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