PARTNER-ATLAS

CÔTE D IVOIRE

as a partner for the security and stability of Europe, its neighbourhood, and other regions of the world

01 — The key questions for the Partner-Atlas

RELEVANCE: What relevance does Côte d’Ivoire have for Germany with respect to realising the interest of "the security and stability of Europe, its neighbourhood, and other regions of the world"?

As part of its security policy commitment in West Africa, German foreign policy has focused for many years on Mali and its neighbouring countries, also known as the Sahel Region, whose stability is directly relevant to peace and security in this country on account of its close proximity to Europe. Nevertheless, we need to broaden our geographical horizons, since Jihadism, ethnic conflicts and organised crime are becoming more widespread throughout West Africa. This poses a threat to political and economic stability among the southern neighbours of the Sahel countries in particular, such as Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire is an important partner for Germany in the area of trade and development policy cooperation in West Africa. One area where this finds expression is in the Reform Partnership which Germany has maintained with the country since 2017.

Like other coastal nations on the Gulf of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire is particularly affected by the destabilising processes emanating from the Sahel. It faces threats not only within its land borders, but also along its maritime border in the Gulf of Guinea, which is a new hot-spot for piracy in Africa and, considering its major strategic importance, must also be viewed from Europe’s perspective as a focal point for developments of a threatening nature.

Intensified security collaboration between the coastal nations on the Gulf of Guinea and Germany could expand on practical approaches already in place and take them further, particularly in the area of prevention. Côte d’Ivoire offers an example of how a serious counterweight to security policy challenges can be encouraged in order to help stabilise the situation throughout West Africa.

WILLINGNESS: To what extent is Côte d’Ivoire willing to work with Germany in realising this interest?

In Côte d’Ivoire, Germany has an excellent reputation for supporting the country in its stabilisation and reconstruction process. President Ouattara participated in the G20 Africa Partnership Conference in 2017, a German initiative, and also the Compact with Africa conferences in 2018 and 2019. The focus of cooperation is currently on the expansion of economic relations. The two countries are therefore concentrating their joint activities on the areas of energy, nature and the economy, good governance, encouraging employment, private sector development, and commodity governance. Complementing this bilateral cooperation arrangement is participation by Germany in EU-sponsored projects in Côte d’Ivoire. Against this background we can rate the country’s willingness as high, including its readiness to work together in the security sector with assistance from German initiatives (and those at a multilateral level) to consolidate and also establish legitimate and viable state structures.

STATUS QUO: How close is Germany and Côte d’Ivoire's current cooperation in this area?

Even if the country’s security policy situation has improved overall since 2011, when President Ouattara took office and the domestic political situation stabilised as a result, there is still a strong need for reforms in Côte d’Ivoire to ensure a continued improvement in stability and readiness to participate in the security sector. That applies in particular to its ability to act in view of the growing security policy challenges in the north of the country. Currently, however, there is no ongoing cooperation in the security area, either at a bilateral or an EU level, that is tailored to the partner country’s needs while taking relevant socio-economic factors into account and working toward the assumption of responsibility for its own security. On behalf of Germany’s Foreign Ministry, only the German Society for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ) currently has in place a multinational project to support the border programme by the African Union, which includes border governance by Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, since 2019 the GIZ has been implementing a programme to build up and bolster police structures, which will run until 2022. This is sponsoring the integration of forensics into the criminal justice system, for example, and advising the Ivorian police on domestic control measures based on principles of the rule of law. Among German political foundations in the country, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung promotes training for future military executive officers via a cooperative arrangement with the Ivorian General Staff Academy and the École de Guerre.

POTENTIAL: What is the potential for strengthening the partnership between Germany and Côte d’Ivoire in this area?

Côte d’Ivoire is well aware of the threat posed by international security policy challenges and has begun to respond accordingly. The number of border and army posts and patrols focused on Mali and Burkina Faso has been substantially increased, with an emphasis on reconnaissance. Initiatives have also been seized to include the civilian population in the security sector to a greater extent and to improve relations between them and the security forces. But given the extent of the threat, these measures have proven insufficient to date. This is partly attributable to shortcomings in training and equipment for the security forces, and also to a deep-seated mistrust of the security forces on the part of the local population, which hinders effective work, especially in the area of prevention. In this context there are therefore many potential starting points for greater security policy cooperation between Côte d‘Ivoire and Germany: assistance with the provision of equipment, for example; professional development for security forces; or programmes to improve communication and cooperation between the relevant forces.

POLICY RECOMMENDATION: What in German foreign policy has to change in order to fully exploit this potential?

In principle, German foreign and security policy cooperation needs to be expanded from the Sahel further into the countries on the Gulf of Guinea. One option in this connection would be to include Côte d’Ivoire in the German government’s programme of empowerment initiatives. That would provide military and civilian (security) forces with support in the areas of consulting, training and education, in order to perform their tasks more effectively. In the area of economic cooperation, too, Germany could provide targeted support for Côte d‘Ivoire in creating economic prospects for the population in the border regions in order to remove a breeding ground for Jihadism and organised crime. Bolstering the country’s own responsibility at a local and regional level should draw on a networked security approach that takes the necessary socio-economic factors into account, and therefore achieve a lasting effect in stabilising the security sector.

Dr Susanne Conrad is policy advisor for “Rule of Law and Security in Sub-Saharan Africa” at the Department of European and International Cooperation.

Anna Lena Sabroso-Wasserfall is policy advisor for “West Africa and Digital Formats Sub-Saharan Africa” at the Department of European and International Cooperation.

CÔTE D IVOIRE

  • Population: 27.712.600
  • Capital: Yamoussoukro
  • Interest: The Security and Stability of Europe, its Neighbourhood, and other Regions of the World
  • Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

02 — Foreign Office

Contact:

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e. V.
Regionalprogramm Politischer Dialog Westafrika
08 Abidjan/Côte d‘Ivoire, Cocody Lycée Classique Rue Flamboyant (Ancien CECOS)
08 BP 4134 Abidjan
Côte d’Ivoire

03 — Die Region

Sub-Saharan Africa

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CÔTE D IVOIRE

Côte d‘Ivoire is an anchor of political and economic stability in West Africa. Whereas there were three military coups in the neighbouring countries of Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso in an eight-month period beginning in May 2021, the situation in Côte d’Ivoire remained calm. The commodity-rich hub on the Gulf of Guinea has recorded consistently strong economic growth since 2012, regularly exceeding 6 percent, well above the population growth rate, which is also high at about 2.5 percent per annum. Its population grew from 16.5 million in 2000, to 26 million 20 years later.

  • Population: 27.712.600
  • Capital: Yamoussoukro
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DR CONGO

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has various resources that play, or will play, a major part in limiting global warming, in addition to helping with the global energy and mobility transition. The world’s second largest area of rainforest – about 100 million hectares – is located in DR Congo. Tropical ecosystems such as the Congolese rainforest are capable of storing CO2, and thus play an important part in global climate protection and in limiting global warming. At a micro level, forest areas can also reduce the occurrence of extreme weather events such as heat or intense rain.

  • Population: 95.403.294
  • Capital: Kinshasa
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MALAWI

Malawi has shown that it can serve as an example of a functioning democracy in Africa and a partner for Germany in defending a democratic, values-based world order. The country made history in 2020 when the May 2019 elections, which had been overshadowed by irregularities, were successfully disputed by the opposition. New, free and fair elections ordered by the court were held under Covid-19 conditions within 150 days. An alliance of opposition parties, the Tonse Alliance, won the elections with an absolute majority. Since then, new President Lazarus Chakwera has pursued the objective of suppressing widespread corruption and putting the country onto a successful economic footing.

  • Population: 20.150.838
  • Capital: Lilongwe
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CÔTE D IVOIRE

As part of its security policy commitment in West Africa, German foreign policy has focused for many years on Mali and its neighbouring countries, also known as the Sahel Region, whose stability is directly relevant to peace and security in this country on account of its close proximity to Europe. Nevertheless, we need to broaden our geographical horizons, since Jihadism, ethnic conflicts and organised crime are becoming more widespread throughout West Africa. This poses a threat to political and economic stability among the southern neighbours of the Sahel countries in particular, such as Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire is an important partner for Germany in the area of trade and development policy cooperation in West Africa. One area where this finds expression is in the Reform Partnership which Germany has maintained with the country since 2017.

  • Population: 27.712.600
  • Capital: Yamoussoukro
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SOUTH AFRICA

The world needs Africa in order to stop climate change, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasised during the EU-Africa summit in early 2022. South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy, is pursuing ambitious goals in this field, similar to what is being debated in Germany. Examples include the reduction of CO2 emissions and minimizing the enormous dependence on coal. The role that the various players in South African politics who could veto these efforts will play is hard to assess, however.

 

  • Population: 59,308,690
  • Capital: Bloemfontain, Capetown, Pretoria
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KENYA

Kenya is one of the most stable countries in East Africa and has an internationally oriented economy. With consistently strong economic growth in the twelve years before the Covid crisis and a GDP of more than 100 billion US dollars (2020), Kenya has the largest economy in East Africa and is a growth engine for the region. Thanks to the ports of Mombasa and Lamu as well as the airport in Nairobi, the country is an important regional hub for trade,finance and the transport of humanitarian aid in the region. Many international companies and organisations have chosen Kenya as the seat of their (East) Africa branches.

  • Population: 53,771,296
  • Capital: Nairobi
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GHANA

Despite its relatively small population of approximately 28 million inhabitants, Ghana is growing in relevance for Germany. This is evident not least of all from the fact that Ghana has been included in the Compact with Africa project since 2017 and became one of Germany’s reform partner countries in the same year. Ghana’s willingness to accept reforms in the economic and fiscal policy sector, along with its framework, which is relatively stable and reliable compared to many other Sub-Saharan African countries, made Ghana an interesting partner for the G20, and especially for Germany (as a reform partnership).

  • Population: 31,072,940
  • Capital: Accra
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NIGERIA

With a population of around 216 million, Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa, but it has also been the continent’s largest economy for some years now. The country is rich in oil and gas and is one of the largest oil exporters in the world. Nonetheless, Nigeria faces immense security and economic problems, which have worsened as a result of the Covid pandemic and could further destabilise the entire region in the medium to long term, posing major challenges for Europe. This applies both to the European interest in supporting the Sahel states in their fight against terrorism and to stopping irregular migration from Africa.

  • Population: 206,139,589
  • Capital: Abuja
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NIGER

The unstable security situation throughout the Sahel region reveals the weakness of state authorities in the region. Niger’s security forces are also struggling to exercise effective control of the country. Several terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State or Boko Haram, regularly attack military bases and also civilians. Niger is also one of the poorest countries in the world with one of the highest rates of population growth (on an average, women have 7 children) and is wrestling with numerous governance problems, including regular accusations of corruption against government representatives or officials. There were several demonstrations against the rampant corruption and bad governance in the past. However, in the 2020/21 elections, Niger for the first time successfully managed the transfer of power from one elected President to another, Mohamed Bazoum. In the past, the country had suffered numerous military coups.

  • Population: 24,206,644
  • Capital: Niamey
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