macrohistory & world report

The Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

Map of the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire)

Ivory Coast (capital Yamoussoukro) and
neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Cote d'Ivoire is heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly two-thirds of the population. Cote d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil... Cocoa, oil, and coffee are the country's top export revenue earners, but the country is also producing gold. The country also produces oil and boasted two offshore oil finds in 2012. Since the end of the civil war in 2003, political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth. In June 2012, the IMF and the World Bank announced $4.4 billion in debt relief for Cote d'Ivoire under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Cote d'Ivoire's long-term challenges include political instability and degrading infrastructure."

Economic growth rate
2011: minus 5.8% (post-election civil war)
2010: 2.4%
2009: 3.8%

Labor force in agriculture
2007: 68%

Public debt
2011: 65.8% of GDP

Export commodities
Cocoa, coffee, timber, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, fish

Export partners:
2009: US 10.2%, Netherlands 10%, Nigeria 7.7%, Ghana 6.7%, Germany 6.2%, France 6.2%, Burkina Faso 4.5%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $11.24 billion, imports $7.295 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 53rd among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and more equal than the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 5.1% of GDP


Living in an urban area
2010: 51%
2008: 49%

Ethnic groups
1998: Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (includes 130,000 Lebanese and 14,000 French)

2008: Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7% note: the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)

Literacy (15-years-old and up)
2000: males 60.8%, females 38.6%


Western Africa. 515 kilometers of coastline, facing south. Slightly larger than New Mexico.


A multi-party republic. Chief of state elected by popular vote to five-year terms (no term limits). Legislature: National Assembly, with 225 members, elected by popular vote to five-year terms

Capital: Yamoussoukro

Recent History.

Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment makes Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the West African states.

December 1999: a military coup overthrows the government. In late 2000, junta leader Robert Guei blatantly rigs elections and declares himself the winner. Popular protest forces him to step aside and brings Laurent Gbagbo to power.

November 2004: Civil war resumes, with the African Union condemning the government in the southern half of the country for air strikes against the north. In the south a group called the Young Patriots, who support Gbagbo, are said to have led, or at least taken part in, demonstrations that include setting fire to buildings housing people and newspapers opposed to Gbagbo. 

October 2008: Hunting and deforestation have produced a decline in chimpanzees. Since 1990, there are 50 percent more people in Cote d'Ivoire. In the 1960s the chimps were estimated to be around 100,000. In 1989-90 the estimate was from 8,000 to 12,000. Today the estimate is between 800 to 1,200.

November 28, 2010, Alassane Ouattara wins the presidential election. Gbagbo does not recognize the results.

December 3, 2010: The nation remains deeply divided between Muslims and others and between ethnicities. Most of those from poorer countries who have come looking to earn a living and Muslims. Non-Muslims in the southern half of the country resent the influx, and their resentment aggravates Muslims in the North. A presidential election crisis has erupted with charges of rigged voting in the North in areas that supported the challenger, Mr Ouattara, a Muslim. A Constitutional Council has overturned his victory and has claimed the existing President, Laurent Gbagbo, the winner.

April 2011: after widespread fighting, Gbagbo is forced from office. Several thousand UN troops and several hundred French remain in the country to support the transition to the Ouattara presidency.

The World Factbook
BBC News

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.