That dollar amount for 2020 reflects a 10.9% increase compared to 2016 but a -7.3% drop from 2019 to 2020.
Ivory Coast’s biggest 5 exported products are cocoa beans, natural rubber, cocoa paste, gold, and cashews or coconuts. Collectively, those top 5 goods represent 72.5% of the total value for all Ivory Coast’s exports. That percentage indicates a highly concentrated portfolio of exported products.
Ivory Coast’s Key Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data from 2019 shows that 64.4% of products exported from Ivory Coast were bought by importers in: Netherlands (10.7% of the global total), United States (6%), France (5.9%), Malaysia (5%), Vietnam (4.9%), Mali (4.8%), Spain (also 4.8%), Switzerland (4.7%), Germany (also 4.7%), Burkina Faso (4.6%), Belgium (4.5%) and India (4%).
From a continental perspective, 44.9% of Ivory Coast’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 22.8% were sold to importers in Africa. Ivory Coast shipped another 21.5% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to North America (9.4%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.4%), and Oceania led by Australia (0.1%).
Given Ivory Coast’s population of 27 million people, its total $11.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $450 for every resident in the West African country.
Ivory Coast’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ivoirian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Ivory Coast.
- Cocoa: US$6.2 billion (52.8% of total exports)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.4 billion (11.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.1 billion (9.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $994.8 million (8.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $673.5 million (5.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $314.4 million (2.7%)
- Cotton: $142.7 million (1.2%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $106 million (0.9%)
- Wood: $97.7 million (0.8%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $95.8 million (0.8%)
Ivory Coast’s top 10 exports accounted for 94.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Meator seafood preparations represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 211,812% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was ores, slag and ash via a 83.4% gain.
Ivory Coast’s shipments of rubber plus articles made from rubber posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 49.6%.
The leading decliner among Ivory Coast’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to its -68.5% decline year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the Ivory Coast’s most valuable export products are cocoa beans (37.1%) trailed by natural rubber (11.5%), cocoa paste (9.2%), gold (8.4%), cashews and coconuts (6.3%), cocoa butter, fat and oil (4%), crude oil (3.3%), bananas including plantains (2.8%), refined petroleum oils (1.9%) then manganese ores and concentrates (1.6%).
Ivory Coast earned an estimated overall $2.1 billion trade surplus for 2020 down by -7.9% from $2.2 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Ivoirian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Cocoa: US$6.2 billion (Up by 25.6% since 2019)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.3 billion (Up by 57.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.1 billion (Up by 13.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $987 million (Down by -8.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $206s million (Up by 27.1%)
- Wood: $85.9 million (Down by -18.8%)
- Cotton: $77.5 million (Down by -77.9%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $32.9 million (Down by -78.1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $30.8 million (Reversing a -$7.4 million deficit in 2019))
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $29.8 million (Down by -58.3%)
Ivory Coast has highly positive net exports in the international trade of cocoa. In turn, these cashflows indicate Ivory Coast’s strong competitive advantages under the cocoa product category.
Below are exports from Ivory Coast that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Ivory Coast’s goods trail Ivoirian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$1 billion (Up by 9.3% since 2019)
- Cereals: -$720.1 million (Down by -8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$702.7 million (Up by 9.2%)
- Vehicles: -$532.8 million (Down by -7.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$433.5 million (Up by 29%)
- Fish: -$403.8 million (Down by -22%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$382.4 million (Up by 404.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$320.5 million (Down by -12.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$300.9 million (Up by 28.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$293.4 million (Down by -2.1%)
Ivory Coast has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Ivoirian Export Companies
Not one Ivoirian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Ivory Coast. Selected examples are shown below.
- Abidjan Transport Company (transportation infrastructure)
- Autonomous Port of Abidjan (commercial seaport)
- Ivoirienne de Transports Aériens (cargo airliner)
In macroeconomic terms, Ivory Coast’s total exported goods represent 7.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($156 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 9.2% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Ivory Coast’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Statistics from the International Monetary Fund put Ivory Coast’s average unemployment rate at 3.5% for 2020, down from an average 3.2% one year earlier.
Ivory Coast’s capital city is Yamoussoukro, which is also home to the world’s highest domed church.
See also South Africa’s Top 10 Exports, Top African Export Countries and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 24, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 24, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 24, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 24, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 24, 2021
Wikipedia, Ivory Coast. Accessed on August 24, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Ivory Coast. Accessed on August 24, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 24, 2021