Côte d'Ivoire

Côte d'Ivoire
/koht dee vwannrdd"/
French name of Ivory Coast.

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Cote d'Ivoire

Introduction Cote d'Ivoire
Background: Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Falling cocoa prices and political turmoil, however, sparked an economic downturn in 1999 and 2000. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE. Presidential and legislative elections held in October and December 2000 provoked violence due to the exclusion of opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA. In October 2000, Laurent GBAGBO replaced junta leader Robert GUEI as president, ending 10 months of military rule. In October 2001, President GBAGBO initiated a two- month-long National Reconciliation Forum, but its ability to conciliate Ivorians with one another remains unclear. Geography Cote d'Ivoire -
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 5 00 W
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 322,460 sq km water: 4,460 sq km land: 318,000 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries: total: 3,110 km border countries: Burkina Faso 584 km, Ghana 668 km, Guinea 610 km, Liberia 716 km, Mali 532 km
Coastline: 515 km
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: 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)
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Gulf of Guinea 0 m highest point: Mont Nimba 1,752 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 9.28% permanent crops: 13.84% other: 76.89% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 730 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible Environment - current issues: deforestation (most of the country's forests - once the largest in West Africa - have been heavily logged); water pollution from sewage and industrial and agricultural effluents Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region; apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated People Cote d'Ivoire
Population: 16,804,784 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 46% (male 3,874,651; female 3,847,080) 15-64 years: 51.8% (male 4,468,242; female 4,238,998) 65 years and over: 2.2% (male 185,306; female 190,507) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.45% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 39.99 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 16.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.22 migrant(s)/1,000 population note: after Liberia's civil war started in 1990, more than 350,000 refugees fled to Cote d'Ivoire; by the end of 1999 most Liberian refugees were assumed to have returned (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/ female total population: 1.03 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 92.23 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 44.72 years female: 46.03 years (2002 est.) male: 43.45 years
Total fertility rate: 5.61 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 10.76% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ 1 million (2000)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 72,000 (1999 est.)
Nationality: noun: Ivorian(s) adjective: Ivorian
Ethnic groups: Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (includes 130,000 Lebanese and 20,000 French) (1998)
Religions: Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40% (2001) note: the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)
Languages: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 48.5% male: 57% female: 40% Government Cote d'Ivoire
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Cote d'Ivoire conventional short form: Cote d'Ivoire local short form: Cote d'Ivoire former: Ivory Coast local long form: Republique de Cote d'Ivoire
Government type: republic; multiparty presidential regime established 1960
Capital: Yamoussoukro; note - although Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, Abidjan remains the administrative center; the US, like other countries, maintains its Embassy in Abidjan Administrative divisions: 58 departments (departements, singular - departement); Abengourou, Abidjan, Aboisso, Adiake, Adzope, Agboville, Agnibilekrou, Alepe, Bocanda, Bangolo, Beoumi, Biankouma, Bondoukou, Bongouanou, Bouafle, Bouake, Bouna, Boundiali, Dabakala, Dabou, Daloa, Danane, Daoukro, Dimbokro, Divo, Duekoue, Ferkessedougou, Gagnoa, Grand- Bassam, Grand-Lahou, Guiglo, Issia, Jacqueville, Katiola, Korhogo, Lakota, Man, Mankono, Mbahiakro, Odienne, Oume, Sakassou, San-Pedro, Sassandra, Seguela, Sinfra, Soubre, Tabou, Tanda, Tiebissou, Tingrela, Tiassale, Touba, Toulepleu, Toumodi, Vavoua, Yamoussoukro, Zuenoula
Independence: 7 August (1960) (from France)
National holiday: Independence Day, 7 August (1960)
Constitution: 3 November 1960; has been amended numerous times, last time 27 July 1998
Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Laurent GBAGBO (since 26 October 2000); note - took power following a popular overthrow of the interim leader Gen. Robert GUEI who had claimed a dubious victory in presidential elections; Gen. GUEI himself had assumed power on 25 December 1999, following a military coup against the government of former President Henri Konan BEDIE head of government: Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Development Affi N'GUESSAN (since 27 October 2000) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 26 October 2000 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president election results: Laurent GBAGBO elected president; percent of vote - Laurent GBAGBO 59.4%, Robert GUEI 32.7%, Francis WODIE 5.7%, other 2.2%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (225 seats; members are elected in single- and multi-district elections by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: elections last held 10 December 2000 with by-elections on 14 January 2001 (next to be held NA 2005) note: a Senate is scheduled to be created in the next full election in 2005 election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FPI 96, PDCI-RDA 94, RDR 5, PIT 4, other 2, independents 22, vacant 2
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consists of four chambers: Judicial Chamber for criminal cases, Audit Chamber for financial cases, Constitutional Chamber for judicial review cases, and Administrative Chamber for civil cases; there is no legal limit to the number of members Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire- African Democratic Rally or PDCI-RDA [Aime Henri Konan BEDIE]; Ivorian Popular Front or FPI [Laurent GBAGBO]; Ivorian Worker's Party or PIT [Francis WODIE]; Rally of the Republicans or RDR [Alassane OUATTARA]; Union for Democracy and Peace or UDPCI [Gen. Robert GUEI]; over 20 smaller parties Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS,
participation: Entente, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Youssoufou BAMBA chancery: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007 FAX: [1] (202) 462-9444 telephone: [1] (202) 797-0300 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador Arlene
US: RENDER embassy: 5 Rue Jesse Owens, Abidjan mailing address: B. P. 1712, Abidjan 01 telephone: [225] 20 21 09 79 FAX: [225] 20 22 32 59
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of orange (hoist side), white, and green; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and has the colors reversed - green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is green (hoist side), white, and red; design was based on the flag of France Economy Cote d'Ivoire -
Economy - overview: Cote d'Ivoire is among the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to weather conditions. Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, it is still largely dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly 68% of the population. After several years of lagging performance, the Ivorian economy began a comeback in 1994, due to the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc and improved prices for cocoa and coffee, growth in nontraditional primary exports such as pineapples and rubber, limited trade and banking liberalization, offshore oil and gas discoveries, and generous external financing and debt rescheduling by multilateral lenders and France. Moreover, government adherence to donor-mandated reforms led to a jump in growth to 5% annually during 1996-99. Growth was negative in 2000 and 2001 because of the difficulty of meeting the conditions of international donors, continued low prices of key exports, and post-coup instability. Political instability continues to impede growth.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $25.5 billion (2001)
GDP - real growth rate: -1% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,550 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 28% industry: 29% services: 43% (2000 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 3.1%
percentage share: highest 10%: 28.8% (1995) Distribution of family income - Gini 36.7 (1995)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 68% agricultural (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13% in urban areas (1998 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.72 billion expenditures: $2.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $420 million (2001 est.)
Industries: foodstuffs, beverages; wood products, oil refining, truck and bus assembly, textiles, fertilizer, building materials, electricity Industrial production growth rate: 15% (1998 est.) Electricity - production: 4.08 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 75.37% hydro: 24.63% other: 0% (1999) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 2.57 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 1.2 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: coffee, cocoa beans, bananas, palm kernels, corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sweet potatoes, sugar, cotton, rubber; timber
Exports: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: cocoa 33%, coffee, timber, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, cotton, fish (1999)
Exports - partners: France 13%, US 8%, Netherlands 7%, Germany 7%, Italy 6% (1999)
Imports: $2.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, consumer goods; capital goods, fuel, transport equipment, raw materials
Imports - partners: France 26%, Nigeria 10%, China 7%, Italy 5%, Germany 4% (1999)
Debt - external: $13.3 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid - recipient: ODA, $1 billion (1996 est.)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note - responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code: XOF
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XOF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF per euro
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Cote d'Ivoire Telephones - main lines in use: 263,700 (2000) Telephones - mobile cellular: 450,000 (2000)
Telephone system: general assessment: well developed by African standards but operating well below capacity domestic: open-wire lines and microwave radio relay; 90% digitalized international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean); 2 coaxial submarine cables (June 1999) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (1998)
Radios: 2.26 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 14 (1999)
Televisions: 1.09 million (2000)
Internet country code: .ci Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2001)
Internet users: 10,000 (2001) Transportation Cote d'Ivoire
Railways: total: 660 km narrow gauge: 660 km 1.000-meter gauge; 25 km double-track note: an additional 600 km of this railroad extends into Burkina Faso, ending at Kaya, north of Ouagadougou (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 50,400 km paved: 4,889 km unpaved: 45,511 km (1996)
Waterways: 980 km (navigable rivers, canals, and numerous coastal lagoons)
Ports and harbors: Abidjan, Aboisso, Dabou, San-Pedro
Airports: 36 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 7 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 29 1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 914 to 1,523 m: 13 under 914 m: 9 (2001) Military Cote d'Ivoire
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, paramilitary Gendarmerie, Republican Guard (includes Presidential Guard) Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 3,963,166 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 2,071,011 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching military males: 188,411 (2002 est.)
age annually: Military expenditures - dollar $127.7 million (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 1.3% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Cote d'Ivoire Disputes - international: none
Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for local consumption; transshipment point for Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin to Europe and occasionally to the US, and for Latin American cocaine destined for Europe and South Africa

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or Ivory Coast officially Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

Country, western Africa.

Area: 124,504 sq mi (322,463 sq km). Population (2002): 16,805,000. Capital: Yamoussoukro; seat of government, Abidjan. The population consists of various ethnic groups, including the Bete, Senufo, Baule, Anyi, Dyula, Bambara, and Dan. Languages: French (official), Baule, Anyi, Bete, Bambara, Dan. Religions: Islam, Roman Catholicism, traditional religions. Currency: CFA franc. Côte d'Ivoire can be divided into four major regions: a narrow coastal region, an equatorial rainforest in the west, a cultivated forest zone in the east, and a savanna region in the north. Agriculture employs more than 50% of the workforce. The country is the world's largest producer of cocoa and a major producer of coffee; other exports include bananas, cotton, rubber, timber, and diamonds. It is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and its head of government is the prime minister. European powers came to the area to trade in ivory and slaves beginning in the 15th century, and local kingdoms gave way to French influence in the 19th century. The French colony of Côte d'Ivoire was founded in 1893, and full French occupation took place 1908–18. In 1946 it became a territory in the French Union; in 1947 the northern part of the country separated and became the nation of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso). Côte d'Ivoire peacefully achieved autonomy in 1958 and independence in 1960, when Félix Houphouë t-Boigny was elected president. The country's first multiparty presidential elections were held in 1990. Political turmoil has persisted since Houphouë t-Boigny died in 1993.

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▪ 2009

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 19,624,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro

      Ten people who were arrested on Dec. 27, 2007, for having plotted to overthrow the government in Côte d'Ivoire were indicted on Jan. 18, 2008. The men allegedly were followers of the former leader of the New Forces, Ibrahim Coulibaly, who was living in exile in Benin.

      On January 15 the UN Security Council voted to continue (until new elections were held) its peacekeeping operations in Côte d'Ivoire's “zone of confidence,” which since 2002 had separated the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south. In February four UN observation posts in the zone were dismantled as a stage in the establishment of a “green line,” which was a much-narrower buffer area. On May 3 more than 1,000 former members of the New Forces participated in a disarmament ceremony in Bouaké.

      Public services in the north began reopening as the 2007 peace pact held. In January post office employees started to clear the five-year mail backlog, and customs officials resumed their duties in the north on May 15. Leaders of the fishermen's union and Ministry of Food officials on July 3 called for the lifting of a 2004 UN-imposed arms embargo, claiming that they were unable to import parts to repair two naval vessels that were essential to keeping foreign boats from operating in Ivoirian territorial waters.

      During the year demonstrations reached violent proportions over such grievances as water shortages, racketeering, and rocketing food prices. On February 20, thousands of women, demanding an end to a monthlong stoppage of drinking water, took to the streets of Abidjan and were teargassed by police. Protests on April 1 and 2 against high food prices turned into riots throughout Abidjan; at least one person was killed and dozens injured as the police attempted to regain control. Pres. Laurent Gbagbo responded by removing all import taxes on foodstuffs. A government announcement on July 6 declaring that it would no longer subsidize fuel prices provoked another series of strikes and protests in Abidjan as prices rose sharply. On July 21 Prime Minister Guillaume Soro stated that the fuel subsidy would be reinstated and that all government ministers would take a 50% pay cut to help pay for it.

      Though originally scheduled for June, presidential elections were postponed until November but then further delayed until 2009.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2008

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 19,262,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Charles Konan Banny and, from April 4, Guillaume Soro

 Promising steps were taken in 2007 toward unifying Côte d' Ivoire, which had been divided after nearly five years of civil war. On March 4 at a meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Ivoirian Pres. Laurent Gbagbo and New Forces (FN) leader Guillaume Soro signed a peace agreement that called for a new transitional government, pending presidential and legislative elections to be held within 10 months. On March 17, in accordance with the terms of the pact, the president also created a new military command to be composed equally of government and rebel soldiers. The prime objective of the new structure would be the disarmament of all militias. The UN endorsed the agreement but said that its peacekeepers would remain in place until full security had been restored.

      Soro took office as prime minister on April 4 and on April 7 announced the composition of his coalition cabinet (11 members of the presidential party, the Popular Front; 7 ministers from the FN; and 5 each from two leading opposition parties). Three days after a general amnesty was declared on April 13 for all crimes committed during the civil war, the dismantling began of barricades marking the buffer zone in the centre of the country. Pro-government militias in the western region made a symbolic gesture by handing over arms and ammunition in accordance with the Ouagadougou Agreement. At the end of May, the first steps were taken toward resolving the major source of the hostilities. The government announced that it would begin the process of issuing new identity papers for millions of undocumented Ivoirians. Although unnamed dissidents fired rockets at Soro's plane from Bouaké Airport, the peace process continued. On September 13 the head of the Independent Election Commission announced that presidential elections would be held within one year, provided that the process of identifying and certifying voters, due to commence September 25, was completed as scheduled.

      Months of drought ended in August, when massive floods inundated the country. On February 13 the Dutch trading group Trafigura agreed to pay the Ivoirian government $198 million to be used to compensate the thousands of victims (at least 10 people died and more than 100,000 sought medical attention) affected by the August 2006 illegal dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2007

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 17,655,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny

      Armed men attacked two Ivorian military bases in Abidjan on Jan. 2, 2006; 10 people were killed. Three days later security forces shot dead three Burkinabe accused by local residents of backing the rebels in the north of the country. The same month, UN mediators called for the dissolution of the National Assembly as part of the peace plan. In response, supporters of Pres. Laurent Gbagbo, whose party controlled the legislature, attacked UN offices in Abidjan and the west, causing damage to the former estimated at $3 million.

      A four-hour summit between Gbagbo, opposition leaders, and rebel commanders on February 28 marked the first such meeting held in the country since the civil war erupted in 2002. Still, the country remained split, and there were grave doubts that the promised elections would be held in 2006. Gbagbo stated that he would remain in office if the elections were postponed. On July 25 more than 100 militiamen loyal to the president turned in their arms in the western town of Guiglo, beginning an essential phase of the UN peace process. Soon, however, rebel leaders suspended disarmament talks and refused to agree to any extension of Gbagbo's term, as did the opposition parties. Protests broke out in July and August against new legislation that restricted citizenship to those who could prove that at least one parent was born in Côte d'Ivoire. On September 15 Gbagbo announced that he would not attend a meeting on the periphery of the UN General Assembly, calling the international body's peace plan a failure.

      In August, Trafigura Beheer BV, a Dutch-owned commodities company, was accused of having dumped 400 metric tons of toxic petrochemical waste in the lagoons, sewerage system, and various poor neighbourhoods of Abidjan. (See The Environment: National Developments: Africa.) Over the next two weeks, thousands of Abidjan residents sought medical help as fumes impregnated the air. Gbagbo accepted the resignation of his entire cabinet on September 7, with the exception of Prime Minister Konan Banny, who kept his post in order to nominate a new government. The only major changes in the new cabinet were the ministers of environment and transportation. Seven men, including three port employees, were arrested on September 11 in connection with the dumping, and two French executives of the Dutch company were detained by police and prevented from leaving the country.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2006

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 17,298,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Seydou Diarra

      International efforts to reconcile and reunify Côte d'Ivoire met with little success in 2005. The January 2003 peace agreement between the government and rebel groups that controlled the north had not been implemented, and plans to hold legislative and presidential elections on October 30 seemed doomed. On September 9 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan deemed it impossible to conduct elections, citing the failure to create an electoral commission acceptable to all sides and the absence of updated voter registration lists. He warned that the Security Council would soon be forced to place new sanctions on the country, in addition to the arms embargo that had been imposed in November 2004 and strengthened in February 2005. The government eventually decided to postpone the October 30 elections. New elections were to be held no later than Oct. 31, 2006.

      Vigilante and militia bands, most of which supported Pres. Laurent Gbagbo, continued to operate in Abidjan and other cities. The government repeatedly ignored UN calls for swift disarmament of these groups. UN peacekeepers and French troops guarded the buffer zone between north and south and, with members of the Ivorian army, patrolled Abidjan. In an effort to maintain public order, police fought with militia in the capital on February 4. At least two people were killed. In a series of violent clashes in early June, at least 100 people were killed near Duekoué, 400 km (about 250 mi) west of Abidjan. Local officials blamed the conflict on ethnic tensions between the Djula and Guéré peoples.

      Rebel commanders, declaring the peace process dead, accused the government of having masterminded a militia attack on March 1 in the north. South African Pres. Thabo Mbeki brokered three days of peace talks in Pretoria between Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro. As a result, two ministers of the northern New Forces Party rejoined the cabinet on April 15 after an absence of five months. Negotiations continued, but no agreement was reached on the key issues of nationality and eligibility to vote and whether Gbagbo was obliged to step down before new elections were held. The dispute over the repeal of Article 35 of the constitution, a clause that had been invoked to prevent opposition leader Alassane Ouattara from running in the past two presidential elections, appeared no closer to resolution.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2005

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 16,897,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Seydou Diarra

      In 2004 Côte d'Ivoire remained effectively split in two as a result of the civil war that erupted in September 2002. Members of the rebellious New Force alliance (FN) continued to hold the north, while the government, assisted by 4,000 French troops and about 5,800 United Nations peacekeepers, controlled the south. Spasmodic outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence dominated the year. In late April, 10 people died when fighting broke out in the western cocoa-producing area, and in June FN adherents fired on government and French soldiers patrolling the demilitarized zone, killing at least 7 people. Government helicopters immediately retaliated by launching attacks on rebel-held country. That same day hundreds of Pres. Laurent Gbagbo's supporters demonstrated outside the French embassy in Abidjan, demanding the withdrawal of the former colonial power's forces since they appeared to be unable to prevent rebel attacks.

      On May 26 Amnesty International issued a report condemning, for human rights abuses, all factions in the conflict. The United Nations launched its own inquiry on July 17 and sent a special commission to the country. On August 3 UN investigators found three mass graves near the city of Korhogo that contained at least 100 bodies of persons who likely had been killed in clashes between rival rebel factions.

      Political proposals for resolving the conflict seemed to win little support, even in the south. On March 25 security forces killed at least 120 opposition demonstrators and wounded several hundred more. In protest, 26 cabinet ministers representing four opposition parties and the New Forces withdrew from the power-sharing government. Following a UN-brokered summit meeting held in Accra, Ghana, in late July, opposition parties and the FN agreed to return to the government. On August 9 they attended their first cabinet meeting since March. An extraordinary session of the parliament opened on August 11 to vote on the political reforms called for by the January 2003 Marcoussis accords and the subsequent Accra agreement. With the exception of a law adopted on September 10 guaranteeing freedom of the press, the passage of any other substantial legislation was stalled by disputes between factions. In November violence flared after France, responding to an Ivorian air strike that killed nine French soldiers, destroyed Côte d'Ivoire's air force. Anti-French riots ensued, and thousands of Ivorians and French nationals and other foreigners fled the country.

      The fall in GDP continued during the year and, among other problems, resulted in the country's inability to service its external debt. On June 17 the IMF suspended all loans to Côte d'Ivoire, which had fallen two months behind in its repayments of $20 million in outstanding loans.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2004

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 16,631,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Affi N'Guessan and, from February 10, Seydou Diarra

      Attempts to end the civil war in what was once one of West Africa's most stable nations met with limited success by the end 2003. The troubles had begun on Sept. 19, 2002, when 700 soldiers, supporters of former military strongman Robert Gueï who refused to be demobilized, mutinied. Forced from Abidjan, they quickly reassembled and designated themselves the Ivory Coast Patriotic Movement (MPCI). They rapidly gained support in the heavily Muslim north, where residents had long felt marginalized by the more prosperous and mainly Christian south. A cease-fire was signed between the government and the MPCI, but two other rebel groups, the Movement for Justice and Peace and the Ivorian Popular Movement of the Great West, emerged and seized control of much of the west and southwest of the country. The signing of a power-sharing peace accord between the government and the rebels on January 25 led to furious protests by supporters of Pres. Laurent Gbagbo (see Biographies (Gbagbo, Laurent )), backed by army leaders. Riots broke out in the capital. In February the UN accused the government of condoning death squads that had killed hundreds of northerners and migrant workers in Abidjan. The government denied the charges, retorting that the rebels were carrying out executions in areas they controlled.

      Seydou Diarra, who had been named as prime minister by consensus at the January peace talks, was officially appointed by Gbagbo on February 10 and was finally sworn in as head of a new government of national unity on March 11. Details of a 41-member coalition cabinet, approved by all parties to the peace treaty, were announced a week later. All nine ministers appointed from the three rebel groups took their seats in the government by April 16 after a boycott over fears for their security and the delay in naming the key ministers of defense and interior. On May 4 a new cease-fire was declared, and nearly 4,000 French troops were deployed to enforce the truce in the central Bouaké area. Although a nighttime curfew was lifted on May 10 and an amnesty law passed overwhelmingly by the parliament on August 6, tensions remained high. Authorities arrested about 100 people, including three generals, for plotting a coup and the assassination of President Gbagbo. Gen. Abdoulaye Coulibaly, a high-ranking member of the junta that seized power in 1999, was released in September, but nearly two dozen others remained in custody.

      By late September, attempts to achieve a permanent peace faltered, and economic and diplomatic activity virtually ground to a halt. The civil service was barely functioning; hundreds of thousands of migrant workers had fled; and representatives of most international agencies and trading firms were evacuated. At year's end the country remained divided in half by a “confidence zone,” and sporadic violence continued.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2003

320,803 sq km (123,863 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 16,805,000
De facto capital:
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Affi N'Guessan

      On Sept. 19, 2002, Gen. Robert Gueï (see Obituaries (Guei, Robert )), the apparent mastermind behind an attempted coup in which at least 20 soldiers and civilians (including Côte d'Ivoire's interior minister) lost their lives, was killed by loyalist government troops. The uprising, which involved about 750 soldiers who mutinied in Bouaké, Abidjan, and Korhogo, occurred during Pres. Laurent Gbagbo's state visit to Italy.

      In January Gbagbo met his three major rivals—former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, Gueï, and former president Henri Konan Bédié, who had been ousted by Gueï in the December 1999 military coup—for the first time in a fence-mending gathering. Though he had been banned from standing in the 2000 election on the grounds that he was a Burkinabe, Ouattara's Ivorian citizenship was confirmed on July 1, 2002, by the issuing of a certificate of nationality. In local elections held on July 7, Bédié's Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) rebounded strongly and took control of 18 of the country's 58 departments.

      A cabinet reshuffle announced on August 5 brought in ministers from all of the major opposition parties. The ruling Ivorian Popular Front secured 20 portfolios; the PDCI, 7; Ouattara's Rally of Republicans, 4; and the Ivorian Workers' Party, 2. Gueï's Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire (UDPCI) lost one but retained one position in the new government.

      On May 30 six men on trial for involvement in the January 2001 attempt to overthrow President Gbagbo were sentenced to terms of up to 20 years; the court acquitted seven other defendants. Balla Keïta—a longtime PDCI supporter and frequent cabinet minister in the governments of founding president Félix Houphouët-Boigny—was murdered on August 1 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where he had lived in exile since March 2001. Keïta had been a strong supporter of Gueï's 1999 military coup (Gueï lost power in 2000, however), claiming that it would restore “orthodox Houphouëtism,” and had been named secretary-general of the UDPCI in May. Burkina Faso's Justice Department announced on August 20 that it believed the assassination to have been politically motivated.

      In February, following the government's payment of $44.5 million in debt arrears, the World Bank resumed full economic participation in the development of Côte d'Ivoire. On March 28 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to loan the country $365 million for poverty-reduction programs. The loan was tied to the government's pledge to keep wage increases in the civil service under control. On April 11 the Paris Club of wealthy donor nations restructured $2.26 billion of Côte d'Ivoire's external debt and immediately canceled $911 million of debt. Following recommendations by the IMF, the government increased export taxes on cocoa beans on August 22.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2002

322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 16,393,000
Seats of government:
predominantly Abidjan; some ministries have relocated to Yamoussoukro
Chief of state:
President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Minister Affi N'Guessan

      Political turmoil continued throughout 2001 in a nation that had once been hailed as a model of stability and tolerance. On January 7 disaffected soldiers occupied radio and television stations in the capital as part of an apparent military coup. Troops loyal to the government, however, regained control of the city after a night of heavy fighting, in which an unknown number of people were killed. Migrant traders were attacked on January 10 following accusations by the government that unnamed bordering countries had backed the coup. Thousands of foreigners, who make up an estimated 40% of the Ivorian population, fled the city. Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara's Rally of Republicans (RDR) denied any part in the coup. The government's refusal, however, to allow the northern politician to run in the October 2000 presidential election or the January 2001 parliamentary elections (presumably over doubts about his Ivorian nationality) led to a series of protests in which more than 200 people lost their lives. In the parliamentary elections the ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), aided by the electoral boycott by the RDR, won a majority of seats. On January 22, in what was seen as a gesture of reconciliation, the parliament elected former finance minister Mamadou Koulibaly, also a northerner, as its speaker. In regional elections held on March 24–25, Ouattara's RDR won control of 64 local councils, the former ruling Democratic Party (PDCI-RDA) another 60, and the FPI 34.

      On August 3 eight policemen were acquitted of the massacre of 57 civilians in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential elections. Though President Gbagbo proposed for September 7 broad-based reconciliation talks between Ivorian political leaders past and present, the meeting was postponed, apparently because several important figures—including deposed president Henri Konan Bédié, former military ruler Robert Gueï, and Ouattara—had not indicated whether they intended to attend the forum. In November, however, Ouattara returned from a year in self-imposed exile to take part in the talks.

      On April 5 secondary-school teachers ended a three-day strike over pay and working conditions. The following day police closed all campuses of the University of Abidjan after battles between two rival student unions, one backing the RDR and the other the FPI, resulted in one death and many injuries. The prospect of yet another voided year for higher education impelled the two factions to sign an agreement on May 14; they pledged to discontinue all demonstrations on university grounds.

      Abuses of migrant child labourers who were sold into virtual slavery to cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire captured headlines around the world. Traffickers in children were arrested in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Gabon. It was estimated that more than 15,000 children from Mali alone were working on Ivorian cocoa farms. On May 4 the government accused multinational chocolate companies of keeping cocoa prices low, a factor that would lead impoverished farmers to use slave labour.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2001

322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 15,981,000
Seats of government:
predominantly Abidjan; some ministries have relocated to Yamoussoukro
Chiefs of state:
Brig. Gen. Robert Gueï and, from October 26, President Laurent Gbagbo
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Daniel Kablan Duncan, Seydou Elimane Diarra from May 18, and, from October 27, Affi N'Guessan

      Brig. Gen. Robert Gueï, head of the military junta that overthrew Pres. Henri Konan Bédié in a bloodless coup on Christmas Eve 1999, was himself the target of a failed military assassination attempt on Sept. 18, 2000.

      On January 12 the newly formed coalition government that included former prime minister Alassane Ouattara's Rally of Republicans (RDR) was further strengthened when four members of Laurent Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front agreed to join the cabinet. The new government pledged to tackle corruption, reduce administrative costs, boost the flagging coffee and cocoa sectors, and restore civilian rule by October. In a July referendum voters approved a new constitution that included a last-minute addition requiring that both parents of presidential candidates be Ivorian. The clause was widely interpreted as another means of preventing Ouattara, whose mother was said to be Burkinabe, from contesting the October presidential elections.

      Protests against the government continued, and tensions remained particularly high in Abidjan. Despite the lifting in May of a ban on political meetings, three journalists from an independent newspaper were arrested on May 16 following publication of an article critical of Gueï. In a May 18 cabinet reshuffle, eight army officers were appointed to office; all but one minister of Ouattara's RDR were dropped, however. Rumours of a new coup swept the country on June 22, causing panic and sporadic looting. Soldiers demanding the payment of a promised bonus mutinied on July 5; Abidjan, Bouaké, and Korhogo were virtually shut down in the two-day crisis, during which a news photographer in Bouaké and several others reportedly were killed. Despite earlier promises that he would withdraw from government following the October 22 elections, Gueï announced in August that he would run for president as an independent.

      In the highly volatile event, Gueï, though losing to opponent Laurent Gbagbo of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), attempted to remain in office by halting the vote count. Violence swept the country as Gbagbo supporters staged a popular revolt; Gueï went into hiding, and Gbagbo assumed office. Another uprising occurred when followers loyal to Ouattara clashed with Gbagbo supporters. Following a week of unrest, in which about 50 opposition leaders were massacred, soldiers and police returned to their barracks. Gbagbo later gave his consent for an international inquiry into the killings.

      On October 26 Gbagbo was installed as president, and the following day he named a new prime minister, Affi N'Guessan, the minister of industry and tourism in the outgoing regime. Meanwhile, Ouattara, who had initially refused to support the new government, pledged not to block its formation.

      Gueï reemerged in November and instructed the military to support the new government, which hinted that it would not seek prosecution for human rights abuses committed during Gueï's tenure.

      When parliamentary elections were held in December, Ouattara was again blocked from participating. More than 20,000 people demonstrated, and at least 20 persons were killed. Both the UN and the European Union condemned his exclusion. Of the 225 parliamentary seats, the FPI captured 96, the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire won 77, independents held 16, and 28 were left vacant, awaiting elections in the northern constituencies.

      In early January Gueï suspended payments to foreign creditors but assured them that the measure was only temporary. By January 27 the government had repaid the last of the approximately $30 million of European Union money that had mysteriously “disappeared” under the old regime. Nevertheless, owing to the volatile political situation, major donors refused to renew most assistance to the country.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 2000

322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi)
(1998 est.): 15,446,000
Seats of government:
predominantly Abidjan; some ministries have relocated to Yamoussoukro
Chief of state:
President Henri Konan Bédié and, from December 24, Gen. Robert Gueï
Head of government:
Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan

      On Dec. 24, 1999, retired Gen. Robert Gueï staged a bloodless military coup in Côte d'Ivoire that toppled Pres. Henri Konan Bédié, following a mutiny by soldiers who were demanding back wages and improved living conditions. Gueï established a 10-member ruling junta, and Bédié fled to Togo and was expected to seek refuge in France.

      The coup followed intense political maneuvering for the upcoming 2000 national elections. The long-simmering power dispute between Bédié and former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, who had been chosen to lead the opposition Rally of Republicans (RDR) on August 1, heated up when the government banned Ouattara's participation in a rally planned for September. This followed a police interrogation of the former prime minister's mother as part of an ongoing government inquiry into Ouattara's nationality. The rally was canceled, but hundreds of supporters gathered at Ouattara's house after rumours spread that he was about to be arrested. Paramilitary police surrounded the house on September 14, and many of the RDR members were taken into custody.

      In February trade unions, upset with rising inflation rates, threatened to call a general strike if the government took no action to control the prices of basic foodstuffs. The government closed all primary and secondary schools in Abidjan and Bouaké on May 6, following a week of widespread strikes over poor working conditions and inadequate grants. Two more weeks of strikes and protests took place in June. On August 3 the government annulled the entire university year at the main Abidjan campus for all but medical and pharmacology students.

      World demand for cocoa, Côte d'Ivoire's major cash crop, remained weak, and prices paid by the government to farmers were cut in March. Export levels continued well below previous years. In July ministers from Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire announced that a new policy of consultation on cocoa marketing and sales would begin during the next year's season. On August 13, two months ahead of schedule, the cocoa sector was deregulated, which effectively ended all government producer subsidies and brought prices in line with world markets.

      Following its annual survey of the Ivorian economy, the International Monetary Fund expressed reservations over the government's management of the structural-adjustment program and its general economic policies. The European Union (EU) had put a freeze on its budget loans to the country in December 1998 when an audit revealed possible fraud. In August the government announced that 35 senior civil servants and 30 businessmen had been charged in connection with embezzlement of EU funds and pledged to reimburse the approximately $30 million in missing funds.

Nancy Ellen Lawler

▪ 1999

      Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 15,446,000

      Seats of government: predominantly Abidjan; some ministries have relocated to Yamoussoukro

      Chief of state: President Henri Konan Bédié

      Head of government: Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan

      Opposition parties accused the ruling Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) of threatening the nation's democratic system of government by the passage on June 30, 1998, of a bill to reform the constitution. To take effect from the next presidential election in 2000, this bill would extend the presidential term from five to seven years and would give the chief executive powers to postpone elections in the event of a major crisis. On September 7 thousands of opposition supporters marched in Abidjan to protest the changes. Thousands more demonstrators took to the streets a week later in Abidjan again, Bouake, and other cities. Their demands were unlikely to be met, however, as the PDCI held 148 of the 175 seats in the National Assembly.

      Having achieved a 7% growth rate in gross domestic product in 1997, the economy continued its strong performance. GDP was expected to grow by 6.8% in 1998. In February the government announced that its privatization program would conclude its work during the year with the sale of an additional 17 state-owned firms. On February 22 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praised the country's progress in controlling its budget deficit and inflation rates, and final agreement on a new structural adjustment program was reached on March 17. A joint Paris Club, IMF, and World Bank debt-relief plan was signed on March 31. The coffee industry, second in importance only to cocoa, would begin to be deregulated during the next growing season. On September 16 a new French-speaking West African regional stock exchange opened in Abidjan.

      In other developments the World Islamic Congress convened in Abidjan on February 18. In April the Ministry of Defense announced that it would provide the largest contingent, 225 soldiers, to the new UN peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic. The government banned all school demonstrations following protests by students after police bullets killed a 16-year-old youth on May 14. Ministers from West African and Portuguese-speaking countries met in Abidjan in late September in an effort to end the rebellion in Guinea-Bissau.


▪ 1998

      Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 14,986,000

      Seats of government: predominantly Abidjan; some ministries have relocated to Yamoussoukro

      Chief of state: President Henri Konan Bédié

      Head of government: Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan

      By-elections were held on Dec. 29, 1996, in six constituencies where outbreaks of violence had closed polls during the 1995 legislative elections. The ruling Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) added three seats to its overwhelming majority in the National Assembly. In August the government announced a constitutional reform bill that would, among other things, establish a Senate whose president would automatically become interim successor to the chief of state in case of death or incapacitation.

      Once again, student unrest fractured the academic year. One student was killed after police broke up a demonstration outside the Ministry of Security in January. Students rioted at the Abidjan campus and closed the National University. In April the University of Bouaké was closed after protesters burned down the Welfare Services Centre. The banned Federation of Students and Pupils announced a new boycott of classes, beginning April 22, because of the government's failure to improve working and living conditions. In mid-June new talks began to deal with the students' grievances.

      Further economic liberalization took place as import restrictions on used vehicles were eased. Efforts to determine the ownership of rural land were undertaken in hopes of creating a more viable property market and allowing greater access to credit. Coffee production was expected to increase in anticipation of the government's freeing of prices. The government, however, remained reluctant to allow a similar liberalization for cocoa despite considerable pressure from the World Bank.


      This article updates Côte d'Ivoire, history of (Côte d'Ivoire).

▪ 1997

      A republic of West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 14,733,000. Cap.: Abidjan; capital designate, Yamoussoukro. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 518.24 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 816.38 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Henri Konan Bédié; prime minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan.

      Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan formed a new 31-member Cabinet on Jan. 26, 1996. Despite expectations of a major reshuffle, 25 of the ministers were returned from the previous government. The ruling Democratic Party of the Côte d'Ivoire won control of 158 of the country's 196 communes when four million voters turned out for the municipal elections on February 11.

      The presence of 300,000 Liberian refugees in the country was the cause of continuing tension. On June 7, Liberian rebels killed 15 people in an attack on Basobli, 600 km (370 mi) west of Abidjan. In July the government set up a new military zone along its entire border with Liberia.

      The economy demonstrated signs of sustained vigour and was expected to grow by 6.5% in 1996. A 5% pay raise for civil servants was announced in May.


      This article updates Côte d'Ivoire, history of (Côte d'Ivoire).

▪ 1996

      A republic of West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 14,253,000. Cap.: Abidjan; capital designate, Yamoussoukro. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 501.49 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 792.78 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Henri Konan Bédié; prime minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan.

      A fierce struggle against a new electoral code dominated politics as all parties prepared for the presidential election on Oct. 22, 1995. For the first time since independence, no foreigners were allowed to vote, and all candidates had to have resided in the country for five consecutive years prior to the election and to have been born of Ivorian parents. Opposition parties charged that this last provision was designed specifically to exclude the candidacy of former prime minister Alassane Ouattara, whose father was Burkinabe. Three mass demonstrations against the code took place in May, July, and September; 50,000 backers of Pres. Henri Bédié and the ruling Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) marched in Abidjan on May 27 to support the new code. Bédié refused to withdraw the code but did announce the creation of an independent electoral commission. This was rejected by the opposition on the grounds that it would be dominated by government appointees. The election, plagued by violence and an opposition boycott, resulted in Bédié's reelection.

      When the results of the November 26 parliamentary election were announced, the ruling PDCI had won 147 seats, and opposition parties took a total of 24. (One seat was suspended, and elections for three seats were postponed until 1996 for security reasons.) Though voting was orderly, turnout was below the 50% mark.

      A border raid by Liberian rebels killed 32 people, including 10 Ivorians, on June 13. In reprisal, Liberians living in Abidjan were attacked, despite an appeal by the government for calm.

      The economy continued its strong recovery, posting the first trade surplus with France in 10 years. Privatization of major state-owned industries was ahead of schedule.


      This updates the article Côte d'Ivoire, history of (Côte d'Ivoire).

▪ 1995

      A republic of West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 13,845,000. Cap.: Abidjan; capital designate, Yamoussoukro. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a par value of CFAF 100 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 526.67 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 837.67 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Henri Konan Bédié; prime minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan.

      The funeral of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of Côte d'Ivoire, took place on Feb. 7, 1994, in Yamoussoukro. In attendance were the presidents of France and Lebanon, 20 heads of African nations, and numerous high-level delegations from around the world.

      Henri Konan Bédié, who as president of the National Assembly had succeeded Houphouët-Boigny, consolidated his hold on the ruling Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI). Opposition parties charged that the extended period of mourning for Houphouët-Boigny (he died Dec. 7, 1993) had provided Bédié with an unfair political advantage. Former prime minister Alassane Ouattara returned from France and mounted an unsuccessful bid for the leadership of the PDCI. Bédié's election to that office in April was unanimous, and his popularity throughout the country made him a favourite for the 1995 presidential elections.

      The government was able to resist widespread demands from the labour unions for relief from the effects of the 100% devaluation of the CFA franc in January. In what was interpreted as a reward for accepting devaluation, half the $10 billion debt owed to the Paris Club of creditor nations was canceled. Nevertheless, Côte d'Ivoire remained, on a per capita basis, the world's most indebted nation. Although prices rose sharply immediately after devaluation, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan announced in June that the nation's export economy was growing and the inflation rate moderating. Benefiting from its improved position in world markets, the government announced in September that prices paid to coffee and cocoa producers would be increased by 93% and 31%, respectively.


      This updates the article Côte d'Ivoire, history of (Côte d'Ivoire).

▪ 1994

      A republic of West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire lies on the Gulf of Guinea. Area: 322,463 sq km (124,504 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 13,459,000. Cap.: Abidjan; capital designate, Yamoussoukro. Monetary unit: CFA franc, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a par value of CFAF 50 to the French franc and a free rate of CFAF 283.25 to U.S. $1 (CFAF 429.12 = £1 sterling). Presidents in 1993, Félix Houphouët-Boigny and, from December 7, Henri Konan Bédié; prime ministers, Alassane Ouattara and, from December 11, Daniel Kablan Duncan.

      Despite improvements in cocoa and coffee prices, the economy of Côte d'Ivoire made only modest gains in 1993. The world's leading cocoa exporter faced increased competition from rising Asian production. Relations with the World Bank remained cool over dissatisfaction with progress toward reduction of Côte d'Ivoire's international debt of some $18 billion. It was announced that 10 more state-controlled enterprises, including the railroad, would be privatized.

      The structural adjustments led to progress in reducing the budget deficit, mainly by cuts in civil service and military salaries and in student grants. The result was continued labour unrest, including a mutiny of 45 members of the elite Republican Guard in March. On April 19 police used tear gas to disperse 3,000 protesting university students. In response, students and faculty launched a four-month strike; it ended on August 21 when the government agreed to most demands and promised to pay salary arrears. Tensions remained high. Twenty-four students went on a hunger strike, and two journalists from the independent newspaper Bonsoir were arrested, accused of spreading a rumour that one of the students had died.

      Talks with Burkina Faso in June over the delineation of the frontier were apparently successful. In September the sealed border with Liberia was reopened to allow convoys of humanitarian aid to leave Côte d'Ivoire. A relatively smooth transition—but accompanied by a sharp drop in world cocoa prices—followed the death, on December 7, of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Ivoirian president since independence in 1960. (See OBITUARIES (Houphouet-Boigny, Felix ).)


      This updates the article Côte d'Ivoire, history of (Côte d'Ivoire).

* * *

Cote d'Ivoire, flag of   country located on the coast of western Africa. The de facto capital is Abidjan; the administrative capital designate (since 1983) is Yamoussoukro.

Land (Côte d'Ivoire)
 Côte d'Ivoire is bounded to the north by Mali and Burkina Faso, to the east by Ghana, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea (Guinea, Gulf of), to the southwest by Liberia, and to the northwest by Guinea.

 The ground rises constantly as it recedes from the coast, and the northern half of the country consists of high savanna lying mostly 1,000 feet (300 metres) above sea level. Most of the western border with Liberia and Guinea is shaped by mountain ranges, whose highest point, Mount Nimba (5,740 feet [1,752 metres]; see also Nimba Range), is situated in the the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981), where the borders of the three countries meet.

      The country is made up of four natural regions. The coastal fringe consists of a strip of land, no more than 40 miles (64 metres) wide, studded with lagoons on its eastern half. Access from the sea is made difficult by the surf and by a long submarine sandbar. Behind the coastal fringe lies the equatorial forest zone that until a century ago formed a continuous area more than 125 miles (200 metres) wide. It has now been reduced to an area roughly triangular in shape, with the apex lying a little to the north of Abidjan and with the base lying along the Liberian border. The cultivated forest zone, which lies to the east of this triangle, consists of forest land that has been partially cleared for plantations, especially along the Ghana border and in the area around Bouaké. The fourth region, the northern savanna, consists of a sparsely populated plateau, offering open ground favourable for stock breeding. About 4,500 square miles (11,650 square km) in this region have been set aside to form Komoé National Park, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

      Apart from the Cavally River (Cavalla River), which forms most of the border with Liberia, major rivers from west to east are the Sassandra (Sassandra River), the Bandama (Bandama River), and the Komoé (Komoé River), all of which drain southward into the Gulf of Guinea (Guinea, Gulf of). Because all are broken by numerous falls and rapids, their value for transportation is minimal. Their hydroelectric potential is being tapped, however.

      The forest soils of the south tend to lose their fertility because of excessive leaching and turn into laterites, which contain iron oxide. The poorly drained, yellow, swampy soils, also found largely in the south, more readily maintain their fertility because of their silica and clay minerals content. Crustlike “shields,” formed as a result of rapid evaporation, alternate with rich black silico-clayey soils in the savanna areas.

 Equatorial and southern savanna types of climate prevail. North of approximately 8° N latitude, the southern savanna type of climate occurs, characterized by the parching wind known as the harmattan, which blows from the northeast beginning in December and ending in February. The dry season lasts from about November to March. A single rainy season from April to October produces annual precipitation totals ranging from around 45 inches (1,100 mm) in the northeast and centre to approximately 60 inches (1,500 mm) in the northwest. The northern region is drier than the rest of the country and, because of the elevation, somewhat cooler. South of 8° N latitude, two rainy seasons occur, and three climatic subdivisions may be discerned. Rain falls largely from May through July and to a lesser extent in October and November on the coastal fringe. Abidjan receives approximately 75 inches (1,900 mm) of precipitation annually, although considerable variations are experienced at different places along the coast. Average monthly temperature variation is small, and diurnal temperatures range from around the low 70s F (low 20s C) to the low 90s F (mid-30s C). In the forest zones and in the southern part of the savanna region, the rainy seasons are less pronounced. Diurnal temperatures vary between around the low 60s and low 100s F (mid-10s and upper 30s C), and the relative humidity is often high. On the mountains farther west there is no dry season, and precipitation amounts to about 80 inches (2,000 mm).

Plant and animal life
      The tropical rainforest in the south contains valuable timber species, including African mahogany and iroko (or African teak). An important afforestation centre is Banco National Park, (Banco National Park) on the northwestern edge of Abidjan. Trees more than 150 feet (45 metres) high can be found at Taï National Park (Taï, Parc National de), which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.

      The animal life of the forest zone differs little from that of adjoining Ghana, although the larger ungulates (hoofed mammals) are lacking, with the exception of the bongo (a reddish brown antelope) and the forest buffalo. There are also several varieties of dwarf antelope, ranging from the royal antelope to the yellow-backed duiker. The giant forest hog is widespread, and the red river hog is locally plentiful. To the north the savanna woodlands have some 10 species of antelope, as well as lions and occasional herds of elephants. Komoé National Park in the northeast is well stocked with wildlife. There are lions, elephants, leopards, green monkeys, and more than 20 species of pigs. In addition, more than 400 species of birds have been identified there so far. Taï National Park, near the Liberian frontier, is notable for its pygmy hippopotamuses, and the chimpanzee population there has been the subject of a long-term study by Hedwige Boesch-Achermann and Christophe Boesch.

Jean L. Comhaire

People (Côte d'Ivoire)

Ethnic groups
      There are more than 60 ethnic groups in Côte d'Ivoire. Traditionally, the groups were independent from each other, but, over time, internal migration and extensive intermarriage greatly reduced group identity with a particular cultural tradition in any given locality. Each of these groups has ethnic affiliations with larger groups living outside the borders of the country. Thus, the Baule, as well as other peoples living east of the Bandama River, are affiliated with the Akan in Ghana, as are the lagoon fishermen farther south. The forest people west of the Bandama are connected to the Kru peoples of Liberia. In the interior the Kru group is subdivided into small groupings scattered over large areas of the forest.

      The savanna peoples may be divided into two main groups. The Mande group, which is particularly strong in Mali, is represented by the Malinke farmers and by the Dyula traders. The Gur group, represented by the Senufo, Lobi, and Bobo, are widely scattered over the northeastern region and also live in neighbouring states.

      All African languages represented in Côte d'Ivoire belong to one of three subgroups of the Niger-Congo family: Kwa (Kwa languages) in the south, Mande (Mande languages) in the northwest, and Gur (Gur languages) in the northeast. A trade language, known as Dyula-Taboussi and akin to the Mande Bambara, is spoken throughout the country by Muslim traders, and français de Moussa is a pidgin French widely spoken in Abidjan. The official language is French.

      Traditional religions, followed by almost two-fifths of the population, continue to predominate among rural communities. Islam is followed by about one-quarter of the population, found primarily in the northwest and in Abidjan. Almost one-third of the population is Christian, mostly Roman Catholic or Methodist. Also present in the country are followers of the Harrist (Harris movement) faith, a syncretic religion (religious syncretism) indigenous to Côte d'Ivoire. Founded by William Wade Harris during World War I, it claims an estimated 100,000 adherents in the country.

Settlement patterns
Rural environment
 In the southeastern quarter of the country, most people live in compact villages and towns. The entire area is divided into small states with kings and an elaborate hierarchy of ministers and palace officials, but these traditional rulers have no official standing in the modern state. Open-air markets are held in some town centres every four days. Women sell produce, as they do in many parts of western Africa. Fishermen maintain their own separate markets.

      Among the Kru and other peoples of the southwestern forest zone, dwellings are clustered around a central open area. Women do most of the daily work, both at home and in the fields, where they grow such crops as yams—the most basic national staple—and corn (maize), cassava (manioc), and peanuts (groundnuts). The men are responsible for hunting, gathering kola nuts and oil palm nuts, and—on the coast—fishing.

      The Malinke people of the northwestern part of the country are descendents of the Mali empire (Mali). Much earlier a regional revolution was created when the use of millet, still their staple food, was discovered. Other cereals such as sorghum and corn were later introduced, and cotton has been cultivated for centuries. Cattle are kept by everyone, but for purposes of prestige and for use on ceremonial occasions rather than for economic reasons. The men who raise livestock and cultivate crops may also travel extensively for trade. The village chief has authority over the population as does the traditional nobility, which comprises the chief representatives of the linear descendants of the first settlers. Some professions, such as blacksmith and griot (a historian-minstrel), are hereditary and reserved only for certain families.

      The rest of the savanna is part of the domain of the Gur-speaking peoples, many of whom live in neighbouring Burkina Faso. Among them, the Senufo live immediately east of the Malinke and have adopted many Malinke customs. They live in comparatively large villages overseen by local chiefs. All other savanna communities are split into dispersed homesteads. Millet and sorghum are the staple foods, and the men do most of the agricultural field work. All the people keep cattle. The people are great traders; local market trading is conducted by women, and outside trading is conducted by the Dyula, a subgroup of the Malinke. Each community is run by the head of the main lineage group, who seeks above all to mediate in disputes so the earth may never be defiled by blood spilling.

Urban environment
      Abidjan, one of the many trading ports built by Europeans along the African coast, is located on a lagoon rather than on the sea. The city is divided by a branch of the lagoon into Plateau, the first European settlement, to the north, and Treichville, the first large African settlement, to the south. Bridges connect the two areas.

      Plateau was recommended for settlement as early as 1898, and Europeans began living there in 1903. Treichville, located behind the fishing village of Anoumabo, owes its importance to the boom in colonial trade that followed World War I. It remained a very small town until 1934, when the seat of colonial government was moved to Abidjan from Bingerville. Urban growth was rapid after the 1.7-mile (2.7-km) Vridi Canal opened in 1950 and provided access to the sea. Under a new era of economic expansion, Treichville gained 150,000 inhabitants and reached its population saturation point within a decade. Comprehensive planning for urban growth after 1960 was rendered impossible because of the many confining branches of the lagoon waters.

      The first planned urban extension consisted of building a colonial army camp north of Plateau. Adjamé and Attiécoubé, two places with African inhabitants, offered an abundance of moderate-rent dwellings, but they rapidly deteriorated and were inconsistent in design with African traditions of family life. Across the small bay east of Abidjan, Cocody grew up in isolation as an area of expensive housing (including the presidential tower mansion) with two hotel complexes and a tourist centre.

      Petit-Bassam Island, where Treichville lies, also contains the settlements of Marcory and Koumassi. Beyond them Port-Bouët grew up on the seashore, 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Plateau. Squatters helped develop Yopougon-Attié and Abobo across the bay to the west. Greater Abidjan was finally organized into 10 municipalities (each one with an elected council and a mayor) in 1986.

Demographic trends
      During the latter half of the 20th century, Côte d'Ivoire had one of the highest population growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa and in the world. Its high rate of natural increase together with the huge influx of immigrants from the impoverished countries to the north, which its comparatively strong economy attracted, were the main reasons for its rapid growth. This growth rate is declining, however, in part because of the increasing number of HIV-positive people in the population.

      Birth and death rates in Côte d'Ivoire are higher than those of the rest of the world. Although life expectancy in the country is average for the region, it is lower than that of the world. Côte d'Ivoire's population is relatively young, with about two-fifths under age 15.

      Immigrants constitute approximately one-fourth of the total population. Nearly one-half of the population lives in urban areas, and among the urbanites there is a large French community as well as a number of Lebanese and Syrians. In the wake of the civil war that began in 2002, thousands of people fled the country and hundreds of thousands more were internally displaced.

      Côte d'Ivoire had a good financial reputation for many years, but this began to change in the late 1980s, and the country experienced seven straight years of recession from 1987 to 1993. During that time the country was unable to meet its foreign debt obligations, but new financial arrangements by creditor banks and a 50 percent devaluation of the CFA franc helped the country toward economic recovery by the mid-1990s. The CFA devaluation, mandated by France, made Ivoirian exports of timber, fish, and rubber more attractive. A significant fall in cocoa and coffee prices at the end of the 20th century, however, interrupted the recovery. Political instability since the late 1990s also hindered the process.

      Ivoirian financial policy is fundamentally liberal, and investments are welcomed through tax exemptions and legal protection against nationalization. Increased privatization became government policy in the mid-1980s, partly in response to the government's previous participation in too many specialized undertakings in its attempt to diversify the economy. The Ivoirian government successfully met international lender conditions for debt repayment, but it is still struggling to enact reforms in the management of its public finances and to reduce serious inequalities in the distribution of income.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
 Agriculture provides a livelihood for more than half the labour force, and locally grown subsistence crops meet most rural domestic needs. Urbanization and the growing use of hired labour throughout the country created a demand for foodstuffs other than yams, cassava, plantains, and corn. An acquired taste for bread and beer led to significant imports of wheat.

      Cocoa beans became the main export crop, cultivated by more than one-quarter of the population, and by the late 1980s, after overtaking Ghana in cocoa bean exports, Côte d'Ivoire became the world's leading cocoa bean producer. Coffee, though it has fallen in export value, remains a favourite crop and business venture for many families in the southeast. Though the local coffee is of low quality, it constitutes a safe investment, and it enjoys a privileged position on the French market because of low production costs and much publicity. Thousands of acres close to the sea have been planted with coconut trees to increase the production of copra, the dried kernel from which coconut oil is extracted. The same area is also suitable for pineapples, a valuable export crop.

      The southwest provides good soils and climate for oil palm and rubber trees. A South American species of hevea rubber tree was introduced in the early 1960s, and the cultivation of palm trees for oil was promoted at about the same time. In the north, cotton planting was fostered by using higher-yielding varieties; the practice of cotton-rice and cotton-yam crop rotation also increased yields.

      The forest floor, after clearing, provides a rich soil for the cultivation of edible roots and bananas, as well as of such commercial tree crops as coffee, cacao (grown for its seeds, cocoa beans), and rubber. The savanna soils are good for rice and other cereals. Cotton and sugarcane grow in both areas.

      Côte d'Ivoire was once primarily noted for its forest resources. About 30 species of trees are of high commercial value, the most important types being sipo (utile) and sambu (obeche). Forests underwent rapid depletion after many decades of exporting timber, exacerbated by overexploitation in the 1960s and '70s, and although reforestation was begun at numerous locations, illegal logging activity prevalent after the start of the civil war in 2002 and continuing in the following years contributed to the country's having one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

      Livestock raising prospers in the northeast, but national needs are also met by imports from Mali and Burkina Faso. Fishing, an important economic activity, is a traditional occupation in the lagoons and is also practiced on a commercial basis. Overfishing was a concern in the early 21st century.

Resources and power
      Offshore reserves of petroleum and natural gas have been exploited since 1995 and are a significant source of export revenue for the country. Mineral resources exploited in Côte d'Ivoire include diamonds and gold. Deposits of iron ore, bauxite, and manganese also exist but have not been extensively developed, although iron ore is mined near Mount Nimba.

      Almost three-quarters of the country's power is supplied by thermal stations, with hydroelectric sources supplying the remainder. Expansion of thermal capacity utilizing natural gas has been the focus of energy projects since the mid-1990s. Crude petroleum is refined in Abidjan to meet local needs, and refined products are exported to Mali, Burkina Faso, and other countries.

      The Ivoirian industrial sector retains much of the legacy of a colonial policy founded on export rather than the more desirable expansion of the local market. Many French and Lebanese companies shifted their headquarters to Abidjan after Dakar lost its status as the federal capital of the French West African federation when the regions in it became independent countries. More than 700 industrial companies were registered in the mid-1980s, but most of them were kept at low levels of activity, because of reluctance to invest capital locally and competition for skilled labourers. Nevertheless, the country became one of the best-equipped in western Africa. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the government has made a serious attempt to privatize many state-owned companies, including electricity and water utilities, as well as palm-oil and sugar companies.

      Although the importance of petroleum-related industries increased in the early 21st century, Ivoirian industry rests largely on the agricultural sector—based on the development of timber, cotton, cacao, and coffee for export—that evolved during the period between the two World Wars. More crops were later added to these—among which pineapple became an outstanding success—as local canning and preserving facilities developed. Palm oil, also benefiting from equipment development, was used to produce fine soap and edible oils. Timber was used for furniture, cotton fabrics for garments, and sisal for string. Imported raw materials were shipped to local bakeries and breweries.

      Côte d'Ivoire's monetary unit is the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc. From independence the CFA was pegged to the French franc; beginning in 2002, it was tied to the euro. The Central Bank of the States of West Africa (Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest) is the bank of issue for member states including Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo as well as Côte d'Ivoire. Many foreign and domestic banks, credit institutions, insurance companies, and real estate agencies exist in the country, most of which have headquarters in Abidjan. The city is also home to a regional stock exchange, Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières, that serves the French-speaking countries of western Africa.

      Exports are reasonably diversified—though mostly agricultural and petroleum-related—with the United States and the countries of the European Union among the major destinations. Côte d'Ivoire primarily depends on France and Nigeria for imports, which include machinery and transport equipment, fuel, and food products.

      Until the 1970s, business travelers accounted for most of the visitors to the country. Since then tourism has expanded, although governmental upheavals have caused fluctuations.

Transportation and telecommunications
      A single-track railway line connects Abidjan with Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The country's road network is one of the densest in sub-Saharan Africa. Paved roads have been extended to replace beaten-earth roads, and tolls were introduced on some roads in the mid-1990s. A secondary system of dry-season roads feeds the main roads. Daily local trade is still conducted along the innumerable tracks that crisscrossed the country long before the advent of Europeans.

      As western Africa's largest container port, Abidjan has separate docking accommodations for passengers, for goods requiring special care such as bananas, minerals, and petroleum, for fishermen, and for boatmen who transport goods by canoe. Other ports are Sassandra, Tabou, and San-Pédro; the latter port largely handles timber and cocoa exports.

      Abidjan has a fully equipped international airport, located at Port-Bouët. Other international airports exist at Bouaké and Yamoussoukro, and regional airports serve smaller areas. The national airline, Air Ivoire, serves the country's airports and landing fields in the interior, as well as some international destinations.

      By regional standards, Côte d'Ivoire's telecommunications sector is fairly well-developed. In addition to telephone landline infrastructure, several mobile phone companies provide cellular service, which is growing in popularity. Internet service is available, although access is somewhat limited beyond urban areas.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      Côte d'Ivoire was proclaimed an independent republic on August 7, 1960. The 1960 constitution was suspended following the December 1999 military coup; under the new constitution approved in 2000, executive power is vested in the president, who serves a five-year term and can only be reelected once. The president appoints the prime minister and, with the prime minister's recommendations, the Council of Ministers. In addition, there are two other advisory bodies: the Economic and Social Council and the Constitutional Council. There is a single-house legislature, the National Assembly, with 225 members elected for five-year terms. Yamoussoukro was officially named the new national capital in 1983, but austerity measures and other factors have slowed the transfer of government functions, and Abidjan remains the de facto capital.

Local government
      For administrative purposes, Côte d'Ivoire is divided into 19 régions, which are further divided into départements and communes, each with an elected council. Towns have elected municipal councils. In general, traditional authorities do not fit within such a regime, which is of French inspiration. Nevertheless, some chiefs, especially among the Akan group, have won elective positions.

      Côte d'Ivoire has an independent judiciary. There are trial courts located in Abidjan, Bouaké, and Daloa, and their judges may be assigned to 25 other towns or be called upon to constitute special labour and juvenile courts. The same three towns are visited by an assize court dealing with serious criminal offenses. Abidjan also has a court of appeals and a supreme court.

Political process
      The political system was controlled for 30 years by the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI), the only authorized party. It originated as a league of African farmers founded at the end of World War II by Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Houphouët-Boigny, Félix), who in 1960 would become the country's first president, a position he held until his death in 1993. In 1990 he was forced to accept the legalization of opposition parties and to allow contested presidential and legislative elections. Since then more than 100 political parties have been established.

      Côte d'Ivoire's military comprises an army, a navy, an air force, and a presidential guard. The army is by far the largest branch of the armed forces. Paramilitary forces include a presidential guard and gendarmerie.

Health and welfare
      Health services in Côte d'Ivoire were comparatively good before the late 1980s, when the economic crisis made it hard to meet the needs of an exceptionally rapidly growing population. In 2002 the civil war severely disrupted health care services in the northern part of the country and caused many medical personnel to flee from the region; many have since returned and resumed practice. Western-style hospitals are located in Abidjan, Bouaké, Daloa, and Korhogo, and clinics can be found in other areas. There are many practitioners of indigenous forms of medicine, found throughout the country but especially in the rural areas. Since the late 1990s, AIDS has been an increasing problem; other significant health issues include tuberculosis and malaria.

      Rural housing in Côte d'Ivoire varies among people and locations. Many houses in the southeastern quarter of the country are rectangular in shape and made of reeds, poles, or dried clay. Traditionally, roofs were thatched; corrugated iron sheets are now more frequently used. Houses among the Kru and other peoples of the southwestern forest zone may be either rectangular or round, varying according to place. Dwellings are clustered around a central open area, which often serves as an evening meeting place and is where councils of elders dispense justice. The Malinke of the northwestern part of the country build round houses of mud and sun-dried brick covered by a conical thatched roof. Fences surround the dwellings, which are clustered in compounds. In the northeastern corner of the country and as far away as northern Benin, distinctive rectangular houses that somewhat resemble castles are built out of mud or brick and are crowned with crenellated parapets built around a flat roof.

 Educational services expanded considerably after independence, and primary education is both free of charge and officially compulsory for six years. Secondary schooling is provided in two cycles of three years and two years, respectively. The civil war that began in 2002 severely disrupted education in the country, particularly in the north, where the impact of both the war and subsequent administration by rebel forces lingered in the following years.

      Universities in Côte d'Ivoire include the University of Abobo-Adjamé and the University of Cocody, both in Abidjan, and the University of Bouaké; there are also several colleges in the country, primarily centred around Abidjan and Yamoussoukro.

      The literacy rate of Côte d'Ivoire is slightly lower than the regional average and is significantly lower than the world average.

Robert John Mundt

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
 The cultural milieu has remained split, rather more completely than in other African countries, between a maze of ethnic-based cultures and a foreign intrusion that is almost exclusively French. Traditional arts flourish. The Senufo carve masks, decorate doors with esoteric symbols, and dance to the slow, majestic rhythms of drums supported by xylophones. The mountaineers of the Man forest wear masks showing horrifying faces, and they dance to a pace governed by the sound of drums and led by stilt-walkers. Versatile Baule artists make fine gold jewelry and wooden sculptures.

The arts
      Ivoirian literature in French was born in colonial times at the Ponty High School in Dakar, Senegal. One of its graduates, Bernard B. Dadié (Dadié, Bernard Binlin), became world-famous for autobiographical reminiscences in novel form. His schoolmates Coffi Gadeau and Amon d'Aby won a large local audience and many followers through their plays for the national theatre. A younger playwright, Zadi Zaourou, launched a chair in African literature at an Ivoirian university, and Ahmadou Kourouma (Kourouma, Ahmadou), a Muslim, inaugurated a new era of the Ivoirian novel with Les Soleils des indépendances (1968; “The Suns of Independence”), first published in Canada. Ake Loba is another well-known writer from the country.

      Music is a vital part of Ivoirian culture. There is a strong tradition of griots who use music to help tell historical stories. The Senufo use marimbas and tuned iron gongs, among other instruments, to make their music. Music that combines both African and European traditions also exists. Alpha Blondy, who is strongly influenced by reggae, is Côte d'Ivoire's most internationally known musician.

Jean L. Comhaire

Cultural institutions
      The national library is located in Abidjan, as is a museum that houses a variety of artistic, ethnographic, and scientific collections. As the country's largest city, Abidjan also has an active nightlife and is known as the Paris of Africa. The Hotel Ivoire, which contains an ice-skating rink, a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a movie theatre, and other attractions, is located there. Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro Basilica (Yamoussoukro Basilica), which resembles St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, was built by former president Felix Houphouët-Boigny in Yamoussoukro, his hometown; upon completion in 1989, it was the largest Christian church in the world.

Sports and recreation
      As in many other African countries, football (soccer) is a major sport in Côte d'Ivoire. A football field exists in just about every town and village, and there is at least one football club in every city. Côte d'Ivoire also has a baseball federation, and many Ivoirians play basketball and rugby. Tennis attracts a number of athletes, and the country has competed in the international Davis Cup tournament. The country made its Olympic (Olympic Games) debut at the 1964 Games in Tokyo, and it first entered the African Nations Cup (African Cup of Nations) in 1965. Gabriel Tiacoh was the first Ivoirian to win an Olympic medal when he won a silver medal in the men's 400-metre race at the 1984 Games held in Los Angeles.

Media and publishing
      Although freedom of the press is guaranteed under the constitution, in reality it is restricted. Still, the press consists of many daily papers, weeklies, and periodicals, and this sector has become more lively since the 1990s. Almost all publications are published in French in Abidjan. Radio is the most prevalent media form throughout the country. Several radio stations exist, and they broadcast programs in French as well as in African languages. There is also a state-run television station; international television programming is available via satellite.

Robert John Mundt

      This article focuses on the history of Côte d'Ivoire from prehistoric and ancient times to the present. For more-detailed treatment of this country in its regional context, see Western Africa (western Africa, history of), history of.

Early history
      Abundant archaeological evidence confirms the presence of early humans in what is now Côte d'Ivoire. Groups in the north were drawn into the trans-Saharan trade networks of the Ghana and Mali empires. Islam arrived with Malinke merchants as trade expanded. Mali's collapse in the 16th century resulted in a great upheaval that sent waves of migrants southward, where they founded new kingdoms in the hinterlands of the forest zone. The original inhabitants were either displaced or assimilated by these new groups.

Precolonial kingdoms
      Important kingdoms flourished in the precolonial period. In the savanna country, towns developed around communities of Dyula traders. Kong existed for several centuries before Sekou Ouattara and his sons established a new dynasty there in the early 18th century. Kong lasted until 1897, when it was destroyed by Samory Touré (Samory), who was in the process of creating a new Muslim empire that included what is now northern Côte d'Ivoire. The Bouna kingdom was created in the late 17th century by Bounkani, an immigrant from Dagomba (now Ghana). It, along with Kong, became a major centre of Islamic learning.

      The wars associated with the rise of the Asante empire in the late 17th century led to the migration of numerous Akan peoples into the forest region of Côte d'Ivoire. The most powerful of the states established was the Abron kingdom of Gyaman founded by Tan Daté. It was conquered by the Asante in the 1730s, and, despite numerous revolts, remained subject to it until 1875. In much the same circumstances the Anyi kingdoms of Indénié (Ndenye) and Sanwi were founded. Following the death in 1750 of the ruler of the Asante, Asantehene Opoku Ware, a succession struggle in Kumasi (the capital of the Asante empire) forced one contender, Queen Abla Poku (Awura Poku), and her supporters to enter the north-central part of Côte d'Ivoire. They founded the Baule kingdom, remarkable for its blending of Akan and local traditions.

Arrival of Europeans
      Until the 19th century, European contact was confined to the coast, where French and Portuguese traders sought slaves and ivory. Louis-Édouard Bouet-Willaumez began signing treaties with coastal chiefs in the 1830s that allowed France to build forts and trading posts. France withdrew in 1870, but private merchants remained. Arthur Verdier sent explorers north and imported the first coffee plants. By the 1890s, inland penetration by traders such as Marcel Triech-Laplène and military missions such as those of Capt. Louis-Gustave Binger in 1887–89 resulted in more treaties and French “protectorate” relationships with many groups.

      As the European rush to divide Africa accelerated, France claimed Côte d'Ivoire as a colony in 1893. Borders were determined in 1898, following the capture of Samory Touré. Gov. Gabriel Angoulvant began the military occupation in 1908. Imposition of forced labour and head taxes led to fierce resistance, especially among the Baule, Anyi, and Abe (Abbey). New revolts broke out when France conscripted thousands of Ivoirians to serve with other western African soldiers in World War I. France's superior weaponry eventually triumphed, although the colony was not considered under control until 1918.

March toward independence
      Following World War I, concerted efforts toward economic development were taken. The railway was extended to Bobo Dioulasso, which, along with most of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), was attached to Côte d'Ivoire in 1933. Schools and Western-style health facilities were introduced, exploitation of the forests was intensified, and Africans were encouraged to plant cash crops for export. By 1939, Africans grew 90 percent of the cocoa and 80 percent of the coffee produced in the colony.

      Forty thousand Ivoirians fought for the French army during World War II. Between 1940 and 1942 the colony, along with the rest of French West Africa, chose to remain under the Vichy government. Racist legislation, economic discrimination against African planters, increased forced labour, and a depression caused by Britain's naval blockade created enormous discontent. Educated Africans thus welcomed the subsequent Free French regime. In 1944 Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Houphouët-Boigny, Félix) and Auguste Denise formed the African Farmers Union (SAA), which, with the support of the colony's governor, André Latrille, secured equal treatment for African planters. Houphouët-Boigny's all-African slate swept local elections in 1945. The following year, with Côte d'Ivoire part of the French Union, he was elected to the French Assembly, where he spearheaded the law to abolish forced labour throughout the empire. The present borders were set in 1947, when the north reverted to the country of Upper Volta.

Côte d'Ivoire since independence
Houphouët-Boigny's rule
      In 1946 Houphouët-Boigny helped found the African Democratic Rally (RDA), a western Africa–based umbrella organization that sought equality for Africans; the Ivoirian branch was the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI). Though at first harshly repressed, the RDA achieved many of its goals. In 1960 Houphouët-Boigny, who had been a cabinet minister in two French governments, was elected president of the newly independent Côte d'Ivoire. He ruled until his death, in 1993 during his seventh term in office. Despite reported coup attempts in 1963 and 1973, Houphouët-Boigny had a remarkable ability to reconcile opponents, which sustained the country's peaceful and prosperous relations with France and with its neighbours throughout most of his rule. However, political unrest and strained foreign relations were increasingly evident from the late 1980s. Côte d'Ivoire's first multiparty elections were held in 1990, and Houphouët-Boigny managed to defeat challenger Laurent Gbagbo (Gbagbo, Laurent) of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) in a presidential election that was unsuccessfully appealed to the Supreme Court. Upon his death in 1993, Houphouët-Boigny was succeeded by the president of the National Assembly, Henri Konan Bédié, who was, like his predecessor, a member of the Baule ethnic group and the PDCI.

Political unrest
      The PDCI and Bédié were victorious again in the1995 elections that were boycotted by most of the opposition. Long-standing ethnic and religious tensions continued to exist, exemplified by the government's attempt to rewrite the constitution to prevent certain challengers from running for president. With tensions escalating, soldiers mutinied on Dec. 23, 1999, and Brig. Gen. Robert Gueï, a former member of Houphouët-Boigny's government, took control of the country the next day. Although he pledged that he would allow legislative and presidential elections by October 2000 and that he would not be a candidate, he changed his mind and ran for president. After a controversial election in which Gueï tried to manipulate the outcome, Gbagbo of the FPI was eventually installed as president.

Nancy Ellen Lawler Robert John Mundt

Civil war and its aftermath
      Gbagbo's rule was not without discord, culminating in a failed coup on Sept. 19, 2002. Gueï, who the government claimed was behind the coup, was killed during the fighting. The failed coup fueled unrest and ignited civil war, leaving the country divided into the rebel-held north and the government-controlled south. Peacekeeping troops from France, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and later the United Nations (United Nations Peacekeeping Forces) (UN) created a buffer zone between the rebels and the Ivoirian government troops.

 Although the government and rebel forces reached a peace agreement in January 2003, months of stalemate followed, and the cultural and nationalistic issues that had ignited the civil war—including land ownership, the basis for nationality, and qualifications for holding office—were never completely settled. Despite an initiative by UN and African leaders to restart the implementation of the peace agreement, simmering tensions exploded in November 2004 when the government violated the cease-fire agreement by bombing rebel-held areas in the north. The already volatile situation worsened when French peacekeeping troops were accidentally killed in one of the Ivoirian bombing raids, prompting retaliatory bombing by France that in turn resulted in anti-French demonstrations and the looting and burning of French businesses, schools, and residences. In response to the escalating situation, the UN Security Council (United Nations) imposed a 13-month arms embargo on Côte d'Ivoire in an attempt to stem the influx of weapons into the region. In April 2005, peace talks held in South Africa led to a new cease-fire agreement between the Ivoirian government and the rebels, with all parties declaring an end to the war. However, the terms of the agreement were not immediately implemented, and fighting resumed. In 2007, talks in Burkina Faso resulted in a power-sharing agreement signed by both sides, and a new transitional government was inaugurated that year.


Additional Reading
International Business Publications USA, Côte d'Ivoire Country Study Guide (2007); Robert E. Handloff (ed.), Côte d'Ivoire: A Country Study (1991); Raymond Borremans, Le Grand Dictionnaire encyclopédique de la Côte d'Ivoire (1986–88); and Pierre Vennetier (ed.), Atlas de la Côte d'Ivoire, 2nd ed. rev. and updated by Pierre Vennetier and Geneviève Daverat (1983), provide a general overview of the country. Ethnographic studies include Enid Schildkrout (ed.), The Golden Stool: Studies of the Asante Center and Periphery (1987); and Ivor Wilks, Wa and the Wala (1989). An excellent memoir of life in a Senufo village is provided in Carol Spindel's In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove (1989).Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Profile: Côte d'Ivoire (annual), provides up-to-date information on the country's economy, resources, and industry. Laurent Gbagbo, La Côte-d'Ivoire (1982), is a critical history of economic and social developments in the 20 years before independence. Thomas J. Bassett, The Peasant Cotton Revolution in West Africa: Côte d'Ivoire, 1880–1995 (2001), discusses the growth of the cotton economy. Further discussions of economic history and policies are presented in Bastiaan A. Den Tuinder, Ivory Coast (1978); I. William Zartman and Christopher Delgado, The Political Economy of Ivory Coast (1984); Hartmut Schneider, Adjustment and Equity in Côte d'Ivoire; and John Rapley, Ivoirien Capitalism: African Entrepreneurs in Côte d'Ivoire (1993).Aristide R. Zolberg, One-Party Government in the Ivory Coast, rev. ed. (1969), is a landmark study of Ivoirian political history. A more contemporary view of politics is provided in Tessy D. Bakary Akin, La Démocratie par le haut en Côte-d'Ivoire (1992); and Francis Akindès, The Roots of the Military-Political Crises in Côte d'Ivoire (2004). Robert J. Mundt, Historical Dictionary of the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), 2nd ed. (1995), a valuable reference work, has an extensive bibliography. Jean-Noël Loucou, Histoire de la Côte d'Ivoire, vol. 1, La Formation des peuples (1984), presents the origin and development of the country's major ethnic groups. Timothy C. Weiskel, French Colonial Rule and the Baule Peoples: Resistance and Collaboration, 1889–1911 (1980), provides insight into the mindsets of those who imposed colonialism. F.J. Amon d'Aby, La Côte d'Ivoire dans la cité africaine (1951), is a pioneering and still valuable survey.Jean L. Comhaire Nancy Ellen Lawler Robert John Mundt

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Universalium. 2010.

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