The following text sets the context in which the briefing was given.
For decades, Côte d’Ivoire was known as the ‘Ivorian Miracle,’ one of the fastest growing economies in the world; Abidjan was the ‘Paris of West Africa.’ But since 2002, Côte d’Ivoire has been mired in civil war, political volatility, and cycles of violence.
Now the country is on the cusp of an immense turnaround. The return of the African Development Bank to Abidjan in September 2014 is yet another sign that the former war zone may be poised to regain its position as one of the major economic hubs of sub-Saharan Africa.
Traditionally Côte d’Ivoire has been known as the world’s premier producer of cocoa, but offers major growth possibilities in oil, mining, coffee, and other highly exportable agricultural products.
This briefing will provide insights into the possible risks and rewards that pivot on the critical 2015 vote – and how the political dynamics at play are likely to produce a bumpy road, albeit one that offers significant economic potential.
Brian Klaas is a Clarendon Scholar and researcher at the University of Oxford, where he focuses on African politics, elections, and political violence. He has advised the International Crisis Group and the Carter Center on both elections and political violence, and has recently written about Côte d’Ivoire’s volatile politics in Africa Today, Good Governance Africa, and African Arguments. During the course of his DPhil, Klaas conducted extensive fieldwork in Abidjan, meeting with several dozen of the top players in Côte d’Ivoire’s government, business, and diplomatic circles.