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Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast Guide. Ivory Coast Country Profile.

Country Profile: Ivory Coast.

Fact: Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, a major national cash crop.

The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, commonly known in English as Ivory Coast, is a country in West Africa. It has an area of 322,462 square kilometers, and borders the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea.

Prior to its colonization by Europeans, Cote d’Ivoire was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. There were two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, which attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and after Cote d’Ivoire’s independence. An 1843–1844 treaty made Cote d’Ivoire a “protectorate” of France and it became a French colony in 1893 as part of the European scramble for Africa.

Cote d’Ivoire became independent on 7 August 1960. From 1960 to 1993, the country was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny. It maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbors, while at the same time maintaining close ties to the West, especially to France. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny’s rule, Cote d’Ivoire has experienced one coup d’état, in 1999, and a civil war, which broke out in 2002. A political agreement between the government and the rebels brought a return to peace. Cote d’Ivoire is a republic with a strong executive power invested in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the biggest city is the port city of Abidjan. The country is divided into 19 regions and 81 departments. It is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, African Union, La Francophonie, Latin Union, Economic Community of West African States and South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.

The official language is French, although many of the local languages are widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin and Cebaara Senufo. The main religions are Islam, Christianity (primarily Roman Catholic) and various indigenous religions.

Through production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. However, Cote d’Ivoire went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, leading to the country’s period of political and social turmoil. The 21st century Ivoirian economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.

:: Background of Ivory Coast ::

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 Force 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 with no future date set. Several thousand UN troops and several hundred French remain in Cote d’Ivoire to help the parties implement their commitments and to support the peace process.

:: Geography of Ivory Coast ::

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

Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 5 00 W

Area:
total: 322,463 sq km
land: 318,003 sq km
water: 4,460 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries: 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:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 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: Monts Nimba 1,752 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 10.23%
permanent crops: 11.16%
other: 78.61% (2005)
Irrigated land: 730 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 81 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.93 cu km/yr (24%/12%/65%)
per capita: 51 cu m/yr (2000)
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 agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling; 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 of Ivory Coast ::

Population: 21,504,162
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.8% (male 4,312,133/female 4,240,500)
15-64 years: 57.2% (male 6,262,802/female 6,039,458)
65 years and over: 3% (male 320,396/female 328,873) (2011 est.)

Median age:
total: 19.6 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 19.5 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.078% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 30.95 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 10.16 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population NA (2011 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 51% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 3.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 64.78 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 71.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 57.83 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 56.78 years
male: 55.79 years
female: 55.81 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.92 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 450,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 36,000 (2009 est.)
Major infectous diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Nationality: noun: Ivoirian(s) adjective: Ivoirian
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) (1998)
Religions: Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7% (2008 est.)
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: 48.7%
male: 60.8%
female: 38.6% (2000 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 6 years
male: 8 years
female: 5 years (2000)
Education expenditures: 4.6% of GDP (2008)