Abidjan - The Ivorian government announced on Wednesday it
would raise the minimum wage by more than 60% after 19 years at the same level.
"This decision... will ease the burden on workers who
have been hit far too hard by price rises," said government spokesperson
The minimum monthly wage was fixed at 36 600 CFA Francs
($75), and will rise to 60 000 CFA Francs ($120) for the first time since 1994,
when the CFA currency was devalued by half, according to a labour department
document seen by AFP.
A political accord to raise the threshold was agreed in 2009
but was not put into force.
The 61% increase is not expected to have a great impact on
workers' wages as so few are paid the minimum, which is far from enough to live
on in Ivory Coast.
But as one of the most expensive places to live in west
Africa, the measure was none the less welcomed by the president of Ivory
Coast's consumer rights federation, Doukoua Gode.
"It's good news. This raise will allow consumers to
have some purchasing power," Gode said.
The rate had remained static "and meanwhile the price
of bread has doubled," he said.
The increase will not apply to Ivory Coast's army of black
"The problem is that employees risk confusing the
minimum wage with all salaries. If I have to raise the wages of everyone by 60%,
I will close my shop," said one businessman.
In 2012, Ivory Coast's growth rate was 9.8% and is expected
to hold at 8.7% in 2013, evidence of a strong showing in the years immediately
following post-electoral violence that shook the nation in 2010-2011.