Following several decades of civil war and economic decline, Cote d’Ivoire has seen concrete development progress over the last 15 years, as evidenced by its improved ranking on the Failed States Index score from 110 (maximum score 120) in 2006 to 89 in 2020. Since the end of the post-electoral crisis, the country has recorded strong economic growth of 8.4 percent annually (2012-2019), leading to significant poverty reduction - from 44 percent in 2015 to 39 percent in 2018. According to the SDG 2020 report, compared to 166 other countries, Cote D’Ivoire has progressed the most in terms of its SDG Index score since 2015.
While the country is committed to achieving the SDGs, the road to recovery from COVID-19 is uncertain for many with challenges ahead. To build back better, the importance of effective development co-operation partnerships cannot be underestimated.
Progress on the SDGs: Successes and Key Priorities Ahead
As presented in the Voluntary National Report (VNR) in July 2019, the country has made progress mainly in poverty reduction (SDG 1 and 10), health (SDG 3), education (SDG 4), equality (SDG 5), drinking water (SDG 6) and electrification (SDG 7).
- Poverty has reduced to 39 percent. The implementation of the "Productive Social Nets" Project has enabled 50,000 poor households (SDGs 1 and 10), whose daily income is less than US $1, to receive an annual allowance of US $250 since 2019.
- Investments in the health sector (SDG 3) have enabled more than 68% of the population to live within 5 km of a health center in 2020, compared to 44% in 2012, according to the Annual Health Situation Report. In addition, targeted free medical care for pregnant women and children aged 0-5 years is now a reality. In terms of social protection, the generalization in July 2019 of the Universal Health Coverage will allow the most disadvantaged to have access to health care at lower cost.
- Education (SDG 4) has almost reached parity (SDG 5) at the primary level and a net enrollment rate of 91.3% in 2019, according to the Ministry of National Education.
Despite this progress, the SDG situation remains critical and progress towards the targets remains slow.
- Poverty remains very high, especially in rural areas where households are affected in a large proportion (56.8% against 35.9% in urban areas) and thus face several deprivations (SDG 1 to SDG 7).
- According to the Integrated Regional Survey on Employment and the Informal Sector ERI-ESI carried out in 2017, 34.8% of young people live in precariousness and are neither in employment, nor in training and without viable socio-economic opportunities (SDGs 4, 8 and 10), with a proportion of 44.2% among young women and 25.2% among young men. Economic vulnerability, combined with cultural constraints that are still prevalent, affect the capacities of young people to dispose of goods and resources (SDGs 5 and 10) and to carry out activities in order to be independent.
- Young girls are more likely to experience Gender-Based Violence (GBV) (SDGs 5 and 10) and are more exposed to HIV (SDG 3) and many other vulnerabilities. Young men in this category have a low chance of accessing decent paid employment (SDG 8) in the formal sector. Their poor education associated with the lack of professional qualification limits their prospects. In order to survive, these young people are often forced to move into the informal sector, particularly into petty trading. In conflict zones, they are easily exploited and likely to be recruited into armed gangs as violent extremism is rampant along the borders of countries like Mali and Burkina Faso (SDG 16).
COVID-19 has impacted the country’s businesses, health infrastructure and economic well-being. According to the World Bank, real GDP was 1.8 percent in 2020, below the projected 7.2%, caused by COVID-19 in most economic sectors. Weakening global demand hit the country's export sectors hard, all of which fell: agriculture by 2.2%, agribusiness (1.3%), forestry (-16.5%), mining (-4.8%), petroleum products (-26.9%), and transportation (-1.8%). Inflation rose from 0.8 percent in 2019 to 1.8 percent in 2020, due to higher food and transport prices in a country that has experienced the highest COVID-19 infection rates in West Africa. Furthermore, the pandemic has resulted in 32 percent of households at risk of falling below the poverty line, highlighting the need to strengthen community resilience and resource planning against both exogenous and domestic shocks.
The new National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 foresees a strong recovery, with GDP at 6.2% in 2021 and inflation expected to decrease to 1.4% in 2021. however efficient management and reporting of limited development resources is key for staying on track to achieve Cote D'Ivoire's SDG priorities.
Supporting the government to optimize development resources
With UNDP support in 2014, the country developed its aid management platform (AMP) which provides information on the traceability and quality of funding on development priorities. As a member of the ‘troika’, UNDP works in close collaboration with two Government ministries - Ministry of Planning and Development and the Ministry of Economy and Finance - to facilitate the production of regular reports on development co-operation in the country. In 2020, the annual development co-operation report found that, total external public financing obtained from Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) amounted to CFAF 3,433.5 billion, compared with CFAF 3,902.1 billion in 2019, i.e. a 12% drop. This financing is broken down into program/project support (CFAF 2,531.3 billion, or 73.7%) and budget support (CFAF 902.2 billion, or 26.3%). These budgetary supports granted to the Government represent more than five times those of 2019 (176.7 billion CFA Francs) and 57% of these were allocated to the fight against COVID 19 and its effects.
UNDP, together with the French Development Agency (FDA), World Bank and the government, is a key player in the ‘troika’ that is convened by Cote d’Ivoire to manage the AMP and work towards more effective partnerships and development co-operation. This multi-stakeholder team has allowed the country to work in collaboration with others, utilizing each other’s capacities and strengths, to assess the overall effectiveness of the AMP.
Strengthening partnerships through regular and transparent reporting
The Ministry of Planning and Development, together with the UNDP country office, have developed the National Policy on Partnership and Aid Effectiveness (in 2015 and revised in 2017/2018 to align with the NDP 2016-2020) which specifies the framework for consultation between the State and its donors to further improve dialogue mechanisms for better partnerships. On the basis of this policy document, a joint development committee between the Heads of Co-operation Troika is led by AFD, UNDP and the World Bank and the Minister of Planning and Development (MPD). This Committee was created to formalise the different levels of dialogue with the Government, between (i) the Prime Minister and the Ambassadors, (ii) the Heads of Co-operation, (iii) the Sector Working Groups where UNDP is co-lead of "Governance" with USAID, acting as a central body that gathers all contributions made by partners and tables them for discussion during high-level dialogues with the government. These discussions typically involve the participation of the leads of Sectoral Working Groups.
Using inclusive dialogue to drive stronger, multi-stakeholder partnerships
In 2021, the Cote D’Ivoire’s Ministry of Planning and Development, also a Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation Steering Committee member, is set to join 17 other partner countries, to lead a multi-stakeholder Action Dialogue on effective partnerships. The Action Dialogue is a Global Partnership initiative that aims to build a shared understanding among country stakeholders on why effective development co-operation matters and how to urgently scale up effective partnerships to maximize development impact for COVID-19 recovery and SDG implementation.
The Ministry aims to focus its Action Dialogue on:
- Strengthening the monitoring of its partners’ development co-operation commitments
- Strengthening the regulatory and institutional framework for development co-operation, and
- Increasing statistical capacity to better analyze development co-operation in the country.
A particular focus is also placed on civil society participation as the country plans to invite them to establish a dialogue exclusively dedicated to the financing of activities implemented by civil society. In fact, as part of the development of the NDP 2021-2025, UNDP supported CSOs in organizing a consultation with the Ministry of Planning and Development on the analysis of the inclusion of the principle of leaving no one behind and the financing of the vulnerable in the new strategic axes of the NDP. The Action 2021 Dialogue process, launched by the Government, also places a strong emphasis on the role of CSOs in ensuring accountability for the use of gender-sensitive funding.
The effective management of development co-operation resources with effective reporting and dialogue in collaboration with key ministries, partners, such as the UNDP, and across sectors, is the recipe for recovery from the pandemic and pushing forward to reach our collective goals for sustainable development.