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Podcast: 'In Chains' Episode 3

In the third episode of our new themed series In Chains, we speak with Dr. Alexis Aronowitz from University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, who is the author of the article, “Regulating business involvement in labor exploitation and human trafficking” published in Journal of Labor and Society.

Brill Publishes Two New Book Series in the Social Sciences

Brill is pleased to announce the addition of two new peer-reviewed book series to its Social Sciences publishing program: International Studies in Maritime Sociology and Studies in Political Economy of Global Labor and Work. The series will be published online and in print.

Brill adds Two New Journals to Its Social Sciences Publishing Program

Two journals, the Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO) and Protest, have been added to Brill’s expanding publishing program in the Social Sciences. Both journals will be published online and in print. Previous volumes of JLSO are already available on Brill’s website, the first issues of Protest are planned for publication in 2021.


Acquisitions Editor


Jason Prevost

V&R unipress

Julia Schwanke


2013 was probably the most peaceful year since the beginning of the civil war in 2002. Alassane Ouattara, the winner of the 2010 presidential election, continued to lead successfully the long process of economic recovery. He received international praise for his management of reforms and continued support from his international backers. Compared with 2012, security improved, with a decrease in armed attacks by fighters backing the camp of defeated president Laurent Gbagbo, but the slow pace of reconciliation and the difficulties of prosecuting war criminals and those suspected of economic crimes, particularly those siding with Ouattara’s camp, led to concern about the long-term prospects for stability.


For Côte d’Ivoire, 2014 was a year of mixed hope and anxiety. The post-war reconciliation process produced modest and limited results. The year was also marked by the trial of prominent members of the former regime, including the former first lady, Simone Gbagbo. However, nobody from President Alassane Ouattara’s side was indicted by the national judicial system or the icc. The country was torn by disputes about the upcoming 2015 presidential elections. The two main political parties, the ‘Parti Démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire – Rassemblement Démocratique Africain’ (pdci-rda) and ‘Front Populaire Ivoirien’ (fpi) were deeply divided about the election and its procedures.


The first presidential election after the contentious 2010 polls attracted widespread national and international attention. On the one hand, the country witnessed the consolidation of the governing coalition. On the other, it saw the disintegration of the opposition. After being rescheduled several times, the trial of supporters of former president Gbagbo, indicted for their alleged role in the post-election violence of 2010–11, took place in Abidjan. As in the past, the judicial system was biased in favour of the incumbent. After the ousted president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, found refuge in Côte d’Ivoire, relations with Burkina Faso turned sour. However, the challenging political environment did not stand in the way of positive macroeconomic and social developments.


2016 was an after-election year filled with important political reforms, including the establishment of a new executive body and a new constitution, which created a national Senate and the position of vice president. Legislative elections also took place. Cooperative relations with partners from around the globe were maintained. Although the macroeconomic performance continued to improve, the government did not address important social issues and challenges.

Côte d’Ivoire continued its overall trend from recent years of impressive economic growth and relative political stability. Productivity in all major industrial sectors continued to rise; recent legislative elections and political reforms were consolidated; and additional initiatives to restructure and streamline the economy were taken. Despite these overall indications of an encouraging post-conflict recovery, 2017 began in tumultuous fashion, as military mutinies threatened to evolve into more widespread strikes and protests. These events unfolded while the country’s first ever vice president was appointed, and a new government was announced. Although the protests of dissatisfied solders continued to cause concern through most of the year, the government was relatively successful in negotiations with the mutineers and retained a constructive dialogue with the disgruntled parties. In combination with declining cocoa prices, the military mutinies added pressure on the Ivorian authorities to implement much-needed security sector reform, in their efforts to lead the country towards the stated goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2020. At the same time, the election of Côte d’Ivoire to the unsc was seen as a further confirmation of the country’s international standing as having consolidated its post-conflict stabilisation internally, and directing its ambitions outwards, towards multi-national diplomatic as well as military collaboration.

Côte d’Ivoire continued its overall economic post-conflict recovery, weathering the more recent storms of widespread military mutinies, public sector strikes, and the previous year’s dramatic drop in world market cocoa prices. While government responses to these recent crises generally proved effective, the year soon posed its own challenges as the ruling political coalition came undone in the increasingly dramatic run-up to the 2020 presidential elections. During a turbulent political year, president Alassane Ouattara dissolved and then reinstated the government, lost the support of his main ally, former president Henri Konan Bédié, and sowed further doubts regarding his intentions to run for a third term in 2020. Despite these dramatic developments, which also included parliamentary and public mobilisation against the composition of the Independent Electoral Commission, however, political mobilisation was generally peaceful, and grievances were addressed through the appropriate state institutions. Some concerns remained about the legal procedures in the aftermath of the 2010–11 post-electoral crisis, which had led to renewed armed conflict and the imprisonment of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Mr Gbagbo’s trial at the icc was still ongoing at year’s end, but anticipation among his most loyal supporters, as well as among his most ardent adversaries, added another dimension to the growing tensions within the Ivorian political class.

Electoral politics dominated Côte d’Ivoire’s domestic and international agendas in 2019. With growing uncertainty around the candidacy of incumbent Alassane Ouattara, and a flurry of negotiations among former enemies to unite the political opposition against him, the 2020 presidential elections loomed large over the country throughout the year. Despite these concerns, Côte d’Ivoire continued its economic post-conflict recovery and posted impressive numbers in a range of key indexes. Sustained collaboration with neighbouring Ghana in leveraging influence on the global cocoa market led to some gains in securing minimum buying prices for local producers, and the private sector – primarily through expansions in telecommunications, agribusiness, and construction – passed the agricultural sector as the country’s most productive for the first time since 2015.

Côte d’Ivoire went through another turbulent election year in 2020, cementing an unfortunate trend, which began with the presidential elections in 2000 and continued in 2010, of controversy, political polarisation, and widespread election-related violence recurring at a ten-year interval. The global Covid-19 pandemic placed additional burdens on the Ivorian population, as national lockdowns and global recession affected local livelihoods and overall economic growth significantly. Despite a turbulent political year, however, the government responded with a series of measures to alleviate the effects of the pandemic, and most macroeconomic indicators were already showing signs of some recovery by year’s end.

Following the turbulent electoral year of 2020, which had also posed the challenges of mitigating the effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 was in many respects a year marked by political appeasement and socioeconomic recovery in Côte d’Ivoire. Although the effects of the pandemic continued to be felt, particularly by ordinary Ivorians, the country showed remarkable resilience in its macroeconomic performance, spurring hopes that the momentum of the past decade might be regained. Politically, the most significant event of the year was the legislative and parliamentary elections, which turned out to be much less fraught and more inclusive than the 2020 presidential vote. Nevertheless, through a combination of an unforeseen government reshuffle and the emergence of a new alliance within the opposition, the political year was filled with activity, including the long-awaited return to the country of former president Laurent Gbagbo, following his 2019 acquittal at the icc in The Hague.

Despite growing concerns over the spread of regional jihadist violence and slow progress on reconciliation and electoral reform, the political year in Côte d’Ivoire was generally characterised by an atmosphere of normalisation and dialogue after years of post-conflict recovery, with potential new coalitions emerging and long-standing prominent political figures consolidating the political reshuffling that began in the wake of the 2020 presidential elections. The country’s socioeconomic performance was also encouraging, considering the global financial downturn due mainly to the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with slight improvements in a range of key indicators and a rebound in the vital cocoa production sector. In addition to ongoing structural reforms, public spending was marked by the preparations for the African Cup of Nations football championships, with large-scale infrastructure construction across the country.