Coordinates: 8°N 5°W / 8°N 5°W / 8; -5
Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
République de Côte d'Ivoire (French)
Coat of arms
Motto: "Union – Discipline – Travail" (French)
"Unity – Discipline – Work"
Song of Abidjan
Location of Ivory Coast (dark blue)
in the African Union (light blue)
6°51′N 5°18′W / 6.850°N 5.300°W / 6.850; -5.300
Ethnic groups (1998)
17.6% Voltaiques / Gur
16.5% Northern Mandé
10.0% Southern Mandé
Unitary presidential republic under a parliamentary system
• Vice President
Daniel Kablan Duncan
• Prime Minister
Amadou Gon Coulibaly
Parliament of Ivory Coast
• Upper house
• Lower house
• from France
7 August 1960
322,463 km2 (124,504 sq mi) (68th)
• Water (%)
• 2018 estimate
• 2015 census
63.9/km2 (165.5/sq mi) (139th)
• Per capita
• Per capita
low · 171st
West African CFA franc
West African CFA franc (XOF)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
Including approximately 130,000 Lebanese and 14,000 French people.
Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire and officially as the
Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a sovereign state located in West
Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro, and its
economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. Its
bordering countries are
Liberia in the west, Burkina Faso
Mali in the north, and
Ghana in the east. The Gulf of Guinea
(Atlantic Ocean) is located south of Ivory Coast.
Prior to its colonization by Europeans,
Ivory Coast was home to
several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. Two
Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, attempted to retain their separate
identity through the French colonial period and after independence.
Ivory Coast became a protectorate of
France in 1843–1844 and later a
French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. Ivory
Coast achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny,
who ruled the country until 1993. The country maintained close
political and economic association with its West African neighbors
while at the same time maintaining close ties to the West, especially
France. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule in 1993, Ivory Coast
has experienced a coup d'état, in 1999, and two religion-grounded
civil wars. The first took place between 2002 and 2007 and the
second during 2010–2011. In 2000, the country adopted a new
Ivory Coast is a republic with a strong executive power invested in
its President. Through the production of coffee and cocoa, the country
was an economic powerhouse in
West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.
Ivory Coast went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, contributing
to a period of political and social turmoil. In the 21st century the
Ivorian economy is largely market-based and still relies heavily on
agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production being dominant.
The official language is French, with local indigenous languages also
widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara
Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast.
Popular religions include Christianity (primarily Roman Catholicism),
Islam, and various indigenous religions.
2.1 Land migration
2.2 Pre-Islamic and Islamic periods
2.3 Pre-European era
2.4 Establishment of French rule
2.5 French colonial era
2.7 Houphouët-Boigny administration
2.8 Bédié administration
2.9 1999 military coup
2.10 Gbagbo administration
2.11 Ivorian Civil War
2.11.1 2002 Unity Government
2.12 2010 election
2.13 2011 Civil War
3.1 Administrative divisions
4.1 Foreign relations
6.4 Ethnic groups
6.5 Largest cities
7 Science and technology
9 See also
13 External links
Originally, Portuguese and French merchant-explorers in the 15th and
16th centuries divided the west coast of Africa, very roughly, into
five "coasts" reflecting local economies. The coast that the French
named the Côte d'Ivoire and the Portuguese named the Costa do
Marfim—both, literally, mean "Ivory Coast"—lay between what was
known as the Guiné de Cabo Verde, so-called "Upper Guinea" at
Cap-Vert, and Lower Guinea. There was also a Pepper Coast,
also known as the "Grain Coast", a "Gold Coast", and a "Slave Coast".
Like those, the name "Ivory Coast" reflected the major trade that
occurred on that particular stretch of the coast, the export of
Other names included the Côte de Dents,[n 1] literally "Coast of
Teeth", again reflecting the trade in ivory;
the Côte de Quaqua, after the people whom the Dutch named the Quaqua
(alternatively Kwa Kwa); the Coast of the Five and Six
Stripes, after a type of cotton fabric also traded there; and the
Côte du Vent[n 2], the Windward Coast, after perennial local
off-shore weather conditions. One can find the name Cote de(s)
Dents regularly used in older works. It was used in Duckett's
Dictionnaire (Duckett 1853) and by Nicolas Villault de Bellefond, for
Antoine François Prévost
Antoine François Prévost used Côte d'Ivoire.
In the 19th century, usage switched to Côte d'Ivoire.
The coastline of the modern state is not quite coterminous with what
the 15th- and 16th-century merchants knew as the "Teeth" or "Ivory"
coast, which was considered to stretch from
Cape Palmas to Cape Three
Points and which is thus now divided between the modern states of
Ivory Coast (with a minute portion of
Liberia). It retained the name through French rule and
independence in 1960. The name had long since been translated
literally into other languages,[n 3] which the post-independence
government considered increasingly troublesome whenever its
international dealings extended beyond the Francophone sphere.
Therefore, in April 1986, the government declared that Côte d'Ivoire
(or, more fully, République de Côte d'Ivoire) would be its
formal name for the purposes of diplomatic protocol, and since then
officially refuses to recognize or accept any translation from French
to another language in its international dealings.
Despite the Ivorian government's request, the English translation
"Ivory Coast" (often "the Ivory Coast") is still frequently used in
English by various media outlets and publications.[n 4][n 5]
Main article: History of Ivory Coast
Prehistoric polished stone celt from
Boundiali in northern Ivory
Coast, photo taken at the
IFAN Museum of African Arts
IFAN Museum of African Arts in Dakar,
The first human presence in
Ivory Coast has been difficult to
determine because human remains have not been well preserved in the
country's humid climate. However, newly found weapon and tool
fragments (specifically, polished axes cut through shale and remnants
of cooking and fishing) have been interpreted as a possible indication
of a large human presence during the
Upper Paleolithic period (15,000
to 10,000 BC), or at the minimum, the
The earliest known inhabitants of
Ivory Coast have left traces
scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were
all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present
indigenous inhabitants, who migrated south into the area before the
16th century. Such groups included the Ehotilé (Aboisso), Kotrowou
(Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand Lahou), Ega and Diès (Divo).
Pre-Islamic and Islamic periods
The first recorded history appears in the chronicles of North African
(Berber) 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
centres around which the great Sudanic empires developed.
By controlling the trade routes with their powerful military forces,
these empires were able to dominate neighbouring states. The Sudanic
empires also became centres of Islamic education. Islam had been
introduced in the western
Sudan (today's Mali) by Muslim Berber
traders from North Africa; it spread rapidly after the conversion of
many important rulers. From the 11th century, by which time the rulers
of the Sudanic empires had embraced Islam, it spread south into the
northern areas of contemporary Ivory Coast.
Ghana empire, the earliest of the Sudanic empires, flourished in
Mauritania from the fourth to the 13th centuries.
At the peak of its power in the 11th 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 14th century. The territory of the
Ivory Coast was limited to the north-west corner around Odienné.
Its slow decline starting at the end of the 14th century followed
internal discord and revolts by vassal states, one of which, Songhai,
flourished as an empire between the 14th and 16th centuries. Songhai
was also weakened by internal discord, which led to factional warfare.
This discord spurred most of the migrations southward toward the
forest belt. The dense rain forest covering the southern half of the
country, created barriers to the large-scale political organizations
that had arisen in the north. Inhabitants lived in villages or
clusters of villages; their contacts with the outside world were
filtered through long-distance traders. Villagers subsisted on
agriculture and hunting.
Five important states flourished in
Ivory Coast during the
pre-European era. The Muslim
Kong Empire was established by the Joola
in the early 18th 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 17th century by an
Akan group, the Abron, who had fled the developing Ashanti
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 arrivals
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-17th century in
east-central Ivory Coast, other Akan groups fleeing the Asante
established a Baoulé kingdom at
Sakasso and two Agni kingdoms,
Indénié and Sanwi.
The Baoulé, like the Ashanti, developed a highly centralized
political and administrative structure under three successive rulers.
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 Ivory Coast's independence; as late as
Sanwi attempted to break away from
Ivory Coast and form an
independent kingdom. The current king of
Sanwi is Nana Amon
Ndoufou V (since 2002).
Establishment of French rule
Compared to neighboring Ghana,
Ivory Coast though practicing slavery
and slave raiding suffered little from the slave trade as such.
European slaving and merchant ships preferred other areas along the
coast. The earliest recorded European voyage to
West Africa was made
by the Portuguese in 1482. The first West African French settlement,
Saint Louis, was founded in the mid-17th 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 at
Assinie near the border with the Gold Coast (now Ghana). The Europeans
suppressed the local practice of slavery at this time, and forbade the
trade to their merchants.
Assinie's survival was precarious, however; the French were not firmly
Ivory Coast until the mid-19th century. In 1843–4,
Louis Edouard Bouët-Willaumez
Louis Edouard Bouët-Willaumez signed treaties with the
kings of the
Grand Bassam and
Assinie regions, making their
territories a French protectorate. French explorers, missionaries,
trading companies, and soldiers gradually extended the area under
French control inland from the lagoon region. Pacification was not
accomplished until 1915.
Activity along the coast stimulated European interest in the interior,
especially along the two great rivers, the
Senegal and the Niger.
Concerted French exploration of
West Africa began in the mid-19th
century, but moved slowly, based more on individual initiative than on
government policy. In the 1840s, the French concluded a series of
treaties with local West African chiefs that enabled the French to
build fortified posts along the Gulf of
Guinea to serve as permanent
Louis-Gustave Binger of French
West Africa in 1892 treaty signing with
Famienkro leaders, in present-day N'zi-Comoé Region, Ivory Coast
The first posts in
Ivory Coast 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
chiefs 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
The French built naval bases to keep out non-French traders and began
a systematic pacification of the interior to stop raids on their
settlements. They accomplished this only after a long war in the 1890s
against Mandinka tribesmen, mostly from Gambia. However, raids by the
Baoulé and other eastern tribes continued until 1917.[citation
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 West African
trading posts, leaving them in the care of resident merchants. The
trading post at
Grand Bassam in
Ivory Coast was left in the care of a
shipper from Marseille, Arthur Verdier, who in 1878 was named Resident
of the Establishment of Ivory Coast.
In 1886, to support its claims of effective occupation,
assumed direct control of its West African coastal trading posts and
embarked on an accelerated program of exploration in the interior. In
Louis Gustave Binger
Louis Gustave Binger began a two-year journey that
traversed parts of Ivory Coast's interior. By the end of the journey,
he had concluded four treaties establishing French protectorates in
Ivory Coast. 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 Ivory Coast.
French colonial era
Arrival in Kong of new French
West Africa governor Louis-Gustave
Binger in 1892.
By the end of the 1880s,
France had established control over the
coastal regions of Ivory Coast, and in 1889 Britain recognized French
sovereignty in the area. That same year,
France named Treich-Laplène
titular governor of the territory. In 1893,
Ivory Coast became a
French colony, and Captain Binger was appointed governor. Agreements
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
Ivory Coast for economic and
France's main goal was to stimulate the production of exports. Coffee,
cocoa, and palm oil crops were soon planted along the coast. Ivory
Coast 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. As a result, French
citizens owned one-third of the cocoa, coffee, and banana plantations
and adopted the local forced-labor system.
Throughout the early years of French rule, French military contingents
were sent inland to establish new posts. Some of the native population
and former slave-owning class resisted French settlers. Among those
offering greatest resistance was Samori Ture, who in the 1880s and
1890s was conquering his neighbors, re-establishing slavery and
founding the Wassoulou Empire, which extended over large parts of
present-day Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast. Samori Ture's
large, well-equipped army, which could manufacture and repair its own
firearms, attracted some support throughout the region from chiefs who
sought to play the two sides off against each other. The French
responded to Samori Ture's expansion and conquest with military
pressure. French campaigns against Samori Ture, which were met with
greater resistance than usual in tribal warfare, intensified in the
mid-1890s until he was captured in 1898 and his empire dissolved.
France's imposition of a head tax in 1900 to support the colony's
public works program provoked unexpected protests. Many Ivoirians saw
the tax as a violation of the protectorate treaties because they felt
France was demanding the equivalent of a coutume from the local
kings, rather than the reverse. Many, especially in the interior, also
considered the tax a humiliating symbol of submission. In 1905,
the French officially abolished slavery in most of French West
Africa. From 1904 to 1958,
Ivory Coast was part of the Federation
of French West Africa. It was a colony and an overseas territory under
the Third Republic. In World War I,
France organized regiments from
Ivory Coast to fight in France, and colony resources were rationed
from 1917–1919. Some 150,000 men from
Ivory Coast died in World War
I. Until the period following World War II, governmental affairs in
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
Ivory Coast were officially French
"subjects", but without rights to representation in
Africa or France.
Samori Touré – founder and leader of the Wassoulou Empire, a state
Africa that resisted French rule
French colonial policy incorporated concepts of assimilation and
association. Based on the assumed superiority of French culture, in
practice the assimilation policy meant the extension of French
language, institutions, laws, and customs to the colonies. 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
Ivory Coast were allowed to preserve their own customs insofar as
they were compatible with French interests, such as the recent
abolition of the slave trade.
An indigenous elite trained in French administrative practice formed
an intermediary group between French and Africans. 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. As
subjects of France, natives outside the above-mentioned civilized
elite had no political rights. They were drafted for work in mines, on
plantations, as porters, and on public projects as part of their tax
responsibility. They were expected to serve in the military and were
subject to the indigénat, a separate system of law.
In World War II, the
Vichy regime remained in control until 1942, when
British troops invaded without much resistance. Winston Churchill gave
power back to members of General Charles de Gaulle's provisional
government. By 1943, the Allies had returned French
West Africa to the
French. The Brazzaville Conference of 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
Ivory Coast, using a system of direct, centralized administration that
left little room for Ivoirian participation in policy-making. While
British colonial administrations adopted divide-and-rule policies
elsewhere, applying ideas of assimilation only to the educated elite,
the French were interested in ensuring that the small but influential
elite was sufficiently satisfied with the status quo to refrain from
anti-French sentiment. Although 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. After the assimilation
doctrine was implemented through the postwar reforms, though, Ivoirian
leaders realized that even assimilation implied the superiority of the
French over the Ivoirians. Some of them thought that discrimination
and political inequality would end only with independence; others
thought the problem of the division between the tribal culture and
modernity would continue.
Félix Houphouët-Boigny and First Lady Marie-Thérèse
Houphouët-Boigny in the
Entrance Hall with President John
F. Kennedy and First Lady
Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962.
Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the son of a Baoulé chief, became Ivory
Coast'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, the
union members 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
Ivory Coast would benefit from the relationship, which it did for many
France appointed him as a minister, 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 the remaining voting inequities. In 1958, Ivory Coast
became an autonomous member of the French Community, which had
replaced the French Union.
At 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, which was further boosted by a significant immigration of
workers from surrounding countries. Coffee production increased
Ivory Coast 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 other African nations, the people drove out
the Europeans following independence, but in Ivory Coast, 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.
For 20 years, the economy maintained an annual growth rate of nearly
10%—the highest of Africa's non-oil-exporting countries.
Houphouët-Boigny's one-party rule was not amenable to political
competition. Laurent Gbagbo, who would become the president of Ivory
Coast in 2000, had to flee the country in the 1980s, after he incurred
the ire of Houphouët-Boigny by founding the Front Populaire
Ivoirien. Houphouët-Boigny banked on his broad appeal to the
population, who continued to elect him. He was criticized for his
emphasis on developing large-scale projects.
Many felt the millions of dollars spent transforming his home village,
Yamoussoukro, into the new political capital were wasted; others
supported his vision to develop a centre for peace, education, and
religion in the heart of the country. In the early 1980s, the world
recession and a local drought sent shock waves through the Ivoirian
economy. Due to the overcutting of timber and collapsing sugar prices,
the country's external debt increased three-fold. Crime rose
Abidjan as an influx of villagers exacerbated
unemployment caused by the recession.
In 1990, hundreds of civil servants went on strike, joined by students
protesting institutional corruption. The unrest forced the government
to support multiparty democracy. Houphouët-Boigny became increasingly
feeble, and died in 1993. He favoured
Henri Konan Bédié as his
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 Ivory Coast
Unlike Houphouët-Boigny, who was very careful to avoid any ethnic
conflict and left access to administrative positions open to
immigrants from neighbouring countries, Bedié emphasized the concept
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, which resulted in two civil wars in the
1999 military coup
Similarly, Bedié excluded many potential opponents from the army. In
late 1999, a group of dissatisfied officers staged a military coup,
Robert Guéï in power. Bedié fled into exile in
France. The new leadership reduced crime and corruption, and the
generals pressed for austerity and campaigned in the streets for a
less wasteful society.
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. Following a public
uprising that resulted in around 180 deaths, Guéï was swiftly
replaced by 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 noncitizens to run for the 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
Main article: First Ivorian Civil War
A technical in the First Ivorian Civil War, 2002–2007
In the early hours of 19 September 2002, while the President was in
Italy, an armed uprising occurred. 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 Abidjan. They had lost
control of the north of the country, and rebel forces made their
stronghold in the northern city of Bouaké.
The rebels threatened to move on
Abidjan again, and
troops from its base in the country to stop their advance. The French
said they were protecting their own citizens from danger, but their
deployment also helped government forces. That the French were helping
either side was not established as a fact; but each side accused the
French of supporting the opposite side. Whether French actions
improved or worsened the situation in the long term is disputed. What
exactly happened that night is also disputed. The government claimed
that former president
Robert Guéï led a coup attempt, and state TV
showed pictures of his dead body in the street; counter-claims stated
that he and 15 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 German embassy; his home had been burned down. President
Gbagbo cut short his 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 residents.
An early ceasefire with the rebels, which 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, and militias, including warlords and
Liberia and Sierra Leone, took advantage of the crisis
to seize parts of the west.
2002 Unity Government
Armed Ivorians next to a
French Foreign Legion
French Foreign Legion armoured car, 2004
In January 2003, 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. The unity government was
unstable, and central problems remained, with neither side achieving
its goals. In March 2004, 120 people were killed at an opposition
rally, and subsequent mob violence led to the evacuation of foreign
nationals. 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 because the rebels refused to disarm, Gbagbo ordered
airstrikes against the rebels. During one of these airstrikes in
Bouaké, on 6 November 2004, French soldiers were hit, and nine were
killed; the Ivorian government said it was a mistake, but the French
claimed it was deliberate. They responded by destroying most Ivoirian
military aircraft (two Su-25 planes and five helicopters), and violent
retaliatory riots against the French broke out in Abidjan.
Gbagbo's original term as president expired on 30 October 2005, but
due to the lack of disarmament, an election was deemed impossible, so
his term in office was extended for a maximum of one year, according
to a plan worked out by the
African Union and endorsed by the United
Nations Security Council. With the late-October deadline
approaching in 2006, the election was regarded as very unlikely to be
held by that point, and the opposition and the rebels rejected the
possibility of another term extension for Gbagbo. The UN Security
Council endorsed another one-year extension of Gbagbo's term on 1
November 2006; however, the resolution provided for 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.
A peace accord between the government and the rebels, or New Forces,
was signed on 4 March 2007, and subsequently Guillaume Soro, leader of
the New Forces, became prime minister. These events were seen by some
observers as substantially strengthening Gbagbo's position.
According to UNICEF, at the end of the civil war, water and sanitation
infrastructure had been greatly damaged. Communities across the
country required repairs to their water supply.
Main article: Ivorian presidential election, 2010
President since 2010
Daniel Kablan Duncan
Prime Minister from 2012 to 2017
The presidential elections that should have been organized in 2005
were postponed until November 2010. The preliminary results announced
independently by the president of the Electoral Commission from the
headquarters of Ouattara due to concern about fraud in that
commission.[clarification needed] They showed a loss for Gbagbo in
favour of former prime minister Alassane Ouattara.
The ruling FPI contested the results before the Constitutional
Council, charging massive fraud in the northern departments controlled
by the rebels of the New Forces. These charges were contradicted by
United Nations observers (unlike
African Union observers). The report
of the results led to severe tension and violent incidents. The
Constitutional Council, which consisted of Gbagbo supporters, declared
the results of seven northern departments unlawful and that Gbagbo had
won the elections with 51% of the vote – instead of Ouattara winning
with 54%, as reported by the Electoral Commission. After the
inauguration of Gbagbo, Ouattara—who was recognized as the winner by
most countries and the United Nations—organized an alternative
inauguration. These events raised fears of a resurgence of the civil
war; thousands of refugees fled the country.
African Union sent Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa,
to mediate the conflict. The
United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council adopted a
Alassane Ouattara as winner of the elections,
based on the position of the Economic Community of West African
States, which suspended
Ivory Coast from all its decision-making
bodies while the
African Union also suspended the country's
In 2010, a colonel of the
Ivory Coast armed forces, Nguessan Yao, was
arrested in New York in a year-long U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement operation charged with procuring and illegal export of
weapons and munitions: 4,000
9 mm handguns, 200,000 rounds of
ammunition, and 50,000 tear-gas grenades, in violation of a UN
embargo. Several other
Ivory Coast officers were released because
they had diplomatic passports. His accomplice, Michael Barry Shor, an
international trader, was located in Virginia.
2011 Civil War
A shelter for internally displaced persons during the 2011 civil war
Main article: Second Ivorian Civil War
The 2010 presidential election led to the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis
and the Second Ivorian Civil War. International organizations reported
numerous human-rights violations by both sides. In the city of
Duékoué, hundreds of people were killed. In nearby Bloléquin,
dozens were killed. UN and French forces took military action
against Gbagbo. Gbagbo was taken into custody after a raid into
his residence on 11 April 2011. The country was severely damaged by
the war, and observers say it will be a challenge for Ouattara to
rebuild the economy and reunite Ivorians.
Main article: Geography of Ivory Coast
Côte d'Ivoire map of Köppen climate classification.
Ivory Coast is a country of western sub-Saharan Africa. It borders
Guinea in the west,
Burkina Faso in the north,
Ghana in the east, and the Gulf of
Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) in the
south. The country lies between latitudes 4° and 11°N, and
longitudes 2° and 9°W. Around 64.8% of the land is agricultural
land, Arable land taking up 9.1%, permanent pasture with 41.5%, and
permanent crops occupying 14.2%. Water pollution is amongst one of the
biggest issues that the country is currently facing.
Main articles: Subdivisions of Ivory Coast, Districts of Ivory Coast,
Regions of Ivory Coast, Departments of Ivory Coast, and
Sub-prefectures of Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast has been administratively organised into 12
districts plus two district-level autonomous cities. The districts are
divided into 31 regions; the regions are divided into 108 departments;
and the departments are divided into 510 sub-prefectures. In some
instances, multiple villages are organised into communes. The
autonomous districts are not divided into regions, but they do contain
departments, sub-prefectures, and communes.
Since 2011, governors for the 12 non-autonomous districts have not
been appointed, and as a result these districts have not yet begun to
function as governmental entities.
Districts of Ivory Coast
The following is the list of districts, district capitals and each
(District Autonome d'Abidjan)
(District du Bas-Sassandra)
(District du Comoé)
(District du Denguélé)
(District du Gôh-Djiboua)
(District des Lacs)
(District des Lagunes)
(District des Montagnes)
(District du Sassandra-Marahoué)
(District des Savanes)
Vallée du Bandama
(District de la Vallée du Bandama)
(District du Woroba)
(District Autonome du Yamoussoukro)
(District du Zanzan)
Main article: Environment of Ivory Coast
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (May 2017)
Main article: List of national parks of Ivory Coast
Main article: Politics of Ivory Coast
Special Forces Military Operations unit of the Republican Forces of
the Ivory Coast
The government is divided into three branches: the executive power,
the legislative power, and the judicial power. In the legislative
Guillaume Soro directs the 2016 National Assembly and its 225
members, elected for five-year terms.
Since 1983, Ivory Coast's capital has been Yamoussoukro, while Abidjan
was the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies
in Abidjan. The Ivoirian population has suffered because of the
ongoing civil war. International human-rights organizations have noted
problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides
and the re-emergence of child slavery 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. A new
presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005, and the
rival parties agreed in March 2007 to proceed with this, but it
continued to be postponed until November 2010 due to delays in its
Elections were finally held in 2010. The first round of elections was
held peacefully, and widely hailed as free and fair. Runoffs were held
28 November 2010, after being delayed one week from the original date
of 21 November.
Laurent Gbagbo as president ran against former Prime
Minister Alassane Ouattara. On 2 December, the Electoral
Commission declared that Ouattara had won the election by a margin of
54% to 46%. In response, the Gbagbo-aligned Constitutional Council
rejected the declaration, and the government announced that country's
borders had been sealed. An Ivorian military spokesman said, "The air,
land, and sea border of the country are closed to all movement of
people and goods."
Laurent Gbagbo was extradited to the International
Criminal Court (ICC), becoming the first head of state to be taken
into the court's custody.
Further information: Foreign relations of Ivory Coast
In Africa, Ivorian diplomacy favors step-by-step economic and
political cooperation. In 1959,
Ivory Coast formed the Council of the
Entente with Dahomey (Benin), Upper Volta (Burkina Faso),
Togo; in 1965, the
African and Malagasy Common Organization
African and Malagasy Common Organization (OCAM); in
1972, the Economic Community of
West Africa (CEAO). The latter
organisation changed to the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) in 1975. A founding member of the Organization of African
Unity (OAU) in 1963 and then of the
African Union in 2000, Ivory Coast
defends respect for state sovereignty and peaceful cooperation between
Worldwide, Ivorian diplomacy is committed to fair economic and trade
relations, including the fair trade of agricultural products and the
promotion of peaceful relations with all countries.
Ivory Coast thus
maintains diplomatic relations with international organizations and
countries all around the world. In particular, it has signed United
Nations treaties such as the Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees, the 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 Convention Governing
Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.
Ivory Coast is a
member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, African Union, La
Francophonie, Latin Union, Economic Community of West African States,
and South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.
Ivory Coast has partnered with nations of the Sub-Saharan region to
strengthen water and sanitation infrastructure. This has been done
mainly with the help of organizations such as UNICEF and Nestle.
In 2015, the United Nations engineered the Sustainable Development
Goals (replacing the Millennium Development Goals). They focus on
health, education, poverty, hunger, climate change, water sanitation,
and hygiene. A major focus was clean water and salinisation. Experts
working on this field have designed the
WASH focuses on
safe drinkable water, hygiene, and proper sanitation. The group has
had a major impact on the sub-Saharan region of Africa, particularly
the Ivory Coast. By 2030, they plan to have universal and equal access
to safe and affordable drinking water.
Further information: Military of Ivory Coast
As of 2012[update], major equipment items reported by the Ivory Coast
Army included 10
T-55 tanks (marked as potentially unserviceable),
AMX-13 light tanks, 34 reconnaissance vehicles, 10 BMP-½
armoured infantry fighting vehicles, 41 wheeled APCs, and 36+
In 2012, the
Ivory Coast Airforce consisted of one
Mil Mi-24 attack
helicopter and three SA330L Puma transports (marked as potentially
Main article: Economy of Ivory Coast
A proportional representation of Ivory Coast's exports in 2011
Ivory Coast has, for the region, a relatively high income per capita
(US$1014.4 in 2013) and plays a key role in transit trade for
neighboring, landlocked countries. The country is the largest economy
in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, constituting 40% of
the monetary union’s total GDP. The country is the world's largest
exporter of cocoa beans, and the fourth-largest exporter of goods, in
general, in sub-Saharan
Africa (following South Africa, Nigeria, and
In 2009, cocoa-bean farmers earned $2.53 billion for cocoa exports and
were projected to produce 630,000 metric tons in 2013.
According to the Hershey Company, the price of cocoa beans is expected
to rise dramatically in upcoming years. The
Ivory Coast also has
100,000 rubber farmers who earned a total of $105 million in
Close ties to
France since independence in 1960, diversification of
agricultural exports, and encouragement of foreign investment have
been factors in the economic growth of Ivory Coast. In recent years,
Ivory Coast 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, those exporting into foreign markets, and
the labor force, inasmuch as instances of [[Search Results Indentured
servitudeindentured labor]] have been reported in the country's cocoa
and coffee production in every edition of the U.S. Department of
Labor's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor since
Africa and North
Africa aside, most African economies have not
grown faster since independence. One possible reason for this might be
taxes on export agriculture. Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and
exceptions as their rulers were themselves large cash-crop producers,
and the newly independent countries desisted from imposing penal rates
of taxation on export agriculture, with the result that their
economies were doing well.
Main article: Demographics of Ivory Coast
Abidjan is the Ivory Coast's largest city and its economic capital.
Congestion at a market in Abidjan
The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998, and was estimated
to be 20,617,068 in 2009, and 23,919,000 in July 2014. Ivory
Coast's first national census in 1975 counted 6.7 million
According to 2012 government survey, the fertility rate was 5.0
children born per woman, with 3.7 in urban areas and 6.3 in rural
Further information: Languages of Ivory Coast
French, the official language, is taught in schools and serves as a
lingua franca in the country. An estimated 65 languages are spoken in
Ivory Coast. One of the most common is the Dyula language, which acts
as a trade language, as well as a language commonly spoken by the
Around 7.5 million people of
Ivory Coast made up the work force in
2009. The work force took a hit, especially in the private sector,
during the early 2000s due to the numerous economic crises since 1999.
Furthermore, these crises caused companies to close and move
locations, especially in Ivory Coast's tourism industry, transit and
banking companies. Job markets decreasing posed as a huge issue in
Ivory Coast society as unemployment rates grew.
raised to 9.4% in 2012.
Solutions proposed to decrease unemployment included diversifying jobs
in small trade. This division of work encouraged farmers and the
agricultural sector. Self-employment policy, established by the
Ivorian government, allowed for very strong growth in the field with
an increase of 142% in seven years from 1995. Despite efforts like
this to decrease unemployment, it still remains as a social problem.
Ethnic groups include Akan (42.1%), Voltaiques or Gur (17.6%),
Northern Mandés (16.5%), Krous (11%), Southern Mandés (10%), and
others (2.8%, including 30,000 Lebanese and 45,000 French; 2004).
About 77% of the population is considered Ivorian.
Ivory Coast 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.
About 4% of the population is of non-African ancestry. Many are
French, Lebanese, 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 Ivory
Coast due to attacks from progovernment youth militias. Aside from
French nationals, native-born descendants of French settlers who
arrived during the country's colonial period are present.
Largest cities or towns in Ivory Coast
4 395 243
Vallée du Bandama
Religion in Ivory Coast, 2008 census
Further information: Religion in Ivory Coast
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro
Religion in Ivory Coast
Religion in Ivory Coast remains very heterogeneous, with Islam (almost
all Sunni Muslims, with some Ahmadi Muslims) and Christianity
Roman Catholic with smaller numbers of Protestants, primarily
Methodists) being the major religions. Muslims dominate the north,
while Christians dominate the south. In 2009, according to U.S.
Department of State estimates, Christians and Muslims each made up 35
to 40% of the population, while an estimated 25% of the population
practiced traditional (animist) religions.
Ivory Coast's capital, Yamoussoukro, is home to the largest church
building[n 6] in the world, the
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of
Judaism is rare in the
Ivory Coast currently, but Jews can still be
found scattered throughout the country. The Jewish people had a larger
presence in the late 20th century before a mass Jewish immigration in
which Jews from the
Ivory Coast and all over the world left their
native countries for Israel. Despite this, the Jewish population is
beginning to re-emerge in the Ivory Coast.
Main article: Health in Ivory Coast
Life expectancy at birth was 41 for males in 2004; for females it was
Infant mortality was 118 of 1000 live births. Twelve
physicians are available per 100,000 people. About a quarter of
the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a
day. About 36% of women have undergone female genital
mutilation. According to 2010 estimates,
Ivory Coast has the
27th-highest maternal mortality rate in the world. The HIV/AIDS
rate was 19th-highest in the world, estimated in 2012 at 3.20% among
adults aged 15–49 years.
The university campus of the Université de Cocody
Main article: Education in Ivory Coast
A large part of the adult population, in particular women, are
illiterate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in
school. The majority of students in secondary education are male.
At the end of secondary education, students can sit the baccalauréat
The country has a number of universities, such as the Université de
Abidjan and the Université de
Bouaké in Bouaké. In 2012,
there were 57,541 students enrolled at post-secondary diploma level,
23,008 students studying for a bachelor's or master's degree and 269
PhD students. Enrolment in tertiary education suffered during the
political crisis, dropping from 9.03% to 4.46% of the 18-25-year
cohort between 2009 and 2012.
Science and technology
Main article: Science and technology in Ivory Coast
According to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research,
Ivory Coast devotes about 0.13% of GDP to GERD. Apart from low
investment, other challenges include inadequate scientific equipment,
the fragmentation of research organizations and a failure to exploit
and protect research results.
The share of the National Development Plan for 2012–2015 that is
devoted to scientific research remains modest. Within the section on
greater wealth creation and social equity (63.8% of the total budget
for the Plan), just 1.2% is allocated to scientific research.
Twenty-four national research programmes group public and private
research and training institutions around a common research theme.
These programmes correspond to eight priority sectors for 2012–2015,
namely: health, raw materials, agriculture, culture, environment,
governance, mining and energy; and technology.
Main article: Culture of Ivory Coast
Main article: Music of Ivory Coast
Each of the ethnic groups in
Ivory Coast has its own music genres,
most showing strong vocal polyphony. Talking drums are also common,
especially among the Appolo, and polyrhythms, another African
characteristic, are found throughout
Ivory Coast and are especially
common in the southwest.
Popular music genres from
Ivory Coast include zoblazo, zouglou, and
Coupé-Décalé. A few Ivorian artists who have known international
success are Magic Système, Alpha Blondy, Meiway, Dobet Gnahoré,
Tiken Jah Fakoly, and Christina Goh, of Ivorian descent.
Main article: Media of Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast at the Olympics
Ivory Coast national football team
The country has been the host for several major African sporting
events, with the most recent being the 2013 African Basketball
Championship. In the past, the country hosted the 1984
Africa Cup of
Nations, in which its football team finished fifth, and the 1985
African Basketball Championship, where its basketball team won the
Ivory Coast won an Olympic silver medal for men's 400-metre in the
1984 games, where it competed as "Côte d'Ivoire".
The most popular sport in
Ivory Coast is association football. The
national football team has played in the World Cup three times, in
Germany 2006, in South
Africa 2010, and Brazil in 2014. The woman's
football team played in the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. Ivory
Coast notable footballers are Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, Eric Bailly
Rugby union is also popular, and the national rugby
union team qualified to play at the Rugby World Cup in South
Ivory Coast also won two
Africa Cups one 1992 and the other
Yassa is a popular dish throughout
West Africa prepared with chicken
or fish. Chicken yassa is pictured.
Main article: Ivorian cuisine
The traditional cuisine of
Ivory Coast is very similar to that of
neighboring countries in
West Africa in its reliance on grains and
Cassava and plantains are significant parts of Ivorian
cuisine. A type of corn paste called aitiu is used to prepare corn
balls, and peanuts are widely used in many dishes.
Attiéké is a
popular side dish in
Ivory Coast made with grated cassava, a
vegetable-based couscous. A common street food is alloco, ripe banana
fried in palm oil, spiced with steamed onions and chili and eaten
alone or with grilled fish. Chicken is commonly consumed and has a
unique flavor due to its lean, low-fat mass in this region. Seafood
includes tuna, sardines, shrimp, and bonito, which is similar to tuna.
Mafé is a common dish consisting of meat in a peanut sauce.
Slow-simmered stews with various ingredients are another common food
staple in Ivory Coast.
Kedjenou is a dish consisting of chicken
and vegetables slow-cooked in a sealed pot with little or no added
liquid, which concentrates the flavors of the chicken and vegetables
and tenderizes the chicken. It is usually cooked in a pottery jar
called a canary, over a slow fire, or cooked in an oven. Bangui
is a local palm wine.
Ivorians have a particular kind of small, open-air restaurant called a
maquis, which is unique to the region. A maquis normally features
braised chicken and fish covered in onions and tomatoes, served with
attiéké or kedjenou.
Ivory Coast portal
Art of Ivory Coast
Children in cocoa production
Index of Ivory Coast-related articles
List of universities in Ivory Coast
List of cities in Ivory Coast
Outline of Ivory Coast
Telecommunications in Ivory Coast
Transport in Ivory Coast
Agriculture in Ivory Coast
Health in Ivory Coast
^ Joseph Vaissète, in his 1755 Géographie historique,
ecclésiastique et civile, lists the name as La Côte des Dents ("The
Coast of the Teeth"), but notes that Côte de Dents is the more
^ Côte du Vent sometimes denoted the combined "Ivory" and "Grain"
coasts, or sometimes just the "Grain" coast.
^ Literal translations include Elfenbeinküste (German), Costa
d'Avorio (Italian), Norsunluurannikko (Finnish), Бе́рег
Слоно́вой Ко́сти (Russian), and Ivory Coast.
^ Many governments use "Côte d'Ivoire" for diplomatic reasons, as do
their outlets, such as the Chinese CCTV News. Other organizations that
use "Côte d'Ivoire" include the
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency in its
World Factbook and the international sport organizations FIFA
and the IOC (referring to their national football and Olympic
teams in international games and in official broadcasts), news
magazine The Economist, the Encyclopædia Britannica and the
National Geographic Society.
BBC usually uses "Ivory Coast" both in news reports and on its
page about the country.
The Guardian newspaper's style guide says:
"Ivory Coast, not 'The Ivory Coast' or 'Côte d'Ivoire'; its nationals
are Ivorians." ABC News, FOX News, The Times, The New York Times,
the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation all use "Ivory Coast" either exclusively or
^ It is actually a basilica, but is listed in the Guinness World
Records as the largest "church" in the world.
This article incorporates public domain material from the
Library of Congress Country Studies website
This article incorporates public domain material from the
CIA World Factbook website
This article incorporates public domain material from the
United States Department of State
United States Department of State website
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/index.htm (Background Notes).
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"Ivory Coast" is pronounced: /ˌaɪvəri
ˈkoʊst/ ( listen).
"Côte d'Ivoire" is pronounced: (/ˌkoʊt diˈvwɑːr/ KOHT dee-VWAHR
French: [kot divwaʁ] ( listen). See: "Cote d'Ivoire
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^ a b Homans 1858, p. 14.
^ Lipsky 2005, p. 39.
^ a b Plée 1868, p. 146.
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^ a b Blanchard 1818, p. 57.
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