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Ivory Coast Table of Contents

Ivory Coast

Banking and Finance

Côte d'Ivoire's banking system developed during the colonial period as an extension of the French financial and banking systems. In 1962 Côte d'Ivoire, along with seven other francophone nations, became a member of the West African Monetary Union (Union Monétaire Ouest Africain--UMOA). The UMOA established the Central Bank of West African States (Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest--BCEAO), which issued the African Financial Community (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc (CFA F), the unit of currency for the member states, and established policies governing interest rates. Also in 1962, France and the members of the UMOA signed an agreement that guaranteed the convertibility of the CFA F to French francs and established operations accounts for each country with the French treasury in order to centralize their reserves. The signatories also agreed to the free circulation of capital within the union. Since 1962 the UMOA has modified its system gradually to grant greater monetary autonomy to the African member states. For example, the UMOA reduced the share of French votes on the board of directors from one-third to one-seventh, transferred the headquarters of the BCEAO from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, and in 1975 introduced changes to increase the managerial presence of Africans in their national economies and to help the member states make better use of their resources.

Domestically, Côte d'Ivoire had the second most sophisticated banking system in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa. In 1988 it had twenty-one credit and loan banks (including fifteen commercial banks and six specialized credit banks), nine foreign bank offices with limited activity, sixteen registered credit or leasing institutions, and seven organization similar to credit unions. More than half of bank ownership remained in foreign control: six of the fifteen commercial banks were branches of foreign banks (including three American institutions). Of the fifteen banks with some domestic ownership, Ivoirians (publicly or privately) owned no more than 48.4 percent.

In the late 1980s, the banking system was especially hard hit by the fall in cocoa earnings and the subsequent liquidity crisis. In 1987 the Ivoirian Bank for Construction and Public Works (Banque Ivoirienne de Construction et de Travaux Publics--BICT) and the National Savings and Loan Bank (Banque Nationale d'Epargne et Credit--BNEC) were closed by authorities. In early 1988, the National Agricultural Development Bank (Banque Nationale pour le Développement Agricole--BNDA), which provided credit to peasant farmers, and the Côte d'Ivoire Credit Bank (Crédit de la Côte d'Ivoire--CCI), an industrial development bank, suspended operations. In the case of the BNDA, a politically well connected borrower who owed the bank as much as US$78.9 million was unable to account for the funds he had borrowed.

Data as of November 1988