The European Business Council for Africa

In October 2020 Ivorians are due to go to the polls for presidential elections. The contest has a familiar feel, pitting incumbent President Alassane Ouattara against former President Henri Konan Bédié, who broke from the ruling Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP) coalition in August 2018.

The stakes are high for Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara has overseen impressive economic growth since the end of the civil war in 2011 but faces increasing domestic opposition. Growth has not – so far – resulted in broad socio-economic improvements, and the poverty rate in the country continues to rise. The looming economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have brought these issues into even sharper focus. The election also comes in the context of significant domestic political tension. Ouattara has alienated several of his former coalition partners since taking power, and few outside of the RHDP accept his argument that a new constitution passed in 2016 gives him the right to run for a third presidential term. That Ouattara is facing off against Bédié – his rival in the 2010 election that ultimately resulted in the most intense bout of violence the country has seen – has increased fears of instability and violence around the poll. 

You can find a link to the recording here.