Facts

Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d’Ivoire and officially as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a sovereign state located in West Africa. Ivory Coast’s political capital is and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. Its bordering countries are Guinea and Liberia in the west, Burkina Faso and Mali in the north, and Ghana in the east. The Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) is located south of Ivory Coast.
Côte d’Ivoire is a West African country with beach resorts, rainforests and a French-colonial legacy. Abidjan, on the Atlantic coast, is the country’s major urban center. Its modern landmarks include zigguratlike, concrete La Pyramide and St. Paul’s Cathedral, a swooping structure tethered to a massive cross. North of the central business district, Banco National Park is a rainforest preserve with hiking trails.


Population: 23,7 million (2016)
Area: 322 463 km²
capital: Yamoussoukro


Currency

The official currency is the West African CFA Franc (XOF), divided into 100 centimes.

Climate

The climate of Ivory Coast is generally warm and humid, ranging from equatorial in the southern coasts to tropical in the middle and semiarid in the far north. There are three seasons: warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), and hot and wet (June to October). Temperatures average between 25 and 32 °C (77.0 and 89.6 °F) and range from 10 to 40 °C (50 to 104 °F).

Languages


French, the official language, is taught in schools and serves as a lingua franca in the country. An estimated 65 languages are spoken in Ivory Coast. One of the most common is the Dyula language, which acts as a trade language, as well as a language commonly spoken by the Muslim population.


Economy


Ivory Coast has, for the region, a relatively high income per capita (US$1014.4 in 2013) and plays a key role in transit trade for neighboring, landlocked countries. The country is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, constituting 40% of the monetary union’s total GDP. The country is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, and the fourth-largest exporter of goods, in general, in sub-Saharan Africa (following South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola).
In 2009, cocoa-bean farmers earned $2.53 billion for cocoa exports and were projected to produce 630,000 metric tons in 2013. According to the Hershey Company, the price of cocoa beans is expected to rise dramatically in upcoming years. The Ivory Coast also has 100,000 rubber farmers who earned a total of $105 million in 2012.
Close ties to France since independence in 1960, diversification of agricultural exports, and encouragement of foreign investment have been factors in the economic growth of Ivory Coast. In recent years, Ivory Coast has been subject to greater competition and falling prices in the global marketplace for its primary agricultural crops: coffee and cocoa. That, compounded with high internal corruption, makes life difficult for the grower, those exporting into foreign markets, and the labor force, inasmuch as instances of indentured labor have been reported in the country’s cocoa and coffee production in every edition of the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor since 2009.
South Africa and North Africa aside, most African economies have not grown faster since independence. One possible reason for this might be taxes on export agriculture. Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Kenya were exceptions as their rulers were themselves large cash-crop producers, and the newly independent countries desisted from imposing penal rates of taxation on export agriculture, with the result that their economies were doing well.


Education


A large part of the adult population, in particular women, are illiterate. Many children between 6 and 10 years are not enrolled in school. The majority of students in secondary education are male. At the end of secondary education, students can sit the baccalauréat examination.
The country has a number of universities, such as the Université de Cocody in Abidjan and the Université de Bouaké in Bouaké. In 2012, there were 57,541 students enrolled at post-secondary diploma level, 23,008 students studying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree and 269 PhD students. Enrolment in tertiary education suffered during the political crisis, dropping from 9.03% to 4.46% of the 18-25-year cohort between 2009 and 2012.


Politics

The government is divided into three branches: the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power. In the legislative branch, Guillaume Soro directs the 2016 National Assembly and its 225 members, elected for five-year terms.
Since 1983, Ivory Coast’s capital has been Yamoussoukro, while Abidjan was the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies in Abidjan. The Ivoirian population has suffered because of the ongoing civil war. International human-rights organizations have noted problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides and the re-emergence of child slavery in cocoa production.
Although most of the fighting ended by late 2004, the country remained split in two, with the north controlled by the New Forces. A new presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005, and the rival parties agreed in March 2007 to proceed with this, but it continued to be postponed until November 2010 due to delays in its preparation.
Elections were finally held in 2010. The first round of elections was held peacefully, and widely hailed as free and fair. Runoffs were held 28 November 2010, after being delayed one week from the original date of 21 November. Laurent Gbagbo as president ran against former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. On 2 December, the Electoral Commission declared that Ouattara had won the election by a margin of 54% to 46%. In response, the Gbagbo-aligned Constitutional Council rejected the declaration, and the government announced that country’s borders had been sealed. An Ivorian military spokesman said, “The air, land, and sea border of the country are closed to all movement of people and goods.”


Cuisine


The traditional cuisine of Ivory Coast is very similar to that of neighboring countries in West Africa in its reliance on grains and tubers. Cassava and plantains are significant parts of Ivorian cuisine. A type of corn paste called aitiu is used to prepare corn balls, and peanuts are widely used in many dishes. Attiéké is a popular side dish in Ivory Coast made with grated cassava, a vegetable-based couscous. A common street food is alloco, ripe banana fried in palm oil, spiced with steamed onions and chili and eaten alone or with grilled fish. Chicken is commonly consumed and has a unique flavor due to its lean, low-fat mass in this region. Seafood includes tuna, sardines, shrimp, and bonito, which is similar to tuna. Mafé is a common dish consisting of meat in a peanut sauce.
Slow-simmered stews with various ingredients are another common food staple in Ivory Coast. Kedjenou is a dish consisting of chicken and vegetables slow-cooked in a sealed pot with little or no added liquid, which concentrates the flavors of the chicken and vegetables and tenderizes the chicken.[100] It is usually cooked in a pottery jar called a canary, over a slow fire, or cooked in an oven.[100] Bangui is a local palm wine.
Ivorians have a particular kind of small, open-air restaurant called a maquis, which is unique to the region. A maquis normally features braised chicken and fish covered in onions and tomatoes, served with attiéké or kedjenou.


Health


Life expectancy at birth was 41 for males in 2004; for females it was 47. Infant mortality was 118 of 1000 live births. Twelve physicians are available per 100,000 people. About a quarter of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. About 36% of women have undergone female genital mutilation. According to 2010 estimates, Ivory Coast has the 27th-highest maternal mortality rate in the world. The HIV/AIDS rate was 19th-highest in the world, estimated in 2012 at 3.20% among adults aged 15–49 years.


Religion


Religion in Ivory Coast remains very heterogeneous, with Islam (almost all Sunni Muslims, with some Ahmadi Muslims) and Christianity (mostly Roman Catholic with smaller numbers of Protestants, primarily Methodists) being the major religions. Muslims dominate the north, while Christians dominate the south. In 2009, according to U.S. Department of State estimates, Christians and Muslims each made up 35 to 40% of the population, while an estimated 25% of the population practiced traditional (animist) religions.
Ivory Coast’s capital, Yamoussoukro, is home to the largest church building[n 6] in the world, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro.


Transport


Ivory Coast invested remarkably in its transport system. Transport Infrastructures are much more developed than they are other West African countries despite a crisis that restrained their maintenance and development. Since its independence in 1960, Ivory Coast put an emphasis on increasing and modernizing the transport network for human as well as for goods. Major infrastructures of diverse nature were built including railways, roads, waterways, and airports. In spite of the crisis, neighbor countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Guinea) still strongly depend on the Ivorian transport network for importing, exporting, and transiting their immigrants to Ivory Coast


Railway
The nation’s railway system is 1 260 km long and links the country to Bukina Faso and Niger. 1 156 km of railroad links Abidjan to Ouagadougou, capital of Bukina Faso. Built during colonial era by the firm Abidjan-Niger (RAN), this railroad freed several landlocked countries among which were ex-High-Volta (Burkina Faso), Niger, and Mali. This railroad, operated by Sitarail, plays a key role as regards to the carriage of the goods (livestock) and the transport of people between Ivory Coast and border countries: 1 million tons of goods have transited in 2006. In 2005, despite the negative impact the crisis had on the sector, benefits engendered by transporting the goods and people via RAN, are estimated respectively at 16 309 et3 837billionCFA.
As of 2004, the inner railway network consisted of a state-controlled 660 km section of a 1,146 km narrow gauge railroad that ran north from Abidjan through Bouaké and Ferkéssédougou to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Road Transport


Ivory Coast road network spreads over 85 000 km consisting of 75 000 unpaved, 65 000 km, and 224 km highways. It provides national and international traffic with neighbor countries.
The Trans–West African Coastal Highway provides a paved link to Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, with paved highways to landlocked Mali and Burkina Faso feeding into the coastal highway. When construction of roads and bridges in Liberia and Sierra Leone is complete, the highway will link to another seven Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) nations to the west and north-west. At the national level, vehicles are estimated at 600 000, which includes 75% of used cars (second hand) due to the low purchasing power since the beginning of the economic crisis. 20 000 new cars are registered every year. Although maintenance and renovations works are being carried out since middle-2011, over 80% of the Ivorian network is older than 20 years and therefore damaged.
In addition, a significant traffic exists throughout Abidjan, the capital. This traffic is mainly composed of taxi, buses and mini-buses locally referred to as Gbaka.
The country counts with two 4-laned motorways, the first one running from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro for a length of 224 km., and the second joining Abidjan to Grand-Bassam, with a length of 30 km. Both are built with modern technologies and under international standards of security.
Maritime transport
Ivory Coast greatly contributed to developing maritime transport by building two ports on its seaside namely, autonomous port of Abidjan, sometimes referred to as “lung of Ivorian economy”, and the San-Pedro port. The total traffic in 2005, by adding importation to exportation, was 18 661 784 tons for autonomous port of Abidjan and 1 001 991 tons for San-Pedro. Harbor activity is concentrated at Abidjan (West Africa’s largest container port), which has facilities that include a fishing port and equipment for handling containers. The autonomous port of Abidjan cover a 770 hectares area and shelters 60% of the country industries. It is the first tuna fishing port in Africa. It contains 36 conventional berths spread over six kilometers of quays providing a capacity of sixty commercial ships with multiple special docks, a container terminal as well as several specialized and industrial berths. The other major port, the San-Pedro port, operates since 1971 and has two quays covering a 18 727 m2 area. Apart from those two major ports, there are also small ports at Sassandra, Aboisso, and Dabou.


Air transport
Ivory Coast has three international airports located in Abidjan, Yamoussoukro, and Bouaké. Fourteen smaller cities also possess regional airports, the most important of which are Daloa, Korhogo, Man, Odiénné et San-pédro. Twenty-seven aerodromes exists and are operated by a public establishment, the Anam (National agency for civil aviation and meteorology), except the activities carried out by the Asecna (Agency for security of air fret in Africa and Madagascar).
Since the outbreak of the crisis, only five of these airports are available. These are Abidjan, San-Pédro, Yamoussoukro, Daloa, and Touba. Regarding the International Airport of Abidjan, official statistics from 2005, showed 14 257 commercial movements (departures and arrivals); 745 180 commercial passengers (arrivals, departures, and transit) and 12 552 tons of commercial fret. The Airport of Abidjan covers 90% of the air traffic of Côte d’Ivoire and generate 95% of the overall profits of the sector.
The airport of Abidjan is operated by a private company, Aeria, created in association with the Commerce Chamber of Marseilles. Its traffic mainly encompasses European aeronautical companies (Air France, Brussels Airlines) and some African firms (South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Air Sénégal International).

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