Abidjan is "assuming the mantle of West African trading hub" © Getty Images
Abidjan is "assuming the mantle of West African trading hub" © Getty Images

Côte d’Ivoire tops growth potential chart

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
10 October 2019

Côte d’Ivoire tops a chart of the countries with the most potential for future trade growth.

Kenya is at number three in Trade20 index from Standard Chartered, which ranked countries based on a range of variables around economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity over the last decade. Ghana is just outside the top 10 at 13.

“Some markets that were lacking trade potential momentum until recently are now growing and modernising their economies: Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya are leading the pack and Ghana also performs well,” said Standard Chartered.

“Improvements in trade readiness – in particular infrastructure investments and increasing ease-of-doing business scores – is behind their impressive Trade20 rankings.”

In a report Standard Chartered said in the 2020s it expected Côte d’Ivoire to join the “7% club” of economies sustaining 7% GDP growth or more. The country has relatively developed infrastructure compared to the rest of the continent and Abidjan has been expanding its port and airport, “cementing its position as a key business hub for West Africa”.

The government has increased spending and boosted manufacturing industry but Standard Chartered said foreign investment was “where Côte d’Ivoire needs to pick up momentum”.

The report said Kenya’s “Big Four” initiative – involving boosting manufacturing, achieving universal health coverage, improving food security and construction of affordable housing – was “driving Kenya’s increased trade growth potential”.

Reforms around starting a business, electricity access, registering property and protecting minority investors had led to increased ease of doing business.

But challenges remained around poverty, inequality, climate change and rising debt levels. The report said “ensuring health public finances remains essential”.

“The index suggests that Kenya is consolidating its position as the trading hub of East Africa, while Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s economic centre, is assuming the mantle of West African trading hub,” said the report.

“These markets are placing themselves in an excellent position to benefit from increased trade flows and foreign investment. There is still a journey ahead, however. Excepting Ghana, the African markets in our index show limited improvement in terms of inward FDI flows, suggesting that most markets need to do more to encourage and reassure overseas investors.

“Building strong institutions and improving the ease of doing business are critical in this respect.”

Top 10 countries with most trade potential:

1. Côte d’Ivoire

2. India

3. Kenya

4. China

5. Ireland

6. Vietnam

7. Indonesia

8. Thailand

9. Oman

10. UAE

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