Real GDP growth reached an estimated 7.4% in 2018, down from 7.7% in 2017, supported by external demand for agricultural and oil products and stronger domestic demand resulting from major investment projects and households consumption. The economy faced several shocks in 2017, including a sharp decline in cocoa prices, higher oil prices, and social tensions. As a result, the budget deficit increased to 4.2% of GDP, but it improved to an estimated 3.8% in 2018. Public debt increased to 48.2% of GDP in 2018, driven by Eurobond issuances in 2017 and 2018. The risk of debt distress remains moderate. Inflation was low, at an estimated 0.5% in 2018, down from 1.0% in 2017. The current account deficit widened to an estimated 2.7% of GDP in 2018 from 1.8% in 2017.
The economic outlook remains favorable, with real GDP growth projected at 7.0% in 2019 and 6.9% in 2020. A good performance in the agricultural sector will keep inflation below the 3% convergence threshold for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The current account deficit is projected to stabilize at 2.8% in 2019, in connection with sustained imports of capital goods related to infrastructure projects.
The economy remains vulnerable to external shocks that may stem from unfavorable evolution of commodity prices (mainly cocoa and oil) and adverse climate conditions. Another pressing challenge is to sustain economic growth and ensure a more balanced distribution across sectors, with a view to achieving a structural transformation of the economy. This would require improving the quality of agricultural products and upgrading the industrial sector toward higher value added and high–job creation activities.
Tailwinds and headwinds
Côte d’Ivoire has implemented many reforms as part of its 2016–2020 National Development Plan. In energy, reforms have focused on ensuring the sector’s financial sustainability, clearing arrears for independent producers, and investing in supply capacity. As a result, installed capacity increased by 56% between 2011 and 2018 to 2,200 MW. Rural electricity coverage has also expanded from 33% of the rural population to 54%. In agriculture, reforms have focused on accelerating the development of value chains and increasing local processing for major agricultural products, including cocoa, cashew nuts, palm oil, and rubber. Investment has also improved the quality of and access to basic education and health services. But poverty and inequality reduction remain a challenge.
Côte d’Ivoire is party to most of the relevant continental institutions dedicated to regional integration. The country has historically been an important destination for immigration and remains at the center of one of the continent’s most dynamic migration routes. Côte d’Ivoire is also an important transit corridor for its landlocked neighbors, thanks to its ports in Abidjan and San Pedro. It is a key partner in the regional electricity market and is part of an electricity interconnection network with Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, and soon Mali, as well as to the Mano River Union countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). Côte d’Ivoire is the major player in WAEMU’s financial markets and hosts the regional securities exchange. Côte d’Ivoire has also increased investment in regional energy, road, and air infrastructure and telecommunication networks.
The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) comprises eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.. Bond issuance strategies vary from one state to another but most use the MTDS tool to develop their issuance strategy. Generally, most programs are focused on short-term tenor and characterized by securities with repayments by amortization and deferred coupon. Recently, with the advent of the AUT, the zone has progressed towards lengthening and standardizing securities.
For the moment, there is no benchmark maturity in the WAEMU. The region is in the assessment phase of developing a yield curve. WAEMU countries understand that issuance policies need to evolve towards considering the need for a yield curve.
Yield curve calculation models
There is no benchmark yields curve in the WAEMU Zone.
As there is no yield curve in the WAEMU, no method for interpolation is in use.
Yield curve managed by
Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for the yield curve.
There is no yield curve in the WAEMU.
Challenges in building an efficient yield curve
- Market fragmentation: fragmented securities market and non-standardized securities.
- Price discovery issue
- Narrow investor base: comprising homogeneous investors such as banks.
- Limited and illiquid secondary market: nonexistent secondary market where the securities are acquired for "buy and hold”.
- Coexistence of two agencies for issuing bonds and bills: The “Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers” (CREMPF) is in charge of monitoring the syndication. The Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for auctions.
Guide to Buying Bonds
Procedures for market participation
The frequency of auctions is determined by the states, together with the Central Bank. Each state cannot hold T-Bills and Government bonds auction more than once a week.
For Treasury Bills, a calendar program specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is published quarterly by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank, and in consideration mainly the foreseeable revenue and government spending. Whereas Treasury bonds, an indicative issuance calendar specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is set annually by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank.
Each issuance should be advertised at least 7 days before the auction by describing the issuance characteristics. Bidders submit to the Central Bank, sealed in a ballot box reserved for this purpose, a submission form specifying the amounts and the interest rates or the price offered. Submissions may also be made electronically in the conditions defined by the Central Bank.
Later than one hour after the deadline for bids submission, the National Directions of the BCEAO transmit electronically, by fax or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the Central Bank, the main submissions to the principal agency of the BCEAO, which is organizing the auction.
Treasury bills are eligible for refinancing by the Central Bank. Investors and the Central Bank may buy or sell Treasury bonds on the secondary market, awarded by private treaty. In this context, they are required to post the purchase price and sale, which they are willing to transact.
Treasury bonds can be traded on the secondary market. As such, they can be exchanged at the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM) or outside the BRVM.
The settlement date is T+1 for domestic operations and T+3 for operations between Members of the Union. This period can be modified by BCEAO. However, the contracting parties are free to agree on a minimum term above to unwind their operations. If the instructions given by the two parties are identical, the operation is definitely offset the value date agreed. In case of discrepancy between the evidences, the Central Bank suspends the transaction and notifies this decision to both parties for correction. Central Bank ensures the existence of adequate provisions before executing the compensation requested. Transmission to the Central Bank of notifications occurs in the selection of speakers, fax, telex, ordinary mail or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the BCEAO.
Treasury bills and Treasury bonds incomes are tax-free throughout the territory of the Member States of the WAEMU. But for non-members, the tax rates are different from one country to another. In Cote d’Ivoire, the common tax rate one securities income is equal to 12%. Bonds with issuance of minimum 5 years have a tax rate of at least 6%.
|Rating Agency||Current rating||Outlook|
|Moody’s||No rating||No outlook|
|Fitch||No rating||No outlook|
|Standard and Poor’s||No rating||No outlook|
There is no appropriate Primary Dealers System in the WAEMU zone.
Subscription of Treasury bills is reserved to banks, financial institutions as well as regional financial institutions with an ordinary current account in the books of the Central Bank. Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin can also purchase Treasury bills in the primary market through banks located in the territory of the Union.
The primary subscription of Treasury bonds is restricted to banks, financial institutions, regional organizations and financial management company and intermediation (IMS). Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin may also purchase Treasury bonds on the primary market through banks and brokerage firms (SGI) located on the territory of the Union.
Openness to international investors
The members of the zone are actively encouraging foreign investment. Foreign companies are free to invest and list on the regional stock exchange (BRVM), which is based in Abidjan and is dominated by Ivorian and Senegalese firms.
There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there generally differences in treatment of foreign and national investors, either in terms of the level of foreign ownership or sector of investment.
Restriction on FX and profit repatriation
WAEMU has unified foreign exchange regulations. Under these regulations, there are no restrictions for transfers within the community, and designated commercial banks are able to approve routine foreign exchange transactions inside the community. The transfer abroad of the proceeds of liquidation of foreign direct investments no longer requires prior governments approval.