


After having succeeded in the feat of overtaking Ghana and Nigeria, two countries full of natural resources, Ivory Coast, a francophone country in West Africa, has just overtaken Nicaragua to become the first African country in poor basement of history to overtake a country of Hispanic America.

According to statistics recently released by the World Bank, Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP per capita stood at $ 2,286 at the end of 2019, which is now higher than that of Nicaragua ($ 1,913). The latter had, in fact, already been exceeded during the year 2018, but it was only after the recent update of the basis for calculating the GDP of Côte d’Ivoire (as, before it, for Ghana and Nigeria) that this development has been demonstrated.

A historic event, due to record growth

Côte d’Ivoire is therefore today the only African country with a poor subsoil to outstrip a country of Hispanic America in wealth (excluding very small countries of negligible size and less than 1.5 million inhabitants, mostly insular and cannot be taken into account for relevant comparisons). This country of six million inhabitants, located in Central America and one of the 18 countries of the continent to have Spanish as an official language, also has a population of two-thirds exclusively or mainly of European descent. What makes this origin the main one present in the country, far ahead of the Amerindian and African roots. The significant growth of Côte d’Ivoire is the result of the very strong growth that the country has experienced for several years.

Over the eight-year period from 2012 to 2019 (and excluding micro-states, and more precisely Nauru, an island country in the South Pacific with only 11,000 inhabitants and a territory of only 21 km2), Côte d’Ivoire has achieved the highest growth in the world in the category of countries with a GDP per capita greater than or equal to $ 1,000, with an annual growth of 8.2% on average (6.9% in 2019). More impressive still, it ranks second in all categories, very poor countries included, thus doing better than 30 of the 31 countries in the world which had a GDP per capita of less than 1000 dollars at the beginning of 2012. Côte d’Ivoire was not then surpassed only by Ethiopia, which experienced annual growth of 9.2% on average (8.3% in 2018). This performance is mainly due to the very low level of development of this East African country, which was the second poorest country in the world at the start of 2012 and which remains one of the poorest with a GDP per capita of only 857 dollars, at the end of 2019 (nearly 2.7 times less than Côte d’Ivoire). Over the same eight-year period, Nicaragua recorded annual growth of 2.7% on average. This great dynamism had also enabled Côte d’Ivoire to previously overtake Kenya ($ 1,816 per capita at the end of 2019), before achieving the feat of outstripping two neighboring countries full of raw materials, namely Ghana and Nigeria (respectively $ 2,202 and $ 2,230 per capita).

Indeed, Ghana has become the continent’s leading gold producer, with a production more than four times higher than that of Côte d’Ivoire (142.4 tonnes in 2019, against only 32.5 tonnes, i.e. + 338 %). In addition, the country is now one of the continent’s oil producing countries, now ranking fourth in sub-Saharan Africa, ahead of Gabon (with a production of around 200,000 barrels per day, against less than 40,000 for the country of Houphouët-Boigny, that is to say five times more). This is in an area that continues to be largely dominated by Nigeria, the continent’s leading black gold producer, with annual production averaging around two million barrels per day. Over the period 2012-2019, Ghana and Nigeria recorded, respectively, an annual growth of 5.7% and 2.9% on average.

Côte d’Ivoire, which, let us remember, is a third larger than the United Kingdom (and not two or three smaller, as indicated by the majority of maps in circulation …), should continue to experience a robust growth in the coming years. The country is also part of the UEMOA space, which is none other than the continent’s largest high growth zone, with an annual GDP increase of 6.4% on average over the eight-year period from 2012 to 2019 (and of which no country is among the 10 poorest countries on the continent, in which South Sudan comes last).

Honduras, Angola and Tunisia to be overtaken

According to international economic forecasts, and thanks to its strong growth, the Ivory Coast should very quickly in turn overtake a second country in Hispanic America, namely Honduras. A country also located in Central America, and with a population of 10 million, Honduras had a GDP per capita of $ 2,575 at the end of 2019, and should continue to experience fairly weak economic growth in the near future ( 2.7% in 2019). The Ivory Coast should then succeed in the feat of overtaking a third country very rich in raw materials, namely Angola. Former Portuguese colony, this country of 32 million inhabitants is indeed the second African oil producer, after Nigeria, and had a per capita wealth of 2,974 dollars at the end of 2019. But like Nigeria, this country has experienced an economic decline for several years, with an average negative annual growth of -1.0% over the five-year period from 2015 to 2019 (and only 1.2% for Nigeria), a much lower rate the country’s population growth rate (3.3% on average over the same period). An evolution which has notably resulted in an 85% drop in the value of the national currency against the dollar since 2014 (nearly 60% for Nigeria) and which should continue for the next few years, at least, according to forecasts in the matter and as for Nigeria. Indeed, Angola and Nigeria are experiencing a downward trend in their oil production, and have not succeeded in diversifying their economy and their exports, which are still almost entirely based on hydrocarbons (about 94% for Nigeria and 98% for Nigeria). % for Angola). After Honduras and Angola, among others, Côte d’Ivoire, which, by the way, is already ahead of no less than 12 Asian countries (such as Burma, Cambodia, Pakistan or even Uzbekistan), should overtake medium term Tunisia, and thus become the first black African country with a poor subsoil to overtake in history a country of North Africa. After having long been a model of economic success and development for the entire continent, Tunisia, populated by 12 million inhabitants, has unfortunately experienced very low growth since its revolution in January 2011, and which has even been the most low in all of North Africa over the period 2012-2019 (only 2.2% on annual average). With per capita wealth standing at $ 3,317 at the end of 2019, the country should also quickly become the poorest country in this part of the continent, being first overtaken by Morocco ($ 3,204 at the end of 2019 ), then by Egypt ($ 3,020). Even poorly endowed with natural resources, the countries of Black Africa are therefore perfectly capable of surpassing in prosperity countries with a population predominantly of European or North African origin. And the Ivorian people can therefore be considered as the first to have demonstrated this brilliantly.


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