chapter  10
29 Pages

State, Society and Political Institutions in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana

Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana are adjacent states on the West African coast, one an ex-British colony, the other an ex-French colony. They are, at least superficially, similar in geographic, economic and sociological terms. Yet their post-independence political and economic histories have diverged quite markedly, providing the occasion for a continuing debate on the causes of these contrasting outcomes. 1 Cote d'Ivoire's spectacular growth rates in the 1960s and 1970s, fuelled by foreign investment and the expansion of cocoa and coffee exports, were said to prove the superiority of opening up the economy to the . disciplines of the international market; Ghana's economic decline, to the point where the state had lost control of its currency and agricultural exports dropped to levels below those of the 1920s, was held up as a warning against state-led protected industrialisation. 2 Now that Cote d'Ivoire, as the world's largest cocoa producer, is facing the worst economic crisis in its entire history as a result of falling commodity prices and the burden of 1970s foreign debts, the debate as to whether reliance on primary exports leads inevitably to structural failure and political collapse is still topical. 3

The purpose of this chapter is, however, to argue that the really significant differencesbetween Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire lie, not in the realms of economic policy but in the areas of state-society relations and state capacity. With the exception of the Convention People's Party's (CPP) brief experiment with rapid state-led industrialisation 1960-6 (which apparently owed more to Rostow and Hirschman than to Karl Marx)," Ghana has continued throughout its postindependence history to be as dependent on its cocoa export economy as Cote d'Ivoire; but it has been less successful at managing that economy both in the macro and micro senses. And it is no accident

that the principal political contrast between the two countries is in their respective records of political stability.