While other countries in West Africa endured years of
post-independence turmoil, Ivory Coast, under the watchful eye
France, became the region's biggest economic success.
However, the "Ivorian Miracle" was built on cocoa, now in
decline, and the crisis scared investors, though some, led by
hardy Lebanese and well-entrenched French, remain.
What to watch
-- Gold. The government wants to diversify away from cocoa.
A government forecast seen by Reuters puts gold output at 11.7
tonnes in 2010, up two thirds on last year.
Gold miner Randgold Resources <RRS.L said in April its
Tongon mine would start production in October. Canada's Etruscan
Resources and Australia's Equigold have permits. Some 100
requests are being considered.
-- Agriculture. Despite long term falling cocoa volumes,
there remain opportunities, cocoa but also rubber and other
crops. Coffee and cotton fell after the war, as they grow in
rebel zones. If polls unify the nation, they could take off.
-- Oil. Ivory Coast produces 50,000 barrels per day from
three fields operated by Canadian Natural Resources. Offshore
may hold fields such as Ghana's huge Jubilee reserve, but little
exploration is going on, partly because firms have their hands
full with other regional finds.
- The BRVM. The all share index serving most of Francphone
West Africa had risen 8 percent on the year by Aug. 30. The
index is worth just over $6 billion, with another 800 million of
bonds, but volumes are small.
Although the BRVM was hit hard during the global crisis as
international investors withdrew, the market is generally too
small and isolated to be sensitive to world markets.