The Ivorian Electricity Company, known in French as La Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité (CIE), is a privately-held corporation that specializes in the production and distribution of electricity in Côte d’Ivoire. It is, in fact, the largest producer and supplier of electricity in Côte d’Ivoire. The electrical energy market in Côte d’Ivoire is a market that isn’t very diversified. There aren’t many players competing with one another to supply electricity to Ivorians on a daily basis. The principal rival of the Ivorian Electricity Company is the Ivorian Company of Electricity Production, known in French as La Compagnie Ivoirienne de Production d’Electricité (CIPREL).
The Ivorian Electricity Company exists since 1990. It is linked to the State of Côte d’Ivoire by a concession agreement which confers in it the operation of production, transport, and distribution facilities It is responsible for the marketing of electrical energy through the national territory and in the sub-region. As was aforementioned, the company is a private corporation incorporated under Ivorian law, a subsidiary of the ERANOVE Group; a French company active in the management of public services and in the production of electricity and drinking water in Africa. The Ivorian Electricity Company serves 1.9 million customers and operates a production capacity of 704 MW as well as 50,000km of the electricity grid.
Access to Electricity (% of population)
Source: World Bank
In the wake of the post-electoral crisis of 2011, only 34% of the Ivorian population had access to electricity. Today, close to 94% of Ivorians are connected to the power grid. This is a 176% increase in electricity access. Cote d’Ivoire’s decision to privatize a portion of its electricity sector paved the way for one of the continent’s most robust systems that continues to expand and innovate with clean energy solutions. Since 2014, the Ivorian Electricity Company has been implementing, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, a program to facilitate access to electricity for the greatest number of people, the Electricity for All Program, which has connected 359,000 households to electricity.
Over the years, the World Bank Group has helped public and private actors in Côte’Ivoire’s energy sector overcome challenges to continue their growth trajectory. The World Bank's support for the expansion of generation capacity has also facilitated the transition to cleaner energy. Indeed, Azito’s investment in new steam turbines in 2013 made Côte d’Ivoire the first African country to implement the combined-cycle system. This cleaner technology provides cheaper electricity produced in greater quantities by reusing exhaust gases. Average outage time decreased from 47 hours in 2011 to 16 hours in 2020, while the number of electrified localities increased from 2,847 to 6,781 over that same period.
The Ivorian Electricity Company has regional ambitions to monopolize the West African electrical energy market. Although the country’s energy production largely covers demand—national demand for electricity is 10,020 GWh—the Ivorian government is still initiating projects for the construction of hydroelectric dams, as well as thermal, biomass, and solar power plants in the neighboring countries. The Ivorian government wishes to stabilize the country’s exports of electricity to the region as they have been particularly volatile in the past 20 years. Côte d’Ivoire electricity exports went from 316 GWh in 1995 to 1238 GWh in 2000, with Ghana accounting for 75%. They then dropped to 415 GWh in 2010, with Burkina Faso and Mali slowly replacing Ghana as main partners. Exports rebounded in 2020 to reach an all-time high of 1275 GWh, with Mali and Burkina Faso accounting for 750 GWh and 500 GWh, respectively.
ECOWAS-Countries Performer Rankings
Source: African Regional Integration Index
The Ivorian government’s strategy is to double exports to 2415 GWh by 2030, mainly by shifting westwards towards Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone through the implementation of the Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra, and Guinea Electricity Networks Interconnection Project. Côte d’Ivoire’s ambition to be a leading electricity exporter within the region matches its status as a top performer among Ecowas countries on the Africa Regional Integration Index. The Ivorian Electricity Company is on the path to eventually monopolizing the electrical energy market once it expands its production and distribution westwards. If the Ivorian Electricity Company successfully monopolizes the production of supply of electricity in West Africa, this will make Côte d’Ivoire the largest and primary exporter of electricity in West Africa.