The economic and commercial fabric of the Ivory Coast is varied. To face the challenges specific to the business environment of each sector and to be able to speak with one single voice to the public authorities, the economic operators have grouped themselves in syndicates, associations, federations, groupings, and more.
They can be classified into two main categories: the trade support organizations created under the initiative of the State and the private sector organizations.
Trade Support Organizations
The leading Trade Promotion Organizations in Côte d’Ivoire are the Export Promotion Agency of Côte d’Ivoire (APEX-CI) and the Côte d’Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Since 1997, APEX-CI accompanies the Ivorian companies in the conquest of foreign markets. It has played a crucial role in the negotiation of trade agreements for Côte d’Ivoire, including AGOA. As for the Chamber of Commerce, it is a public body created in 1908 to represent the interests of commercial, industrial, and service companies, to provide training for entrepreneurs and to support businesses.
Regarding the Private Sector, the largest organization is the Côte d’Ivoire Employer’s General Federation (CGECI), which brings together all SMEs and large companies of Côte d’Ivoire. The FIPME, or the Federation of SMEs, is also a very active organization that defends the interests of SMEs and is part of CGECI.
In addition to these more publicized and internationally known organizations, there are smaller organizations in terms of international outreach, but they are no less critical in terms of their impact on the ground. For example, the powerful Federation of Food commodity traders is probably one of the most important in the country. It brings together food merchants who account for over 70% of the country’s informal sector.
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