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Cote D'Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is located in western Africa, neighbouring Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso. It also borders the Gulf of Guinea.  In the ancient times, the region of modern day Cote d’Ivoire was once the center of many African trade routes, which linked the ancient empires that were prominent in Ghana and Mali. European traders have been in this region since the 15th century and in the 19th century, the French made advances to colonize this region. In 1960, Cote d’Ivoire gained its independence and has since then maintained close ties to its former colonial power. This country was once considered a model of stability but this changed once internal conflict broke out. Political turmoil broke out in 1999 in a

military coup. French and West African troops are still in Cote d’Ivoire to maintain peace and to ensure that disarmament, demobilization, and the rehabilitation process take place. In 2002, an armed rebellion divided the country in two and unfortunately, the main players have not yet reached a political solution. While the fighting has stopped, Cote d’Ivoire is still divided with peacekeepers patrolling the buffer zone between the rebel-held north and the Government-controlled south. The capital city, Yamoussoukro, is home to some lively markets and government buildings as well as Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix. Although this cathedral is smaller than the St Peter’s in Rome, it has a greater area of stained glass than the total area of stained glass in France. Cote d'Ivoire is well drained with the Gulf of Guinea and four major rivers; the Cavally, Sassandra, Bandama and Comoé. This country is well known for their arts and crafts, especially the masks. In Cote d’Ivoire, masks represent the souls of deceased people, with each mask carrying a soul or life force. In fact, only certain individuals and families can own masks and only specially trained individuals are allowed to wear these masks. The Fêtes des Masques (Festival of Masks) is one of Cote d'Ivoire's main festivals.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Country Flag: Cote D'Ivoire's Flag

Three equal vertical bands of orange (hoist side), white, and green; design was based on the flag of France

Nationality: Ivoirian

Capital: Yamoussoukro (official capital since 1983); Abidjan is the commercial/administrative center

Population: 17,654,843 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 40.8%
  • 15-64 years: 56.4%
  • 65 years and over: 2.8% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.03% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 50.9% of the population is literate (male: 57.9%, female: 43.6%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40%, Christian 20-30% (2001); the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)

Languages: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken

Quick Facts
  • total: 322,460 sq km
  • land: 318,000 sq km
  • water: 4,460 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Alberta

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

Environmental 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


Because Cote d’Ivoire is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans and palm oil, the country’s economy is very sensitive to fluctuations in international prices of these commodities as well as weather conditions. The economy remains highly dependent on agriculture, with 68% of the population involved with this activity. Between 2000 -03, the county experienced negative economic growth due to difficulty in meeting the conditions of international donors, low prices of key exports and a civil war. Political conflict damaged the economy in 2005 with foreign investment deteriorating, French businesses fleeing the country as well as a decrease of travel in the country. The sale of cocoa, accounting for 90% of foreign exchange earnings, will keep the government surviving. The government hopes that they will boost their oil production in the years to come. This country attracts many foreign workers

Major industries:

  • foodstuffs and beverages
  • wood products
  • oil refining
  • truck and bus assembly
  • textiles
  • fertilizer
  • building materials
  • electricity
  • ship construction and repair

Agricultural products:

  • coffee
  • cocoa beans
  • bananas
  • palm kernels
  • corn
  • rice
  • manioc (tapioca)
  • sweet potatoes
  • sugar
  • cotton
  • rubber
  • timber

Oil production: 32,900 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways: 660 km

Road map: 50,400 km (paved: 4,889 km, unpaved: 45,511 km)

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc


Telephone lines in use: 238,000 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 1,531,800 (2004)

Television Stations: 14 (1999)

Radio Stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 3 (1998)

Internet users: 300,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 7% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 570,000 (2003 est.)

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