Côte d

Côte d'Ivoire

Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, is a country in West Africa. Ivory Coast borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south.

Background History

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 West African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil. In December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government. Junta leader Robert Guei blatantly rigged elections held in late 2000 and declared himself the winner. Popular protest forced him to step aside and brought Laurent Gbagbo into power. Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt in September 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and in January 2003 were granted ministerial positions in a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President Gbagbo and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord in December 2003 after a three-month stalemate, but issues that sparked the civil war, such as land reform and grounds for citizenship, remained unresolved. In March 2007 President Gbagbo and former New Forces rebel leader Guillaume Soro signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement. As a result of the agreement, Soro joined Gbagbo's government as Prime Minister and the two agreed to reunite the country by dismantling the zone of confidence separating North from South, integrate rebel forces into the national armed forces, and hold elections. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of rebel forces have been problematic as rebels seek to enter the armed forces. Citizen identification and voter registration pose election difficulties, and balloting planned for November 2009 was postponed to 2010. On 28 November 2010, Alassane Dramane Ouattara won the presidential election, defeating then President Laurent Gbagbo. Gbagbo refused to hand over power, resulting in a 5 -month stand-off. In April 2011, after widespread fighting, Gbagbo was formally forced from office by armed Ouattara supporters with the help of UN and French forces. Several thousand UN peacekeepers and several hundred French troops remain in Cote d'Ivoire to support the transition process.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
  • conventional short form: Cote d'Ivoire
  • local long form: Republique de Cote d'Ivoire
  • local short form: Cote d'Ivoire
  • former: Ivory Coast


  • name: Yamoussoukro
  • population: 808,000
  • geographic coordinates: 6 49 N, 5 17 W
  • time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 7 August 1960 (from France)

Government Type:

  • Republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Alassane Ouattara (since 4 December 2010)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Guillaume Soro (since 4 April 2007)
  • cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
  • elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 31 October and 28 November 2010 (next to be held in 2015); prime minister appointed by the president

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court consisting 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

People & Society


  • 21,952,093 (global rank: 55)
  • growth rate: 2.044% (global rank: 46)


  • noun: Ivoirian(s)
  • adjective: Ivoirian

Major Cities:

  • Abidjan: 4.009 million; Yamoussoukro (capital): 808,000

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 14,000 French)


  • Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7%


  • French (official), 60 native dialects of which Dioula is the most widely spoken

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 57.25 years (global rank: 194)
  • male: 56.21 years
  • female: 58.33 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 63.2 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 24)
  • male: 69.77 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 56.42 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2009 est.) (global rank: 20)
  • people living with AIDS: 450,000 (2009 est.) (global rank: 16)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 48.7%
  • male: 60.8%
  • female: 38.6%


Overview: Cote d'Ivoire is heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly 68% of the population. Cote d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products, and, to a lesser extent, in climatic conditions. Cocoa, oil, and coffee are the country's top export revenue earners, but the country is also producing gold. Since the end of the civil war in 2003, political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth. GDP grew by more than 2% in 2008 and around 4% per year in 2009-10. Per capita income has declined by 15% since 1999, but registered a slight improvement in 2009-10. Power cuts caused by a turbine failure in early 2010 slowed economic activity. Cote d'Ivoire in 2010 signed agreements to restructure its Paris Club bilateral, other bilateral, and London Club debt. Cote d'Ivoire's long term challenges include political instability and degrading infrastructure. In late 2011, Cote D'Ivoire's economy was recovering from a severe downturn of the first quarter of the year that was caused by widespread post-election fighting.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $35.6 billion (global rank: 104)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $1,600 (global rank: 194)
  • real growth rate: -5.8% (global rank: 212)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 29.2%, industry: 20.9%, services: 49.8%


  • currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine Francs (XOF)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 465.2


  • population below poverty line: 42%
  • unemployment rate: NA

Agricultural Products:

  • coffee, cocoa beans, bananas, palm kernels, corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sweet potatoes, sugar, cotton, rubber; timber


  • foodstuffs, beverages; wood products, oil refining, gold mining, truck and bus assembly, textiles, fertilizer, building materials, electricity

Exports Commodities:

  • cocoa, coffee, timber, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, fish

Imports Commodities:

  • fuel, capital equipment, foodstuffs



  • Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia


  • total: 322,463 sq km (global rank: 69)
  • land: 318,003 sq km
  • water: 4,460 sq km
  • comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico


  • 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)

Land Use:

  • arable land: 10.23%
  • permanent crops: 11.16%
  • other: 78.61%

Natural Resources:

  • petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum, silica sand, clay, cocoa beans, coffee, palm oil, hydropower

Current Environmental 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

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: despite the presence of over 9,000 UN forces (UNOCI) in Cote d'Ivoire since 2004, ethnic conflict still leaves displaced hundreds of thousands of Ivoirians in and out of the country as well as driven out migrants from neighboring states who worked in Ivorian cocoa plantations; the March 2007 peace deal between Ivorian rebels and the government brought significant numbers of rebels out of hiding in neighboring states
  • refugees (country of origin): 25,615 (Liberia)
  • internally displaced peoples: 709,000 (2002 coup; most IDPs are in western regions)
  • illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for local consumption; utility as a narcotic transshipment point to Europe reduced by ongoing political instability; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leave the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a developed financial system limits the country's utility as a major money-laundering center

Published: Thursday, September 04, 2008