Oscar T. GAGUY - Administrative Secretary of the CSCI (Côte d’Ivoire)

Since the 1980s Côte d’Ivoire has been experiencing an unprecedented crisis linked to serious socio-political instability, the consequences of which have had a negative impact on the socio-economic environment. Faced with the weakness of successive governments to normalise the situation, we have witnessed the mobilisation of players among Ivorian associations. The impetus of this solidarity has, paradoxically, encouraged the creation of various movements by associations with objectives that are vague and complex at the same time. So unfortunately we can see great confusion in the CSO sector of Côte d’Ivoire which appears to be left to its own devices.

But what are the factors behind the confusion in the “ecosystem” of Ivorian associations?

  • The lack of direction observed among associations in Côte d’Ivoire is due mainly to 4 factors:
  • The advent of a multi-party system in an atmosphere of improvisation and suspicion; 
  • The weaknesses in the laws on associations in Côte d’Ivoire;
  • The weak monitoring policy of the State;
  • The weak capacity of CSOs to join their forces in umbrella organisations.

But which levers should you push to better organise the sector of Ivorian associations?

Improving the sector of CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire depends on a combination of preconditions commonly called a “favourable environment for CSOs”. This is, above all, dependent on the will of the State, but also of the CSOs themselves, as well on the other partners of development.

The will of the State  

The will of the State is enshrined in the National Development Plan (NDP, 2012-2015 and 2016-2020) which aims to enter the ranks of emerging economies in 2020. Regarding civil society, the NDP provides for several actions, including the adoption of a new and specific law on CSOs. But in practice, this will appears to be marking time.

The contribution of CSOs

Initiatives such as certain CSOs uniting around national issues are today to be encouraged. Such initiatives allow actors in civil society to meet, to work together and to develop mechanisms based on consensus to clean up their environment. Today, these actions are producing some very interesting results. They are moving away from sectarianism and provide strategic occasions to speak with one voice.

The contribution of partners to development 

International partners are willing and are demonstrating clearly their intentions to support civil society. So major programmes have been initiated and are currently being implemented. But among them only the LIANE programme constitutes more than an opportunity. LIANE is aiming at an approach focussed on the actor and wishes to help to improve and implement framework conditions and create a favourable environment to facilitate the work of CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire. We must hope that this project can be revitalised as soon as possible. Because the challenge is, in fact, to help to improve the effectiveness and the influence of civil society in Côte d’Ivoire.