Following years of political turmoil, Côte d’Ivoire is growing quickly and attracting investment. Presently, the government is trying to position the country as West Africa’s technology and start-up hub.
The Ivorian population is seeing benefits from the digital development policy drive. Mobile phone penetration has now surpassed the 100 percent penetration rate, while internet connections have skyrocketed. The number of internet subscriptions has increased 40 times between 2011 and 2015. Further digital infrastructure improvements, including the development of fibre optic cables and improved 4G access in rural areas, are also in the works. An additional 5,000 km of fibre optic cables are already scheduled to be installed by the end of 2017.
However, the country still lags some way behind rivals – Senegal and Rwanda, two countries that have implemented successful digital development strategies – on the Global Innovation Index. Combined with the 2012 investment code, which offers a variety of tax incentives and reductions, and investments in tech infrastructure, it is getting easier and cheaper for companies to set up shop in Abidjan and elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire.
Provided the forthcoming constitutional referendum and the 2020 elections do not undermine political stability in Côte d’Ivoire, tech-fuelled business looks set to be a cornerstone in rebuilding the country’s image as the ‘economic miracle’ in West Africa.