The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) was considered a positive example
of an African developing country in terms of political stability and economic
success until the early 1980s.
The liberal economic policy was praised by the IMF and the World Bank, and the
per capita income in Côte d'Ivoire reached one of the highest levels in Africa in
1980. The country earned mainly from exporting cocoa and coffee.
The decline in world market prices, together with other factors, then led to an
economic and financial crisis in Ivory Coast in the 1980s.
Political unrest followed in the 1990s and, since 2002, there have been repeated
and bloody clashes, including between Muslim immigrants in the north and
Christian Ivorians in the south of the country.
Formally, there is freedom of religion in the Ivory Coast. Islam is currently
the fastest growing religious community, about 40% of the Ivorian population
already belong to it.
The ivory that gives the country its name came from elephants that were
previously hunted in the hinterland of the coastal state in West
Africa. Nowadays the gentle giants are strictly protected, but with a bit of
luck you can see them in one of the eight national parks of Côte d'Ivoire.
The Ivory Coast supplies around 40% of the cocoa used worldwide - and even
around 50% of that in Germany needed cocoa. It should be mentioned that a cocoa
tree takes around 30 years to bear harvestable fruit.
|Official name of the country
||République Côte d'Ivoire
|Description in German
|Form of government
||approx. 26 million (Credit:
Countryaah: Ivory Coast Population)
||about 60 African ethnic groups
||approx. 40% Muslims, 30% followers of traditional religions and
approx. 30% Christians
||French is the official language, as well as numerous African
|Seat of government
||Abidjan, at the same time the economic and financial center of the
||Nimba with a height of 1,752 m
||Bandama with a length of about 950 km
||Lac de Kossou
|International license plate
||1 CFA franc = 100 centimes
|Time difference to CET
||- 1 h
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||220 volts and 50 hertz
(an adapter is required)
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
Ivory Coast: history
Until the 19th century
As early as the 15th century, the Portuguese traded with the coastal tribes
in the region of today's Ivory Coast. In the 17th century, Ashanti, Agni and Baoulé tribes immigrated from the
territory of what is now Ghana, Malinké from the northwest and Mossi from the
northeast. In the area of today's Côte d'Ivoire, however, no state formation
took place before the colonial era. From the 17th century the French invaded the
country that became part of French West Africa in 1895.
20th century until today
Abbreviationfinder website, on August 7, 1960, Côte d'Ivoire gained full independence. The office of
president was taken over by Félix Houphouet-Boigny (1905-1993), who had been
re-elected six times since 1960 and ruled the country with broad popular support
until 1993. In May 1990 a multi-party system was introduced after nationwide
unrest. The former Unity Party largely retained its supremacy even after the
elections. After Houphouet-Boigny's death in 1993, Henri Konan Bédié took over
the office of President. As a result, there were domestic political tensions.
The civil war in
1999 intensified the economic crisis due to the drop in cocoa prices. In
December of that year, Bédié was overthrown in a bloodless military
coup. Laurent Gbagbo (FPI) won the presidential elections in 2000, which were
accompanied by serious unrest and several hundred dead. Alassane Ouattara (RDR),
the main opposition candidate, had been excluded from the election for formal
reasons. The resulting conflicts culminated in an armed uprising against Gbagbo
Part of the army occupied the north and western parts of the country. Efforts,
including on the part of France, to stabilize the situation failed. On behalf of
the UN, around 6,300 blue helmet soldiers were stationed primarily along the
armistice lines in early 2004.
In addition, 4,500 French soldiers were already in the country before.
In November 2004, the country's air force attacked the rebel positions in the
north of the country as well as a position of the French Operation Licorne near
Bouaké, killing nine soldiers. France responded by destroying the entire air
force, which the UN subsequently declared as justified.
As a result, there were violent riots against Western foreigners. Evacuations
were carried out, France increased its troops.
Peace efforts and elections
In November 2004, the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo on
Côte d'Ivoire. The foreign accounts of the government members have been
frozen. In July of that year the army and the rebels signed a disarmament
agreement. However, despite international mediation efforts, the reconciliation
process has so far made little progress due to the complexity of the situation
of the various interest groups.
One of the causes of the conflict lies in the disputes over what is known as
"Ivority": The West African immigrants, who make up around a quarter of the
country's total population, are not granted the same rights as the Ivorians even
after decades of residence.
The stationing of the UN blue helmet troops and the French "Operation Licorne"
along the armistice line and in the north of the country, however, ensures a
certain stability. The elections planned for October 2005 had to be postponed
again, instead the Peace and Security Council of the AU (African Union) decided
on a transition period of up to twelve months under President Gbagbo.
At the end of 2007, as part of the disarmament measures, there was a symbolic
alliance between President Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro.
In the presidential elections of October 31, 2010 and the runoff election on
November 28, 2010, Alassane Ouattara (born 1942) won against his rival Laurent
Gbagbo (born 1945). But he refused to recognize the election result and to
resign. As a result, a month-long civil war broke out that only ended on April
11, 2011 with the capture of Gbagbo.