Economic and Financial Sanctions on Côte d’Ivoire

February 2011

Between January 24 and February 14, 2011, the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire took a new dimension with the imposition of economic and financial sanctions against the regime of President Laurent Gbagbo. These sanctions, sought by Mr Alassane Ouattara and accompanied by the representative of the United Nations in Côte d'Ivoire and the Western powers who, since December 2010, have urged President Gbagbo to leave power in violation of the Ivorian Constitution, are the suspension of Côte d'Ivoire from the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the blocking of exports of Ivorian cocoa and coffee, and more recently the closure of subsidiaries of foreign banks in Côte d'Ivoire: the SGBCI, BICICI, the Chartered Bank and Citibank. This last measure appeals to everybody and founds the present Declaration of the African Congress for the defense of democracy and sovereignty (CADDS).

According to their authors, the economic sanctions are intended to exhaust the financial capacity of the regime of President Gbagbo, to prevent the payment of the salaries of civil servants and the security forces, to provoke an uprising to demand the departure of President Gbagbo of power as the ultimate solution to the crisis. However, considering that 48% of the Ivorian population is poor and has a purchasing power which continuously dwindles especially since 2002, considering that 68% of the Ivorian population lives on agriculture, and whereas cocoa and coffee have an important part in the Ivorian economy, the African Congress for the defense of democracy and sovereignty (CADDS), after much analysis of the current situation, concludes that the economic sanctions imposed on Côte d’Ivoire are likely to further damage social cohesion, to provoke civil riots, to derail the resolutions of the crisis, and therefore to undermine the sovereignty of the country, aggravating in such a way the crisis instead of resolving it.

It is worth noting that the request for suspension of exports concerns only the two products which generate more revenues for the Ivorian economy since 1960. Côte d'Ivoire is first exporter of cocoa beans with more than a third of world production and 12thexporter of coffee. The place of coffee and cocoa in the economy and their provenance from the forest area to the South of Côte d'Ivoire, calls the following observations:

- the suspension of exports of coffee and cocoa directly threatens the already low purchasing power of the farmers of the forest areas who are, coincidentally, in the vast majority favorable to President Laurent Gbagbo,

- the suspension of exports does not include cotton and cashew from northern Côte d'Ivoire still under control of the rebels, the sale of which produce substantial income for farmers and for the country,



- the suspension of exports of coffee and cocoa encourages the smuggling of these products to other countries, such as Burkina Faso, causing Côte d'Ivoire to lose important revenues,

- the suspension of Ivorian cocoa exports caused, upon its announcement, a 7% increase of the price of this product, at the London and New York, exchanges, the largest increase since 2008,

- the demonstration of Ivorian farmers burning tons of cocoa and coffee in the premises of the representation of the European Union in Abidjan shows that the request of an embargo on the Ivorian coffee and cocoa exacerbates the deterioration of the social climate of Côte d'Ivoire.

Continuing in the same mission of paralysis of the Ivorian economy, the SGBCI, the BICICI, Citibank and Standard Chartered, subsidiaries of French, American, and English banks entered since February 14 into a cycle of simultaneous closure of their agencies claiming that the climate of insecurity that has prevailed did not allow the continuity of their operations. This decision to close suddenly without prior warning caused a panic among the mass of Ivorian workers and savers. Following in their steps, other banks and financial institutions suspended their activities, which means that the closure of the above designated banks caused unprecedented shock in the banking and financial system of Côte d’Ivoire. It is the place to recall that the SGBCI and the BICICI created in the 1960s with the advent of 'independence' concentrate two-thirds of bank customers in Côte d'Ivoire. Monthly, the State of Côte d'Ivoire pays 7 billion and 14 billion CFA respectively to the BICICI and SGBCI for payment of the salaries of its agents. Côte d'Ivoire, which knows the importance of the banking sector and the private sector granted operation contracts to these banks to contribute to its development. Citibank funds almost all the oil sector and is the third major bank specializing in financing of exports of cocoa. In the light of their specialty and their importance in the Ivorian economy, it is well noted to say that the sudden closure of international banks seriously harms clients and violates without any measure the laws that govern their amenities and their functioning.

It is irrefutable that the closure of banks under the conditions described above is another dimension of the refusal of the same banks to pay the salaries of Ivorian workers in December 2010, the said refusal causing a deterioration of the already deleterious social climate. The closure is incessantly part of the efforts of an Ivorian political class and some actors of the international community to weaken the foundations of the sovereign State of Côte d'Ivoire and to give another dimension to the crisis. Moreover, the opinion of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of France calling the decision "as appropriate measures arising from the stubbornness of President Laurent Gbagbo to remain in power" as the France Press Agency (AFP) reported in its issue of February 17, 2011 confirms yet again the thesis of the politico-military-economic conspiracy whose sole purpose is to weaken Côte d'Ivoire and to bring to power a personality other than the one designated by the constitutional authorities of Côte d'Ivoire.

This is why the CADDS said that the closure of banks and other financial measures are unfair, inappropriate, and carriers of germs of division among the Ivorian population. Consequently, the CADDS firmly condemns all forms of economic and financial sanctions imposed on Côte d’Ivoire because they do not solve the problem of the rebellion by any means and they participate in the destabilization of Côte d'Ivoire, which has started since 2002.

The CADDS reminds once again the Ivorian people, the actors of the crisis, the ECOWAS, the African Union, the European Union, the United Nations, France, and the United States that the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire is pre-electoral. It only flows from the rebellion of 2002 and the refusal of the rebels to disarm despite the injunctions of the various peace agreements, including the Ouagadougou agreement of March 2007. Without effective disarmament of rebel forces, the release of the areas of the North, centre and West of Côte d’Ivoire that they occupy, the redeployment of the Ivorian administration, and the restoration of the territorial integrity of sovereign Côte d'Ivoire, the current crisis will linger on.

Finally, the CADDS welcomes all measures taken by the Government of President Laurent Gbagbo to ensure the functioning of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic and banking system. The CADDS welcomes its openness and its policy of dialogue to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in the strict respect of the Ivorian constitution. The CADDS also welcomes the patriotic attitude of the people of Côte d’Ivoire who continue to remain faithful to the institutions of the Republic, despite the impact of the economic sanctions on their purchasing power.

The CADDS reiterates once again its call to all the Ivorian parties to exercise restraint, to stop all forms of violence and assaults, and to preserve peace.

For the Executive Secretariat

Djama Kanon, Executive Secretary

Contact: Email:



Le Congrès Africain pour la Défense de la Démocratie et la Souveraineté (CAADS) est une organisation de la société civile fondée aux Etats Unis par des Africains consciencieux, épris de la démocratie et engagés dans la lutte pour la sauvegarde de la souveraineté des pays africains. Le CADDS adhère aux principes universels des Droits de l’Homme. Il a pour mission de contribuer à la propagation du movement mondial pour la Justice Sociale

French Translation:


Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of TheBlackList Pub to add comments!

Join TheBlackList Pub