OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire)
CAPITAL: Yamoussoukro
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 322,463 Sq Km (124,504 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 16,310,500


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Ivory Coast is located on the south coast of West Africa. It is bound by Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The country is a southward sloping plateau and has three principal geographic regions. (1.) The Lagoon Region along the coast which is fringed by sandy beaches. (2.) The Central Forest Belt which lies between the coastal strip and the northern limits where the vegetation transforms to (3.) the grassy woodlands which is a savannah of grass and scrubs. The country is drained by the Comoe, Bandama, Sassandra and Cavally Rivers which flow from north to south. Major Cities (pop. est.); Abidjan 2,168,000, Bouake 329,900, daloa 121,800, Korhogo 109,400, Yamoussoukro 106,800 (1988). Land Use; forested 22%, pastures 41%, agricultural-cultivated 12%, other 25% (1993).


CLIMATE: Ivory Coast has a tropical climate with four seasons in the coastal and central regions and two seasons in the northern savannah region. The coastal and central region has (1.) a long dry season from December to May and (2.) a short dry season from July to October as well as (3.) a long rainy season from May to July and (4.) a short rainy season from October to November. The savannah region has a long dry season from November to May and a wet season from June to October. The prevailing winds are the SW Monsoon and the northeastern Harmattan which is a dry dust-laden wind from the Sahara Desert. Average temperature ranges in Abidjan are from 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.


PEOPLE: The population consists of more than 60 ethnic groups which are divided into 7 principal cluster groups. The Akan, Krou or Kru, Lagoon, Nuclear-Mande, Peripheral-Mande, Senoufo and the Lobi. Other ethnic aliens include groups from Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Guinea. In addition, there are small numbers of Lebanese and French.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 39 persons per sq km (101 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 44.8% urban, 55.2% rural (1988). Sex Distribution; 51.0% male, 49.0% female (1987). Life Expectancy at Birth; 52.0 years male, 56.0 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 46% under 15, 25% 15 to 29, 16% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 4% 60 and over (1987). Birth Rate; 48.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 13.0 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 35.0 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 88.0 per 1,000 live births (1990).


RELIGIONS: Around 60% of the population follow local native tribal beliefs while 20% are Muslims and 20% are Christians, of which the Roman Catholics represent 15% and the remainder are Protestants.


LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although there are some 60 local African languages spoken throughout the country with the four principal ones being Agni, Baoule, Senoufo and Malinke-Bambara-Dioula.


EDUCATION: Aged 6 or over and having attained: less than primary education 77.6%, of which 75.3% have no formal schooling, primary 17.3%, secondary 5.1%, higher 0.5% (1975). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 53.8% (1990).



MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In Sept. 1958 French Pres. de Gaulle organized a referendum whereby the Ivory Coast could join the French Community or achieve immediate independence. The Ivory Coast voted to become a self governing republic within the French Community. On Aug. 7, 1960 Pres. Felix Houphouet-Boigny declared Ivory Coast's independence and although there were provisions for multi-partyism within the constitution, opposition parties were not tolerated under Pres. Houphouet-Boigny's rule. In 1977 a major cabinet reshuffle took place after there were allegations of high level corruption. In 1983 the legislature approved a proposal allowing the capital of the country to be moved from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro, although most of the government offices remained in Abidjan. In 1988 Laurent Gbagbo, a former opposition party leader, returned from a self imposed exile and reconciled his differences with Pres. Houphouet-Boigny. In Nov. 1988 another opposition party leader was arrested and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for fraud. In Oct. 1988 Houphouet-Biogny held talks, with South Africa's Pres. P.W. Botha and in Dec. 1989 with Pres. F.W. de Klerk, regarding the opposition of communist expansion within Africa. In Feb. 1990 austerity measures imposed as a part of economic restructuring provoked nationwide unrest and strikes which were broken up by police and troops. As a result the President legalized opposition parties, and promised multiparty presidential and legislative elections. In May 1990 French troops were put on alert as army conscripts went on a rampage while two days later Air Force personnel seized control of the airport, although most returned to the barracks after concessions were offered. In Sept. 1990 Pope John Paul II reluctantly accepted ownership of a controversial basilica, which is Africa's largest church that cost over US $200 million and is larger than St. Peters in Rome. In Oct. 1990 Pres. Houphouet-Boigny was re-elected President against Laurent Gbagbo in the country's first multiparty elections. During 1991 there were continuing strikes by students and teachers which led to repeated clashes with the security police and on May 17, 1991 soldiers stormed a university students' residence wounding around 20. In response Pres. Houphouet-Boigny withdrew the soldiers from the campus and established a commission to investigate the incident. In May 1991 the government announced new legislation guaranteeing freedom of the press, although two journalists were jailed in August 1991 on charges of insulting the President. Also during the year, the Ivory Coast hosted meetings in June and Sept. 1991 for Liberian leaders in an attempt to settle their civil war. In Feb. 1992 the government's inability to discipline high-ranking military officials for the May 1991 university residence invasion led to violent protests with hundreds being arrested while 75 opposition leaders were sentenced to two years imprisonment for their part in the violence. In July 1992 Pres. Houphouet-Boigny issued an amnesty for the 75 opposition leaders as well as 2,000 other prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months jail. In 1993 the government announced that a further 10 state enterprises would be privatized in an attempt to reduce the country's international debt while the government also cut its expenditure by reducing civil and military salaries and student grants. In March 1993 and in response to the austerity measures 45 members of the Republican Guard mutinied while there was also continued labor unrest. On April 19, 1993 Police used tear gas on 3,000 protesting students that led to students going on a 4 month strike with 24 student also involved in a hunger strike. In June 1993 border talks with Burkina Faso were successful. On Aug. 21, 1993 the government conceded to the protests and agreed to pay salary arrears. In Sept. 1993 the Liberian border was re-opened to allow humanitarian aid through. On Dec. 7, 1993 Pres. Houphouet-Boigny died after serving as President since independence.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the CFA Franc (Communaute Financiere Africaine) divided into 100 Centimes.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $8,416,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $10,551,000,000 (1993). Imports; CFAF 452,600,000,000 (1993). Exports; CFAF 755,600,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $64,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; USD $1,308,500,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 4,826,000 or 37.4% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 0.6% (1988).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France, the USA, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Japan.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Cassava, Cobalt, Cocoa, Coffee, Cotton, Crude Oil, Diamonds, Pineapples, Rubber, Sugar, Timber, Uranium, Yams.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Food Processing, Forestry, Leather Goods, Mining, Petroleum Refining, Textiles.

MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Cocoa, Coffee, Cotton, Petroleum Products, Pineapples, Rubber, Timber.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 660 km (410 mi) (1990), passenger-km N/A. cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 67,500 km (41,943 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 168,000 (1989), trucks and buses 91,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 51 (1990), deadweight tonnage 99,549 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 84,427,000 (52,460,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 7,638,000 (5,231,000 short ton-mi) (1990).


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a total circulation of 90,000 (1990). Radio; receivers 1,600,000 (1994). Television; receivers 810,000 (1994). Telephones; units 93,880 (1993).


MILITARY: 8,400 (1995) total active duty personnel with 81.0% army, 10.7% navy and 8.3% air force while military expenditure accounts for 1.7% (1992) of the Gross National Product (GNP).


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