Ivory Coast Labor Market

About half of the population is employed in agriculture. Many work outside the formal economy. Unemployment is high. Due to the relative prosperity of the Ivory Coast, many people from neighboring countries have applied for jobs. Immigrants usually have the most unqualified and low-paid jobs. During the troubled periods of the 2000s, discrimination against immigrants has become a problem.

The minimum wage varies between different industries, but it is usually so low that it is not enough to support a family.

The law prohibits children under the age of 14 from working, but child labor still occurs in homes, plantations and factories and mines. Tens of thousands of West African children are believed to be working on Ivorian farms under harsh conditions. UN Children’s Fund UNICEF has accused the Ivory Coast of deliberately importing children as workers into plantations. The government responds that the strong price pressure from the large buyers of cocoa and coffee in the western world is forcing hard-pressed growers to use the least expensive labor. If the western world paid so that the growers could hire adults at a reasonable wage, the cocoa price would be tenfold, Ivory Coast claims.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Ivory Coast, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.

Côte d'Ivoire Population

The right to unionize and strike is guaranteed in the constitution, but only a small part of the labor force is unionized. The Union Générale des Travailleurs de Côte d’Ivoire (UGTCI) was for a long time the only authorized trade union central organization and stood close to the government. When more political parties were formed, several new trade unions were formed, often linked to the political parties.

Trade unions find it difficult to fund their operations and trade unions are actively harassed. Police and defense personnel may not be unionized.



2.4 percent (2019)

Youth Unemployment

3.4 percent (2019)



PDCI discusses election cooperation with Gbagbo’s FPI

December 14

Opposition leader Henri Konan Bédié announces that there are plans for a election collaboration between his party PDCI and former President Laurent Gbagbo’s party FPI. The day before, Gbagbo’s lawyers had asked ICC to release the former Ivorian leader, who is now 73 years old, prematurely due to old age. Gbagbo has now spent seven years in prison in The Hague since being indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity .


Unrest erupts around the regional elections

October 13

The Ivory Coast is up for election to appoint nearly 200 mayors and 31 regional councils. The big fight was between President Ouattara’s RHDP and Henri Konan Bédié’s PDCI. The election is boycotted by parts of former President Gbagbo’s party FPI. A 30-year-old man is killed in the southern city of Lakota, when supporters supporting various candidates come together. When the final election results are delayed, riots also erupt in the seaside resort of Grand-Bassam near Abidjan. Several are injured in clashes between protesters and police. Concerns also occur elsewhere in the country. A total of five people are killed, including the campaign manager for Abidjan’s mayor who was kidnapped and murdered. Once the result comes, RHDP with a clear margin has become the largest party with a total of 60 percent of the votes, with PDCI in second place. RHDP wins in 18 of the 31 regions, while PDCI takes power in six and FPI in one. Three regions will be governed by independent politicians. RHDP also dominates at the municipal level, winning in 92 ministries, while PDCI wins in 50 and independent forces become the largest in 56 ministries. Several losing candidates accuse the Election Commission of cheating. The turnout is low, just over 36 percent in the municipal elections, and just over 46 percent in the regional elections.


800 prisoners are granted amnesty

August 7th

President Ouattara grants 800 prisoners amnesty. It includes people convicted of the violence after the 2010 elections or crimes against the state after 2011. The president describes the amnesty as a gesture of reconciliation. Among those released are Simone Gbagbo, wife of former President Laurent Gbagbo, who in 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison for, among other things, threatening state security and organizing armed groups. Two of Gbagbo’s former ministers, Moise Lida Kouassi and Assoa Adou, as well as rebel leader Kamagaté Souleymane are also granted amnesty, but have not yet been released.

Gbagbo is elected leader for FPI faction

August 4th

Former President Laurent Gbagbo is elected by a clear majority, as leader of a faction of the Ivorian People’s Front (FPI), despite facing the right to crimes against humanity at the ICC . At the same time, Pascal Affi N’Guessan is re-elected as leader of FPI’s second faction, which is also larger.


Government parties are merged

July 16

The government coalition Houphouetist meeting for democracy and peace (RHDP) becomes a formal party when the RDR, UDPCI and some other parties in the coalition are merged. However, PDCI chooses not to join. Several leading PDCI politicians who pleaded for a merger were later excluded from the party. Seven of the excluded PDCI politicians have received ministerial posts in the government. PDCI leader Henri Konan Bédié announces that his party will run in the local and regional elections in October as an opposition party.

The government is cracking down

July 4th

President Ouattara dissolves the government after a conflict with the coalition partner PCDI. A dispute is about whether PDCI wants to appoint a candidate for the 2020 presidential election. Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly will be commissioned to form a new government.


Acute water shortage in Bouké

6th June

The city of Bouké in the northern part of the country suffers from severe water shortages. Since March, the usual water supply has been shut down and people in the city who have about 800,000 inhabitants can collect water from special tankers. In the past, most of the water consumed has been extracted from the Loka dam, which is now almost completely dehydrated. Local authorities believe that the water shortage is caused by climate change.

Ouattara opens for another re-election

June 3

President Ouattara says in an interview with the magazine Jeune Afrique that the new constitution gives him the opportunity to run for re-election in the presidential election to be held in 2020. According to Ouattara, the new constitution gives him the opportunity to sit for two terms of office from 2020, when previous elections should not be counted. However, Ouattara emphasizes that a decision to stand again depends on the state of the country, that stability and peace are more important than anything else. Later, his statement is criticized by the opposition group Together for Democracy and Sovereignty (EDS), which includes former President Laurent Gbagbo’s FPI party, which calls it a “provocation against the Ivorian people”. However, some judges interpret Ouattara’s words as an attempt to curb competition within his own party over who will succeed him.


2,000 soldiers are retired

May 3

More than 2,000 soldiers retire voluntarily. This is part of the government’s attempt to reduce the cost of defense and at the same time to increase control over the defense forces, after several soldier rebellions.


The Ivory Coast sends 450 men to the Central African Republic

26th of April

The Ivory Coast sends 450 men to the UN force Minusca in the Central African Republic. It happens since Gabon withdrew its squad from the troubled country, after accusations that Gabonese have been guilty of sexual abuse and even misbehaved in other ways.


Clear majority for RHDP in the new Senate

March 25th

In the election to the new Senate, the ruling Houphouetist Assembly for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) wins 50 of the 66 seats at stake. Other places went to 16 independent candidates, with all opposition parties boycotting the election. The senators are elected in indirect elections by 7,000 representatives in parliament, regional and municipal representatives. For the result to be valid, it must be approved by the Constitutional Court. President Ouattara will also appoint 33 members to the House.

Free Trade Agreement in Africa

21 March

Ivory Coast is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.


New unrest in Bouaké

January 10

Soldiers loot a military base in Bouaké on weapons and ammunition, and then set it on fire. Fighting then breaks out between the looting soldiers’ faction and the elite unit, CCDO, which is on the base . No people should have been killed, according to a government spokesman.

Ivory Coast Labor Market