Côte d'Ivoire: Winds of change are brewing

The Government of Côte d'Ivoire aims to reduce its dependence on cocoa and coffee by developing the oil, gas and mining sector.

Côte d’Ivoire, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of cocoa, coffee and palm oil, is aspiring to develop its mining sector to limit its reliance on agriculture. Adama Toungara, Minister of Petroleum and Energy, noted in 2013 that the government’s plan was to intensify exploration, increase the production of oil, gas and electricity, and to improve the transportation and distribution of petroleum products to local communities. According to the 2013 EITI Report, the oil, gas and mining sectors contributed USD 611m to the economy in that year.  This represented less than 9% of the country’s GDP and less than 1% of total employment.

Improving access to petroleum products to rural regions

Côte d’Ivoire produces significant quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is mainly used for domestic consumption to generate electricity and cooking gas. Butane is also commonly used as a lighter fuel in Ivorian kitchens. In an effort to improve distribution of hydrocarbon products across the country, the President of the Republic, H.E. Alassane Ouattara, decided to standardise the price of butane gas throughout the country. This sought to address the great discrepancies in butane prices in the northern, central and eastern regions, which were at times, two to three times higher than in Abidjan. The consumption of butane in 2013, correspondingly increased to 178,000 tons, a 15% increase compared to 2012.

High hopes for mining production

Although the mining sector’s contribution to the budget fell by 9% from USD 45m in 2012 to USD 41m in 2013, gold production increased in 2013 by almost 15% to 11.5 tons. The removal of the UN embargo on diamond exports from Côte d’Ivoire in April 2014 could lead to a more formalised artisanal diamond mining sector.

Exports of oil, gas and gold

Gold exports provide a major source of revenue for Côte d’Ivoire. In 2013, the government’s export of 15,000 kg of gold was valued at USD 472m. The latest EITI Report reconciles the export amounts reported by companies with the amount reported by government.

Oil and gas exports already contribute significantly to the economy. The government declared oil and gas exports of USD 728m in 2013, including 7.8m barrels of oil. However, the contribution of the petroleum sector to the budget fell by 32%, from USD 542m in 2012 to just USD 368m in 2013. Part of the fall in revenues in the hydrocarbon sector can be attributed to a 15% fall in oil production, 9.1m barrels in 2013 from 10.8 barrels in 2012. Gas production however increased from 63m to 75m BTU over the same period.

Calls to improve mining register

The 2013 EITI Report provided a detailed description of the mining license register which includes the permit number, provinces and regions, area, award date and expiry date. However, the report notes that the mining register could be further complemented with consistent reporting on the coordinates linked to mining sites and the date that the application for the permit was received. This would help avoid duplication in the awarding of mining licenses and would afford the government more effective monitoring of the sector.

More transparency in state-owned enterprises needed

The 2013 EITI Report attempts to identify the natural owners who hold more than 25% ownership of companies that have acquired the rights to extract oil, gas and mineral resources. Three companies were state-owned, namely PETROCI (hydrocarbon), AFREN (hydrocarbon) and SODEMI (mining). The EITI Report also listed the shareholders for nine companies and physical persons as owners for two companies, namely CNR International (oil and gas) and YAOURE Mining SA. Côte d’Ivoire has until January 2020, like all EITI implementing countries, to include beneficial ownership in EITI reporting.

However, further work still needs to be done on reporting from state-owned enterprises. The Report notes that financial accounts are not regularly published for the state-owned companies PETROCI and SODEMI. It was recommended that this information, as well as the company’s statistics on the state’s share of production, marketing activities and revenue transfers, be published online in an easily accessible format. The local multi-stakeholder group continues to follow-up with these bodies so that this information can be published in subsequent EITI Reports.