COTE D'IVOIRE - Between energy cooperation and internal political challenges Spécial


Italian President Sergio Mattarella's visit to Côte d'Ivoire highlighted cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy and immigration. With the Italian giant ENI, oil and natural gas production was launched in the "Baleine" field, while a new discovery, the "Calao" deposit, promises significant potential for the country. Discussions also focused on immigration issues, with Ivorians among the sub-Saharan nationals arriving illegally in Italy in early 2023, raising concerns about security and migratory flows in the Mediterranean.

In a tense political context, the telephone exchange between former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and President Alassane Ouattara marked the start of a political détente. A former rebel leader now living in exile, Soro has expressed his desire for reconciliation, although tensions remain since his departure in 2019 and his sentences in absentia in 2020 and 2021.

The Ivorian political scene is also animated by ex-president Laurent Gbagbo's candidacy for the 2025 presidential election, despite his current ineligibility due to previous convictions. His return to the political scene raises questions about the country's political future, and rekindles historic divisions between his supporters and those of the current president.

On the diplomatic front, the inauguration of a Ukrainian embassy in Côte d'Ivoire testifies to the growing relations between the two countries, with a focus on economic and security cooperation, as well as the fight against cybercrime and disinformation. This initiative also aims to strengthen Ukraine's presence in West Africa, against a backdrop of diplomatic rivalry with Russia.

On the environmental front, Côte d'Ivoire is facing challenges linked to climate change, notably record heat waves that are disrupting agriculture, jeopardizing a sector that is crucial to the national economy. It is also facing economic challenges, with debts that are the subject of debate despite record growth.

At the same time, persistent concerns about drug trafficking and regional security are evident in the trial of alleged cocaine traffickers and the announcement of European Union aid to strengthen counter-terrorism capabilities, as the country plans to begin repatriating 55,000 Burkinabe refugees from June onwards.

Finally, Abidjan hosted the 5th Africa-Europe regional forum, focusing on the preservation of African cultural heritage. Discussions focused on the use of technology to digitize endangered architectural heritage, with proposals such as photogrammetry and 360-degree immersive video.