The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 67.9% of products exported from Ivory Coast were bought by importers in: Netherlands (11.4% of the global total), United States (9.1%), Vietnam (6.8%), Germany (6.4%), France (5.4%), Burkina Faso (5.2%), Mali (4.8%), India (4.4%), Malaysia (3.9%), Belgium (3.7%), Switzerland (3.6%) and Ghana (3%).
From a continental perspective, 41% of Ivory Coast’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 24.1% were sold to importers in Africa. Ivory Coast shipped another 21.3% worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to North America (12%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.9%), and Oceania led by Australia (0.1%).
Given Ivory Coast’s population of 26.3 million people, its total $10.8 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $400 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 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Ivory Coast.
- Cocoa: US$5.8 billion (53.6% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.3 billion (11.8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.1 billion (10.3%)
- Gems, precious metals: $680.7 million (6.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $661.3 million (6.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $337.8 million (3.1%)
- Cotton: $123.8 million (1.1%)
- Wood: $110.2 million (1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $110 million (1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $71.3 million (0.7%)
Ivory Coast’s top 10 exports are concentrated, accounting for 95.1% of the overall value of the African country’s global shipments.
Meat or seafood preparations represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 61,002% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was ores, slag and ash via a 184.3% gain powered by higher international sales of manganese and nickel. Ivory Coast’s shipments of rubber including articles made from rubber posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 46.7%.
The leading decliner among Ivory Coast’s top 10 export categories was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes, thanks to a -67.5% drop 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 (38.4%) trailed by natural rubber (10.3%), cocoa paste (8.1%), crude oil (7.4%), gold (6.3%), cocoa butter, fat and oil (4.8%), refined petroleum oils (3.7%), bananas including plantains (3.1%) then manganese ores and concentrates (2%).
Ivory Coast earned an overall $2.1 billion trade surplus for 2019 up by 160.3% from $793.3 million 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$5.8 billion (Up by 26.8% since 2018)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1 billion (Up by 53.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $673 million (Down by -15.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $646.9 million (Down by -52.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $336.1 million (Up by 257.2%)
- Wood: $99.5 million (Down by -16.9%)
- Cotton: $59.5 million (Down by -78.3%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $42.7 million (Down by -66.5%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $38.5 million (Down by -68.4%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $32.8 million (Reversing a -$7.1 million deficit)
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$978.9 million (Up by 2.6% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$669.2 million (Up by 7%)
- Vehicles: -$503.6 million (Down by -26.8%)
- Cereals: -$417 million (Down by -52.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$366.4 million (Up by 18%)
- Fish: -$253 million (Down by -51.7%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$249.1 million (Down by -11.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$243.4 million (Down by -36.2%)
- Other chemical goods: -$174 million (Down by -17.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$171.9 million (Down by -31.3%)
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 9.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($117.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 11.1% for 2018. Those metrics 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 Trading Economics put Ivory Coast’s average unemployment rate at 2.4% for 2019 down from 2.5% 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 Capital Facts for Yamoussoukro
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 18, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 18, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 18, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 18, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 18, 2020
Wikipedia, Ivory Coast. Accessed on June 18, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Ivory Coast. Accessed on June 18, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 18, 2020