Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast, in the long form of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (RCI), is a country located in Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean, in the western part of the Gulf of Guinea. Covering an area of ​​322,462 km2, it is bordered to the north-northwest by Mali, to the northeast by Burkina Faso, to the east by Ghana, to the southwest by Liberia, to the west-northwest by Guinea and south by the Atlantic Ocean. The population is estimated at 26,594,750 inhabitants in 2017. Côte d’Ivoire is the political and administrative capital of Yamoussoukro, although almost all of the institutions are located in Abidjan, its main economic center. Although French is the official language, more than 60 other dialects are spoken daily. Its currency is the CFA franc. The country is part of ECOWAS, the African Union and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

First a French protectorate in 1843 and became a French colony on March 10, 1893, the country gained independence on August 7, 1960, under the leadership of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, first president of the Republic. The economy, mainly focused on the production of coffee and cocoa, experienced an exceptional boom during the first two decades, making Côte d’Ivoire a flagship country in West Africa. In 1990, the country went through, in addition to the economic crisis which occurred at the end of the 1970s and which persisted, periods of turbulence on the social and political levels. These problems were exacerbated at the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny in 1993.

The adoption of a new constitution and the organization of the presidential election which, in 2000, brought Laurent Gbagbo to power, did not ease social and political tensions, which led to the outbreak of a politico-military crisis on September 19, 2002. After several peace agreements, the 2010 presidential election saw the victory of Alassane Ouattara against his opponent Laurent Gbagbo. Re-elected in 2015, Alassane Ouattara revived economic growth through a liberal and interventionist policy while being criticized for his management of the army and justice. In 2016, a new constitution was adopted, initiating the Third Republic. Ivory Coast is developing and ranks 182nd according to its Human Development Index (HDI) in 2017.

Ivory Coast’s history

Land of migrations

The date of the first human presence in Ivory Coast is difficult to assess because the bones are not preserved in the humid climate of the country. However, the presence of fragments of very old weapons and tools (polished axes cut in shales, kitchen and fishing debris) discovered on the national territory is interpreted as the possibility of the presence of men, in fairly large number, in the Upper Paleolithic (-15,000 to -10,000 years) or at least, the existence on this land of a Neolithic culture. However, the oldest known inhabitants of Ivory Coast have left traces scattered throughout the territory. The populations who arrived before the sixteenth century are today minority groups which have more or less preserved most of their civilizations. They are Agoua and Ehotilé (Aboisso), Kotrowou (Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand-Lahou) and Ega or Diès (Divo).

But the country is above all a land of refuge and migration which receives, coming from the Sahel zone, between the eleventh century and the sixteenth century, the forest Mandé (Dan, Gban and Kwéni) but also in the fourteenth century and fifteenth century , other groups from the north (Ligbi, Numu and some Malinké clans), which caused some limited displacements of more ancient populations (Krou on the coast before the 15th century and Sénoufo). The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries consecrate the arrival to the north of several Malinke or Mande-Dioula clans (Kamagaté, Keita, Binate, Diomandé) and Sénoufo and to the southeast, people from the lower Volta valley (Efié , Essouma, Abouré, Alladian and Avikam). One of these Akan groups (Abron) settled in the Bondoukou region in the east of the country. The eighteenth century consecrated the great Akan migrations (Agni, Baoulé, Atié, Abbey, Ébriés, M’Batto, Abidji) in the south-east and the center of the country as well as that of other Malinke groups (coming from the banks of the Volta noire) and from the south of the current territories of Mali and Burkina Faso. These migrations are causes of conflicts between the populations, but especially allow to weave numerous political and matrimonial alliances as well as joking relationships.

In contact with Europe

At the initiative of Prince Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese João de Santarém and Pedro Escobar discovered the Ivorian coast in 1470-1471 and until the end of the 16th century, the only Europeans present on the Ivorian coast were Portuguese. They were joined at the end of the 16th century by the Dutch, then in the 17th century by the French and the English. In 1687, two years after the black code, missionaries and French merchants settled on the site of Assinie, at the eastern end of the coast, towards the Gold Coast, but they left in 1705 after having built and occupied Fort Saint-Louis, from 1701 to 1704, because the slave trade for grain did not yield enough. Among them, the Chevalier d’Amon and Admiral Jean-Baptiste du Casse, director of the Compagnie du Sénégal, the main French slave trade company, disembarked, interested in the gold trade, and were received at court. of King Zena. In the report that Jean-Baptiste du Casse gives to the French authorities, he insists on the imperative need to create fixed establishments in the region, citing three places to build three fortresses: Assinie, Commendo and Accra. But the French are more in Ouidah, one of the two ports, with Lagos, which concentrated 60% of the two million slave ships in the bay of Benin.

They will bring back to France the young “prince” Aniaba and his cousin Banga, who will be presented to the king of France Louis XIV and will convert to Catholicism (Aniaba will be baptized by Bossuet, bishop of Meaux). They will become officers in the King’s Regiment, before returning to Issiny around 1700. Aniaba would have become in 1704 adviser to the king of Quita (current Togo), calling himself Hannibal. These Europeans maintain religious relations, sometimes political but above all commercial, with the populations of the Ivorian coast. The abundance of ivory gives this part of African territory the name of Ivory Coast also called, because of the difficult relations with the inhabitants, Coast of the bad people. Trade concerns various tropical products, but it is mainly dominated by the slave trade. The slave is the product of tribal wars, the result of a pledge or the result of a court decision. Some people are slaves by birth, inheriting the status of their ancestors. The slave trade in the 18th century constituted the bulk of trade between coastal populations and European merchants. The Ivory Coast, which remained until the nineteenth century, a less important trading space compared to Benin or Nigeria, also suffered the negative consequences of the phenomenon in different societies. Numerous deaths have been recorded, a decrease in the birth rate, the rapid spread of epidemics and famines which spared neither lineage societies nor the empires or kingdoms established in the territory. The strictly internal slave trade continued in Ivory Coast until the end of the 19th century. The forest zone is the seat par excellence of societies where the authority of the lineage chief is generally exercised at the level of a tribe.

It is undergoing a significant social transformation characterized by the multiplication and development of various alliances from which tribal, clan or regional confederations are born. Such an evolution differs from the path observed in the north, in the different branches of the Sénoufo group. Originally designed on a scheme close to lineage companies, the Sénoufo group is gradually being built up in chiefdoms on the model of “Kafu” (a limited territory over which the authority of a chief: Faama) malinké and consolidates to face in particular the expansionism of the empire of Kong. The other societies living in the north, but also those in the center and in the east, present themselves in an even more hierarchical manner with an organization reinforced by the strengthening of monarchical powers or the appearance of new traditional structures of the state type. This is the case of the Abron kingdom of Gyaman whose authority extends over many peoples in the east of the territory (Koulango de Nassian, Goro, Gbin, Ligbi, Huela, Agni and Dioula de Bondoukou) and which s freed from Ashanti power in 1875. After a period of expansion, this kingdom was however weakened by internal dissensions which weakened it in the face of the conquests of Samory Touré and European imperialism. The Kingdom of Sanwi makes the most of its foreign relations and consolidates its power over the peoples of the southeast coast. The Baoulé monarchy was dominated by the Warébo and the Faafoué until its unit was dislocated after 1850, when several groups formed into independent entities or new military confederations with more or less precise outlines. In the north, the conquerors multiply but are in turn defeated by Samory Touré who also subdues all the kingdoms (Kong, Bouna, Koulango, Gyaman …). These conquests and tribal wars are greatly exacerbated by the slave trade which accentuates the destructuring of traditional political and social systems due in particular to the appearance of new social hierarchies made up of people whom it enriches.

The nineteenth century thus brought profound changes in traditional social organizations and the creation of new values ​​based on wealth, which can be appreciated by the quantity of products held (food products, livestock, clothing, gold dust, weapons to fire) and the number of individuals over whom authority is exercised. Thus, women, children and slaves who depend on the same person constitute for that person, not only agricultural workers and defenders of the lineage, but also a possibility of increasing alliances with other families, through the wedding. The abolition of slavery in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, reaffirmed in 1885 at the Congress of Berlin paves the way for the development of new commercial relations between the Ivorian populations and the new European actors who are emerging. Despite stubborn English competition and sometimes hostility from local populations, French trading posts were set up in Assinie and Grand-Bassam (South East Coast) in 1843 and, in 1857, the fort at Dabou was built.

French colony

After having succeeded in conquering what will one day become Algeria, after the few commercially motivated conquests carried out during the Second Empire, France, still recovering from the war of 1870, launches, at the instigation of Léon Gambetta and Jules Ferry, in the colonization of a major part of West and Equatorial Africa and the Indochinese peninsula, at the beginning under the pretext pretended to civilize, soon hoping for outlets and perhaps one day profits from these colonies, in reality more by rivalry with the other colonial powers. Because France has been present on the West African coast for a very long time. However, the most gripping of the colonial powers of the nineteenth century, the United Kingdom, was already acting on lower Niger. Joining the French possessions of the Gulf of Guinea to those of lower Senegal via what was called at the time “Sudan” (today “Sahel”) seems the appropriate parade for the English company which promises to leave from the east. But on this road comes the empire built by the warlord Samory Touré, the largest slave trader in West Africa, and whose subjugated populations revolted at the end of the 1880s. These animist populations refuse Islam imposed by Samory and end up hoping for their liberation from the French. However, the ignorance of the Ivorian hinterland brings the French Édouard Bouët-Willaumez (1837-1839), Paul Fleuriot de Langle, Marcel Treich-Laplène (1887-1890), Louis-Gustave Binger (and, to a lesser extent , the English Lonsdale (1882), Freeman (1888) and Lang (1892) to launch numerous exploration missions. After the signing of various protectorate treaties, a decree, March 10, 1893, created Côte d’Ivoire as an autonomous French colony. France, already represented there by Arthur Verdier (1878) then Treich-Laplène (1886) as Residents, designates Louis-Gustave Binger as Governor with residence in Grand-Bassam.

The French authority begins to be established in the whole of the country by means of a hierarchical grid system which includes the villages, the cantons, the subdivisions and the circles. It establishes links of subordination through the introduction of the capitation tax, the free provision of labor (forced labor), compulsory military service, the application of a code of native nationality and the exercise of indigenous justice. For its part, the French Administration must proceed with the development of the territory, the establishment of basic social services, guarantee the free movement of people and goods by putting a definitive end where it is exercised to slavery. Local resistance is expressed from the exploration phase (Jacqueville and Lahou War in 1890, Bonoua War in 1894 and 1895, war in Adioukrou country in 1897 and 1898). Paris decides an open war with Samory in 1896, which is finally defeated in Guéouleu (Guélémou) in 1898. A few years later, to quickly and definitively establish the authority of France on the territory, the governor Gabriel Angoulvant opts for Forced acceleration of colonization: “I wish that there is now no hesitation on the political line to follow. This course of action must be uniform for the whole Colony. We have two ways of putting them into practice: or wait for our influence and our example to act on the populations entrusted to us; or want civilization to walk quickly, at the cost of an action … I chose the second method. “

New resistance appeared in particular in the forest west (siege of Daloa in 1906, siege of Man in 1908, siege of Semien in 1911) or among the Akan of the South (attacks on the posts of Agboville and Adzopé in 1910). They are long in Baoulé country (1893-1912) in Gouro country (1907-1914) and in Lobi country (1898-1920). Despite some French defeats, all the resistances were definitively defeated in 1920. The leaders of the resistance were killed or deported and the loss of human life was significant for the local populations. A new economy can gradually take hold. From 1905 to 1930, trading houses with headquarters in Europe (SCOA, CFAO, CCAF, Peyrissac) set up and collected local products and disposed of imported products. Similarly, Europeans encouraged by French policy and helped by recruitment for forced labor in the plantations developed private agricultural holdings, especially coffee and cocoa plantations from 1930. These export crops quickly supplanted the harvesting products (cola, palm seeds, wood, rubber). At the same time, infrastructure and equipment are built to support economic exploitation. The road network is being set up and a railway is being built thanks to the compulsory recruitment of young people. Schools and medical posts are also open. However, this option of developing the colony was slowed down from 1930 to 1935 by the economic crisis. Despite the governor’s real efforts to turn the economy around, the aftermath of the crisis remains.

The outbreak of World War II increased local economic and financial difficulties. In addition to the capitation tax, compulsory benefits are increasing and the populations pay “donations for the defense of Ivory Coast and France”. But the war effort was mainly military with thousands of recruits mobilized and sent to the battlefields in Europe and North Africa. After the defeat in June 1940, many Ivorian volunteers joined forces with General Charles de Gaulle in the Resistance.

Towards emancipation

Before the end of the 1939-1945 war, the still unorganized populations began a rather timid struggle for political, social and economic emancipation. But from 1945, in Côte d’Ivoire as in all the French colonies in Africa, political life was organized on the basis of the Brazzaville Conference. Ivorians take part in their first municipal (Abidjan and Grand-Bassam) and legislative elections, the overseas territories now having to be represented in the French National Constituent Assembly by decision of the colonial authority. Despite opposition from the local administration, Félix Houphouët-Boigny is running in Ivory Coast before the college of non-citizens. He beat his opponent by more than a thousand votes and, in the second round on November 4, 1945, was elected deputy with 12,980 votes out of 31,081 votes cast. At the second Constituent National Assembly, he was more easily re-elected to the French Parliament with 21,099 votes out of 37,888 votes cast. Several political parties (often supported by unions) are created from 1946. They are simple extensions of the diversity of political formations in France or the realization of the freedom of local initiatives: Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (1946 ), Progressive Party of Ivory Coast (1947), Eburnean Democratic Bloc (1949), Ivorian section of the Workers’ International (1946), Ivorian section of the Rassemblement du Peuple Français. The Constitution of the Fourth Republic (France) and anti-colonial laws (abolition of forced labor, abolition of the Indigenous Code or extension of French citizenship), without really changing the local colonial system, both provoke the anger of the colonists and the disappointment of the colonized populations who hardened their struggle for emancipation through increasingly violent actions led by political parties.

The framework law opens up new prospects in Ivory Coast by introducing decentralization, the internal autonomy of the colonies and the extension of the powers of the Territorial Assemblies. It also established a single college of voters and universal suffrage. The way thus opens for the establishment, at first sight, of the Franco-African Community after the referendum of March 28, 1958 then, thereafter, for the accession of Côte d’Ivoire to international sovereignty on 7 August 1960.

Independence and the Houphouët-Boigny regime

Ivorian miracle

Between 1960 and 1980, the development of the Ivorian economy was spectacular in all areas, particularly agriculture, industry, commerce and finance. It is the result of a policy that plays a prominent role in the state, private investment and foreign capital. Ivorian society knows during this period a deep mutation caused by the rise of the standard of living of the inhabitants, the sanitary, educational and social equipments, but also due to the increase of the population with an average annual growth rate of 3.8%, increasing it from 3.7 million in 1960 to 12.2 million inhabitants in 1988. However, since the mid-1980s, the economy has stagnated, a consequence of the deterioration of the terms of trade with the outside world, the increase in the debts of the State and management errors.

End of the Cold War and political liberalization

Félix Houphouët-Boigny had carefully managed to avoid any ethnic conflict within a single party framework and had even allowed certain immigrants from neighboring countries to gain access to public administration posts, succeeding in achieving an original and economical melting pot effective. This balance was also based on an ecological and social division of labor: in the north, the Dioula dominate transport and trade, the Burkinabè work in the plantations as laborers, the customary landowners are the rentier owners of the plantations. Roughly speaking, northerners thus live off the informal economy while southerners find themselves in the administration and management of power. Northerners who had acquired a sufficient professional qualification are sent to embassies or international institutions to represent the country; some have access to ministries, but politically marginal.

However, the transition to a multiparty system in 1990 following the France-Africa summit in La Baule also enabled the assertion of identity of ethnic communities in political space and the opening of debates on national construction. The tensions between the people of the north and the south, hitherto confined to the economic field, are transferred to the political field. The unexpected arrival of Alassane Ouattara at the gates of power only aggravates the situation. While this northerner was appointed Prime Minister to resolve the economic crisis, he intends to position himself for power, upsetting the plans of Henri Konan Bédié, the designated successor of President Houphouët-Boigny, as well as Laurent Gbagbo , the historic opponent, who both think their turn has come. The political danger posed by northerners arouses a feeling of violent self-defense among the people of the south and radicalizes their position against the communities of the north. Difficult succession In 1993, President Houphouët-Boigny died. In October 1995, Henri Konan Bédié won an overwhelming majority (95.25% against 3.75% or 4.75% for the candidate Francis Wodié) against a fragmented and disorganized opposition which had called for boycotting this first presidential election organized after the death of Félix Houphouët-Boigny. It is tightening its grip on political life, obtaining an improvement in the economic situation fairly quickly, with a reduction in inflation and initiating measures to reduce the external debt.

Towards the dead end

Three measures enshrine the tribalist orientation of political liberalization between 1993 and 2003: The new rural land code, which obliges foreign (non-Ivorian) land operators to return them on their death or be rented by their descendants, despite a final rural land title (1998). The customary owners of the South extend the qualification of foreigner to all foreigners (Baoulé, Dioula, Lobi) The end of the foreigners’ vote and the establishment of a stigmatizing residence permit. The Constitution of the Second Republic, the nerve center of which is the definition of the eligibility criteria for the President of the Republic (Article 37) which further accentuates the break in the community. Finally, despite their deep ethnic enmities, all groups in the South, the Krou and the Akan in particular, agree to refuse Ivorian migrants to access local political power on their territory (on which Yamoussoukro, Abidjan, San Pedro are located ) and a fortiori to seek the presidency of the Republic. Governance issues are uncovered during the execution of projects funded by the European Union. In addition, various facts, including the exacerbation of political and social tensions by the press, acts of defiance of state authority by opponents, the incarceration of several leaders of the political opposition, create a deleterious climate which led in December 1999 to the overthrow of Henri Konan Bédié by disgruntled soldiers. They place at the head of their group General Robert Guéï who becomes by this fact, Head of State of Côte d’Ivoire. Henri Konan Bédié goes into exile in France.

The regime resulting from the coup was marked during its ephemeral power by military and civil unrest. Military power, however, reduces crime and corruption by using sometimes expeditious methods. He had political parties and civil society draft a new constitution and organized the presidential election in October 2000. Many candidates for the presidency of the Republic including those of Henri Konan Bédié and Alassane Dramane Ouattara are eliminated by the Supreme Court. General Robert Guéï who proclaims himself the winner of the ballot is chased away by street demonstrations. Violent clashes also opposed for a few days militants of the FPI to those of the RDR. These troubles resulted in several deaths. The Supreme Court proclaims the results and declares Laurent Gbagbo the winner. He initiated a national reconciliation forum and then appointed a government of national unity.

Politico-military crisis (2002-2007)

On September 19, 2002, rebel soldiers attempted to take control of the cities of Abidjan, Bouaké and Korhogo. They fail in their attempt with regard to Abidjan but are victorious in the two other cities, located respectively in the center and the north of the country. Robert Guéï is assassinated in circumstances not yet elucidated. The rebellion which presents itself under the name MPCI later creates the MJP and the MPIGO and forms with these last components the movement of the Forces Nouvelles (FN). It gradually occupies more than the northern half of the country (estimated at 60% of the territory), thus dividing the territory into two zones: the south held by the National Armed Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FANCI) and the north held by the Forces armies of the new forces (FAFN). The talks started in Lomé make it possible to obtain on October 17, 2002, a cease-fire agreement which opens the way to negotiations on a political agreement between the government and the MPCI under the aegis of the president of Togo, Gnassingbé Eyadema . These negotiations, however, fail on the political measures to be taken, despite meetings between ECOWAS leaders in Kara (Togo), then in Abidjan and Dakar. 10,000 UNOCI90 peacekeepers including 4,600 French Unicorn soldiers are placed between the belligerents. In a new initiative, France is hosting Linas-Marcoussis from 15 to 23 January 2003, under the chairmanship of Pierre Mazeaud, President of the French Constitutional Council, seconded by the Senegalese judge Kéba Mbaye, a round table with the Ivorian political forces and obtains the signing of the Linas-Marcoussis agreements. This agreement provides for the creation of a government of national reconciliation led by a prime minister appointed by the President of the Republic after consultation with the other political parties, the establishment of a calendar for credible and transparent national elections, the restructuring of the forces defense and security, the organization of the regrouping and disarmament of all armed groups, the settlement of questions relating to eligibility for the presidency of the country and the condition of foreigners living in Ivory Coast. A committee to monitor the implementation of the agreement, chaired by the United Nations, is established.

Applied with great difficulty, the Linas-Marcoussis agreement was followed by several others, concluded in Africa and implemented by the successive governments of Seydou Diarra, Charles Konan Banny. The Ouagadougou political agreement concluded in 2007 with Laurent Gbagbo, under the aegis of Burkinabé President Blaise Compaoré, who acts as a falitator, offers the Forces Nouvelles the post of Prime Minister. The Forces Nouvelles appointed their secretary general, Guillaume Soro, on March 26, 2007 to exercise this function. Soro government Guillaume Soro took office on April 4 and his government was installed three days later. The government must set up in particular two key points of the Ouagadougou political agreement: the preparation of elections to be held within ten months from March 2007, then the unification of the Armed Forces of the New Forces (FAFN) and of the National Armed Forces of Ivory Coast (FANCI) In the Soro I government made up of 33 members, its military-political formation (the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire) and the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), the political formation from which President Laurent Gbagbo came, each have eight portfolios (including the Prime Minister). The other portfolios are distributed among various other political parties. Thus, the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) holds 5, the Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) 5, the Mouvement des Forces d’Avenir (MFA) one, the Ivorian Workers Party (PIT) one, the Democratic Union of Côte d’Ivoire (UDCI) one and the Union for Democracy and Peace in Ivory Coast (UDPCI) one; two other ministers are deemed to be close to the President of the Republic and a minister comes from civil society.

Concretely, in addition to the management of cases falling within its traditional competences, the government coordinates the implementation of the process to end the crisis by means of specific programs. It is a technical device comprising in particular the Integrated Command Center (disarming of combatants), the National Program for Reintegration and Community Rehabilitation, the National Committee for the Pilotage of the Redeployment of the Administration (restoration of the authority of the State throughout the territory and resumption of the operation of public services), the National Identification Office (identification of populations and voters) and the Independent Electoral Commission (organization of elections).

Presidential election in 2010 and crisis

After a presidential election under tension, the two candidates arrived in the second round, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, declare themselves winners and take the oath as president of the country. Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner by Youssouf Bakayoko the president of the Independent Electoral Commission, at the headquarters of the Ouattara camp contrary to the provisions of the said CEI, and received the support of Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and part of the international community. Laurent Gbagbo was declared the winner by the Constitutional Council and received the support of General Philippe Mangou, commander of the army. Ivory Coast is then left with two presidents trying to impose themselves on the whole country. But Alassane Ouattara enjoys the support of most of the international community, as well as that of economic and financial bodies, both regional and international. The Ivorian economy is paralyzed by the sanctions and the finances of the dried-up Ivorian state, notably the areas still controlled by Laurent Gbagbo. Fighting broke out in Abidjan at the end of February 2011 between the “invisible Commando” hostile to Gbagbo and the regular army. Then, in early March, tension spread to the west of the country, where the Forces Nouvelles took control of new territories. The entire front eventually caught fire at the end of March, and pro-Ouattara forces, renamed the Forces Républicaines de Ivory Coast (FRCI), took Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital, on March 30. From that moment, events accelerate: the south of the country is conquered in a few hours and the pro-Ouattara troops enter Abidjan without encountering any real resistance (but not without committing numerous atrocities on the civilian populations).

Laurent Gbagbo and his wife take refuge in the Presidential Residence, protected by a last square of faithful including the Republican Guard led by Colonel Dogbo Blé Bruno. The Residence is besieged by pro-Ouattara forces who have difficulty accessing the Residence despite several attempts. A final assault was launched against the home on April 11 with the support of UN forces and especially the French army (in application of the resolution of the UN Security Council). Laurent Gbagbo (accompanied by his family) is taken prisoner, then placed under arrest at the Hôtel du Golf. He was then transferred to Korhogo in the north of the country, where he was placed under house arrest. (a few days later his wife, who was not authorized to follow him, will be placed under house arrest in Odienné, another locality in northern Ivorian). Since November 30, 2011, Laurent Gbagbo has been imprisoned at the International Criminal Court, where he has been charged with four counts of crimes against humanity. Pro-Ouattara forces are suspected of having carried out atrocities on populations supporting Laurent Gbagbo (massacre at the Nahibly and Duekoué camp). In the case of Duekoué, the UN explains that pro-Gbagbo forces would also be involved.

Political situation since 2015

Following the last presidential elections of October 25, 2015 which re-elected him for five years, President Ouattara carried out a cabinet reshuffle on January 6, 2016. The current Ivorian head of state wishes to consolidate the efforts of national reconciliation and draft a new Constitution. This new constitution, which should lead to the creation of a senate and a post of vice-president, was submitted to a referendum on October 30, 2016.

Ivory Coast’s politics 

As soon as it gained independence, Ivory Coast, a unitary state, opted for a presidential regime. Renewed by the second republic, the presidential system is characterized by the separation of powers within the state: the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. The Ivorian institutional landscape is made up of the bodies exercising these three powers and other institutions such as the Economic and Social Council and the Mediator of the Republic. At independence, Félix Houphouët-Boigny had carefully managed to avoid any ethnic conflict within the framework of a single party regime. This balance was also based on an ecological and social division of labor with, in the north, the Dioula who dominate transport and trade while the southerners find themselves in the administration and management of power. Northerners who had acquired a sufficient professional qualification are sent to embassies or international institutions to represent the country; some have access to ministries, but politically marginal. However, the transition to a multiparty system in 1990 also allowed the assertion of identity of ethnic communities in political space and the opening of debates on national construction. The tensions between the people of the north and the south, hitherto confined to the economic field, are transferred to the political field.

Political parties

Shortly before the country’s independence, to designate the Territorial Assembly and municipal councils in 1956-1957, pluralist elections were organized. All seats are won by the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, section of the African Democratic Rally or PDCI-RDA in which shortly after, all of the other political parties decide to base themselves on the basis of a new ” national consensus ”. The PDCI-RDA becomes the only party in the country. A fairly ephemeral attempt to create other political parties was noted between 1958-1959 and more or less worrying political crises punctuated the period from 1960 to 1990 (Affaire du Sanwi from 1959 to 1966, plot in 1963-1964, affair of Guébié in 1970, failed coup in 1973), but Ivorian political life remains clearly dominated during this period by the only PDCI-RDA. The rupture of the “national consensus” was formally noted in 1990 after popular demonstrations. It immediately paves the way for a return to multiparty politics with, in particular, the emergence of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI). Thus, although recognized by the Ivorian constitution of 1960, multipartyism did not become effective again in Ivory Coast until 1990, the year in which several political parties were created. In 2008, more than a hundred political parties were declared in the country, but the parties that participate in political life are, essentially, the Front populaire ivoirien ou FPI, socialiste, led by Pascal Affi N’Guessan; the Democratic Party of Ivory Coast – African Democratic Rally or PDCI-RDA, liberal right, led by Aimé Henri Konan Bédié; the Rassemblement des Républicains or RDR, a liberal center, led by Alassane Dramane Ouattara; and, to a lesser extent, the Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d’Ivoire or UDPCI, led by Albert Mabri Toikeusse; the Ivorian Workers Party or PIT, socialist, led by Francis Wodié, the Mouvement des forces d’avenir or MFA, led by Innocent Anaky Kobéna. Various pressure groups also animate political life. The Forces Nouvelles movement, which is a major political (and military) component of the country, has not formed a political party.

Ivory Coast’s economy 

General economy

The growth rate of its gross domestic production is 10.2% between 1960 and 1965 and 7.2% between 1965 and 1975. Between 1970 and 1975, while those of sub-Saharan Africa and the rich Western countries are respectively 4% and 6% on average, the GDP growth rate in Ivory Coast is 6.8% per year. This particular performance is partly explained by the political stability that characterizes it, unlike many African states. The economy does, however, show symptoms of structural weakness: it is in fact characterized by strong external dependence and exhibits productivity inequalities in its various sectors. The fall in the prices of the basic agricultural products made up of coffee and cocoa, the main export products that dominate the country’s economy, led to an economic recession in the late 1970s. The economic crisis continued for years 1990, producing harmful social consequences. In January 1994, the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc brought a positive growth rate of 6% for two consecutive years, thanks in particular to the support measures adopted by the international financial community. The structural adjustment programs put in place by the external partners, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, led to the adoption of drastic measures of budgetary restriction and economic recovery by the government, without much success. The arrears in the payment of debts contracted with these institutions, as well as the governance problems linked to the execution of projects financed by the European Union, led, at the end of the 1990s, to a breakdown of the partnership with these institutions.

The negative impact of this governance situation on the economy was aggravated by the military coup in December 1999 and the political instability that resulted. The growth rate for 2000 is negative: -2.3%. The country will experience a decade of civil war, then armed and bloody clashes after the presidential election of 2010. Since 2004, Côte d’Ivoire has recorded positive real growth rates (+1.6% in 2004, +1 , 8% in 2005 and 1.2% in 2006) which however remain below the population growth rate, estimated at 3.3%. The inflation rate ranges from 1.4% to 4.4%. Settled debt service, which represented 10.68% of exports in 2000, was reduced to 5% of exports in 2003, 3.3% in 2004 and 1.45% in 2005, thus reflecting the State’s difficulties in keep its external commitments. These difficulties persist despite the increase in the level of exports, which rose to 37.9% in 2000 and to 47.8% of GDP in 2005.

New President Alassane Ouattara is a recognized international economist. The country, encouraged by a new political stability, can hope to regain first of all the confidence in itself to carry out the many necessary reforms then the confidence of the big international organizations and the other countries. Among the most urgent points, the competitiveness of its main activities, the creation of an administrative and banking environment conducive to business, the rehabilitation and modernization of infrastructure (telephone network, roads and port, energy). With the revival of activities, the forecast for GDP growth fell from 4.5% to 8.6% in 2012, after a decrease of 4.7% in 2011. Food crops, livestock, extraction mining, petroleum development and export competitiveness are improving, but the performance of the productive sector is hampered by the increase in domestic debt. However in June 2012, the IMF, the World Bank and the Paris Club approved a reduction in external debt of 64.2% or $ 8.18 billion.


The Ivorian economy remains dominated by agriculture. After having been classified as the third world producer of coffee for almost thirty years, Côte d’Ivoire has experienced a drop in production, going from 250,000 tonnes in 1990 to 145,000 tonnes in 1994, before going back to production of 250,866 tonnes in 2003-2004. In 2016, it was only the fourteenth largest producer of coffee in the world, despite a coffee harvest up by around 10% between 2011 and 2016, and it placed itself in 2016 behind the coffee farmers of Central America, although clearly less populated , like Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Côte d’Ivoire is, however, still, and very largely, the world’s leading producer of cocoa, with 40% of the total, ahead of Ghana. National production reached 1.335 million tonnes in 2003-2004, the share of exports being 1.060 million tonnes for the same period. We call Côte d’Ivoire the “Cocoa Republic”. During the first six years of the decade of the 2010s, the country has always maintained itself as the world’s leading producer of cocoa, ahead of Ghana, the second in Africa and the world, both remaining the top two exporters in the world.

Producer of oil palm and coconut palm, Côte d’Ivoire is ranked among the top three cotton producers in the sub-region with 105,423 tonnes of cotton lint exported in 2004 mainly to China, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan. During the following decade, the cotton sector, as in many African producing countries, has aligned excellent harvests, even if on the world market, the price of the fiber pound was in 2015 around 0.70 dollar , relatively low compared to the peak of 2 dollars a pound it had reached in 2011. The country was in third place in the ranking of the seven leading African cotton producers in the mid-2010s. The country also produces rubber and also has the distinction of being the world’s leading producer of cola nuts with a total production of 65,216 tonnes. Cocoa, coffee, sugar cane, pineapple, bananas, cashews and palm oil play an important role in exports to Ivory Coast, despite the questioning of quotas by l ‘World organization of commerce. They are mainly exported to Europe, as are fruit crops (mango, papaya, avocado and citrus fruits). The cashew apple (cashew), mainly located in the north of the country, has spread for several years in the center and west-west of the country. In 2006, cashew production was 235,000 tonnes and exports 210,000 tonnes.

Food crops remain an important economic supplement for the country which produces in this field in particular maize (608,032 tonnes over 278,679 hectares), rice (673,006 tonnes over 340,856 hectares), yam (4,970,949 tonnes on 563,432 hectares), cassava (2,047,064 tonnes on 269,429 hectares), plantain (1,519,716 tonnes on 433,513 hectares). Lemon, bergamot and bitter orange productions are also noted, but in smaller quantities. At the end of the 1990s, Canadian “junior companies” invested in more than 8000 mineral properties in more than 100 countries, most of which were still in the planning stage, and multiplied contracts with African countries. In 2011, Canadian mining interests in Ivory Coast were valued at $ 15 million and an agreement was signed on September 27 between the two countries to provide increased protection for Canadian companies operating in Ivory Coast. The development of animal husbandry remains an objective for the Government, but imports are still necessary to satisfy the national consumption of animal products. Despite the closure of hunting, decided in 1974 to allow the reconstitution of wildlife potential, game still occupies a significant part of this consumption. To fill the deficit in fishery products, the State encourages the creation of aquaculture pools, but must proceed to import fish, the quantity of which amounted in 2000 to 204,757 tonnes.

The main natural resource of Ivory Coast is wood, moreover the country exports more than Brazil. The rate of deforestation, which may be the highest in the world, risks posing serious short-term problems, both ecological, in terms of loss of essential raw materials and in terms of loss of export earnings. In 2008, only about ten percent of the land was arable, but this figure has been constantly increasing since independence until the early 2000s. It has even been almost linear since the early 1970s when it was only 5% until 2003 and has stagnated since that date. In 2005 the Ivorian industry constituted only 23.1% of gross domestic production (against 24.5% in 2000). It displays a structural imbalance characterized by the digital domination of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, despite the difficulties it faces, it remains the most diversified in the West African sub-region and represents 40% of the industrial potential of the WAEMU. In view of the decrease in cultivable land and the low price of the main raw materials (coffee, cocoa), Ivory Coast has started the shift towards industrialization in recent years, convinced that this is how it can get out of poverty. Since then, it has started exploiting these mineral and petroleum resources, also encouraging the local processing of agricultural products (coffee, cocoa) through the inauguration of new processing units for these products. The Ivorian Government, in view of the importance of the SME sector and with the aim of making it a lever for transforming the economy, has decided on a Support Strategy for the development of SMEs to make it a pole of , growth and jobs. This desire was concretized by the creation of the Ivory Coast SME Agency in March 2014. Salimou Bamba heads this public body which assists and supports Ivorian SMEs in the conceptualization of the realization of projects.

Ivory Coast’s demography 

The Ivorian population, as in almost all African countries, is growing rapidly. During the last censuses carried out in 1975, 1988 and 1998, it amounted to 6,709,600, 10,815,694 then 15,366,672 inhabitants. It was estimated at 24,294,750 inhabitants in 2017. This population consists of 51.6% men and 48.4% women. The natural growth rate was 2.6% in 2014 according to the National Statistics Institute (INS). This rapid increase is partly due to the continued immigration of foreign populations. In fact, during the first thirty years of its existence, Ivory Coast had produced a veritable melting pot by welcoming around 26% of foreigners from neighboring countries. The general census carried out in 1998 thus reveals a rate of foreigners of 26%, that is to say more than a quarter of the total population. These immigrants, in search of well-being, are attracted by the rapid economic development and the social and political stability that the country experienced before the start of the socio-political and military crises. They mainly come from neighboring countries which are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Despite the politico-military crisis of 2002, the country still had many foreigners from ECOWAS in 2008, including Burkinabés, by far the most numerous (around two million), Malians, Guineans, Senegalese, Liberians, Ghanaians. To these are added the Lebanese-Syrians, essentially traders, sometimes industrialists, Asians and Europeans. The percentage of naturalized foreigners is 0.6%.

The Ivorian population is also multi-ethnic. Five large ethnic groups, comprising around sixty ethnicities, constitute the nationals of origin: in the north, the Voltaic group (gur) or Sénoufos (13% of the population); in the north-west, the Mande group from the North or Malinké (17.2% of the population); in the west, the Mande group from the South (8.4% of the population); in the south-west and center-west, the krous group (9.4% of the population); in the center and east, the Akans group (41.1% of the population), which includes the Baoulés (25% of the population).

Made up of a high proportion of young people (in 1998 young people under the age of 15 represented 43% of the total population, compared with 4% for the elderly), the Ivorian population is unevenly distributed over the national territory. Variations are observed from one region to another, but also between rural and urban areas. To the detriment of the northern zone, the south, the west and the east are in fact, in addition to foreigners, heavily populated by non-natives whose displacement is dictated by the search for arable land or suitable for the development of crops. rent like coffee and cocoa. The settlement rate is also high in urbanized areas, given the exodus of rural populations made up mainly of young people looking for work. The crisis that started in September 2002 has accelerated the divide between the north and south zones. Across the territory in 1998, the average density was 48 inhabitants per capita. km2. In the southern zone, forest zone, it varies from 53.3 (Bas-Sassandra region) to 272.7 inhabitants (Lagunes region) per capita. km2. 57% of the population lives in rural areas, urban areas shelter 43%. The urban population growth rate is estimated at 4.2% between 1988 and 199837. In 2010, the annual population growth rate was 2.6% according to the National Institute of Statistics. Semi-urban localities of at least 3,000 inhabitants, agglomerated, endowed with a political and administrative function and within which the non-agricultural active population is greater than or equal to 50% are considered as cities. On this basis, 129 cities are counted by the last general population census (1998). Abidjan remains the country’s main urban and economic center, with 2,877,948 inhabitants in 1998. Yamoussoukro (207,000 inhabitants), Bouaké (542,000 inhabitants), Daloa (261,789 inhabitants), Korhogo (225,547 inhabitants), Gagnoa (153 935 inhabitants), Man (172,867 inhabitants) and San-Pédro (164,944 inhabitants), are also large cities. In addition, the country was home to around 26,400 refugees and asylum seekers in 2007, including 24,200 from Liberia who fled the civil war that raged there between 1989 and 2004. In 18 years, there has been a very strong refugee growth because in 2010 the number of refugees is estimated to be 17,458.

Ivory Coast’s education

Primary and secondary cycles

The Ivorian education system based on the model inherited from France institutes from the days after independence, a free and compulsory school, in order to encourage the schooling of children of school age. This system integrates into the usual cycles of primary, secondary and higher, a preschool level covering three sections (small section, medium section and large section). In 2001-2002, before the politico-military crisis, 391 nursery schools, both private and public, operated throughout the territory. In 2005, in the area controlled by republican forces alone, 600 nursery schools were run by 2,109 teachers who supervise 41,556 students. The primary cycle includes six levels (preparatory courses 1st and 2nd year, Elementary course 1st year, Elementary course 2nd year, average course 1st year, average course 2nd year); it is sanctioned by the Certificate of elementary primary studies and a contest of entry into class of 6th of high schools and colleges. In 2001, the Ministry of National Education had 8,050 public primary schools run by 43,562 teachers for 1,872,856 students and 925 private schools that employed 7,406 teachers to train 240,980 students.

In 2005, there were 6,519 primary schools, 86.8% of which were public, with 38,116 teachers and 1,661,901 students. 55% of the population aged 6 to 17 and 61% of girls in this age group are out of school. The low rate of schooling for girls led the State to develop, in the 1990s, a specific policy for the schooling of young girls. In March 1993, in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, the African Development Bank set up a project called “ADB Education IV Project” to improve the quality of education, increase the rate of schooling in general and that girls in particular. With regard to secondary education divided into two cycles, it includes four classes for the first cycle and three for the second. This level of education is “characterized by a clear domination of the private sector”. In 2005, out of the 522 secondary establishments in the country, 370 belong to the private sector. The Ivorian Ministry of National Education registered a total of 660,152 students for 19,892 teachers in 2005, private and public sectors combined, against 682,461 students for 22,536 teachers in 2001-2002, before the outbreak of the war. The Ivorian secondary school enrollment rate is 20%. Secondary studies are sanctioned for the first cycle by the Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle (BEPC) and for the second by the baccalaureate.

Higher, technical and vocational education

Before 1992, higher education was almost entirely the responsibility of the state, with 24% enrollment. In recent years, several universities and large private technical training schools have emerged. In 1997-1998, higher education had three public universities, four large public schools, seven private universities, 47 private establishments, and 31 higher post-baccalaureate training establishments attached to technical ministries other than that of higher education.

During the 1960s, the Ivorian State created several secondary and higher technical education establishments to provide training for specialized managers. In 1970, the opening of the National Higher Institute of Technical Education (INSET) and later of the National Higher School of Public Works (ENSTP) in Yamoussoukro allowed the training of higher level technicians. Today, these schools are grouped together and form the National Polytechnic Institute Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INPHB). A large number of private technical and vocational education establishments are located throughout the country. The question of the competence and the level of qualification of the teachers responsible for training and supervising the pupils attending these private schools has been repeatedly asked. However, it should be noted that they provide essential support to the State, as public education facilities are currently insufficient and sometimes unsuitable for the total coverage of needs. A law passed in 1995 regulates the private higher education sector and institutes measures to strengthen the establishments concerned. The reforms affect certain existing structures such as the National Pedagogical Institute for Technical and Vocational Education (IPNETP), the École normale supérieure (ENS), the National Agency for Vocational Training (Agefop) and the Development Fund for vocational training (FDFP).

In 2004-2005, the number of higher education and scientific research establishments was 149 with 146,490 students, 35% of whom were girls. These establishments, whose facilities have become obsolete, have however a limited capacity, given the number of students. The Ivorian school has experienced recurrent turmoil since 1990. Attempts to explain the crises affecting education refer to the obsolescence of infrastructure and equipment, the insufficient number of teachers, but also to training deemed unsuitable for the job market. The number of young people without training and unemployment is estimated in 2008 at more than 4 million177. To solve this crucial problem of youth employment, several avenues are being explored by the public authorities: job creation, or the exhortation to free enterprise. Adapting the education system to the constraints of the job market, but also training trainers capable of ensuring the succession of the teaching staff, constitute short-term objectives for education policy in Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast’s languages 

French is the official language of Ivory Coast and about 70% of the country’s inhabitants understand and speak it. According to the OIF in 2009, 99% of the inhabitants of the largest city in the country Abidjan can read, write and speak French. Today, more than a third of the country’s population has French as their mother tongue, especially among the younger generations. In addition to the French spoken by the majority of Ivorians, 60 other languages ​​are spoken on a daily basis, mainly in rural areas. Among these languages, the most spoken are: Senufo (276,000 speakers) and Dioula (1,500,000 speakers) in the north, Baoulé (300,000 speakers) and Bete (250,000 speakers) are the most spoken languages. in the south. Other languages ​​such as Yacouba (118,300 speakers) and Agi (400,000 speakers) are also important languages, as well as Guru, which is spoken in the west center of the country. These six ethnic groups alone represent 58.03% of Ivorians. Dioula, mainly spoken in the North, is the most widely spoken language in the country due to its frequent use in the trade environment, an activity exercised by the Dioula. It is also a primary language in several countries bordering Ivory Coast.