Côte d’Ivoire


Côte d'Ivoire has taken great initial strides to recover from the post-electoral crisis that shook the nation in 2011, yet significant challenges remain. Key among them are revitalizing the agricultural sector and addressing youth unemployment.

Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa, and a significant producer and exporter of cashews, coffee, rubber and palm oil. Seventy percent of Ivoirians depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, but yields remain low and incomes are highly vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity prices. Meanwhile, 25 percent of the nation’s under-40 youth is unemployed, threatening peace and stability in the resurgent state. The government has set an ambitious goal of creating one million jobs by 2016. TechnoServe is working in partnership with the public and private sector to sustainably increase the incomes of small-scale cashew and cocoa farmers.

On The Ground



Technical Assistance Facility

Access to finance is an obstacle to entrepreneurship, particularly in the agricultural sector in Africa. The African Agriculture Fund (AAF), a private equity fund, was created to help increase investment in agriculture and agribusiness in the region with the ultimate objective of increasing food security. TechnoServe serves as the implementing agency of the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which provides technical assistance to the portfolio companies invested in by the AAF. The TAF is funded primarily by the European Union and managed by IFAD. As of 2016 the TAF has funded 32 projects with 10 portfolio companies across Africa and supported five SMEs with their growth strategies. TAF has committed €3.6m and has €3.4m remaining for projects in the pipeline.
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Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development (PAYED)

Entrepreneurship presents a path toward economic independence for young men and women in Africa, particularly when formal employment opportunities are scarce, and the poverty rate among working youth is at nearly 70 percent. Small mom-and-pop retail shops play a critical role in many low-income communities by providing income for entrepreneurs, creating jobs, and increasing access to everyday products. TechnoServe and Citi Foundation are partnering to scale up a proven model that helps mom-and-pop shops become more profitable by connecting entrepreneurs with the knowledge, training, and tools they need to become successful retailers. Launched in October 2017, the Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development (PAYED) program will provide training and tailored advisory support 600 young entrepreneurs in Kenya, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire to develop opportunities in the micro-retail sector. The one-year program will target young entrepreneurs who are owners, managers, or employees of existing shops, while also piloting activities to help motivated youth launch new micro-retail enterprises. Through training and coaching, the program aims to increase adoption of best practices by 70 percent and increase sales by 30 percent.


Citi Foundation

Franchising for Women’s Empowerment

Unemployment in Côte d’Ivoire has strongly increased over the past 14 years due to political and economic instability in the country, and women have faced particular challenges in finding employment. TechnoServe, in partnership with the Citi Foundation and Prosuma, the country’s largest retail distribution network, are working to foster low income female entrepreneurs. In 2013, Prosuma began their “MiniPrix” project, leveraging its established networks, systems and resources, to create a series of micro-franchised storefronts – MiniPrix – that offer women the opportunity to become self-employed. In January of 2015, TechnoServe partnered with Citi Foundation and Prosuma to provide business development services for these storefronts, providing training in marketing, stock management and financial recordkeeping for 60 women over the course of two years. As of March 2016, 40 women have received training and projected store profit margins are over $70,000.

Training Cocoa Cooperative Leaders

The Coop Academy is helping to create a professional and sustainable cocoa industry that benefits producers, their communities and the Ivorian economy. Launched in 2013 with support from Cargill and the International Finance Corporation, the project provides training services to cooperative leaders on leadership, organization, strategic management and business operations. To date, more than 350 cooperative leaders have been trained and 90 cooperatives have participated in a business development coaching process. The three-year project runs through late 2016; initial results have generated interest from other cocoa exporters in Côte d’Ivoire to expand the training to more cooperatives.

Improving Cocoa Productivity and Food Security

In parallel to the Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), TechnoServe was a key implementer in the African Cocoa Initiative (ACI), which sought to institutionalize effective public and private sector models for sustainable productivity growth and improve food security on cocoa farms in West and Central Africa. Under ACI, TechnoServe leveraged learnings from the CLP input credit scheme to demonstrate a commercially viable credit model for cocoa smallholders linked to spray service providers to assure the safety and effectiveness of agricultural input application. Over the course of the program, TechnoServe formed 19 private sector partnerships including four financial institutions, and facilitated nearly $180,000 worth of input credit to 914 unique farmers who maintained repayment rates of 99 percent. In Cote d’Ivoire, 531 farmers received nearly $110,000 worth of input credit and maintained repayment rates of 100 percent. In Nigeria, 383 farmers received nearly $70,000 worth of credit and maintained a repayment rate of 98 percent. The project was particularly successful in mobilizing partnership with the private sector; farmer uptake and credit application success – which was higher than anticipated; encouraging early repayment and high overall repayment rates, introduction of a functional cash repayment model in Nigeria, and the creation of a network of Community Based Agents.

Improving Livelihoods through Cocoa

TechnoServe is a key implementer in the Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), which seeks to double the incomes of one third of West African cocoa farming households within 10 years. Agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, which can double cocoa farmers’ yields, will play a critical role. Since 2009, TechnoServe has trained nearly 5,000 Ivoirian farmers on input application and credit management. By brokering innovative risk sharing agreements between cocoa exporters, input suppliers and lenders, TechnoServe has facilitated credit for nearly 4,600 Ivoirian cocoa farmers who have maintained an impressive 100% repayment rate, even during the political crisis.

From 2012 to 2013, TechnoServe scaled the credit scheme significantly in Côte d’Ivoire – nearly quadrupling the value of credit disbursed, doubling the number of participating cooperatives and increasing the percentage of borrowers receiving fertilizers from three percent in 2012 to 32 percent in 2013. TechnoServe also completed the integration of microfinance partner, Advans Cote d’Ivoire, into the credit system in 2013 and secured refinancing from Kiva. TechnoServe has continued to scale the CLP credit scheme in Ghana, where it has facilitated input credit to over 5,300 cocoa farmers over the life of the program. This brings the total farmers receiving credit over the life of the CLP to nearly 10,000.


Supporting the Cashew Sector

TechnoServe is working with the German Agency for International Cooperation and Development (GIZ) under the African Cashew Initiative (ACI) project to strengthen and expand the cashew processing industry in Cote d’Ivoire. As a result of TechnoServe’s work between 2009 and 2012, ACI processors have sustained over 3,500 jobs, generated over $5 million in wages and have sold an additional 4,100 metric tons of kernel worth over $33.5 million. ACI is a multi-year program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to strengthen the competitiveness of cashew value chains in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana Benin, Burkina Faso and Mozambique. ACI aims to improve the livelihoods of cashew communities in target countries by helping farmers to increase their incomes and helping processors to increase the volumes of raw cashew nuts processed, thereby increasing the number of jobs in these communities.

In 2013, TechnoServe signed a contract with the United Nations for Industrial Development (UNIDO) to improve the competitiveness of the cashew sector and facilitate its access to export markets in Côte d'Ivoire. The specific purpose of the mission is (i) to improve the productivity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives and (ii) initiate the process of establishing a quality label "cashew kernel of Côte d'Ivoire". The beneficiaries are members of a consortium export and all SMEs and cooperatives processing cashew.

Blog Posts

March 8, 2019

The Building Blocks of Community

Sara Ollo Adico was determined to contribute to her community by opening an early childhood school and nursery. Learn how participating in TechnoServe’s business plan competition helped her make the leap from concept to reality.

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April 25, 2018

Transparent Cocoa Value Chains Mean Better Livelihoods for Farmers in Côte d’Ivoire

TechnoServe is working with chocolate manufacturer CÉMOI to train cocoa cooperatives in the business and management skills they need to produce high-quality cocoa and generate profits for their farmer members.

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December 27, 2013

Photo of the Week: Happy Holidays!

From our family to yours: Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

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Côte d'Ivoire

Cocody Angré 7e Tranche
Ilot : 231 Lot : 2768
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Tél : +225 22 42 49 83
        +225 55 51 02 29

Fax : +225 22 41 38 15

Axel Kadja

Country Manager