Cote d’Ivoire

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cote-dIvoire-political-mapPopulation: 26.38 Million

HDI ranking: 162/189

HDI score: 0.538

There has been a significant presence of political instability and violence over the last decade in Côte d’Ivoire, including a civil war in 2002 and an outbreak of violence after elections in 2010 and 2013. This uncertainty has led to inconsistent implementation of fiscal and administrative reforms. While civil liberties had been better protected in recent years, an outbreak of election-related violence in 2020 brought significant setbacks. Improved electoral conditions in 2021 allowed opposition groups and civil society to operate more freely than during the previous year. (Freedom House, 2021; UCLG, 2008b).

Local governance at a glance

  • Côte d’Ivoire is divided into 31 provinces, 81 departments, and 197 communes (DGDDL, 2010).
  • Municipal councils are directly elected for five­ year terms. Local executives are indirectly appointed (UCLG, 2010).
  • Municipalities are responsible for social assistance (UCLG, 2010).
  • At the national level the General Directorate of Decentralization and Local Development (DGDDL), within the Ministry of State, Interior and Security, is responsible for local governments’ financial support, capacity building, and technical support as well as monitoring power devolution from the State (DGDDL, 2010).
  • Côte d’Ivoire does not have legislated gender quotas at the subnational level (Quota Project, 2013).

Civil society actors

Capacity building institutions

Fiscal control

  • The local government does not collect taxes, but can change rates and receives a share of tax revenue from the central government (UCLG, 2008a).
  • In 2007, the local governments’ expenditures are estimated to have been 11% of the total government expenditure (UCLG, 2010).
  • The Loan Fund for Local Authorities (Fonds de Pret aux Collectivites Locales ­FPCL) makes loans to local governments and is capitalized by the central government and the international community (UCLG, 2010).

Key initiatives for participatory local governance

  • In 2002 the country held its first election for departmental councils (UNPAN, 2007).
  • In 2010, violence and major political crisis occurred after President Gbagbo refused to step down after the election. By 2011, the country recovered enough to hold successful legislative elections (IMF, 2012).
  • From 2009 to 2013 the Government achieved the following (IMF, 2012):
    • A draft of local development plans with local participation
    • Trained female local leaders in leadership, and participatory planning
    • Disseminated the local participatory planning manual developed by the Ministry of State and the Ministry of Planning and Development.
  • There were local and regional elections in 2013, marking progress in the country’s gradual return to normal multiparty political activity (Freedom House, 2014).
  • The Ministry of State, Ministry of the Interior, the General Directorate of Decentralization and Local Development have outlined several goals and measures they have/will take in order to promote local governance and decentralisation throughout the country (Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization). These include: 
    • organizing and ensuring the exercise of the powers of supervision of the State over the territorial collectivities.
    • coordinating technical and financial support for local authorities;
    • ensuring capacity building for local authorities;
    • carrying out inspections and controls of the territorial communities in connection with the General Inspection of the services of the Administration of the territory;
    • ensuring the monitoring and evaluation of the transfer of powers from the State to the local authorities;
    • assisting and supervising local authorities in the areas of planning, equipment and local development;
    • providing support for the activities of local authorities in the area of ​​decentralized cooperation.
  • The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization has also carried out several successful initiatives in different communities, including the execution of the “Development of municipal know-how in the planning of flood zones.”

    • This initiative’s objective was: “The partner communities must be able to manage the development of unhealthy and flood-prone urban spaces in concert with the State on the one hand and civil society on the other. They will have the capacity to sustainably preserve the urban environment, by cleaning up and enhancing vulnerable areas. They will be able to initiate new sanitation projects that can be replicated in the sub-region by other communities” (The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization)

Challenges for participatory local governance

  • The 2012 country plan jointly developed by the IMF and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire describes the following challenges (IMF, 2012):
    • Low overall citizen involvement in local community management
    • An absence of a consistent decentralization strategy with resources to finance its development and execution.
  • Transparency International’s corruption measurement ranked Côte d’Ivoire very low due to the high level of corruption in the country (Freedom House, 2014).
  • The October 2020 presidential election was neither free nor fair. Continued corruption within the government, electoral system, judicial system, and on an individual level stand as a major roadblock in the movement for decentralisation of resources and increase in local governance. (Freedom House, 2021).
  • Women’s rights are severely lacking throughout the country. Women are poorly represented in the parliament, holding 14.2 percent of seats in the National Assembly and 19.2 percent in the Senate in 2021. (Freedom House, 2021).
  • According to a 2019 survey carried out by Citizens for the Promotion and Defense of the Rights of Children, Women and Minorities (CPDEFM), an Ivorian NGO, more than 70 percent of women in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s largest city, have been victims of domestic violence. The spread of COVID-19 has also been linked to an increase in violence against women; during a COVID-19-related lockdown between March and May 2020, cases of domestic violence rose by 52 percent (Freedom House, 2021).

Recent posts on this website about this country:


List of sources:

Centre de Recherche et d’action pour la paix (CERAP), 2014:

Coalition de la Société Civile pour la Paix et le développement démocratique en Côte d’Ivoire (COSOPCI), 2010:

Direction Generale de la Decentralisation et du Developpement Local (DGDLL), 2010: “Missions et Attributions.”

Freedom House, 2014: “Côte d’Ivoire.”

International Monetary Fund (IMF), 2012: “Côte d’Ivoire: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Progress Report.”

Union des Villes et Communes de Côte d’Ivoire (UVICOCI), n.d.:

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), 2008a: “Decentralization and local democracy in the world.”

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), 2008b: “Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.”

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), 2010: “Local Government Finance: The Challenges of the 21st Century.”

United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN), 2007: “Côte d’Ivoire: Public Administration Country Profile.”

Quota Project, 2013: “Côte d’Ivoire.”

Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, n.d.

Freedom House, 2021.