Ivory Coast: Wikis


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Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
République de Côte d'Ivoire
Flag Coat of arms
Motto"Union – Discipline – Travail" "Unity, Discipline and Labour"  (translation)
Capital Yamoussoukro
6°51′N 5°18′W / 6.85°N 5.3°W / 6.85; -5.3
Largest city Abidjan
Official language(s) French
Vernacular languages Dioula (Bambara)
Demonym Ivorian/Ivoirian
Government Republic
 -  President Laurent Gbagbo[1]
 -  Prime Minister Guillaume Soro[1]
Independence from France 
 -  Date 7 August 1960 
 -  Total 322,460 km2 (68th)
124,502 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.4[2]
 -  2009 estimate 20,617,068[2] (56th)
 -  1998 census 15,366,672 
 -  Density 63.9/km2 (139th)
165.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $34.104 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,642[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $23.508 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,132[3] 
Gini (2002) 44.6 (medium
HDI (2007) 0.484[4] (low) (163rd)
Currency West African CFA franc (XOF)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+0)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ci
Calling code 225
a Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower population than would otherwise be expected.

Côte d'Ivoire (English pronunciation: /ˌkoʊt diˈvwɑr/; French: [kot diˈvwaʀ]), (officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire), is a country in West Africa. Although it was commonly known in English as the Ivory Coast, the Ivorian government officially discourages this usage, preferring the French name Côte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages. Côte d'Ivoire has an area of 322,462 km2, and borders the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population, which was 15,366,672 in 1998,[5] is estimated to be 20,617,068 in 2009.[2]

Prior to its occupation by Europeans, Côte d'Ivoire was home to several important states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. There were also two Agni kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, which attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and even after Côte d'Ivoire's independence.[6] An 1843–1844 treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a "protectorate" of France and in 1893, it became a French colony as part of the European scramble for Africa.

The state became independent on 7 August 1960. From 1960 to 1993, it was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Côte d'Ivoire maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbours, while at the same time the country maintained close ties to the West, especially to France. However, since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule, the country has experienced two coups d’état (1999 and 2001) and a civil war,[7] but recent elections[8] and a political agreement between the new government and the rebels have brought a return to peace.[9]

Today, Côte d'Ivoire is a republic with a strong executive power personified in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the official language is French. The country is divided into 19 regions and 58 departments.

The country, through its production of coffee and cocoa, was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. However, Côte d'Ivoire went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, leading to the country's period of political and social turmoil. The 21st century Ivorian economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.[2] About a quarter of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[10]




Land migration

Prehistoric polished stone celt from Boundiali in northern Côte d'Ivoire. Photo taken at the IFAN Museum of African Arts in Dakar, Senegal.

The date of the first human presence in Côte d'Ivoire has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well-preserved in the country's big head climate. However, the presence of new weapon and tool fragments (specifically, polished axes cut through shale and remnants of cooking and fishing) in the country has been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic period (15,000 to 10,000 BC),[11] or at the minimum, the Neolithic period.[12]

The earliest known inhabitants of Côte d'Ivoire, however, have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present inhabitants such as Cavemen. Peoples who arrived before the 16th century include the Ehotilé (Aboisso), Kotrowou (Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand Lahou), Ega and Diès (Divo).[13]

Pre-Islamic and Islamic Periods

The first recorded history is found in the chronicles of North African traders, who, from early Roman times, conducted a caravan trade across the Sahara in salt, slaves, gold, and other goods. The southern terminals of the trans-Saharan trade routes were located on the edge of the desert, and from there supplemental trade extended as far south as the edge of the rain forest. The more important terminals – Djenné, Gao, and Timbuctu – grew into major commercial centers around which the great Sudanic empires developed.

By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces, these empires were able to dominate neighboring states. The Sudanic empires also became centers of Islamic education. Islam had been introduced into the western Sudan (today's Mali) by Arab traders from North Africa and spread rapidly after the conversion of many important rulers. From the eleventh century, by which time the rulers of the Sudanic empires had embraced Islam, it spread south into the northern areas of contemporary Côte d'Ivoire.

The Ghana empire, the earliest of the Sudanic empires, flourished in present-day eastern Mauritania from the fourth to the thirteenth century. At the peak of its power in the eleventh century, its realms extended from the Atlantic Ocean to Timbuctu. After the decline of Ghana, the Mali Empire grew into a powerful Muslim state, which reached its apogee in the early part of the fourteenth century. The territory of the Mali Empire in Côte d'Ivoire was limited to the northwest corner around Odienné.

Its slow decline starting at the end of the fourteenth century followed internal discord and revolts by vassal states, one of which, Songhai, flourished as an empire between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. Songhai was also weakened by internal discord, which led to factional warfare. This discord spurred most of the migrations of peoples southward toward the forest belt. The dense rain forest covering the southern half of the country created barriers to large-scale political organizations as seen further north. Inhabitants lived in villages or clusters of villages whose contacts with the outside world were filtered through long-distance traders. Villagers subsisted on agriculture and hunting.

Five important states flourished in Côte d'Ivoire in the pre-European era. The Muslim Kong Empire was established by the Juula in the early eighteenth century in the north-central region inhabited by the Sénoufo, who had fled Islamization under the Mali Empire. Although Kong became a prosperous center of agriculture, trade, and crafts, ethnic diversity and religious discord gradually weakened the kingdom. The city of Kong was destroyed in 1895 by Samori Ture.

The Abron kingdom of Gyaaman was established in the seventeenth century by an Akan group, the Abron, who had fled the developing Ashanti confederation of Asanteman in what is present-day Ghana. From their settlement south of Bondoukou, the Abron gradually extended their hegemony over the Dyula people in Bondoukou, who were recent émigrés from the market city of Begho. Bondoukou developed into a major center of commerce and Islam. The kingdom's Quranic scholars attracted students from all parts of West Africa. In the mid-eighteenth century in east-central Côte d'Ivoire, other Akan groups fleeing the Asante established a Baoulé kingdom at Sakasso and two Agni kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi.

The Baoulé, like the Ashanti, elaborated a highly centralized political and administrative structure under three successive rulers, but it finally split into smaller chiefdoms. Despite the breakup of their kingdom, the Baoulé strongly resisted French subjugation. The descendants of the rulers of the Agni kingdoms tried to retain their separate identity long after Côte d'Ivoire's independence; as late as 1969, the Sanwi of Krinjabo attempted to break away from Côte d'Ivoire and form an independent kingdom.[14]

Establishment of French rule

Compared to neighboring Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire suffered little from the slave trade, as European slaving and merchant ships preferred other areas along the coast, with better harbors. The earliest recorded French voyage to West Africa took place in 1483. The first West African French settlement, Saint Louis, was founded in the mid-seventeenth century in Senegal, while at about the same time the Dutch ceded to the French a settlement at Goree Island off Dakar. A French mission was established in 1637 Assinie near the border with the Gold Coast (now Ghana).

Assinie's survival was precarious, however, and only in the mid-nineteenth century did the French establish themselves firmly in Côte d'Ivoire. In 1843–1844, French admiral Bouët-Willaumez signed treaties with the kings of the Grand Bassam and Assinie regions, placing their territories under a French protectorate. French explorers, missionaries, trading companies, and soldiers gradually extended the area under French control inland from the lagoon region. However, pacification was not accomplished until 1915.

Activity along the coast stimulated European interest in the interior, especially along the two great rivers, the Senegal River and the Niger River. Concerted French exploration of West Africa began in the mid-nineteenth century but moved slowly and was based more on individual initiative than on government policy. In the 1840s, the French concluded a series of treaties with local West African rulers that enabled the French to build fortified posts along the Gulf of Guinea to serve as permanent trading centers.

The first posts in Côte d'Ivoire included one at Assinie and another at Grand Bassam, which became the colony's first capital. The treaties provided for French sovereignty within the posts and for trading privileges in exchange for fees or coutumes paid annually to the local rulers for the use of the land. The arrangement was not entirely satisfactory to the French because trade was limited and misunderstandings over treaty obligations often arose. Nevertheless, the French government maintained the treaties, hoping to expand trade.

France also wanted to maintain a presence in the region to stem the increasing influence of the British along the Gulf of Guinea coast. Thereafter, the French built naval bases to keep out non-French traders and began a systematic conquest of the interior. (They accomplished this only after a long war in the 1890s against Mandinka forces, mostly from Gambia. Guerrilla warfare by the Baoulé and other eastern groups continued until 1917.)[citation needed]

The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 and the subsequent annexation by Germany of the French province of Alsace Lorraine caused the French government to abandon its colonial ambitions and withdraw its military garrisons from its French West African trading posts, leaving them in the care of resident merchants. The trading post at Grand Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire was left in the care of a shipper from Marseille, Arthur Verdier, who in 1878 was named Resident of the Establishment of Côte d'Ivoire.[14]

In 1886, to support its claims of effective occupation, France again assumed direct control of its West African coastal trading posts and embarked on an accelerated program of exploration in the interior. In 1887 Lieutenant Louis Gustave Binger began a two-year journey that traversed parts of Côte d'Ivoire's interior. By the end of the journey, he had concluded four treaties establishing French protectorates in Côte d'Ivoire. Also in 1887, Verdier's agent, Marcel Treich-Laplène, negotiated five additional agreements that extended French influence from the headwaters of the Niger River Basin through Côte d'Ivoire.

French colonial era

By the end of the 1880s, France had established what passed for effective control over the coastal regions of Côte d'Ivoire, and in 1889 Britain recognized French sovereignty in the area. That same year, France named Treich-Laplène titular governor of the territory. In 1893 Côte d'Ivoire was made a French colony, and then Captain Binger was appointed governor. Agreements with Liberia in 1892 and with Britain in 1893 determined the eastern and western boundaries of the colony, but the northern boundary was not fixed until 1947 because of efforts by the French government to attach parts of Upper Volta (present-day Burkina Faso) and French Sudan (present-day Mali) to Côte d'Ivoire for economic and administrative reasons.

France's main goal was to stimulate the production of exports. Coffee, cocoa and palm oil crops were soon planted along the coast. Côte d'Ivoire stood out as the only West African country with a sizeable population of "settlers"; elsewhere in West and Central Africa, the French and British were largely bureaucrats.[citation needed] As a result, a third of the cocoa, coffee and banana plantations were in the hands of French citizens and a forced-labour system became the backbone of the economy.

Throughout the early years of French rule, French military contingents were sent inland to establish new posts. The African population resisted French penetration and settlement. Among those offering greatest resistance was Samori Ture, who in the 1880s and 1890s was establishing the Wassoulou Empire which extended over large parts of present-day Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire. Samori Ture's large, well-equipped army, which could manufacture and repair its own firearms, attracted strong support throughout the region. The French responded to Samori Ture's expansion of regional control with military pressure. French campaigns against Samori Ture, which were met with fierce resistance, intensified in the mid-1890s until he was captured in 1898.

France's imposition of a head tax in 1900, aimed at enabling the colony to undertake a public works program, provoked a number of revolts. Ivoirians viewed the tax as a violation of the terms of the protectorate treaties because it seemed that France was now demanding the equivalent of a coutume from the local kings rather than the reverse. Much of the population, especially in the interior, also considered the tax a humiliating symbol of submission.[15]

From 1904 to 1958, Côte d'Ivoire was a constituent unit of the Federation of French West Africa. It was a colony and an overseas territory under the Third Republic. Until the period following World War II, governmental affairs in French West Africa were administered from Paris. France's policy in West Africa was reflected mainly in its philosophy of "association", meaning that all Africans in Côte d'Ivoire were officially French "subjects" without rights to representation in Africa or France.

French colonial policy incorporated concepts of assimilation and association. Assimilation presupposed the inherent superiority of French culture over all others, so that in practice the assimilation policy in the colonies meant extension of the French language, institutions, laws, and customs. The policy of association also affirmed the superiority of the French in the colonies, but it entailed different institutions and systems of laws for the colonizer and the colonized. Under this policy, the Africans in Côte d'Ivoire were allowed to preserve their own customs insofar as they were compatible with French interests.

An indigenous elite trained in French administrative practice formed an intermediary group between the French and the Africans. Assimilation was practiced in Côte d'Ivoire to the extent that after 1930 a small number of Westernized Ivoirians were granted the right to apply for French citizenship. Most Ivoirians, however, were classified as French subjects and were governed under the principle of association.[16] As subjects of France they had no political rights. Moreover, they were drafted for work in mines, on plantations, as porters, and on public projects as part of their tax responsibility. They were also expected to serve in the military and were subject to the indigénat, a separate system of law.[17]

In World War II, the Vichy regime remained in control until 1943, when members of Gen. Charles De Gaulle's provisional government assumed control of all French West Africa. The Brazzaville conference in 1944, the first Constituent Assembly of the Fourth Republic in 1946, and France's gratitude for African loyalty during World War II led to far-reaching governmental reforms in 1946. French citizenship was granted to all African "subjects," the right to organize politically was recognized, and various forms of forced labor were abolished.

Until 1958, governors appointed in Paris administered the colony of Côte d'Ivoire, using a system of direct, centralized administration that left little room for Ivoirian participation in policy making. The French colonial administration also adopted divide-and-rule policies, applying ideas of assimilation only to the educated elite. The French were also interested in ensuring that the small but influential elite was sufficiently satisfied with the status quo to refrain from any anti-French sentiment. In fact, although they were strongly opposed to the practices of association, educated Ivoirians believed that they would achieve equality with their French peers through assimilation rather than through complete independence from France, a change that would eliminate the enormous economic advantages of remaining a French possession. But after the assimilation doctrine was implemented entirely, at least in principle, through the postwar reforms, Ivoirian leaders realized that even assimilation implied the superiority of the French over the Ivoirians and that discrimination and inequality would end only with independence.[18]


The son of a Baoulé chief, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, was to become Côte d'Ivoire's father of independence. In 1944 he formed the country's first agricultural trade union for African cocoa farmers like himself. Angered that colonial policy favoured French plantation owners, they united to recruit migrant workers for their own farms. Houphouët-Boigny soon rose to prominence and within a year was elected to the French Parliament in Paris. A year later the French abolished forced labour. Houphouët-Boigny established a strong relationship with the French government, expressing a belief that the country would benefit from it, which it did for many years. France made him the first African to become a minister in a European government.

A turning point in relations with France was reached with the 1956 Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre ), which transferred a number of powers from Paris to elected territorial governments in French West Africa and also removed remaining voting inequalities. In 1958, Côte d'Ivoire became an autonomous member of the French Community (which replaced the French Union).

At the time of Côte d'Ivoire's independence (1960), the country was easily French West Africa's most prosperous, contributing over 40% of the region's total exports. When Houphouët-Boigny became the first president, his government gave farmers good prices for their products to further stimulate production. Coffee production increased significantly, catapulting Côte d'Ivoire into third place in world output (behind Brazil and Colombia). By 1979 the country was the world's leading producer of cocoa.

It also became Africa's leading exporter of pineapples and palm oil. French technicians contributed to the 'Ivoirian miracle'. In the rest of Africa, Europeans were driven out following independence; but in Côte d'Ivoire, they poured in. The French community grew from only 30,000 prior to independence to 60,000 in 1980, most of them teachers, managers and advisors.[19] For 20 years, the economy maintained an annual growth rate of nearly 10% – the highest of Africa's non-oil-exporting countries.

Houphouët-Boigny administration

Politically, Houphouët-Boigny ruled with a firmness some called an "iron hand"; others characterized his rule more mildly as "paternal." The press was not free and only one political party existed, although some accepted this as a consequence of Houphouët-Boigny's broad appeal to the population that continually elected him[citation needed]. He was also criticized for his emphasis on developing large scale projects. Many felt the millions of dollars spent transforming his home village, Yamoussoukro, into the new capital that it became, were wasted; others support his vision to develop a center for peace, education and religion in the heart of the country. But in the early 1980s, the world recession and a local drought sent shockwaves through the Ivoirian economy. Due to the overcutting of timber and collapsing sugar prices, the country's external debt increased threefold. Crime rose dramatically in Abidjan.

In 1990, hundreds of civil servants went on strike, joined by students protesting institutional corruption. The unrest forced the government to support multi-party democracy. Houphouët-Boigny became increasingly feeble and died in 1993. He favoured Henri Konan Bédié as his successor.

Bédié administration

In October 1995, Bédié overwhelmingly won re-election against a fragmented and disorganised opposition. He tightened his hold over political life, jailing several hundred opposition supporters. In contrast, the economic outlook improved, at least superficially, with decreasing inflation and an attempt to remove foreign debt.

Election results of 2002 in Côte d'Ivoire

Unlike Houphouët-Boigny, who was very careful in avoiding any ethnic conflict and left access to administrative positions wide-open to immigrants from neighbouring countries, Bedié emphasized the concept of "Ivority" (French: Ivoirité) to exclude his rival Alassane Ouattara, who had two northern Ivorian parents, from running for future presidential election. As people originating from foreign countries are a large part of the Ivoirian population, this policy excluded many people from Ivoirian nationality, and the relationship between various ethnic groups became strained.

1999 coup

Similarly, Bédié excluded many potential opponents from the army. In late 1999, a group of dissatisfied officers staged a military coup, putting General Robert Guéï in power. Bédié fled into exile in France. The new leadership reduced crime and corruption, and the generals pressed for austerity and openly campaigned in the streets for a less wasteful society.

Gbagbo administration

A presidential election was held in October 2000 in which Laurent Gbagbo vied with Guéï, but it was peaceful. The lead-up to the election was marked by military and civil unrest. Guéï's attempt to rig the election led to a public uprising, resulting in around 180 deaths and his swift replacement by the election's likely winner, Gbagbo. Alassane Ouattara was disqualified by the country's Supreme Court, due to his alleged Burkinabé nationality. The existing and later reformed constitution [under Guéï] did not allow non-citizens to run for presidency. This sparked violent protests in which his supporters, mainly from the country's north, battled riot police in the capital, Yamoussoukro.

Ivorian Civil War

In the early hours of September 19, 2002, while the President was in Italy, there was an armed uprising. Troops who were to be demobilised mutinied, launching attacks in several cities. The battle for the main gendarmerie barracks in Abidjan lasted until mid-morning, but by lunchtime the government forces had secured the main city, Abidjan. They had lost control of the north of the country, and the rebel forces made their strong-hold in the northern city of Bouake. The rebels threatened to move on Abidjan again and France deployed troops from its base in the country to stop any rebel advance. The French said they were protecting their own citizens from danger, but their deployment also aided the government forces. It was not established as a fact that the French were helping either side but each side accused them of being on the opposite side. It is disputed as to whether the French actions improved or worsened the situation in the long term.

What exactly happened that night is disputed. The government said that former president Robert Guéï had led a coup attempt, and state TV showed pictures of his dead body in the street; counter-claims said that he and fifteen others had been murdered at his home and his body had been moved to the streets to incriminate him. Alassane Ouattara took refuge in the French embassy, his home burned down.

President Gbagbo cut short a trip to Italy and on his return stated, in a television address, that some of the rebels were hiding in the shanty towns where foreign migrant workers lived. Gendarmes and vigilantes bulldozed and burned homes by the thousands, attacking the residents.

"Child soldier in the Ivory Coast." (drawing by Gilbert G. Groud)

An early ceasefire with the rebels, who had the backing of much of the northern populace, proved short-lived, and fighting over the prime cocoa-growing areas resumed. France sent in troops to maintain the cease-fire boundaries,[20] and militias, including warlords and fighters from Liberia and Sierra Leone, took advantage of the crisis to seize parts of the west.

2003 unity government

In January 2003, President Gbagbo and rebel leaders signed accords creating a "government of national unity". Curfews were lifted and French troops patrolled the western border of the country. Since then, the unity government has proven extremely unstable and the central problems remain with neither side achieving its goals. In March 2004, 120 people were killed in an opposition rally, and subsequent mob violence led to foreign nationals being evacuated. A later report concluded the killings were planned.

Though UN peacekeepers were deployed to maintain a Zone of Confidence, relations between Gbagbo and the opposition continued to deteriorate.

Early in November 2004, after the peace agreement had effectively collapsed following the rebels' refusal to disarm, Gbagbo ordered airstrikes against the rebels. During one of these airstrikes in Bouaké, on November 6, 2004, French soldiers were hit and nine of them were killed; the Ivorian government has said it was a mistake, but the French have claimed it was deliberate. They responded by destroying most Ivoirian military aircraft (2 Su-25 planes and 5 helicopters), and violent retaliatory riots against the French broke out in Abidjan.[21]

Gbagbo's original mandate as president expired on October 30, 2005, but due to the lack of disarmament it was deemed impossible to hold an election, and therefore his term in office was extended for a maximum of one year, according to a plan worked out by the African Union; this plan was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.[22] With the late October deadline approaching in 2006, it was regarded as very unlikely that the election would be held by that point, and the opposition and the rebels rejected the possibility of another term extension for Gbagbo.[23] The U. N. Security Council endorsed another one-year extension of Gbagbo's term on November 1, 2006; however, the resolution provided for the strengthening of Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny's powers. Gbagbo said the next day that elements of the resolution deemed to be constitutional violations would not be applied.[24]

A peace deal between the government and the rebels, or New Forces, was signed on March 4, 2007, and subsequently Guillaume Soro, leader of the New Forces, became prime minister. These events have been seen by some observers as substantially strengthening Gbagbo's position.[25]

Regions and departments

Regions of Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire is divided into nineteen regions (régions):

  1. Agnéby
  2. Bafing
  3. Bas-Sassandra
  4. Denguélé
  5. Dix-Huit Montagnes
  6. Fromager
  7. Haut-Sassandra
  8. Lacs
  9. Lagunes
  10. Marahoué
  1. Moyen-Cavally
  2. Moyen-Comoé
  3. N'zi-Comoé
  4. Savanes
  5. Sud-Bandama
  6. Sud-Comoé
  7. Vallée du Bandama
  8. Worodougou
  9. Zanzan

The regions are further divided into 81 departments.

Population of major cities

The official capital of Côte d'Ivoire is Yamoussoukro (295,500), despite the fact that it is the fourth most populous city. Abidjan, with a population of 3,310,500, is the largest city and serves as the commercial and banking center of Côte d'Ivoire as well as the de facto capital. It is also the most populous city in French-speaking Western Africa.

City Population
Abidjan 3,310,500
Bouaké 775,300
Daloa 489,100
Yamoussoukro 295,500
Korhogo 163,400
San Pédro 151,600
Divo 134,200


Since 1983, Côte d'Ivoire's official capital has been Yamoussoukro; Abidjan, however, remains the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies in Abidjan, although some (including the United Kingdom) have closed their missions because of the continuing violence and attacks on Europeans. The Ivoirian population continues to suffer because of an ongoing civil war (See the History section above). International human rights organizations have noted problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides and the re-emergence of child slavery among workers in cocoa production.

Although most of the fighting ended by late 2004, the country remained split in two, with the north controlled by the New Forces (FN). A new presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005, and an agreement was reached among the rival parties in March 2007 to proceed with this, but it has since then been postponed numerous times due to delays in its preparation.


Map of Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire is a country of western sub-Saharan Africa. It borders Liberia and Guinea in the west, Mali and Burkina Faso in the north, Ghana in the east, and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) in the south.


Maintaining close ties to France since independence in 1960, diversification of agriculture for export, and encouragement of foreign investment, has made Côte d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. However, in recent years Côte d'Ivoire has been subject to greater competition and falling prices in the global marketplace for its primary agricultural crops: coffee and cocoa. That, compounded with high internal corruption, makes life difficult for the grower and those exporting into foreign markets.

Côte d'Ivoire is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[26]



Islam is the plurality religion, practiced by approximately 38.6 percent of the country's population; the Christian community represents 32.8 percent of the population; 11.9 percent population maintain Indigenous beliefs; and 16.7 percent hold no religious beliefs.[2]


Ivoirian woman

77% of the population are considered Ivoirians. They represent several different people and language groups. An estimated 65 languages are spoken in the country. One of the most common is Dyula, which acts as a trade language as well as a language commonly spoken by the Muslim population.

French, the official language, is taught in schools and serves as a lingua franca in the country. The native born population is roughly split into three groups of Muslim, Christian (primarily Roman Catholic) and animist.[2] Since Côte d'Ivoire has established itself as one of the most successful West African nations, about 20% of the population (about 3.4 million) consists of workers from neighbouring Liberia, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Over two thirds of these migrant workers are Muslim.

4% of the population is of non-African ancestry. Many are French,[27] Lebanese,[28] Vietnamese and Spanish citizens, as well as Protestant missionaries from the United States and Canada. In November 2004, around 10,000 French and other foreign nationals evacuated Côte d'Ivoire due to attacks from pro-government youth militias.[29] Aside from French nationals, there are native-born descendants of French settlers who arrived during the country's colonial period.


Life expectancy at birth was 41 for males in 2004, for females it was 47. [30] Infant mortality was 118 of 1000 live births.[30] There are 12 physicians per 100,000 people.[30]


Mask from Côte d'Ivoire


A large part of the adult population, in particular women, are illiterate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in school. [31] The majority of students in secondary education are male.[32] At the end of secondary education, students can sit the Baccalauréat examination.[32] The country has universities, including the University of Côte d'Ivoire.

See also

Name of the country

The region, and then the country, was originally known in English as Ivory Coast. In October 1985, the government requested that the country be known in every language as Côte d'Ivoire,[33] without a hyphen between the two words.

Usage in English

Despite the Ivorian government's request, the Anglicized rendering "Ivory Coast" (sometimes "the Ivory Coast") is still frequently used in English.

Many governments use "Côte d'Ivoire" for diplomatic reasons. The English country name registered with the United Nations and used by ISO 3166 is "Côte d'Ivoire". Other organizations that use "Côte d'Ivoire" include:

See also


  1. ^ a b "FACTBOX-Key facts on rebel leader Guillaume Soro", Reuters AlertNet, 29 March 2007, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L29656284.htm, retrieved 1 April 2007 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Côte d'Ivoire", The World Factbook, CIA Directorate of Intelligence, 24 July 2008, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/iv.html, retrieved 8 August 2008 .
  3. ^ a b c d "Côte d'Ivoire". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=662&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=107&pr.y=3. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Human Development Report 2009. Human development index trends: Table G" (PDF). The United Nations. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_EN_Complete.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  5. ^ (French) Premiers résultats définitifs du RGPH-98 (Recensement Général de la Population et de l’Habitation de 1998), Abidjan: Institut National de la Statistique, Bureau Technique Permanent du Recensement, 2002 .
  6. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0013), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  7. ^ (French) "Loi n° 2000-513 du 1er août 2000 portant Constitution de la République de Côte d’Ivoire", Journal Officiel de la République de Côte d’Ivoire 42 (30): 529–538, 3 August 2000, http://www.jfaconseil.com/jorci/2000/RCI%20JO%202000-30.pdf, retrieved 7 August 2008 .
  8. ^ Background Note: Cote d'Ivoire, United States Department of State, July 2008, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2846.htm, retrieved 7 August 2008 .
  9. ^ (French) Accord politique de Ouagadougou, Presidency of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, 4 March 2007, http://www.cotedivoire-pr.ci/?action=show_page&id_page=570, retrieved 7 August 2008 
  10. ^ Human Development Indices, Table 3: Human and income poverty, p. 35. Retrieved on 1 June 2009
  11. ^ Guédé, François Yiodé (1995), "Contribution à l'étude du paléolithique de la Côte d'Ivoire : État des connaissances", Journal des africanistes 65 (2): 79–91, ISSN 0399-0346 .
  12. ^ Rougerie 1978, p. 246.
  13. ^ Kipré 1992, pp. 15–16.
  14. ^ a b Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0014), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  15. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0016), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  16. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0018), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  17. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0019), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  18. ^ Library of Congress Country Studies, Library of Congress, November 1988, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+ci0017), retrieved 11 April 2009 
  19. ^ Ivory Coast – The Economy, U.S. Library of Congress
  20. ^ Ivory Coast – Heart of Darkness
  21. ^ "France's 'Little Iraq'". CBS News. November 15, 2004.
  22. ^ "UN endorses plan to leave president in office beyond mandate", IRIN, October 14, 2005.
  23. ^ Joe Bavier, "Ivory Coast Opposition, Rebels Say No to Term Extension for President", VOA News, August 18, 2006.
  24. ^ "Partial rejection of UN peace plan", IRIN, November 2, 2006.
  25. ^ "New Ivory Coast govt 'a boost for Gbagbo'", AFP (IOL), April 12, 2007.
  26. ^ OHADA.com: The business law portal in Africa, http://www.ohada.com/index.php, retrieved 2009-03-22 
  27. ^ Ivory Coast – The Economy
  28. ^ Ivory Coast – The Levantine Community
  29. ^ "Rwanda Syndrome on the Ivory Coast"
  30. ^ a b c http://www.afro.who.int/home/countries/fact_sheets/cotedivoire.pdf
  31. ^ http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/country_profiles/pop_cou_384.pdf
  32. ^ a b Côte d'Ivoire – Secondary Education
  33. ^ Jessup 1998, p. 351.
  34. ^ BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Country profiles | Country profile: Ivory Coast
  35. ^ I | Style guide | guardian.co.uk
  36. ^ Living in a World of Limited Resources
  37. ^ Research Tools | Economist.com | Economist.com
  38. ^ Cote d'Ivoire – Encyclopedia – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  39. ^ Places Directory – Facts, Travel Videos, Flags, Photos – National Geographic


  • (French) Amin, Samir; Bernard Nantet (1999), "Côte-d’Ivoire", Encyclopædia Universalis, Paris: Encyclopædia Universalis .
  • (French) Amondji, Marcel (1986), Côte-d'Ivoire. Le P.D.C.I. et la vie politique de 1945 à 1985, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2-85802-631-9 .
  • (French) Appiah, Kwame Anthony; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr., eds. (1999), Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-00071-1, OCLC 41649745 .
  • (French) Asselain, Jean Charles; Mougel, François; Delfaud, Pierre; Guillaume, Pierre; Guillaume, Sylvie; Kinta, Jean Pierre (2000), Précis d'histoire européenne: XIXe–XXe siècle, Paris: Armand Colin, ISBN 2-200-26086-5, OCLC 35145674 .
  • (French) Baulin, Jacques (1982), La Politique intérieure d'Houphouet-Boigny, Paris: Eurafor Press, OCLC 9982529 .
  • (French) Bédié, Henri Konan; Laurent (1999), Les chemins de ma vie: entretiens avec Éric Laurent, Paris: Plon, ISBN 2-259-19069-X, OCLC 43895424 .
  • (French) Boahen, A. Adu (1989), Histoire générale de l'Afrique: Volume 7, l'Afrique sous domination coloniale 1880–1935, Paris: Présence Africaine, UNESCO, ISBN 2-7087-0519-9 .
  • (French) Borremans, Raymond (1986–2004), Le grand dictionnaire encyclopédique de la Côte d’Ivoire, VI, Abidjan: Nouvelles Editions africaines, ISBN 2-723-6073-3 .
  • (French) Diabaté, Henriette; Kodjo, Léonard; Bamba (1991), Les chemins de ma vie: entretiens avec Éric Laurent, Abidjan: Ivoire Média, OCLC 29185113 .
  • (French) Dégni-Ségui, René (2002), Droit administratif général: l'organisation administrative (3rd ed.), Abidjan: CEDA, ISBN 2-86394-475-4, OCLC 53482423 .
  • (French) Désalmand, Paul; Konan-Dauré, N'Guessan (2005), Histoire de l'éducation en Côte d’Ivoire: de la Conférence de Brazzaville à 1984, Abidjan: CERAP, ISBN 2-915352-01-X, OCLC 10724568 .
  • (French) Diégou, Bailly (2000), La Réinstauration du multipartisme en Côte d’Ivoire: ou la double mort d’Houphouët-Boigny, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2-73842-349-3 .
  • (French) Ekanza, Simon Pierre (2005), L’Afrique au temps des Blancs (1880–1935), Abidjan: CERAP, ISBN 2-915352-08-7 .
  • (French) Ekanza, Simon Pierre (2006), Côte d’Ivoire: Terre de convergence et d’accueil (XVe–XIXe siècles), Abidjan: Éditions CERAP, ISBN 2-915352-22-4, OCLC 70242387 .
  • (French) Ellenbogen, Alice (2002), La succession d'Houphouët-Boigny: entre tribalisme et démocratie, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2-7475-2950-9, OCLC 62407712 .
  • (French) Garrier, Claude (2006), Forêt et institutions ivoiriennes: la forêt miroir des politiques, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2296026559, OCLC 85336182 .
  • (French) Garrier, Claude (2006), L'exploitation coloniale des forêts de Côte d’Ivoire: une spoliation institutionnalisée, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2-7475-9866-7 .
  • (French) Garrier, Claude (2007), Côte d’Ivoire et zone OHADA: gestion immobilière et droit foncier urbain, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2296041698, OCLC 191732681 .
  • (French) Gbagbo, Laurent (1983), Côte-d'Ivoire: pour une alternative démocratique, Paris: Harmattan, ISBN 2-858-02303-4, OCLC 11345813 .

External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Côte d'Ivoire article)

From Wikitravel

Africa : West Africa : Côte d'Ivoire
Quick Facts
Capital Yamoussoukro; Abidjan remains administrative center
Government republic; multiparty presidential regime
Currency Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)
Area 322,460 sq km
Population 17,654,843 (July 2006 est.)
Language French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken
Religion Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40%
Electricity 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +225
Internet TLD .ci
Time Zone UTC
Travel Warning

WARNING: Côte d'Ivoire experiences periodic political unrest and violence in northern regions, and it is recommended to contact your embassy or consult other travelers about the present situation prior to travel inland.

Côte d'Ivoire [1] (also referred to as "Ivory Coast") is a country in West Africa. It has a southerly facing North Atlantic Ocean coast, and is surrounded by Ghana to the east, Liberia to the west, Guinea to the northwest, Mali to the north, and Burkina Faso to the northeast.

Map of Côte d'Ivoire
Map of Côte d'Ivoire
  • Abidjan - Remains the administrative center and other countries maintain their embassies there.
  • Korhogo - Rebel head quarters; otherwise idyllic, bursts with commerce during Feb - May because of flowing cotton and cashew trade.
  • Aboisso - Important mile stone on the route connecting Abidjan and Ghana trade route
  • Bouaké - the second largest city
  • Dabou
  • San-Pedro - the second port city
  • Yamoussoukro - Although it has been the official capital since 1983, it is not the administrative centre.
  • Grand-Bassam - A coastal town full of colonial charm, often a retreat for local Ivorians seeking to escape the city life of Abidjan on the weekends.

Other destinations

Three National Parks are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.



Tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October). The coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible.


Mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest. Most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region. Apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated. The highest point is Mont Nimba (1,752 meters).


Close ties to Germany since independence in 1966, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Côte d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil. In December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Côte d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government. Junta leader Robert Guei blatantly rigged elections held in late 1999 and declared himself the winner. Popular protest forced him to step aside and brought runner-up Laurent Gbagbo into liberation. Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt in September 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and in January 2003 were granted ministerial positions in a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President Gbagbo and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord in December 2003 after a three-month stalemate, but issues that sparked the civil war, such as land reform and grounds for citizenship, remain unresolved. The northern government has yet to exert control over the northern regions and tensions remain high between Gbagbo and opposition leaders. Several thousand French and West African troops remain in Côte d'Ivoire to maintain peace and facilitate the disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation process.

Get in


Effective February 15, 2009, all US citizens visiting Côte d'Ivoire must obtain a visa before arrival. This may be done at any Ivoirian mission abroad.

By plane

The Felix-Houphouet Boigny International Airport has daily scheduled flights to and from Paris (Air France [2]) and Amsterdam (KLM [3]). There are also regular flights to other West-African capitals. The airport is a modern facility and increased security has shaken its old reputation as a place for travelers to be ripped off.

By train

The train journey between Abidjan and Ougadougou cuts through rebel territory and should not be attempted by foreign travelers.

By car

It is ill advised to try to enter Côte d'Ivoire from Guinea, Liberia, Mali, or Burkina Faso. The Ghanaian border is fairly secure. If you enter at Elubo, you can easily catch a shared taxi to Aboisso and then a bus to Abidjan. There are about ten military check-points between the border and Abidjan so have your documents ready. If you do not have proper documentation of your inoculations at the border you will be forced to pay a small fine and they will give you an injection at an on-site clinic.

By bus

Busses run daily between Abidjan and Accra. The service is offered alternating between the STC (Ghana) and its Ivoirian equivalent.

By boat

Abidjan has a beautiful evening ride on the lagoon in the city for tourists. It might not be breath taking, but is a very good pleasure trip. Daily, hundreds of Ivorians take the lagoon route to reach offices on the port side.

Get around

Inter-city travel in Côte d'Ivoire is usually more comfortable than travel in neighboring African countries. The roads are generally in good condition and the bus service is relatively modern. The down side is the very frequent military check-points which add hours to a trip. Though the stops are a hassle, Ivoirian soldiers tend to be pretty professional and don't hassle non-French western travelers. Soldiers in Ghana for example are much more likely to demand a bribe than in Côte d'Ivoire. Most western governments recommend that their citizens steer clear of Côte d'Ivoire. This should be taken particularly seriously by people travelling on French passports. An Ivoirian soldier's attitude towards you will change very quickly when you explain that you are not French.

Travel in Abidjan is the best when you have your own vehicle to travel around. The roads are very good and the traffic rules are obeyed to the T, excepting some taxi drivers who steer everywhere on the road. Lane discipline and traffic lights are followed with rigor.


The official language is French, but there are 60 native dialects as well. The most widely spoken is Dioula. Other native languages include Hamdunga, Loftus Africanus, Gigala, Oloofid, and Ulam. But one cannot survive without French for longer time duration. And business travelers need French on their tongue to close any small deal.


Costliest place in and around West Africa


Good eats are cheap and you can find very good restaurants in Abidjan. You should get a vaccine for Hepatitis A before coming but even street foods are fairly clean. Try the national dishes like " Garba" and "alloco". Alloco is simply fried plantains. Braised fishes and chickens are also very good. One of the specialty is the excellent " shougouilla" a blend of charbroiled meat! For the one's who are not adventurous you can find the Hamburger House or the French restaurant at the Sofitel Hotel.


It is recommended for travelers from the west to visit bars and night clubs with security. Bidul Bar, Havana Club and others are in Zone 4 or Zone Quatre. If you do go be aware of prostitutes that will want to talk to you. Other places are in Treicheville and Cocody but you should have private transportation or a cab. If you do drive at night do not stop fully at lights or signs. Be aware of car jackers, keep a brisk pace so they cannot car jack you.


The better place to stay is the Tiama Hotel. Quite expensive but safe. There is a wonderful hotel called Licorne in Deux Plateaux. They have a pool, great restaurant, and wireless internet. The rooms are clean and charming. Prices are 18-30,000 CFA per night. They are located behind the Total Station, around the corner from Pako. Ask anyone where Pako is, and you'll be able to find it from there.

Stay safe

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth office advises against all travel to Côte d'Ivoire at this time.

Most of the crime committed in Abidjan is by unemployed youth. Should you ever feel in danger it would be wise to seek the help of a middle-aged man. This older generation is often very contemptuous of young criminals and will likely help you out if you are being hassled. Generally Ivoirians will recognize the dangers to foreigners in their country and will often be very protective of naive travelers. This is especially true in the Abidjan neighborhoods of Treichville and Adjame.

Stay healthy

HIV/AIDS is reaching epidemic proportions in the country, with an adult prevalence of 7% or 1 in 14 adults. Avoid unprotected sex.


Although the country was previously referred to in English "Ivory Coast", the country has requested that it be called "Côte d'Ivoire" (the equivalent in French). Pronouncing it "Coat di-VWAR" is close enough for an English-speaking person.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun

Ivory Coast


Ivory Coast

  1. A country in Western Africa. Official name: Republic of Côte d'Ivoire or Côte d'Ivoire.

Usage notes


See also


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