Ivory Coast

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République de Côte d'Ivoire
Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
Ivory Coast flag
Ivory Coast coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : Union, Discipline, Travail
( French "unity, discipline, work")
Official language French
Capital Yamoussoukro
Seat of government Abidjan
Form of government republic
Government system Presidential system
Head of state President
Alassane Ouattara
Head of government Prime Minister
Hamed Bakayoko
area 322,463 km²
population 26,260,582 (July 2018 estimate)
Population density 81 inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.88% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • Nominal
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 35.48 billion ( 94th )
  • $ 87.79 billion ( 85th )
  • 1,459 USD ( 149. )
  • 3,609 USD ( 146. )
Human Development Index   0.492 ( 170th ) (2017)
currency CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)
independence August 7, 1960 (from France )
National anthem L'Abidjanaise
National holiday August 7th
Time zone UTC ± 0
License Plate CI
ISO 3166 CI , CIV, 384
Internet TLD .ci
Phone code +225
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The Ivory Coast (official name: GermanRepublic of Côte d'Ivoire , French République de Côte d'Ivoire [ ʁe.py.ˈblik də kot.di.ˈvwaʁ ]) is a state in West Africa . It borders on Liberia , Guinea , Mali , Burkina Faso and Ghana and to the south on the Atlantic Ocean .

The country, which gained independence from France on August 7, 1960 , was politically stable for decades and was ruled by the unity PDCI ( Parti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire ) of then President Houphouët-Boigny . Export proceeds from cocoa and coffee guaranteed relative prosperity. To date, Ivory Coast is the world's largest exporter of cocoa. Internal tensions led to the end of PDCI rule in 1990. With increasing economic difficulties caused by the drop in cocoa prices, the conflicts escalated and led to a state of civil war that tore the country in two in 2002. Since the peace treaty of 2007, work has been carried out on the reconciliation and reunification of the Ivory Coast. Since then it has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. In the United Nations Development Index , Ivory Coast ranks 165th out of 189 in 2019.

Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983 . The seat of government is in the former capital Abidjan , which is still the economic and political center of the country.


Côte d'Ivoire [ kot diˈvwaʀ ] is French and means "Ivory Coast" in German. The name comes from the hunt for the elephants indigenous to the country because of the ivory of their tusks, which has long been the country's most important export product.

Since the different versions of the country's name in different languages ​​(Ivory Coast, Ivory Coast, Costa de Marfil, Costa d'Avorio etc.) had previously caused confusion in international forums, President Houphouët-Boigny decreed at the end of 1985 that the country name should only include the French name Côte d'Ivoire and may not be translated into other languages. In German-speaking countries, however , the traditional name Ivory Coast (formerly also: "Tooth coast") is still more widespread in language use and in the media than the French expression. In the official traffic , for example, the German Federal Government or the EDA , but the official name is Côte d'Ivoire used. In the country itself, the use of a name other than the official one is punishable by law.

The name for a resident of the Ivory Coast is - according to StAGN - Ivorer or Ivorerin (German version of French Ivoirien and Ivoirienne ). An adjective corresponding to “Ivory Coast” does not exist, so that the word “Ivorian” is derived from French, the latter is the official regulation in the FDFA.


The south of the Ivory Coast has 515 kilometers of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean , at the western end of the Gulf of Guinea . The length of the national borders with neighboring countries are: Burkina Faso 545 km, Ghana 720 km, Guinea 816 km, Liberia 778 km and Mali 599 km. The relief is rather flat, the surface profile is characterized by plains and plateaus. The west of the country alone has heights of more than 1000 meters above sea level. Here, right on the border with Guinea, is Mont Nimba , which at 1752  m is the highest mountain in both states. The north of the country is also crossed by part of the Upper Guinea threshold. Apart from that, the remaining levels are between 200 and 350 meters high.

The higher plateaus have rugged shapes and are made of hard material. The lower levels have softer shapes and are usually made of looser material. Spacious, flat areas characterize the savannah landscapes as well as the small savannah inclusions in the rainforest areas. The dominant element of the plains and plateaus is an iron-containing crust, which is visible on the surface as rust-colored plates, but is often covered by sand, gravel or finer material.

Waters cover 4460 km² or 1.383% of the territory of Ivory Coast. These are on the one hand the Atlantic Ocean and the adjacent lagoons in the south of the country, the most important lagoon complexes being Aby-Tendo-Ehy, Ebrié and Grand-Lahou-Tadio-Makey-Tagba. There are numerous running waters that drain the whole country (see section: Hydrology ). The largest lakes in the country are dams : the Kossoustausee , the Buyostausee and the Ayaméstausee . Finally, there are numerous streams and several wetlands .


The crystalline substructure consists of migmatites and gneiss (of magmatic and sedimentary origin), charnockites , norites and various types of granites . They are part of the West African craton , which was formed more than two billion years ago. The phyllite rock consists largely of slate and quartzites . This connector is of a thin sediment layer covering consisting Tonsand marine continental origin as well as of clay, sand and mud consists origin.

The soils of the Ivory Coast have the same properties as those of the neighboring countries of West Africa and many other tropical regions. They are loose, less often hardened, made of a material in red ocher and dark rusty brown tones. These are ferrallitic soil types that are largely created by weathering.


The Ivory Coast lies between 4 ° and 10 ° north latitude; the equator is about 400 km from the southern coast of the country and the tropic is about 1400 km from the northern border. The coasts of the Ivory Coast therefore have an ever-humid tropical climate that turns into a dry climate in the far north . The mean annual temperature is 28 ° C, but the inhabitants know significant temperature differences between the northern and southern regions of their country and between the individual seasons.

The climate is shaped by the wind systems of the northeast trade wind and the southwest monsoon : The northeast trade wind ( Harmattan ) brings hot, dry, dust-laden air from the Sahara in winter and dries up the land. The origin of the West African monsoons is in the Gulf of Guinea , accordingly it brings warm, humid air. It determines the climate of the south of the Ivory Coast all year round, in the north it brings summer rain.

Accordingly, three climatic zones are distinguished in the Ivory Coast.

  • The equatorial climate (also called Attiéklima ) in the south is characterized by low temperature fluctuations (generally between 25 ° C and 30 ° C), very high humidity values ​​(between 80% and 90%) and abundant rainfall, which in Abidjan annually 1766 mm and in Tabou 2129 reach mm, characterized. There are two dry and two rainy seasons here. The great dry season lasts from December to April, is characterized by great heat and only experiences occasional rain. The small dry season falls on the months of August and September. The major rainy season lasts from May to July, while the minor one is in October and November.
  • The humid savannah climate (also Baoulé climate ) determines the north of the rainforest zone and the south of the savannah and begins about 200 km north of the coastline. The temperatures show greater fluctuations between 14 ° C and 33 ° C, the humidity is usually between 60% and 70%. The annual rainfall is around 1200 mm in Bouaké . There are also four seasons here: two dry seasons from November to March and from July to August and two rainy seasons from June to October and from March to May.
  • The dry savanna climate (also South Sudanese climate ) prevails in the northern savanna regions. It shows relatively strong daily fluctuations of 20 ° C. The humidity is much lower than in the south of the country and lies between 40% and 50%. Harmattan also occurs in these regions , in the form of a cool and dry wind, between December and February. The north of the Ivory Coast has only two seasons: the dry season between November and June with a few rainfalls in April, and a rainy season between July and October. The annual rainfall measured in this area is around 1203 mm in Korhogo .

The climate of Odienné , a city in the northwest, is characterized by the nearby mountains and therefore has higher precipitation values ​​(1491 mm) and lower temperatures than regions east of it. In Man (located even higher in the mountains) the precipitation values ​​even reach 1897 mm per year.


Above all, the four major rivers Cavally (700 km), Sassandra (650 km), Bandama (1050 km) and Comoé (1160 km) should be mentioned. Other important rivers are either tributaries of it or they are coastal rivers that have their own catchment areas. Noteworthy are the Tabou , the Néro , the San Pedro , the Bolo , the Niouniourou , the Boubo , the Agnéby , the and the Bia .

Division of the country into its catchment areas

River Total area [km²] Area in the Ivory Coast [km²] Percent of the country's area
Bandama 99,700 99,700 30.6
Sassandra 75,000 67,000 20.6
Comoé 78,000 57,300 17.6
Niger 2,092,000 22,600 6.9
Cavally 30,000 16,600 5.1
Black volta 149,000 12,500 3.8
Nuon 12,700 2,300 0.7
Bia 10.100 3,200 1.0
Tano 16,100 1,200 0.4
Agnéby 8,900 8,900 2.7
4,300 4,300 1.3
Boubo 5,100 5,100 1.6
San Pedro 3,400 3,400 1.0
Coastal rivers 21,500 6.6
total 325,600 100.0


View over the rainforest in Taï National Park in the west of the Ivory Coast

The vegetation can be divided into two zones: a southern, Guinean zone and a northern Sudanese zone. The border between these two zones is parallel to the coastline at about the 8th parallel. The southern zone is characterized by evergreen rainforest and mangroves ( Guinean mangroves ), one of which is west of Abidjan, at the mouth of the Bia River , and one further west of it at the mouth of the Boubo River . In the northern zone, dry forests (with periodic foliage changes) and savannas (the Sudan savanna , which covers a third of the territory, and the Guinea savanna ) predominate, where the dry forest can be seen as the transition from rainforest to savannah. In the central part of Ivory Coast is the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic , which consists of interlocking zones of grassland, savannah and dense wet forest and gallery forest along rivers.

Notable representatives of the flora in the Ivory Coast are trees like the baobab tree , Iroko , Tali , Amazakoue , Tiama and Movingui , some of great importance for the export of wood have. Epiphytes and orchids grow in the forests , while snake root , manniophyton , garlic tree , Milne redhead and belluci are important traditional medicinal plants.

The vegetation of the Ivory Coast has changed fundamentally in the past decades due to human intervention. Originally, a third of the country in the south and west was completely covered by dense forests. There were also tree savannahs in the center and north as well as small mangroves on the coast. Since the colonial era, the forest has decreased significantly, partly due to the creation of plantations, partly due to deforestation . For 2007, the natural forest cover was estimated at 6 million hectares.


The elephant's tusks gave the country its name

The fauna is particularly rich in species. Among the mammals , the elephant is the animal whose tusks, traded as ivory , gave the country its name. Its once high population in the forest and savannah has now been greatly reduced due to hunting and poaching , so that it can only be found in reservations today. There are also hippos , giant forest pigs , duikers , primates , rodents , pangolins , big cats such as leopards and mongooses ; hyenas and jackals can be found in the steppes . The rare pygmy hippopotamus has one of its most important populations in the Taï National Park in the south-west of the country. Hundreds of species of birds also live here ( herons , storks such as the woolly stork and marabou , ducks and geese as well as birds of prey ). The West African armored crocodile lives in and on the rivers of the savannah, while the stump crocodile lives in the rivers of the rainforests . Snakes such as cobras , mambas , puff adder , gaboon viper and rhinoceros viper , rock python and ball python occur as well as termites , which decorate the landscape with numerous termite mounds, and beetles such as the pill-turner . Numerous fish species such as cichlids or the African spiny spiny fish live in the rivers , while shrimp , sand tiger and other sharks , pipefish , rays , frogfish , flatfish and the rare loggerhead turtle can be found in the coastal waters . Numerous species, such as chimpanzees , are already very rare or threatened with extinction.

National parks

Eight national parks have been designated since 1953 , the oldest being the Banco National Park . The best known are the Taï National Park (in the south-west of the country) and the Comoé National Park (in the north-east), both of which are also World Heritage Sites . Other national parks are called Marahoué National Park (in the center, west of the Kossoustau reservoir ), Mont Sangbé National Park and Mont Péko National Park (both in the west) and, on the coast to the west and east of Abidjan , the Azagny National Park and the Iles Ehotilé National Park .

The Mont Nimba Strict Nature Reserve was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as the third world natural heritage area ; with a larger part of the strict nature reserve (category Ia of the IUCN guidelines) continues across the border in Guinea .


Population development of the Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast population pyramid

The population of Ivory Coast, like that of most developing countries, is growing rapidly. Between 1975 and 2005, in just 30 years, the population tripled from 6.7 million to almost 20 million. According to the UN's average population forecast, a population of over 50 million is expected for the year 2050. Some of this growth is due to immigration; the 1998 census found that 26% of the population was non-Ivorian. Most of these immigrants come from neighboring countries and were attracted by the relatively high level of economic development and social and political stability before the civil war. A total of two million people from Burkina Faso live in the Ivory Coast, who make up the largest proportion of foreigners. In addition, numerous people immigrated from Mali , Guinea , Senegal , Liberia and Ghana . There are also Lebanese who mainly trade, Asians and Europeans. Foreigners who have been naturalized make up only 0.6%.

The total fertility rate is 4.6 children per woman. One of the reasons for this is that only 8% of married women have modern contraceptive methods available (as of 2012). Young people make up a very large proportion of the population: in 2012 41% of the population were under 15 years old and only 4% over 65 years old. The population is also unevenly distributed across the country's territory. 57% rural population versus 43% urban population, with the urban population increasing by 4.2% annually. The trend of rural exodus has intensified due to the civil war.

As a city in Ivory Coast, urban areas are defined with at least 3,000 inhabitants, where more than 50% of the population pursues a non-active farm operation. In 2016, 55% of the population lived in cities or urban areas, making Ivory Coast one of the most urbanized countries in Africa. The largest metropolitan regions are (as of 2014 census):

  1. Abidjan : 4,395,243 inhabitants
  2. Bouaké : 536,719 inhabitants
  3. Daloa : 245,360 inhabitants
  4. Korhogo : population 243,048
  5. Yamoussoukro : 212,670 inhabitants
  6. San-Pédro : 164,944 inhabitants
  7. Gagnoa : 160,465 inhabitants
  8. Man : 149,041 inhabitants

Other cities are listed in the list of cities in Ivory Coast .

Ethnic groups

Peoples of the Ivory Coast:
In the green Kwa-peoples ,
in yellow and green, the Mande -Nations,
in orange the Southern Mande,
in blue, the Kru peoples and
in purple, the Voltaic-Gur peoples

The Ivorian state recognizes around 60 ethnic groups who have lived together peacefully for a long time. Marriages between members of different ethnic groups are no longer rare, especially in cities. The peoples are divided into four cultural and language groups:

  • The largest population group is the Kwa group , which is mainly found in the center of the country. Of these, the Akan make up 42.1% of the total population: The politically most influential group in Ivory Coast are the Baule (23% of the population), who originally came from the east of the country , as well as the Agni (11%); the Akan peoples also include the Abé and the Akie .
  • The Kru peoples , who also settle in neighboring Liberia, live in the southwest : Bété , Kru and Weh . They make up about 11% of the total population and also live in the south.
  • In the north live the Voltaic with about 17.6% of the total population: This is the settlement area of ​​the farming and artistic people of the Senufo (about 15% of the population).
  • The Mande group is located in the northwest: of these, the Northern Mande form 16.5% of the total population, especially the Malinké / Dioula (5.5% of the population) with the city ​​of Kong as its center; however, they can be found as dealers across the country. The Southern Mande (10%) live in the vicinity of Man - including Yakuba (5% of the population, also called Dan), who are known for their expressive mask and stele dances, and Guro (5%).

Due to the rural exodus and increasing urbanization, practically all ethnic groups can be found in the cities. In the smaller towns in particular, there is a certain tendency to live together in their own neighborhoods.


In addition to the official language French , which is usually not used in accordance with the standards, 77 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken in Ivory Coast. The largest are the Baoulé and the Dioula , but Senufo languages , Yacouba , Anyi , Attie , Guéré , Bété , Abé , Kulango , Mahou , Tagwana , Wobé and Lobi are also spoken. Nouchi is used as the colloquial language in Abidjan .

By far the most widespread language is Dioula , which is spoken and understood by a total of 61% of the population, especially in the north, and is of great importance as a commercial language. However, since the French colonial era, the only official and language of instruction in the country has been French.


Kong Mosque (Northern Ivory Coast)
Cathédrale Saint-Paul in Abidjan

There is a high religious diversity in the Ivory Coast. The most common religions are Christianity (32.8%) and Islam (38.6%); the north is more influenced by Muslims, while the south is more Christian. 11.9% of the population practices traditional West African religions - especially the Akan religion - which to a certain extent also influence the practice of other religions. Islam began to spread in the far north of the Ivory Coast from the 11th century. Christianity was introduced to the coast by missionaries in the 17th century.

The current development is characterized by a growing Islamization . Shortly before the turn of the millennium, 40% of the population professed the traditional West African religions. Islam, to which only around 24% of the total population acknowledged in the mid-1980s, has been the fastest growing religious community since then, primarily through mission among the followers of the traditional West African religions (especially the Senufo). In 2004, 35% of the population were Sunnah Muslims. The "National Islamic Council" ( Conseil national islamique ; CNI), founded in 1993, acts as the umbrella organization for the Muslim organizations of the Ivory Coast . Within this umbrella organization, the Muslim student organization Association des élèves et étudiants musulmans de Côte d'Ivoire (AEEMCI) plays an important role. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is organized by the Association musulmane pour l'organisation du pèlerinage à la Mecque (AMOP). The Yacoubis, the followers of Yacouba Sylla , represent an important sub-group within the Muslims of the Ivory Coast .

In general, there is religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Ivory Coast. The religious holidays are celebrated freely by the respective believers and are accepted by everyone. The Ivory Coast is officially a secular state, although state representatives are sent to religious ceremonies and special denominational schools receive financial support from the state.


Many Ivorians live abroad, although the exact number cannot be determined, as some of them immigrated illegally in their countries of residence. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million foreign Ivorians. The most popular destinations for Ivorian emigrants are France, Belgium , Switzerland , Italy , Germany , the USA and Canada . These emigrants are of great importance for the Ivorian economy: on the one hand they transfer large sums to support the relatives who have stayed at home, on the other hand returnees from abroad are important participants in the real estate market.

Social situation


According to human rights organizations (as of 2010), around 12,000 children are used as slaves on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, the most important export country of cocoa.


While on the one hand foreign investors appreciate the high level of education of the elite, on the other hand a lack of education and illiteracy are major problems. In 2016 the literacy rate in Ivory Coast was 43.1% (women: 32.5% men: 53.1%). It is estimated that more than four million young people have no education or job.

In 2001 the state spent 4.6% of the gross domestic product or 21.5% of its budget on education. Of this, 43% was in elementary schools, 36% in secondary education and 20% in universities.

In Ivory Coast, the mean school attendance for over 25s increased from 2 years in 1990 to 5 years in 2015. The current educational expectation is 8.9 years.

Kindergartens and schools

Students in the classroom of an Ivorian high school
Entrance to the State School of Statistics and Applied Economics in Abidjan

The education system in Ivory Coast is very similar to that of France and was introduced shortly before independence. Schooling is compulsory and schooling is free in order to encourage or enable school attendance for children of school age. The education system comprises a primary school and a secondary school followed by tertiary education .

Before attending primary school, there are optional kindergartens , of which 391 institutions were registered across the country in 2001/2002. In 2005 there were only 600 kindergartens with 2,109 educators and 41,445 children in the south of the state controlled by the government troops.

Primary school education lasts six years and ends with the Certificat d'études primaires , which entitles the holder to advance to secondary school. In 2001 there were 8050 public primary schools with 43,562 teachers and 1,872,856 students according to the statistics of the Ministry of Education. There were also 925 private primary schools with 78,406 teachers and 2,408,980 students.

The proportion of those children who attend primary school was 79.5% in 2001/2002 (for girls only 67.3%) and even this was only after great efforts by the government in cooperation with the African Development Bank as part of the project Projet BAD éducation IV . The school attendance rate fell during the civil war to 54.4% (for girls 49.1%) in 2005. In general, the school system suffered a lot of damage during the civil war, many school buildings were destroyed and teachers left unsafe areas.

Further education lasts seven years. Private institutions dominate secondary education: 370 of the 522 grammar schools counted in 2005 were private. Only about 20% of young people get a further education. After the first, four-year section of secondary education, one receives the Diplôme national du brevet and after three more years the Baccalauréat .

Academic institutions

Academic educational institutions were founded in Ivory Coast as early as the 1960s in order to be able to train their own specialists. Until 1992, all of these universities and institutes were state-owned, and since then numerous private universities have been founded.

In 2004/05 there were 149 academic institutions attended by 146,490 students, 35% of whom were girls. This included three state universities, four state universities (grandes écoles) and seven private universities. The more important institutions include the Institut national polytechnique Houphouët-Boigny (INPHB), the École normal supérieure (ENS) and the Agence nationale de la formation professionnelle . The reputation of the Ivorian universities has been low, especially since the civil war when all universities were forced to move to Abidjan and many academics left the country.


Announcement of a vaccination campaign against polio, the administration of vitamin A and anti-parasitic drugs for children between 0 and 5 years in October 2017 in Dimbokro

The health system of the Ivory Coast in Africa has suffered badly from the civil war. Many facilities were looted or destroyed, the staff had to be concentrated in the cities for security reasons or even left the country entirely.

Most diseases are caused by the tropical climate, malaria , cholera , typhus , tuberculosis , yellow fever and hepatitis A and hepatitis B . Much of the disease can be traced back to contaminated drinking water; more than half of poor households have no access to clean water, a percentage much higher in the rural north. The infant mortality rate has increased from 1994 to 2007 from 89 to 117 per 1000 live births. The infant mortality rate in 2012 was 73 per 1,000 births, and the maternal mortality rate was 400 per 100,000 births. About 7% of the population are infected with HIV (see also: HIV / AIDS in Africa ) , other sexually transmitted diseases are also spreading quickly due to early sexual activity and a lack of information; unskilled abortions are common.

A health care improvement plan was initiated by the government in 1995. However, the political turmoil resulted in this program not being completed. The government is now trying to bring medical personnel back to the former war zones.

Life expectancy development in the Ivory Coast
Period Life expectancy Period Life expectancy
1950-1955 32.1 1985-1990 52.8
1955-1960 35.1 1990-1995 51.4
1960-1965 38.6 1995-2000 47.6
1965-1970 41.6 2000-2005 46.7
1970-1975 45.8 2005-2010 49.2
1975-1980 49.2 2010-2015 51.7
1980-1985 51.6

Source: UN


Pre-colonial period

Until the colonization the southern part of the Ivory Coast showed no state formation. The northern part, on the other hand, came under the influence of the Sahel empires from the 11th century, such as the Mali empire from the 13th century. At the same time, Islam came to this region through trade and armed conflict. In the 17th century, the city-state of Kong was the most powerful state in the region and a center of Islamic learning.

Colonial period

The Portuguese had been trading with the coastal tribes since the 15th century, but were ousted by the French from the 17th century, who established the Grand-Bassam naval base in 1843 and declared the area a French colony of Côte d'Ivoire in 1893 . The French colonial administration occupied several years with the suppression of uprisings, especially that of the Islamic leader Samory Touré . In 1895, Côte d'Ivoire became part of French West Africa , which also included the Code de l'indigénat . In 1956 it received internal self-government.

According to the Loi Lamine Guèye of 1946, all citizens had the right to vote in elections to the French parliament and also in local elections. The right to stand as a candidate was not specifically mentioned in the law, but it was not excluded either. In the elections to the Paris Parliament, French West Africa , which included Côte d'Ivoire, did not have two-tier suffrage as in other French colonies, but there was for all local elections. In 1952, women's suffrage was introduced for the first time under French administration . On June 23, 1956, still under French administration, the loi-cadre Defferre was introduced, which confirmed universal suffrage.

Houphouët-Boigny era

On August 7, 1960, Côte d'Ivoire received full independence under Félix Houphouët-Boigny , who was President of the State until his death in 1993 (and head of government until 1990). Houphouët-Boigny, the founder of the unity party “Parti Democratique de Côte d'Ivoire” (PDCI), pursued a pro-Western policy. In contrast to other states, which, among other things, pushed their colonial legacy into the background by changing their names and wanted to create an independent identity with names from the pre-colonial period, the Ivory Coast maintained its close ties to France even after gaining independence in 1960 . The women's suffrage was reaffirmed at independence 1960th

Unrest among the population led to the introduction of a multiparty system and the office of prime minister in 1990. Houphouët-Boigny's pro-Western and market economy-oriented policy made Côte d'Ivoire one of the richest states in West Africa and led to political stability.

As a "gift to the Vatican", Houphouët-Boigny had the Notre Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace) basilica built in his native Yamoussoukro . After three years of construction, he set himself an unmistakable monument. In September 1990 Pope John Paul II inaugurated the church. The prerequisite for accepting the gift was Houphouët-Boigny's promise to build a hospital near the basilica. This project was started after 10 years and ended on January 14, 2015.

Houphouët-Boigny's successor was Henri Konan Bédié (PDCI) in 1993 . The elections boycotted by the opposition in October 1995 confirmed Bédié in the presidency. An amendment to the presidential constitution in 1960 extended the president's term of office from five to seven years and strengthened his executive powers.

Military government

The fall in cocoa prices in 1999 led to symptoms of economic crisis. In December 1999, Bédié, who had increasingly suppressed opposition circles, was overthrown by the military under the leadership of General Robert Guéï in a bloodless coup . The country fell into a deep crisis. Under the catchphrase Ivoirité , xenophobic tendencies and discrimination against the ethnic groups living in the north of the country emerged. In 2000 Laurent Gbagbo won presidential elections from which the opposition candidate ( Alassane Ouattara ) was excluded. This was justified by the fact that Ouattara's parents come from neighboring Burkina Faso . The ongoing dispute over who was and who was not a true “Ivorian” finally led to an armed uprising against Gbagbo in 2002 and the crisis that followed.

Civil War and Partition

Division of Ivory Coast into the south controlled by government troops and the north held by the Forces Nouvelles from May 2005, in between the buffer zone established until 2007 under the control of ONUCI and the French army
Child soldier in Ivory Coast, Africa”, Gilbert G. Groud , 2007, mixed media ink and wax

In September 2002 part of the army ("Forces Nouvelles") rose against the government and brought the northern half of the state under their control. This development had its background in ethnic tensions; Many people who have immigrated from neighboring countries live in Ivory Coast. But there was also a conflict over land and access to resources.

On behalf of the UN , more than 6,300 blue helmets were stationed in the country to separate the rebels in the north and the southern part of the country ( Opération des Nations Unies en Côte d'Ivoire ). In addition, there were around 4,500 French soldiers in the country. The latter also acted on behalf of the UN, but were stationed in Côte d'Ivoire before the crisis. The former colonial power France implemented a peace plan that provided for a power-sharing between Gbagbo's FPI and the rebel Forces Nouvelles . The war was thus declared over.

The situation escalated again at the beginning of November 2004 when government troops attacked targets in the north of the country from the air on November 4th. At the same time, offices of opposition parties and independent newspapers were ransacked in Abidjan. On the third day of the air raids, nine French soldiers were killed. In response, the French armed forces destroyed the entire air force (two fighter jets, five attack helicopters) of Côte d'Ivoire within a day. The latter was subsequently declared to be justified by the UN.

The southern part of the country under Gbagbo was accused of actually not wanting the power-sharing. Gbagbo had destabilized the situation for a long time, including calls for hatred and violence on TV and radio. By November 15, 2004, around 6000 foreigners had been evacuated via airlift.

On July 9, 2005, through South African mediation, the army and rebels again agreed on a disarmament and power-sharing agreement. This should pave the way for the presidential elections on October 30, 2005. The civil war was declared over for the second time.

However, neither disarmament nor elections were implemented. The reasons for this were discrepancies in the procedure for registering voters and the issuing of identity papers. The UN decided to extend the term of office of President Gbagbo by one year and put the independent Charles Konan Banny at his side as Prime Minister.

In mid-January 2006 the situation escalated again: There were violent demonstrations in several places with dead and injured. Following a relevant UN decision in early February 2006, accounts of three opponents of the peace process were frozen. The sanctions were directed against Ble Goude and Eugene Djue , who were seen as leaders of militant youth groups and supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo, and against rebel leader Fofie Kouakou. The registration of previously paperless citizens with regard to the agreed elections, called the Audiences foraines , made only slow progress. The opposition claimed it was thwarted and partially prevented by members of the ruling party.

Treaty of Ouagadougou and power sharing

On March 4, 2007, after lengthy negotiations between President Gbagbo, rebel leader Guillaume Soro and Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré , a new peace treaty was signed. In contrast to the previous agreements, this treaty provided not only for power sharing but also for a permanent concertation framework in which, in addition to Gbagbo, Soro and Compaoré, Bédié and Ouattara were also represented. Soro was appointed Prime Minister of the newly formed government. This Ouagadougou treaty contained detailed agreements on the issue of identity papers, electoral roll-out and the creation of a national army.

A few weeks later, the dismantling of the buffer zone began and there were the first joint patrols of government soldiers and rebels of the Forces Nouvelles (FN). In July 2007, President Gbagbo visited the rebel-held north for the first time in five years. There he took part in an official peace ceremony at which weapons were burned in the presence of numerous African heads of state.

2010 presidential election

Finally, the presidential elections were held with a first ballot on October 31, 2010. With a turnout of around 80 percent, the then incumbent President Gbagbo won the most votes with 38 percent, as well as the opposition candidate Alassane Ouattara (RDR) with 32 percent and Henri Konan Bédié (PDCI) with 25 percent. A runoff election between Gbagbo and Ouattara took place on November 28, 2010. Before that, both announced that they would have the counting result checked. According to the results of the electoral commission CEI (Commission électorale indépendante), Alassane Ouattara emerged victorious with 54% of the votes. However, the Constitutional Council annulled the results in four regions. As a result, Gbagbo has now won the runoff election. Thereupon both the previous incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara took the oath of office. According to the mandate of the UN mission UNOCI , the special envoy Choi Young-jin had to certify the election result. After his examination, he declared the result of the electoral commission to be valid. Gbagbo was no longer recognized as a legally elected president by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. The International Monetary Fund threatened to boycott the country. After Gbagbo's arrest on April 11, 2011, the power struggle in Ouattara's favor was decided.

Another crisis in 2010/2011

From the 2010 presidential election , supporters of both camps experienced a government crisis with violent clashes and fatalities. A blue helmet convoy was also attacked. Heavy weapons were also used against civilians. By the end of March 2011, one million people were on the run from civil war. On April 11, 2011, the elected President Laurent Gbagbo was arrested by the troops of the internationally recognized election winner Ouattara after protracted fighting with the support of military forces of the UN and France. Ouattara had thus largely prevailed as the legitimate president and his prime minister Guillaume Soro .

Gbagbo was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in November 2011 . Ouattara had to put up with the charge of "winning justice". Until 2012, not a single one of the numerous human rights and war crimes committed by its military had been prosecuted, those responsible were named or even charged, especially not for the Duékoué massacre , in which, according to the International Red Cross, 800 people were brutally murdered by the Ouattara military.


Alassane Ouattara , President since 2011

In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “partially free”. In the category “political rights”, the Ivory Coast received a grade of 4, for the protection of civil rights the country also received a grade of 4 (1 is the best grade and 7 the worst).

After independence, the Ivory Coast introduced a presidential system of government . There is a formal separation of powers into the executive , legislative and judicial branches . There are also institutions such as the Conseil économique et social and the Médiateur de la République .


The constitution , passed in 2000, guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms as required by international agreements and treaties. The death penalty has also been abolished in 2000 .

But the reality looks different. During the civil war, both rebel and government troops have committed massive attacks such as murder, torture, the disappearance of unpleasant people and sexual violence. The Female Genital Cutting is officially banned, but it is often practiced; the same goes for child labor .


Until 1990, the executive power fell to the president alone. Since then, competencies have been divided between the President as head of state and the Prime Minister as head of government.

The president is elected by direct universal suffrage. Two rounds are held, whereby one candidate must achieve a simple majority. The mandate lasts for five years and the president can be re-elected once. He is the sole head of the executive; Its tasks include maintaining national independence, maintaining the integrity of the territory and complying with international agreements and treaties. He is the commander in chief of the armed forces, monitors compliance with the constitution and the continuity of the state. He is head of administration and appoints civil and military officials. In times of crisis, the President is given special powers. In the event of the death, resignation or dismissal of the President, the President of the National Assembly assumes this office for a period of up to 90 days.

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President and can be dismissed by him. According to the constitution, the prime minister does not have a clear executive function. However, he represents the President when he is outside the country. The prime minister does not have to emerge from the parliamentary majority. The government, which is subordinate to the Prime Minister, is appointed by the President on the proposal of the Prime Minister. He heads the government and can delegate certain authorities to the ministers.

legislative branch

The Parliament Maison des députés , Yamoussoukro

The Ivory Coast has a unicameral parliament , the National Assembly (Assemblée nationale) . The number of parliamentary seats was increased from 225 to 255 in the last parliamentary election. Parliament also has an office, several technical commissions and parliamentary groups. The MPs are directly elected in general elections for a term of 5 years. Deviating from this legal regulation, under President Gbagbo after the outbreak of the civil war (2002) and the subsequent de facto division of the country, the parliamentary elections due in 2005 were not held.

Laws and taxes are voted on in the National Assembly, and it also has constitutional control over the activities of the executive. In order to ensure the independence of the National Assembly, the MPs are immune from criminal prosecution due to the exercise of their parliamentary function and also for criminal prosecution for offenses outside their function as a member of the parliament, the approval of the parliament must be given.

The former rebel leader Guillaume Soro has been elected parliamentary chairman since March 12, 2012 . In the parliamentary elections on December 11, 2011 , the RDR won a clear victory from President Alassane Ouattara. The party of his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo , the FPI , boycotted the election. The PDCI , allied with the RDR, lost a few seats compared to the 2000 election. Due to the FPI's boycott, the opposition is hardly represented in parliament.

Party landscape

Distribution of seats in the National Assembly since the 2000 elections

Shortly before the Ivory Coast gained independence, the first pluralistic elections were organized in 1956/57 to elect the territorial assembly and local councils. All seats were won by the Parti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire , a sub-movement of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain . Shortly after this election, all political competitors decide to subordinate themselves to the PDCI-RDA as part of a national consensus . The PDCI-RDA thus becomes the only party in the country. This one-party system practically lasted until 1990, even if cautious steps were taken to form an opposition at times or individual crises rocked the country ( e.g. the Sanwi affair 1959–1966, the alleged plot against the president in 1963/64, the Guébié affair in 1970 or the failed coup in 1973).

This system ends with the mass demonstrations in 1990 and the return to the multi-party system, as it would actually have been anchored in the constitution of the republic since 1960. Numerous new parties are founded in the same year. The parties that currently have political influence are the socialist Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) under Pascal Affi N'Guessan , the right-wing liberal Parti Démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire - Rassemblement démocratique africain (PDCI-RDA) under Henri Konan Bédié and the liberal Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) under Alassane Ouattara . Worth mentioning, but with less political weight, are the Union pour la démocratie et la paix en Côte d'Ivoire (UDPCI) by Albert Mabri Toikeusse and the socialist Parti Ivoirien des Travailleurs (PIT) under Francis Wodié .


Palace of Justice in Abidjan

The Ivory Coast inherited a judicial system from colonial times that had two parallel jurisdictions - French law on the one hand and customary local law on the other . This resulted from two different legislations, which in turn differentiated between the different social classes and their status. At the time, France retained a different legal status for normal Ivorians than for French and equals.

After independence, work began on building a judicial system that was both modern and adapted to the needs of the country. New structures were set up and the relevant staff trained. Although many changes have happened since 1960, French influences remain strong in the Ivorian judicial system.

The judiciary is exercised in two instances under the control of the Supreme Court (Cour suprême) . The Constitutional Council and the High Court of Justice (Haute cour de justice) are special jurisdictions .

Consultative and mediating bodies

Conseil économique et social

The Conseil économique et social (Economic and Social Council) is a consultative body provided for in the Ivory Coast Constitution. It is designed to represent the most important economic and social activities, to improve cooperation between different economic sectors and to improve the government's economic and social policies. Legal projects from economic and social policy are presented to him for comment. The President can consult this body on all economic and social issues.

The members of this institution are appointed for five years. The selection criterion is how much each person has contributed to the development of the country. The Conseil économique et social currently has 125 members. Its chairman has been Marcel Zady Kessy since May 19, 2011 .

The Médiateur de la République (Mediator of the Republic) is also a constitutional body. It is an independent administrative unit that takes on the role of an ombudsman , for example . The chairman of this organization is appointed by the President on the proposal of the President of the National Assembly. His term of office is six years and cannot be extended. Nor can he be dismissed before the end of his term of office; he can only be removed from office by the Conseil constitutionnel . He is immune in the exercise of his office . He cannot hold another political office or a public function at the same time as this function, nor may he exercise any other professional function. The role of Médiateur de la République is currently held by N'Golo Coulibaly .


The Ivorian state has never worked consistently on building its own armed forces since its existence. Instead, he relied on the deterrent effect of the French military presence in the region. Defense and military aid agreements including secret clauses exist with France.

In August 2002, then President Gbagbo declared in principle that West Africa needed a military logic of cooperation instead of mutual deterrence. Due to the civil war, this explanation remained.

In the military, the most important task for the government at the moment is to disarm the militias and reintegrate their mercenaries into society in order to subsequently build up a regular national army. The National Commission for the Fight against the Proliferation of Light Arms and Small Arms, set up specifically for the disarmament of civilians, estimates the number of weapons in circulation in the country at three million.

In 2017, the country spent just under 1.3 percent of its economic output or $ 496 million on its armed forces.

Administrative structure

Districts of Ivory Coast

Since September 28, 2011, the Ivory Coast has been divided into 12 districts and the two autonomous city districts Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. By then, 19 regions had formed the top administrative level. The districts are divided into 31 regions, the regions into 107 departments and these in turn into 197 municipalities.


The Ivory Coast has the strongest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, to whose total GDP it contributes 40%. GDP per capita is also above the West African average, but below the overall African average. The economy has therefore recovered from the turmoil of the civil war, which drove 1.7 million people to flight, collapsed official administration, hampered production and skyrocketed unemployment. This is shown not least by the investments, which quadrupled in 2007 compared to 2006 and amounted to around 520 million euros. In 2015, the country's economy grew by 9.2%, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Ivory Coast is also a country marked by poverty . In Ivory Coast, someone is considered poor if they have less than 162,800 XOF (250 euros) to live on a year. Nationwide, 43.2% of the people fall below this poverty line, in some rural savannah areas far more than half of the people are considered poor.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Ivory Coast was ranked 99th out of 138 countries (2016-17). In 2017, the country was ranked 75th out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
15.38 billion 20.37 billion 25.52 billion 30.32 billion 39.35 billion 44.21 billion 46.25 billion 48.32 billion 50.52 billion 52.56 billion 54.28 billion 53.07 billion 59.51 billion 66.08 billion 73.18 billion 80.51 billion 88.34 billion 96.92 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
1.924 2.138 2,269 2.142 2,439 2,409 2,458 2,503 2,550 2,586 2,603 2,480 2.711 2,934 3,167 3,396 3,631 3,883
GDP growth
5.2% 3.6% −1.0% 5.6% −2.1% 1.7% 1.5% 1.8% 2.5% 3.3% 2.0% −4.2% 10.1% 9.3% 8.8% 8.8% 8.3% 7.8%
(in percent)
8.8% 1.8% −0.7% 14.1% 2.5% 3.9% 2.5% 1.9% 6.3% 1.0% 1.4% 4.9% 1.3% 2.6% 0.4% 1.2% 0.7% 0.8%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
... ... ... ... 102% 80% 79% 74% 71% 64% 63% 69% 45% 43% 45% 47% 47% 46%

Agriculture and Forestry

Coffee cherries

Agriculture is still the dominant industry in the Ivory Coast. It employs two thirds of the Ivorian workforce and accounts for 70% of export earnings, even if it only contributes 23% to GDP.

The country is the world's largest cocoa producer and exporter, with a harvest of 1.335 million tons in 2003/2004. It has a share of 40% of total global production. Child slaves sometimes harvest the cocoa . While cocoa was once the most important export product, it has now lost this status to petroleum products. In addition, the cocoa harvest has fallen sharply in recent years. On the one hand, this was due to the low producer price for cocoa beans, which caused many growers to switch to other products and made reinvestment of profits in the plantations unattractive. In addition, the state and local rebels levy high taxes on agricultural products, which encourages smuggling to neighboring countries. The poor security situation drove away the migrant workers and caused storage capacities to deteriorate. Another important export product is coffee , the 2003/2004 harvest of which was around 250,000 tons, which made the Ivory Coast the seventh largest coffee producer at the time. The Robusta variety is mainly grown . A total of six million people live directly or indirectly from growing coffee and cocoa.

With 130,500 tons of green coffee produced, which makes up a global share of 1.2%, the Ivory Coast was 12th among the coffee-growing countries in 2014.

In 2003, the cocoa swollen shoot virus emerged for the first time in the province of Marahoue in the center of the country and destroyed cocoa cultivation on an area of ​​8,000 hectares. This virus only affects the cocoa tree and is transmitted by lice. The trunk and young shoots of the affected plant swell; the plant eventually dies. As of June 2018, there is no remedy against it, and neighboring Ghana , the second largest cocoa bean producer, is also affected. The Ivory Coast produces around 2 million tons of cocoa beans annually, and the industry is the country's largest employer (as of June 2018). Since July 2016, production has decreased by around 40%. In June 2018, Gneneyeri Silue, responsible for plant protection in the Ivorian Ministry of Agriculture, stated that all plants on the affected plantations with 100,000 hectares would have to be uprooted for 3 years and then quarantined for another 2 years . Accordingly, large parts of production in the south-west and west of the country are threatened.

Other important products are palm oil , coconuts , cotton (export of raw cotton: 105,423 tons in 2004, mainly to the People's Republic of China , Indonesia , Thailand and Taiwan ), rubber , cola nuts (world's largest producer with 65,216 tons) and sugar cane . Tropical fruits such as pineapples , bananas , mangoes , papaya , avocado and citrus fruits are exported to Europe. Kashu trees , which originally only grew in the north of the country, are now also grown south of it; The cashew nut harvest in 2006 was 235,000 tons, 210 of which were exported. The production of lemons , bergamots and bitter oranges are also noteworthy .

Plantains and yams in a traditional market

The main crops are maize (608,032 tons on 278,679 hectares ), rice (673,006 tons on 340,856 hectares), yams (4,970,949 tons on 563,432 hectares), cassava (2,047,064 tons on 269,429 hectares) and plantains (1,519,716 Tons on 433,513 hectares). Only around 10,000 hectares of agricultural land in the Ivory Coast are artificially irrigated. However, it is estimated that irrigation of 600,000 hectares of land would make economic sense.

The expansion of cattle breeding is a development goal of the government, because the population's demand for animal products still has to be met in part by imports. Although hunting was officially banned in 1974 for nature conservation reasons, game is still an important supplier of meat. The Ivory Coast is also dependent on imports for fish products (204,757 tons in 2000), despite its 500 km coastline. For this reason, the government is promoting the creation of fish ponds.

The Ivory Coast's most important natural resource is wood , of which the country exports more than the much larger Brazil . However, apart from the ecological problem, the rapidly advancing deforestation will in the short term lead to the drying up of this source of income and resource. In 2008, only about 10% was agriculturally usable, although this value has increased slightly since the country became independent and has remained roughly the same since 2000. In 1970 this value was around 5%.

Mining and raw materials

Crude oil that occurs off the coast has been the Ivory Coast's most important export product since 2005. The oil reserves are estimated at around 600 million barrels , but in 2007 only 17.4 million barrels were produced. This means that the Ivory Coast is not one of the largest African oil producers. It has not been clarified whether the relatively low production volume is due to technical problems or whether the government is falsifying the production volumes in order to be able to smuggle the income from oil exports past the state budget.

In addition to crude oil, gas is also produced, with reserves likely to amount to 23,690 billion cubic meters. In 2006, 53.8 million MMBtu were mined.


In 2005, industry only contributed around 23.1% to the gross domestic product ; in 2000 it was 24.5%. It is dominated by small and medium-sized businesses ; for all the problems it faces, it is the most diversified in West Africa. It represents 40% of the potential of the WAEMU countries. Small and medium-sized enterprises were also hardest hit by the crisis years, while the large international companies generally survived the civil war well.

An important branch is the refining of crude oil. The Ivory Coast can currently process 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day, whereby oil from neighboring countries is refined in addition to its own oil. Capacities for processing a further 60,000 barrels are under construction.

In 2007, 1059 kg of gold were produced.

Due to the need for reconstruction, but also because of the start of construction on some infrastructure projects, the construction industry in the Ivory Coast can record strong growth. The food industry is also expected to benefit from rising food prices and rising domestic demand. Overall, however, many products leave the country in an unprocessed state. Political instability and corruption have deterred domestic and foreign investors from capital-intensive projects. Foreign investment in Ivory Coast is below average in sub-Saharan Africa.

On May 18, 2015, the first industrial chocolate factory (10,000 t / year) in the country was opened by President Alassane Ouattara.


Tourism has great potential in the Ivory Coast. The country has 520 km of Atlantic coast with numerous beaches, numerous national parks with rare flora and fauna and numerous ethnic groups with a diverse culture, so that tourists can be offered enough attractions.

The Ivorian government has recognized this and has also created some legal basis and material infrastructure. The Ivory Coast remained primarily a destination for business travelers until the 1980s, although some foreigners settled in the country permanently to live there. The anti-French riots (which were also directed against non-French people), the subsequent evacuation and the civil war, however, brought tourism to a complete standstill.

Financial system

The Ivory Coast is a member state of the WAEMU . It therefore has no currency of its own, no central bank of its own and therefore has to coordinate monetary policy with the other WAEMU countries.

The government's budget for 2008 was 2129 billion XOF , three quarters of which came from tax revenues. The rest comes from other Ivorian sources, borrowing and support payments from abroad. Expenditure on disarmament, social reintegration, organizing an election, building a national army and regaining state control over the entire territory is particularly high.

Given that the informal sector accounts for around 40% of economic output, the state tries to increase its tax revenue and streamline collection. To this end, programs are running to introduce a uniform VAT invoice and to improve customs clearance. All in all, the national budget is roughly balanced.

The Ivory Coast banking system is slowly returning to normal. After all banks in the north of Ivory Coast had to close during the civil war, the bank branches gradually reopen. This also applies to the microfinance sector . The banks are burdened with about 20% bad loans on their books; The state is to blame for many of these bad loans because it does not pay its bills.

Foreign trade

The Ivory Coast is a member of several regional organizations that aim to achieve economic integration. The most important are the West African Economic and Monetary Union UEMOA and the West African Economic Community ECOWAS.

The Ivory Coast has always had a positive trade balance in the past thanks to cocoa and oil exports. To date (as of 2020), Ivory Coast is the largest exporter of cocoa. In 2007 the Ivory Coast exported goods worth 6.2 billion euros and imported goods worth 4 billion euros. The most important export goods are petroleum products and crude oil, cocoa, wood, coffee, cashew nuts, cotton, natural rubber, palm oil, fish, textiles, cement and tropical fruits. By contrast, crude oil and petroleum products, industrial raw materials, food, beverages and capital goods are imported. The most important target markets for the Ivory Coast's exports are the EU (41.1%) and above all France, the other UEMOA countries (12.6%), the USA (7.1%) and Asian countries (4.3%) ). Imports are mainly from the EU (32.7%), Asia (17.4%), the USA (2.9%) and the UEMOA countries (0.9%).

Imports have been increasing rapidly since 2010, while cocoa and oil exports have declined. 2012 was the first year with a foreign trade deficit.

The exports to Germany consist almost exclusively of cocoa and crude oil. About 60% of the cocoa processed in Germany in 2007 came from Ivory Coast. Mainly vehicles, machines and pharmaceuticals are imported from Germany. For German exports, the Ivory Coast only plays a very subordinate role as a market, it occupies 114th place in the foreign trade statistics.

Foreign investments in Ivory Coast come mainly from France, South Africa , Great Britain and neighboring countries. However, they fluctuate very strongly year-on-year.

External debt in 2007 was 64% of GDP and 124% of exports for a year. It thus belongs to the group of highly indebted developing countries . In April 2002, the G8 had already promised extensive debt cancellation . However, the civil war has delayed this process. In 2012 there was a haircut.

Ivory Coast is a member of the International Cocoa Organization .


A major problem facing the state is the high level of corruption . In 2010, Côte d'Ivoire was ranked 146 out of 178, one of the lowest places in the statistics of Transparency International . In 2017, the country had improved to 103rd place out of 180.

The toxic waste scandal from 2006 is an example of this: At the beginning of September 2006, it became known that over 500 tons of toxic waste had been dumped from a foreign ship in several landfills, but also in the open sewer system and in ditches in Abidjan . This led to over 1,500 illnesses and at least eight deaths. Around 15,000 residents complain of symptoms of poisoning. In response to this toxic waste scandal, Prime Minister Banny's interim government announced its resignation on September 6, only to return to office around ten days later with minimal changes. While President Gbagbo blames foreign powers for this “attack” on the Ivory Coast, critics of the regime and the opposition agree that the responsible company, which was founded only a few weeks earlier, belonged to the Minister of Transport and Gbagbo's wife Simone and that bribes ran into millions. It is also doubtful whether any of the 150 million euros that the Trafigura company paid in compensation was ever passed on to the victims.

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditures of the equivalent of 8.170 billion US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 6.839 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 3.7% of GDP .

National debt in 2016 was $ 17.2 billion, or 48.7% of GDP. After the unrest of 2010/2011, Ivory Coast became insolvent in February 2011. In June 2012, following an agreement with creditors, she was canceled $ 7.7 billion in debt.

In 2006 the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:

In 2013, the share of government expenditure totaled 24.6% of GDP, the share of government revenue 21.7% of GDP. 1.7% of GDP was spent on social spending.



Road traffic

Intercity bus
A taxi brousse

The road network of the Ivory Coast is well developed compared to other West African countries. In 2000 it was 85,000 kilometers long, of which 75,500 kilometers were unpaved, 6,500 kilometers were paved roads and 150 kilometers were motorways. The country is connected to its neighbors Ghana , Liberia , Mali and Burkina Faso by road. The Ivory Coast's car fleet is estimated at 600,000 vehicles, three quarters of which are used cars from other countries. There are 20,000 new registrations every year. Almost all of the public transport is carried out on the road, either in regular buses or in shared taxis, which are called Taxi-Brousse in the Ivory Coast .

About three quarters of the roads are in good condition , with the strategically important north-south connection being in particularly poor condition. In 2009, only about a quarter of what would have been needed to maintain and repair the road network was spent.

Only about a third of the rural population has access to a road that can be used all year round within a radius of two kilometers. About 20,000 km of new roads would be necessary to develop 80% of the arable areas, and thus 50% of the rural population. In addition to the underfunding, the tolerance of overloaded trucks also contributes to poor road conditions. Corrupt police officers collect an estimated US $ 200 million to US $ 290 million in illegal tolls from shippers and travelers on the Ivorian roads every year. This extraordinarily high value weakens the competitiveness of the Ivory Coast as a transit country for the trade of its neighboring countries.

Rail transport

International passenger train of the Abidjan-Niger Railway entering the Dimbokro station

The Abidjan-Niger Railway connects the country with Ouagadougou , the capital of Burkina Faso. This line, which was built during the colonial era, is particularly important for the landlocked states of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. It is about 1,260 kilometers long, about half of which runs within the Ivory Coast. Since 1995 the line has been operated by the private consortium Sitarail , which has been able to steadily increase goods transport and productivity since then and is now the most successful rail operator in West Africa, even though the indicators are far from those of a European operator. Although the company recovered after the civil war, due to which the freight volume had slumped from 800 to 100 million tons and now transports almost one million tons annually, it was not in a position to make the investments promised when the concession was awarded. The investment required to repair and modernize systems and vehicles is estimated at 230 million US dollars between 2008 and 2020.

air traffic

There are three international airports in Ivory Coast , in Abidjan, Yamoussoukro and Bouaké . There are also regional airports in 14 other cities and 27 airfields. Most, however, have been out of service since the outbreak of the civil war. Since numerous African airlines went bankrupt at the beginning of the 2000s, the range of connections from Abidjan has deteriorated significantly, and domestic air traffic has even come to a complete standstill. Air traffic in Ivory Coast, like that of its neighboring countries, has a security problem: none of the airports and none of the airlines has passed the international security audits. In the past, domestic airlines had to cease their flight operations, such as Air Afrique 2002 and Air Ivoire 2011. Since 2012 Air Côte d'Ivoire has been offering flights within West Africa.


There are two seaports in the Ivory Coast, the Port autonome d'Abidjan and the Port autonome de San-Pédro . Until 2002 the port of Abidjan was the most important and largest in West Africa. It is not only important for the Ivory Coast, but also for those of the landlocked states to the north. In 2005, 18.7 million tons were handled in the port of Abidjan and one million tons in the port of San Pedro. However, the envelope collapsed due to the civil war. The situation has normalized since 2007, a container terminal was put into operation in 2008 and a program started in 2010 to modernize the facilities with 50 million US dollars. Thus, the port of Abidjan handles goods faster than its competitors in neighboring countries, but it also has higher costs. The decisive factor for the Ivory Coast will be whether the development and maintenance of the transport infrastructure in the hinterland is successful.


Like many other African countries, the Ivory Coast has experienced a boom in the telecommunications sector. In 2005 a framework was created that led to fierce competition among providers of wireless services. Since the entire country can be covered by mobile communications, the Ivory Coast is one of the most interesting African countries for providers. As a result, access to mobile communications rose from 9% of Ivorians in 2005 to 51% in 2008. However, the prices are high by African and international standards. Fixed line telephony has not played a significant role in Ivory Coast since then. The Ivory Coast is connected to the South Atlantic 3 international submarine cable. Since the state telecom operator has the monopoly over this node, the prices for Internet access are relatively high. In 2016, 22 percent of the population used the Internet.

Energy-and water supply

In 2005, 5.31 billion kWh of electrical energy were generated, around 73% of which from thermal power plants that are operated with domestic natural gas. 27% come from hydropower. Compagnie Ivoirienne d'électricité , founded in 1990, is responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution, billing and international trade in electrical energy , which has been granted the concession until 2020. The Ivory Coast is and was an exporter of electrical energy during the crisis; The main buyers are the neighboring countries Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo. In 2005, in spite of everything, less than half of the population had access to electricity; in rural areas it was only a quarter. During the civil war, the maintenance and expansion of the facilities was neglected, which manifests itself in numerous power outages, especially after the end of the war, when the demand increased. The Ivory Coast energy sector produces a deficit of $ 200-300 million annually due to high losses in its network and unable to pass the increased fuel prices on to consumers. For the period from 2006 to 2015, a financing requirement of almost 1 billion US dollars was determined in order to maintain the system, create new capacities and supply 73% of the population with electrical energy.

More than half of poor households have no access to clean water, a percentage that is much higher in the rural north. The water supply has been operated by the private SODECI since 1959 , which financed the expansion of the water network itself and was able to ensure stable operation despite all the crises. However, because the water price is too low, it is unable to cover its costs. The sewage system, however, is far less developed: in 2008 around a third of the population did not even have access to a latrine.


Wood carving

The traditional wooden masks of the Yakuba (Dan) who settled in the west of the country are known, which show an idealized human face and are blackened in the mud bath. The Yakuba know a large number of mask figures that represent bush spirits and perform various social, political and religious tasks.


Like many other African cultural areas, the Ivory Coast has a poetic tradition that was passed on exclusively orally. In contrast, written literature has only existed in French since the 20th century.

The Ivory Coast has a publishing landscape that is well established by African standards and numerous authors of various genres with varying degrees of awareness. The theater is particularly lively, probably because it is rooted in traditional drama and also because of the high rate of illiteracy. The most famous playwrights are François-Joseph Amon d'Aby , Germain Coffi Gadeau and Bernard Binlin Dadié , a journalist, narrator, playwright, novelist and poet who dominated Ivorian literature in the 1930s. Important novelists are Aké Loba ( A black student in Paris , 1960) and Ahmadou Kourouma (The Black Prince) , who received the Prix ​​du Livre Inter in 1998 for his work The Nights of the Great Hunter , which is a classic in African literature.

For the newer generation of Ivorian authors are born in Paris and now in Johannesburg living Véronique Tadjo (* 1955), the poet and novelist Tanella Boni (born 1954) and the two hugely productive writers Isaie Biton Koulibaly (* 1949) and Camara Nangala (* 1955).


The different ethnic groups of the Ivory Coast sometimes have different musical traditions, so that the traditional music of the country is quite diverse. In many musical styles, there is polyphonic singing or two-part call and response , often together with the polyrhythmic use of rattles, bells, simple drums or talking drums . With the Senufo the singing is mostly accompanied by a balafon , with the Dan it is more of a snarling drums. Very old instruments include flutes, wooden single-tone horns, slit drums , xylophones , triangular frame zithers and musical bows .

At the end of the 19th century, single-tone horns were being replaced by western wind instruments. The lively music of large representative bands , such as the Sankro Brass Band, the Asiakwa Brass Band or Les Fanfares de Sankadiokro, developed from the British military music legacy that was cultivated in neighboring Ghana, the ceremonial music of local clan chiefs and instruments imported from France .

Ernesto Djédjé is considered the father of today's Ivorian pop music , who popularized the rhythms of the Bété ; he called his style of music Ziglibithy . He is also known outside the country for his hit Gnoantre-Ziboté (1977). After him came Luckson Padaud with the Laba-laba style, and Gnaore Djimi with Polihet . In the 1990s, the zoblazo was created when Meiway mixed traditional rhythms from southern Ivory Coast with electronic instruments and entertainment poetry. Other very recent styles are Zouglou ( Magic System ) and Coupé Decalé . There is no national music culture, but the Ivory Coast is the host country for many musicians from neighboring countries, who find better studio opportunities in Abidjan.

The most popular foreign music styles that came to Ivory Coast are reggae and hip-hop . The two most important reggae artists in the country are Alpha Blondy , whose afro reggae became popular across West Africa since appearing on the television show First chance (1983), and Tiken Jah Fakoly , who was exiled because of his political texts. Major Ivorian hip-hop musicians are All Mighty , Rudy Rudiction , MC Claver and Angelo .


Kong Mosque

Numerous buildings from colonial heritage have been preserved in the Ivory Coast. These include the Palais du Gouverneur in Grand-Bassam , which was prefabricated in France and built and expanded in the Ivory Coast in 1893. There are many more picturesque colonial-style buildings in Brand-Bassam, such as the maison Varlet or the maison Ganamet , built by wealthy traders who used local building materials.

In the north of the country some mosques have been preserved in the Sudanese style, which was introduced in this region during the rule of the Mali Empire . The most important of these structures are the mosque of Kaouara ( Ouangolodougou department ), the mosque of Tengréla, the mosque of Kouto, the mosque of Nambira (sub-prefecture M'Bengué ), and especially the two mosques of Kong .

Modern religious buildings are the Cathédrale Saint-Paul in Abidjan and the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix de Yamoussoukro in Yamoussoukro .


The peoples of Ivory Coast have a long tradition of artistically making utensils, statues or masks from various materials. Baskets, sculptures, furniture, masks or statues are made from wood , bronze , raffia , rattan or bamboo .

The masks of the Dan , Baoulé , Gouro , Guere or Bété are the best known. The Baoulé are very good at weaving and the Sénoufo are, among other things, known for their paintings on fabric. Small figures made of copper , which used to be used to weigh gold, are now an ornament, especially among the Akan . The Katiola, on the other hand, are famous for their pottery products, which are handcrafted by the women.

Many art articles are now on sale in the tourist towns on the coast (i.e. Grand-Bassam or Assinie ).

While traditional folk art is rather anonymous, some well-known artists also come from the Ivory Coast, such as the painters Gilbert G. Groud or Michel Kodjo , who produce widely acclaimed works, or the caricaturist Zohoré Lassane , who writes the humor and satirical magazine Gbich! founded.


The cuisine of the Ivory Coast is also very diverse due to the diverse ethnic composition of the country, but has many similarities to the cuisine of the other West African countries. Grains and roots are used as staple foods, especially rice , corn , millet , semolina , cassava , yams , taro , sweet potatoes and plantains . The most important meat supplier is poultry, rarely beef or pork, on the coast also fish and seafood. As vegetables, onions , tomatoes , eggplants , beans , avocados , carrots , okra and spinach are preferred. The tropical climate offers numerous fruits such as bananas , papaya , pineapple , pomegranate , coconut , mangos , oranges , mandarins , melons , breadfruits , guavas , lemons , oranges and grapefruits . The food is usually spicy to very spicy and is eaten with the fingers. Specialties are e.g. B. Attiéké , a type of couscous made from cassava, or Alloco , fried plantain chips.

In the Ivory Coast, as in many other West African countries, maquis are very common, where simple food is usually served in the open air.


The main medium in Ivory Coast is the radio . The state Radiodiffusion-Télévision ivoirienne operates two stations called La Chaine Nationale and Frequence 2 . In addition, there are numerous private stations, especially in the cities (such as Radio Nostalgie in Abidjan) and the rural areas are covered by non-commercial stations with little power, some of which are also operated by the Roman Catholic Church. The ONUCI operate the transmitter Onuci FM . In addition to the local stations, foreign stations such as Radio Africa No. 1 , Radio France Internationale or BBC Afrique received.

Radiodiffusion-Télévision ivoirienne also operates two television channels, namely La Première and TV2 . There is no private television in the Ivory Coast.

Print media have a very low distribution. The most important newspapers are the state Fraternité Matin , the private Soir Info , Le Nouveau Reveil , L'Inter , the opposition newspaper Le Patriote , Notre Voie of the ruling party and Nord-Sud . The former has a circulation of 30,000, the latter never exceed 10,000.

The state news agency is called Agence Ivoirienne de Presse .

In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Ivory Coast was ranked 81st out of 180 countries. According to the non-governmental organization, there are “recognizable problems” with the situation of press freedom in the country.


The most important and most popular sport in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire is football . The Ivorian national soccer team is currently one of the ten most successful national teams in Africa. The greatest successes in international tournaments so far have been winning the Africa Cup in 1992 and 2015, two second places in 2006 and 2012, a fourth place in the Confederations Cup in 1992 , third places in the Africa Cups in 1965, 1968, 1986 and 1994 and one fourth place in 1970. On October 8, 2005, the team qualified, alongside the teams of Tunisia , Togo , Ghana and Angola , for the 2006 World Cup , an important milestone in Ivorian football history. There the team won a 3-2 victory against the selection of Serbia and Montenegro. In the 2010 and 2014 World Cup qualifications, Ivory Coast was first in the table to take part in the finals in South Africa and Brazil .


Web links

Wiktionary: Ivory Coast  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Ivory Coast  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Ivory Coast  - geographical and historical maps

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 1, 2008 .

Coordinates: 8 °  N , 6 °  W