The Political and Social Effects of Côte d’Ivoire’s Cocoa Sector
Throughout its colonial and independent history, Côte d’Ivoire has been dependent on resource extraction for survival. Today, the nation’s economic dependence on the cocoa industry for jobs, tax revenue and trade has resulted in political instability and a reliance on child and slave labor. These problems are the long-term effects of colonialism, ethnic divisions and an unpredictable international market that dictates world price. The chocolate manufacturers and cocoa processors that use this cocoa have done little to help their biggest supplier. However, international NGOs have stepped up and begun instigating policies to ameliorate the world of the labor issues. Despite these steps, the country still faces instability in the wake of a civil war and a conflict-inducing election. Early economic success was not enough to buffer Côte d’Ivoire from the turbulence of world prices and their unmanageable effects. This paper outlines the various social, political and economic factors and their effects within the system through a “web of causality.” The paper concludes with recommendations that include local, national, and international efforts that attempt to address the root causes of this instability.