Education & Jobs

An interrupted education for many

Primary education in Ivory Coast is free, though families must often provide school supplies and equipment. But uniforms are not compulsory, so this reduces the cost for parents.

Lower achievement among girls

Secondary school enrolment rates are low, especially for girls. Among 15-24 year-olds, 72% of young men are able to read and write, compared to only 60% of women.

Children are meant to attend school for six years. However, the civil war of 2002 and the recent period of unrest have disrupted the education for many.

There is also pressure for children to drop out of school and help with farming and household activities.

Employment is mostly in agriculture

Reliance on child workers

In all agricultural sectors, small-scale farmers struggle to make a living. These growers receive little of the profit, even when commodity prices are high. This means many poor farmers rely on child workers and there are frequent concerns about the number of child labourers and low-paid workers.

Commercial agriculture employs over half the labour force in Ivory Coast; over a quarter (around 6 million Ivorians) are involved in growing cocoa beans, the country’s main export. Coffee and cotton producers also employ many workers.

Farming livestock in Ivory CoastCoconut, palm and pineapples are increasingly important in employment terms. These crops provide jobs in processing plants (producing palm and coconut oils and soap) and canning facilities.

The growth of industry and service sectors, such as telecommunications and banking, has been hampered by recent periods of unrest. Many firms relocated their offices to cities elsewhere on the continent.

Subsistence farming

Ivory Coast also has many subsistence farmers, growing crops for their own needs and selling any surplus to local markets.

Counting these workers and livestock farmers, over two-thirds of people in Ivory Coast are involved in some form of agriculture.