Ivory Coast Facts

Ivory Coast Facts and History


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 Ivory Coast
Form of government Presidential Republic
Geographical location West Africa
National anthem L’Abidjanaise
Population approx. 26 million (Credit: Countryaah: Ivory Coast Population)
Ethnicities about 60 African ethnic groups
Religions approx. 40% Muslims, 30% followers of traditional religions and approx. 30% Christians
Languages French is the official language, as well as numerous African languages
Capital Yamoussoukro
Seat of government Abidjan, at the same time the economic and financial center of the country
Surface 322,463 km²
Highest mountain Nimba with a height of 1,752 m
Longest river Bandama with a length of about 950 km
Largest lake Lac de Kossou
International license plate CI
National currency 1 CFA franc = 100 centimes
Time difference to CET – 1 h
International phone code +225
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz(an adapter is required)
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .ci

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

According to 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 in 2002.

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.

Ivory Coast Facts