In Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the Government has embarked on an effort to enhance the business environment in cooperation with the private sector, especially with the Confédération Générale des entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI), the largest private-sector employers’ association in the country. Since 2012, further efforts have been made to improve the economic environment, including the enforcement of new investment codes whose objective is to increase investments in the economy’s key sectors. Elsewhere, sectoral codes for mining and electricity were introduced in 2014. The operationalisation of a one-stop-shop for investments, reducing processing times and the simplification of procedures for setting up a new business and to pay taxes are among the other reforms enacted to make the country more attractive to private investment.
In the same spirit, the CGECI contributed significantly to the creation of a Commercial Court aimed at promoting public-private dialogue. The CGECI is greatly implicated in the efforts to improve this dialogue and is present on most questions linked to taxation, customs, finance, shipping, the environment, employment, etc. The challenge is to achieve a substantial and lasting improvement in the business environment. To this end, a coherent intervention of the private sector is needed to maintain stable, inclusive and sustainable growth and job creation.
But improving public governance is proving to be a constant struggle. This is why, for Ivorian employers, a series of second-generation reforms must be promptly undertaken in order to capitalise on the existing achievements. These reforms must be based on at least four pillars:
- Infrastructure: improve competitivity by reducing input costs (energy, transportation, ICT, development of new economic zones and ensuring secure land management);
- Legislation: ensure a better operation and decentralisation of the commercial courts;
- Taxation: apply a predictable tax policy based on broadening the tax base;
- Finance: facilitate SMEs’ access to credit and develop innovative sources of financing.
Greater political commitment to these four pillars would have a positive effect on the steps taken to promote domestic entrepreneurship and the diversification of the Ivorian economy, which is still overly dependent on the export of a few primary commodities.
Indeed, the private sector has expressed optimism regarding the future of Côte d’Ivoire. Businesses have also shown their willingness to assist the government, by contributing to an outlook study led by the CGECI in 2012. The study, called “Le Défi du Meilleur” (The Challenge of Improvement) contains practical recommendations for the Côte d’Ivoire State in the context of its strategy to make the Ivorian economy more dynamic than ever before. This year, in order to maintain the same level of proactiveness, the private sector drew up a white paper for the country’s industrialisation and placed of the question of the business environment squarely within the parameters of the CGECI Academy, the annual meeting of Ivorian and African business leaders.