Posted by: Martin | March 7, 2010

Do we have an economist in the audience?

Ok, time for a run down of unanswered questions that have come up since I started the blog.  Here’s stuff I’d really like to know:

(1) Why is per day accomodation cheaper in relatively wealthier regions such as South East Asia than in West Africa/Ivory Coast?    My inconclusive thoughts about this are in the Daily Rental Mystery post.

(2) Building materials and tools used to construct houses in Abidjan – to what proportion are they locally produced in the Ivory Coast?  When I am in shops in Abidjan I always look at labels to see where things come from – which I believe gives some sort of indication on trade streams, eg is everything still being imported from France?.

(3) What impact would a devaluation of the CFA Franc have on rents and house prices (and demand and supply) in the various areas of Abidjan? I guess no one really knows until it happens, but it would be nice to have an educated guess.  Do we have an economist in the audience?

(4) Do people that rent at 30 EUR / month look for a place to live on the internet?  As asked in the Construction Underway post.

(5) Is there a behavioural bias against investing in less well off areas such as Yopougon, where the majority of Abidjan’s population lives, and can an external investor benefit from it?  My gut feeling is yes, and that an external investor can benefit with a trusted local partner, but I might be totally wrong. More on this in the No Grunge post.

(6) How do I identify people with very high integrity when looking for potential employees in the Ivory Coast?  This was raised in the Issue of Trust post.

(7) Who are my readers in Africa, and how did theymanage to find the (completely unSEOd) blog?  The blog recently got it’s first pageviews from Africa – hits from Benin and the Ivory Coast, and well, as a new blogger I’m curious about who is reading.  This is partially solved as I got feedback from the reader in the Ivory Coast – thanks a lot, made my day!



  1. Para 7 …. I do also work with an anti-scam organisation (but not something I advertise, for obvious reasons!!!!!), and Benin, followed by CI, are notorious hotspots for 419 type scams !!

  2. Para 2 … ciment here is made used imported clinker. There is a limited cvapacity to make plastics and aluminium products.

  3. Para 1 … I don’t know but I suspect supply and demand. There is a need for 70 000 new dwellings per year, and in 5 years Abidjan’s population has more than doubled to over 5 000 000 (it was built for an estimated population of 500 000 !!

    CI’s population in 1960 was around 4 500 000, and is currently estmated at 20 600 000 !!!!!

  4. Ok, I have changed settings so that comments are automatically approved now.

    The population trend is a good point. And that should also provide good long term fundamentals for the housing market which I am thinking about commenting in a future post.

  5. One thing I didn’t mention previously is that the whole land ownership issue is a major problem, and a significant factor in the up-rising of 2002 (I was here listening to the 13.9 mm cannons being fired not far from my house !!

    If I understnad it properly, land belongs to the State and is held in trust by the village chiefs, and local ethnic kings. Only some zones, such as Yopougon and Vridi get exception for International Investors to buy the freehold !!

    But you need to read the Law books and consult a lawyer …. many, many people have lost their life savings, etc, on false property purchase “scams”

  6. The thing is it’s not enough to read law books. What the law says and how things work in practice can be two very different things. The law isn’t necessarily applied equally for everybody either, some politicians and well connected businessmen are to some extent above the law I believe.

  7. […] I might even have it filled up without needing to post any ads, and thus not being able to answer the question of whether you can reach people who rent their main accomodation for 30€ a month through online […]

  8. […] batch II The last batch of questions is still mostly unanswered, but in the last month’s posts there have been enough […]

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