Côte d'Ivoire recently announced that it would not be able to make payments on its external debt in 2011, prolonging a default that originated in the crisis following the country's disputed 2010 presidential elections. In an email interview, Yvan Guichaoua, a lecturer in politics and international development at the University of East Anglia, discussed Côte d'Ivoire's economy and finances.
WPR: What are Côte d'Ivoire's main agricultural and industrial sectors, as well as its principal export and trade relationships?
Yvan Guichaoua: Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer of cocoa. This cash crop represents 70 percent of the country's export earnings and is therefore central to public finances. Other cash crops include coffee, sugar and cotton. Two-thirds of the workforce is occupied in the agricultural sector. Oil and gas, exploited offshore, represent a growing proportion of exports revenues. The principal contributor to GDP, though, is the service sector, which employs a dynamic, educated workforce.