Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ivory Coast

Côte d'Ivoire (pronounced /ˌkoʊt divˈwɑː(r)/ ' in English, IPA: [kot diˈvwaʀ] in French), or Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country in West Africa. The government officially discourages the use of the name Ivory Coast in English, preferring the French name Côte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages. With an area of 322,462 km2 Côte d'Ivoire borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The country's population, which was 15,366,672 in 1998, is estimated to be 18,373,060 in 2008.

Côte d'Ivoire is a republic with a strong executive power personified in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the official language is French. The country is divided into 19 regions and 58 departments. Côte d'Ivoire's economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.

The country's early history is virtually unknown, although a Neolithic culture is thought to have existed. In the 19th century, it was invaded by two Akan groups. An 1843–1844 treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a protectorate of France and in 1893, it became a French colony. The country became independent on 7 August 1960. Until 1993, it was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny and was closely associated economically and politically with its West African neighbours, for example, through the formation of the Conseil de l'Entente. At the same time the country maintained close ties to the West, especially to France, which helped its economic development and political stability. The country, through its production of coffee and cocoa, was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. As a result of the economic crisis in the 1980s, the country experienced a period of political and social turmoil. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule, the country's problems have been exacerbated by two coup d’états (1999 and 2001) and a civil war since 2002, which was triggered by sociopolitical tensions triggered by the adoption of a new constitution and the election of Laurent Gbagbo as President of the Republic. The crisis ended after a political agreement was signed by Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro on 4 March 2007 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.


The country was originally known in English as Ivory Coast. In October 1985, the government requested that the country be known in every language as Côte d'Ivoire, without a hyphen between the two words (thereby contravening the standard rule in French that geographical names with several words must be written with hyphens).

Usage in English

Despite the Ivorian government's ruling, "Ivory Coast" (sometimes "the Ivory Coast") is still sometimes used in English:

* BBC usually uses "Ivory Coast" both in news reports and on its page about the country,
* The Guardian newspaper's Style Guide says: "Ivory Coast, not 'the Ivory Coast' or 'Côte D'Ivoire'; its nationals are Ivorians",
* ABC News, The Times, the New York Times, and the South African Broadcasting Corporation all use "Ivory Coast" either exclusively or predominantly.

Governments use "Côte d'Ivoire" for diplomatic reasons. The English country name registered with the United Nations and adopted by ISO 3166 is "Côte d'Ivoire". English-speaking people in neighboring Liberia and Ghana both use "Côte d'Ivoire" in reference to "Ivory Coast".


Since 1983, Côte d'Ivoire's official capital has been Yamoussoukro; Abidjan, however, remains the administrative center. Most countries maintain their embassies in Abidjan, although some (including the United Kingdom) have closed their missions because of the continuing violence and attacks on Europeans. The Ivoirian population continues to suffer because of an ongoing civil war (See the History section above). International human rights organizations have noted problems with the treatment of captive non-combatants by both sides and the re-emergence of child slavery among workers 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 (FN). A new presidential election was expected to be held in October 2005. However, this election could not be held on time due to delay in preparation and was postponed first to October 2006, and then to October 2007 after an agreement was reached among the rival parties.


77% of the population are considered Ivorians. They represent several different people and language groups. An estimated 65 languages are spoken in the country. One of the most common is Dyula, which acts as a trade language as well as a language commonly spoken by the Muslim population. French, the official language, is taught in schools and serves as a lingua franca in the country. The native born population is roughly split into three groups of Muslim, Christian (primarily Roman Catholic) and animist. Since Côte d'Ivoire has established itself as one of the most successful West African nations, about 20% of the population (about 3.4 million) consists of workers from neighbouring Liberia, Burkina Faso and Guinea, over two thirds of these migrant workers are Muslim. 4% of the population is of non-African ancestry. Many are French, Moroccans, Vietnamese and Spanish citizens, as well as Protestant missionaries from the United States and Canada. In November 2004, around 10,000 French and other foreign nationals evacuated Côte d'Ivoire due to attacks from pro-government youth militias. Aside from French nationals, there are native-born descendants of French settlers who arrived during the country's colonial period.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory-Coast

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