Ivory Coast Country Overview

Ivory Coast. West African country located in the Gulf of Guinea. To the south, it has an extensive coastline in the Atlantic Ocean (550 km.), Difficult to access due to the presence of bars and sandy coastlines that enclose numerous lagoons.


It was at the beginning of the 15th century when the first Europeans, in search of slaves and gold, reached the territories where the ancient residents of the Ivory Coast lived, scattered in coastal settlements on the Atlantic.

The French established trading factories at Assini and Grand Bassam in the late 17th century. During the 19th century, France made treaties with tribal chiefs. In 1893, the Ivory Coast became part of the French colonial empire.

The railway line, which began in 1903 to connect the coasts with the inland factory, was completed in 1935 and its completion was located in the town of Bobo, currently in Burkina Faso territory.

The port of Abidjan was built between 1950 and 1954. During World War II, the Narfil Coast remained under the Vichy regime. In 1946 it became a territory of the French Union and the following year the north separated, giving birth to Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso).

In 1945 Félix Houphouet-Boigny founded the RDA (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain), an interterritorial party that unites moderate nationalism in French West Africa.

According to POLITICSEZINE, Ivory Coast achieved its autonomy in 1958 and independence in 1960 under the leadership of Félix Houphouet-Boigny, until his death in 1993 (the multiparty system has existed since 1990).

In 1999 Henri Konan Bédié, president since 1993, was overthrown by a coup led by Robert Guei. In 2000, Laurent Gbagbo was established as the new president, and in 2002 the civil war in which other countries in the region were involved began.

In 2003 a peace agreement is signed in Paris. The president forms a government of national unity made up of members of the rebel movements and in 2004 United Nations peacekeepers were deployed.


West African state that borders Liberia and Guinea to the West, Mali and Burkina Faso (former Upper Volta) to the North, Ghana to the East and the Atlantic Ocean to the South.

From south to north, the Ivory Coast can be divided into three major regions: a narrow coastal strip, a vast equatorial forested region, and a savanna region.

The coastal region does not exceed 64 km in depth and its relief is smooth and regular, with lagoon formations separated from the sea by narrow stretches of sand to the east and rocky cliffs and promontories to the west. The entry by sea to the country is difficult due to the waves and the sandbanks.

The northern savannah is a low population density granite plateau, with large areas and plains suitable for cattle grazing.


Two well-defined climatic zones are distinguished in the Ivory Coast: the northern zone is the driest in the country, with an average of 400 mm per year of falling waters. During the dry season, between December and February, this area receives around 2% of the aforementioned volume of rainfall.

The southern area is humid, with annual rainfall that usually reaches 700 mm.


The hydrographic network is made up of numerous rivers that run almost in parallel, interrupted by rapids, descending towards the Atlantic Ocean in a north-south direction.

The main rivers are CavallySassandraBandama and Komoê that flow from north to south forming lagoons as they approach the coast.


The very rainy equatorial forests contain valuable timber species. These have experienced a gradual depopulation in the last hundred years. At present, the area is occupied by plantations of the main raw materials of the country.


The fauna of the Ivory Coast features a wide variety of exotic animals, such as the giant pig, the bongo, a reddish-brown antelope and the sea cow. To the north of the forested region of the savannah live around ten species of antelope, lions, and although they are rarer some herds of elephants.


In Côte d’Ivoire the official language is French, but there are many African languages used by the population, with minorities who have emigrated from border countries.

Mostly mostly Ivorians practice traditional African animist cults. The population growth rate is one of the highest in the world. Of the more than 60 traditional tribes of the Ivory Coast, the main ones loe BeteSenoufoBauleAkanMalinkegiveand Lobi.

The Bete tribes are located in the south of the country; the senufo, lobi and bob groups, in the north, and the malinke and dan, in the center-west. All these groups speak different languages, although with common elements.

Economic development

Like so many Third World countries, Côte d’Ivoire mortgaged its development as an independent nation to sustained economic growth thanks to exports of agricultural products. For a time he succeeded. Agriculture including fishing and forestry.

At the end of the last decade it remained one of the largest cocoa producers. It was also the third largest coffee producer in the world. The excessive forest exploitation of the country has fatally translated into a gradual decrease in its economic gravitation.

In 1977 oil was discovered in the country but exploitation has been hampered by technical and financial difficulties. The diamond industry is in the hands of the private sector. An energy program, announced at the end of 1989, has also begun to be applied to start the exploitation of natural gas reserves. But the country has not yet started the exploitation of the nickel, iron, cobalt, phosphate and bauxite deposits, whose existence is confirmed.

After its independence in 1960, the rapid economic growth of Côte d’Ivoire rested on the income from the sale of cocoa, fine woods and coffee among other products.

Ivory Coast has more than 55 thousand km of roads and highways and two large ports, Abidjan and San Pedro. The capital’s port absorbs almost the largest amount of the country’s foreign trade, which also has the more modern Port-Bouët international airport. Tourism is an essential source of income with about 25 thousand tourists a year.

Social development


Despite the spectacular economic boom that for 15 years, between 1968 and 1983, made the Ivory Coast the << Switzerland of Black Africa >>, the country’s socio-economic conditions are not substantially superior to those of other poorer and less favored states in the world. continent.

Medical services are state-owned and there is a minimum subsidy for health and hospitalization expenses, derived from a minimum wage established for workers in industry and commerce.

In the mid-eighties the government began to implement a series of projects for the creation of social health services at the regional level, but with the political crisis that opened in 1989 and the fall in the price of raw materials, the administration suspended a large part of its services. expenditures on public works.

In 1987, a mass vaccination program was implemented with the aim of immunizing almost 80% of children against the six main childhood diseases.


According to UNESCO in the mid-eighties the literacy rate was close to 50%. Education at all levels is free today.


In the Ivory Coast there is a newspaper under the name Fraternité-Matin.


Unlike other states, there are bookstores, publishers, cultural publications and an active cinematographic medium, all fueled by the cultural demand of a vernacular elite educated in France and that until recently enjoyed high income.

Another explanation for this difference, apart from the sustained growth of the national economy for more than 15 years, lies in tourism, in the presence of Europeans and in the privileged ties that Houphouet-Boingny forged since the beginning of independence with the French metropolis.. [1]

“We do not say goodbye to France, but see you later”, was the famous phrase with which the president kept the bridges with Paris standing, which rewarded him with cooperation and development aid, treating the Ivory Coast as his former favorite colony and helping to impose its reputation as a progressive “showcase” of Africa French black.


Although today the main economic resources of the Ivory Coast are agriculture, logging and mining, that was not what the French were most interested in when they gained control of Grand Bassam and Assini at the end of the 17th century.

At the time, its activity was centered on the slave trade and the ivory trade. But the country has not always been called the Ivory Coast, as there was a time when it was called the Coast of the Teeth .

Ivory Coast Country Overview

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