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Ivory Coast Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Ivory Coast

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Ivory Coast, formally known as the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (French: République de Côte d’Ivoire), is a West African country. The political capital of Ivory Coast is Yamoussoukro, and the port city of Abidjan is the country’s economic and biggest metropolis. Guinea and Liberia border it on the west, Burkina Faso and Mali on the north, and Ghana on the east. South of Ivory Coast is the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean).

Prior to European colonialism, Ivory Coast was home to a number of nations, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. During the French colonial period and after independence, two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, tried to maintain their distinct identities. During the European race for Africa, the Ivory Coast became a French protectorate in 1843–44 and was later turned into a French colony in 1893. Ivory Coast gained independence in 1960, and Félix Houphout-Boigny governed the country until 1993. It maintained tight political and economic relations with its West African neighbors while also keeping close ties with the West, particularly France. Ivory Coast has suffered one coup d’état, in 1999, and two religion-based civil conflicts since the end of Houphout-reign Boigny’s in 1993. The first occurred between 2002 and 2007, and the second between 2010 and 2011.

Ivory Coast is a republic in which the President has considerable executive power. During the 1960s and 1970s, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa due to the production of coffee and cocoa. In the 1980s, Ivory Coast had an economic crisis, which contributed to a period of political and social unrest. In the twenty-first century, the Ivorian economy is primarily market-based and remains highly reliant on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production dominating.

The official language is French, although local indigenous languages such as Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo are also commonly spoken. Ivory Coast is home to about 78 different languages. Islam, Christianity (mainly Roman Catholicism), and numerous indigenous faiths are the major religions.

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Ivory Coast - Info Card




West African CFA franc (XOF)

Time zone

UTC±00:00 (GMT)


322,463 km2 (124,504 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language


Ivory Coast - Introduction


The Ivory Coast is a nation located in western Sub-Saharan Africa. It is bounded on the west by Liberia and Guinea, on the north by Mali and Burkina Faso, on the east by Ghana, and on the south by the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean). The nation is located between the latitudes of 4° and 11°N and the longitudes of 2° and 9°W. Around 64.8 percent of the land is agricultural land, with arable land accounting for 9.1 percent, permanent pasture accounting for 41.5 percent, and permanent crops accounting for 14.2 percent. Water contamination is one of the most serious problems confronting the country today.


The population of the nation was 15,366,672 in 1998, 20,617,068 in 2009, and 23,919,000 in July 2014. In 1975, the Ivory Coast’s first national census recorded 6.7 million people.

According to a government study conducted in 2012, the fertility rate was 5.0 children born per woman, with 3.7 born in urban areas and 6.3 born in rural regions.

Ethnic groups

Akan make up 42.1 percent of the population, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6 percent, Northern Mandes 16.5 percent, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, and other 2.8 percent (includes 30,000 Lebanese and 45,000 French; 2004). Approximately 77 percent of the population is Ivoirian.

Since Ivory Coast has established itself as one of the most prosperous West African countries, workers from neighboring Liberia, Burkina Faso, and Guinea account for about 20% of the population (3.4 million).

Non-African ancestry accounts for around 4% of the population. Many are French, Lebanese, Vietnamese, and Spanish nationals, as well as American and Canadian Protestant missionaries. Due to assaults by pro-government youth militias, about 10,000 French and other foreign people were forced to flee Ivory Coast in November 2004. In addition to French nationals, there are native-born descendants of French immigrants who came during the country’s colonial era.


The primary faiths of Ivory Coast are Islam (nearly mostly Sunni Muslims, with some Ahmadi Muslims) and Christianity (mainly Roman Catholic, with a lesser number of Protestants, especially Methodists). Muslims rule the north, while Christians rule the south.

According to US Department of State estimates, Christians and Muslims each made up 35 to 40% of the population in 2009, while traditional (animist) faiths were practiced by an estimated 25% of the population.

Yamoussoukro, the capital of Ivory Coast, is home to the world’s biggest church edifice, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro.


Ivory Coast has a relatively high per capita GDP for the area (US$1014.4 in 2013) and plays an important role in transit commerce for neighboring, landlocked nations. The nation has the biggest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, accounting for 40% of the overall GDP of the monetary union. The nation is the world’s biggest exporter of cocoa beans, as well as the fourth-largest exporter of commodities in Sub-Saharan Africa in general (following South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola).

Cocoa growers made $2.53 billion in cocoa exports in 2009 and were projected to produce 630,000 metric tons in 2013. The Hershey Company predicts that the price of cocoa beans will skyrocket in the next years. In 2012, 100,000 rubber growers in the Ivory Coast received a total of $105 million.

Maintaining strong connections with France since independence in 1960, diversifying agriculture for export, and encouraging international investment have all contributed to Ivory Coast’s economic development. In recent years, Ivory Coast’s main agricultural products, coffee and cocoa, have seen increased competition and decreasing pricing on the worldwide market. This, combined with high internal corruption, makes life difficult for growers, exporters, and laborers, as instances of indentured labor have been reported in the cocoa and coffee production in every edition of the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor since 2009.

With the exception of South Africa, most African economies have not developed faster since independence. One potential explanation for this is the taxation on export agriculture. Ivory Coast and Kenya were outliers because their monarchs were major cash-crop producers, and the newly independent nations refrained from imposing punitive rates of taxes on export agriculture, resulting in thriving economies.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Ivory Coast

Visa & Passport

All visitors to Côte d’Ivoire who are not CEFA nationals must acquire a visa prior to arrival. The application procedure is entirely online at the official visa website.Official website for visas.


Although French is the official language, there are over 60 indigenous languages. Dioula is the most commonly spoken. Additionally, Hamdunga, Loftus Africanus, Gigala, Oloofid, and Ulam are indigenous languages. However, one cannot live without French for an extended period of time. Additionally, business travelers need fluency in French in order to complete any little transaction.


Although the nation was formerly referred to in English as “Ivory Coast,” it has asked to be referred to as “Côte d’Ivoire” (the equivalent in French). For an English speaker, pronouncing it “Coat di-VWAR” is near enough.

How To Travel To Ivory Coast

By plane

The Felix-Houphouet-Boigny International Airport offers daily scheduled flights from and to Paris with Air France and Brussels with Brussels Airlines. Flights to other West African cities are also available on a regular basis. The airport is a modern facility, and enhanced security has helped to dispel its previous image as a location where travelers might be taken advantage of.

By train

The railway trip from Abidjan to Ougadougou passes through rebel territory and is not recommended for international visitors.

By car

Attempting to enter Côte d’Ivoire through Guinea, Liberia, Mali, or Burkina Faso is not recommended. Ghana’s border is quite secure. You may easily take a shared cab to Aboisso and then a bus to Abidjan if you enter at Elubo. Between the border and Abidjan, there are approximately 10 military checkpoints, so have your papers ready. If you do not have appropriate proof of your vaccinations while crossing the border, you will be fined and given an injection in an on-site clinic.

By bus

Abidjan and Accra are connected by bus on a regular basis. The STC (Ghana) and its Ivorian counterpart alternate in providing the service.

How To Travel Around Ivory Coast

Traveling between cities in Côte d’Ivoire is generally more pleasant than in neighboring African nations. The roads are in usually excellent shape, and the bus system is relatively new. The drawback is the high frequency of military checkpoints, which may add hours on a journey. While the checkpoints are inconvenient, Ivorian troops are generally professional and do not bother non-French western travelers. Soldiers in Ghana, for example, are considerably more likely than those in Côte d’Ivoire to demand a bribe. The majority of Western countries advise its nationals to avoid Côte d’Ivoire. Travelers with French passports should take this warning very seriously. When you clarify that you are not French, an Ivoirian soldier’s attitude toward you will soon alter.

Traveling in Abidjan is more enjoyable when you have your own car. Except for a few cab drivers who steer anywhere on the road, the roads are in excellent condition and traffic laws are strictly adhered to. Lane discipline and traffic signals are strictly adhered to.

In Abidjan, taxis are a wonderful and convenient method to get about. Simply search for an orange vehicle and wave it down. The fares are extremely reasonable, ranging from USD2 to USD4 depending on the duration of the trip. Always haggle before getting into a cab, although they are often inexpensive – unlike in Accra.

Destinations in Ivory Coast

Regions in Ivory Coast

Lagunes (Abidjan) are the coastal lagoons that surround Abidjan’s de facto capital.

Northern Savanna (Bouaké, Comoe National Park), a mainly Muslim region controlled by rebel “New Forces” in recent years.

The tropical wet forest region inhabited by the Kru people near the Liberian border (Ta National Park, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve) is known as the Southwestern Forests (Ta National Park, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve).

The partly farmed region between Lac de Kossou and the Ghanaian border is known as the Eastern Plantations (Yamoussoukro).

Cities in Ivory Coast

  • Abidjan – It is still the administrative center, and other nations’ embassies are still located there.
  • Korhogo – Flowing cotton and cashew trade make Rebel HQ, which is otherwise beautiful, a hive of activity from February to May.
  • Aboisso – A significant milestone in the commercial route between Abidjan and Ghana.
  • Bouaké – the second largest city
  • Dabou
  • San Pedro – the second port city
  • Yamoussoukro – It is not the administrative center, despite the fact that it has been the formal capital since 1983.
  • Grand-Bassam – A seaside town with historical beauty that is often used as a weekend getaway for local Ivorians looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Abidjan.

Things To See in Ivory Coast

Côte d’Ivoire is known for its beautiful beaches, tourist towns, rainforests, and wildlife preserves.

  • Taï National Park is home to West Africa’s biggest tropical rainforest.
  • Comoë National Park is Côte d’Ivoire’s largest and most well-known national park. Birds, elephants, giraffes, lions, monkeys, and antelopes are among the animals that live there.

Food & Drinks in Ivory Coast

Food in Ivory Coast

Good food is inexpensive, and Abidjan has a number of excellent eateries. You should obtain a Hepatitis A vaccination before going, although even street food is very clean. Garba, alloco, and attiéké are some of the national foods to try. Alloco consists of fried plantains served with a spicy vegetable sauce and cooked eggs. L’attiéké, a sour cassava dish that looks like couscous but tastes like it, is a must-try with grilled fish and veggies (tomatoes, onions, cucumber).

Braised fish and fowl are also delicious and can be found on almost every street corner. Coq Ivoire is the most well-known chain. Make sure to specify if you want the intestines when placing your purchase. You may always request more veggies, particularly avocados, which are particularly delicious throughout the season. Another specialty is the delicious “shoukouilla,” a charbroiled beef mix! The Hamburger House or the French restaurant of the Sofitel Hotel are suitable for those who are not adventurous. Kedjenou is a spicy dish that is famous in the region.


Ivory Coast’s traditional cuisine is quite similar to that of neighboring nations in West Africa, with a heavy emphasis on grains and tubers. Cassava and plantains play an important role in Ivorian cuisine. Maize balls are made using a kind of corn paste called aitiu, and peanuts are used in a variety of cuisines. Attiéké is a popular side dish in Ivory Coast made with grated cassava. It is similar to couscous but prepared with vegetables. Alloco is a popular street dish consisting of ripe bananas cooked in palm oil and seasoned with steamed onions and chile, which may be eaten alone or with grilled fish. Chicken is widely eaten and has a distinct taste in this area owing to its lean, low-fat bulk. Tuna, sardines, shrimp, and bonito, a fish related to tuna, are all examples of seafood. Mafé is a popular meal made with beef and peanut sauce.

Slow-cooked stews made with a variety of ingredients are another popular dish in Ivory Coast. Kedjenou is a meal made with slow-cooked chicken and vegetables in a sealed pot with little or no additional liquid, which concentrates the flavors of the chicken and vegetables and tenderizes the meat. It is often cooked in a ceramic jar called a canary, either over a low heat or in an oven. Bangui is a traditional palm wine from the region.

Ivorians have a distinctive kind of tiny, open-air restaurant called a maquis. Typically, a maquis consists of braised chicken and fish with onions and tomatoes, eaten with attiéké or kedjenou.

Drinks in Ivory Coast

Western travelers may want to bring a security detail while attending pubs and nightclubs. Zone 4 or Zone Quatre is home to Bidul Bar, Havana Club, and others. If you go attend, be cautious of prostitutes who may approach you.

There are more locations in Treicheville and Cocody, but you need arrange for private transportation or hail a taxi. If you must drive at night, do not come to a complete stop at lights or stop signs. Keep an eye out for vehicle thieves. Maintain a rapid speed to avoid being carjacked.

Money & Shopping in Ivory Coast

Côte d’Ivoire uses the West African CFA franc (XOF). Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo also use it. While the CFA franc (XAF) is a distinct currency from the Central African CFA franc (XAF), the two are used interchangeably in all nations that utilize the CFA franc (XAF & XOF).

Both CFA francs are backed by the French government and linked to the euro at €1 = XOF655.957.

Culture Of Ivory Coast


Each ethnic group in Ivory Coast has its own musical genre, with the majority exhibiting extensive vocal polyphony. Additionally, talking drums are widespread, particularly among the Appolo, and polyrhythms, another African feature, are found across Ivory Coast, but are particularly prevalent in the southwest.

The Ivory Coast’s popular music genres include zoblazo, zouglou, and Coupé-Décalé. Several Ivorian artists have achieved worldwide recognition, including Magic Système, Alpha Blondy, Meiway, Dobet Gnahore, Tiken Dja Fakoly, and Christina Goh.


Several important African sports events have taken place in the nation, the most recent being the 2013 African Basketball Championship. Previously, the country hosted the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations, where its national football team placed sixth, and the 1985 African Basketball Championship, when its national basketball team won the gold medal.

Ivory Coast won a silver medal in the men’s 400-meter relay at the 1984 Summer Olympics, competing under the name “Côte d’Ivoire.”

Association football is the most popular sport in Ivory Coast. The national football squad has competed in three World Cups: in 2006 in Germany, in 2010 in South Africa, and in 2014 in Brazil. The women’s football squad competed in Canada’s 2015 Women’s World Cup. Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, and Gervinho are all famous Ivory Coast players. Rugby union is also popular, with the national side qualifying for the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Additionally, Ivory Coast has won two Africa Cups, the first in 1992 and the second in 2015.

History of Ivory Coast

Land migration

Human remains have not been well preserved in Ivory Coast’s humid environment, making it impossible to identify the country’s earliest human presence. Newly discovered weapon and tool pieces (particularly, polished axes cut through shale and cooking and fishing remains) have been interpreted as a potential evidence of a substantial human presence throughout the Upper Paleolithic era (15,000 to 10,000 BC), or at the very least, the Neolithic period.

The earliest known people of Ivory Coast left behind evidence that may be found all throughout the country. Historians think that the progenitors of the current indigenous people, who moved south into the region before the 16th century, ousted or absorbed them all. The Ehotilé (Aboisso), Kotrowou (Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand Lahou), Ega, and Diès were among these groups (Divo).

Pre-Islamic and Islamic periods

The earliest written history is documented in the chronicles of North African (Berber) merchants who, beginning in early Roman times, traded salt, slaves, gold, and other commodities across the Sahara. The trans-Saharan trade routes’ southern termini were on the outskirts of the desert, and supplementary commerce went as far south as the rain forest’s edge. Djenné, Gao, and Timbuctu, the more significant ports, evolved into huge trade centers around which the great Sudanic empires flourished.

These empires were able to subjugate neighboring nations by dominating trade routes with their strong armed forces. The Sudanic empires also served as educational centers for Muslims. Islam was brought to western Sudan (today’s Mali) by Muslim Berber merchants from North Africa, and it quickly expanded when several prominent kings converted. It expanded south into the northern regions of modern-day Ivory Coast from the 11th century, when the kings of the Sudanic empires had adopted Islam.

From the fourth through the thirteenth century, the Ghana kingdom existed in present-day eastern Mauritania, the oldest of the Sudanic empires. Its domains stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to Timbuctu during the height of its supremacy in the 11th century. Following Ghana’s demise, the Mali Empire developed into a strong Muslim empire, reaching its pinnacle in the early 14th century. The Mali Empire’s holdings in Ivory Coast was confined to the northwestern part of the country, near Odienné.

Internal strife and revolts by vassal kingdoms contributed to its gradual collapse, which began at the end of the 14th century. One of them, Songhai, thrived as an empire during the 14th and 16th centuries. Internal strife also undermined Songhai, leading to factional warfare. The majority of peoples’ movements southward into the forest belt were prompted by this conflict. The thick rain forest that covered the southern half of the nation posed obstacles to the emergence of large-scale political formations in the north. Residents lived in communities or clusters of settlements, with long-distance merchants serving as a conduit to the outside world. Agriculture and hunting were the primary sources of income for the villagers.

Pre-European era

During the pre-European period, Ivory Coast was home to five major nations. In the early 18th century, the Joola founded the Muslim Kong Empire in the north-central area occupied by the Sénoufo who had escaped Islamization under the Mali Empire. Despite the fact that Kong grew to be a wealthy center of agriculture, commerce, and crafts, ethnic diversity and religious strife undermined the kingdom over time. Samori Ture destroyed the city of Kong in 1895.

The Abron kingdom of Gyaaman was founded in the 17th century by a tribe of Akans known as the Abron who had fled the growing Ashanti confederation of Asanteman in what is now Ghana. The Abron progressively expanded their control over the Dyula people in Bondoukou, who were recent émigrés from the market city of Begho, from their settlement south of Bondoukou. Bondoukou grew into a significant trading and Islamic hub. Students from all across West Africa came to study with the kingdom’s Quranic experts. Other Akan tribes escaping the Asante founded a Baoulé kingdom at Sakasso and two Agni kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, in east-central Ivory Coast in the mid-17th century.

Under three consecutive kings, the Baoulé, like the Ashanti, established a highly centralized political and administrative system. It was eventually divided into smaller chiefdoms. Despite the disintegration of their empire, the Baoulé resisted French conquest. Long after Ivory Coast gained independence, the successors of the Agni kingdoms sought to maintain their distinct identity; the Sanwi attempted to break away from Ivory Coast and establish an independent kingdom as late as 1969. Nana Amon Ndoufou V is the reigning king of Sanwi (since 2002).

Establishment of French rule

Slavery was not as prevalent in Ivory Coast as it was in Ghana, since European slaving and commercial ships chose other locations along the coast with superior ports. The Portuguese conducted the first documented European trip to West Africa in 1482. Saint Louis, the first French colony in West Africa, was established in Senegal in the mid-17th century, about the same time as the Dutch surrendered Goree Island, off the coast of Dakar, to the French. At 1637, a French mission was founded in Assinie, on the Gold Coast’s border (now Ghana).

The French were not securely entrenched in Ivory Coast until the mid-nineteenth century, thus Assinie’s existence was risky. The monarchs of the Grand Bassam and Assinie areas signed contracts with French admiral Bout-Willaumez in 1843–4, making their lands a French protectorate. French explorers, missionaries, trade enterprises, and troops progressively expanded the French-controlled territory inland from the lagoon region. It took until 1915 for the Pacification to be completed.

The activity along the shore piqued European interest in the interior, particularly along the Senegal and Niger rivers. French exploration of West Africa started in the mid-nineteenth century, although progress was sluggish, owing to individual initiative rather than official strategy. In the 1840s, the French signed a series of contracts with local West African monarchs that allowed the French to construct fortified trade stations around the Gulf of Guinea.

One at Assinie and another at Grand Bassam, which became the colony’s initial capital, were among the earliest posts in Ivory Coast. The treaties established French authority inside the posts, as well as trade rights in return for yearly payments or coutumes given to the local authorities for land usage. The French were dissatisfied with the arrangement since commerce was restricted and there were frequent misunderstandings about treaty commitments. Despite this, the French government retained the accords in the hopes of increasing commerce.

France also sought to have a presence in the area to counter the British’s growing dominance along the Gulf of Guinea’s coast. To keep non-French merchants out, the French constructed naval bases and started a methodical invasion of the interior. (This was only achieved after a lengthy battle against Mandinka troops, mainly from Gambia, in the 1890s.) The Baoulé and other eastern tribes waged guerrilla warfare until 1917).

Following France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 and Germany’s subsequent annexation of the French province of Alsace-Lorraine, the French government abandoned its colonial ambitions and withdrew its military garrisons from French West African trading posts, entrusting them to local merchants. The trade station in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast, was entrusted to Arthur Verdier, a merchant from Marseille who was appointed Resident of the Establishment of Ivory Coast in 1878.

In 1886, in order to bolster its claims of effective occupation, France reassumed direct administration of its West African coastal trade stations and began an aggressive exploration campaign in the interior. Lieutenant Louis Gustave Binger set off on a two-year expedition into the interior of the Ivory Coast in 1887. He had signed four treaties creating French protectorates in Ivory Coast by the time he reached the conclusion of his trip. Verdier’s agent, Marcel Treich-Laplène, also secured five further accords in 1887, extending French control from the Niger River Basin’s headwaters to the Ivory Coast.

French colonial era

By the end of the 1880s, France had gained authority over the Ivory Coast’s coastal areas, and Britain acknowledged French sovereignty in the territory in 1889. Treich-Laplène was appointed titular governor of the province by France in the same year. Ivory Coast became a French colony in 1893, and Captain Binger was named governor. The colony’s eastern and western boundaries were established by agreements with Liberia in 1892 and Britain in 1893, but the colony’s northern boundary was not established until 1947 due to French government efforts to annex parts of Upper Volta (modern-day Burkina Faso) and French Sudan (modern-day Mali) to Ivory Coast for economic and administrative reasons.

The primary aim of France was to increase export output. Plantations of coffee, cocoa, and palm oil were quickly established along the shore. The Ivory Coast was the only West African nation with a sizable settler population; elsewhere in West and Central Africa, the French and British were mostly bureaucrats. As a consequence, French people controlled one-third of the cocoa, coffee, and banana plantations, and a forced-labor system was implemented.

French military contingents were deployed interior to build new stations during the early years of French administration. Some of the indigenous people opposed the French invasion and colonization. Samori Ture, who established the Wassoulou Empire in the 1880s and 1890s, which included vast swaths of modern-day Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Ivory Coast, was one of the most steadfast opponents. The huge, well-equipped army of Samori Ture, which could manufacture and maintain its own weapons, drew widespread support across the area. Military pressure was used by the French in response to Samori Ture’s extension of provincial authority. In the mid-1890s, French operations against Samori Ture increased, with strong opposition, until he was arrested in 1898.

In 1900, France imposed a head tax to fund a public works program in the province, which sparked a series of uprisings. Because they believed France was seeking the equivalent of a coutume from the local monarchs, rather than the other way around, many Ivoirians saw the levy as a breach of the protectorate treaties. Many people, particularly in the hinterland, saw the fee as a humiliating sign of surrender. Slavery was formally abolished in much of French West Africa in 1905.

Ivory Coast was a member of the Federation of French West Africa from 1904 until 1958. During the Third Republic, it was both a colony and an overseas territory. France recruited battalions from the Ivory Coast to fight in France during World War I, and colony resources were rationed from 1917 to 1919. Ivory Coast lost 150,000 soldiers during World War I. Government activities in French West Africa were handled from Paris until the years after World War II. France’s policy in West Africa was primarily represented in its “association” ideology, which stated that all Africans in Ivory Coast were legally French “subjects,” but had no rights to representation in either Africa or France.

Assimilation and affiliation were important ideas in French colonial strategy. Assimilation was defined as the spread of French language, institutions, laws, and traditions to the colonies, based on the belief that French culture was superior to all others. The policy of association maintained the French supremacy in the colonies while simultaneously establishing separate institutions and legal systems for the colonizer and the colonized. This approach enabled Africans in Ivory Coast to keep their traditions as long as they were consistent with French interests.

Between the French and the Africans, an indigenous elite educated in French administrative methods established an intermediate group. In Ivory Coast, assimilation was conducted to the point that a limited number of Westernized Ivoirians were given the opportunity to seek for French citizenship after 1930. The majority of Ivoirians, on the other hand, were classed as French subjects and governed according to the concept of association. They had no political rights as French subjects. As part of their tax obligations, they were conscripted to labor in mines, plantations, as porters, and on public projects. They were required to serve in the military and were governed by the indigénat, a distinct legal system.

During World War II, the Vichy government held power until 1942, when British forces invaded the country with little opposition. Members of General Charles de Gaulle’s temporary administration were given authority by Winston Churchill. The Allies had handed over French West Africa to the French by 1943. In 1946, the Brazzaville Conference of 1944, the first Constituent Assembly of the Fourth Republic in 1946, and France’s appreciation for African patriotism during World War II resulted in extensive institutional changes. All African “subjects” were given French citizenship, the ability to join political organizations was acknowledged, and different kinds of forced labor were outlawed.

Until 1958, the colony of Ivory Coast was governed by governors chosen in Paris, who used a direct, centralized administration system that allowed little opportunity for Ivoirian involvement in policymaking. Whereas the British colonial government used divide-and-rule tactics abroad, applying assimilation principles exclusively to the educated elite, the French were more concerned with ensuring that the tiny but powerful elite was happy enough with the status quo to avoid anti-French feeling. Despite their opposition to association, educated Ivoirians felt that integration, rather than total independence from France, would provide them equality with their French counterparts. However, when the assimilation theory was fully implemented via postwar reforms, Ivoirians recognized that even integration meant French supremacy over Ivoirians, and that discrimination and political inequity would only stop with independence.


Félix Houphout-Boigny, the son of a Baoulé chief, is regarded as the father of Ivory Coast’s independence. He founded the first agricultural trade union in the nation for African cocoa growers like himself in 1944. They banded together to recruit migrant laborers for their own plantations, enraged that colonial policies favored French plantation owners. Houphout-Boigny quickly came to fame and was elected to the French Parliament in Paris within a year. The French banned forced labor a year later. Houphout-Boigny built a close connection with the French government, believing that the Ivory Coast would profit from it, which it did for many years. He was the first African to be appointed as a minister in a European administration when he was appointed by France.

The 1956 Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre), which devolved a number of authorities from Paris to elected territory administrations in French West Africa and eliminated residual voting disparities, was a watershed moment in relations with France. Ivory Coast joined the French Community, which succeeded the French Union, as an independent member in 1958.

Ivory Coast was undoubtedly French West Africa’s most wealthy nation at the time of its independence (1960), providing almost 40% of the region’s total exports. When Houphout-Boigny was elected president, his administration provided farmers with fair prices for their produce in order to boost output. This was enhanced even further by a large influx of laborers from neighboring nations. Ivory Coast’s coffee production grew dramatically, propelling it into third position in the world (behind Brazil and Colombia). By 1979, the nation had overtaken the United States as the world’s top cocoa producer.

It also became Africa’s top pineapple and palm oil exporter. The “Ivoirian miracle” was made possible by French experts. Following independence, citizens in other African countries pushed away Europeans, but in Ivory Coast, they flooded in. The French community expanded from 30,000 people before independence to 60,000 people in 1980, with the majority of them working as teachers, managers, or consultants. For the last two decades, the economy has grown at a pace of about 10% per year, the greatest among Africa’s non-oil exporting nations.

Houphouët-Boigny administration

Houphouet-one-party Boigny’s dictatorship made political competition impossible. Laurent Gbagbo, who would go on to become President of the Ivory Coast in 2000, had to leave the nation in the 1980s after provoking Houphout-wrath Boigny’s when he formed the Front Populaire Ivoirien. Houphout-Boigny relied on his wide popularity to the populace to keep him in power. He was also chastised for focusing only on large-scale projects.

Many people thought the millions of dollars spent converting his hometown of Yamoussoukro into the country’s new political capital were a waste of money, while others backed his plan to build a center for peace, education, and religion in the country’s heartland. The Ivoirian economy was rocked by the global recession and a local drought in the early 1980s. The country’s foreign debt tripled as a result of overcutting of wood and falling sugar prices. Abidjan’s crime rate has risen significantly.

Hundreds of government workers, backed by students, went on strike in 1990 to protest institutional corruption. The administration was compelled to embrace multiparty democracy as a result of the uprising. Houphout-Boigny became weaker and worse until he died in 1993. Henri Konan Bédié was his preferred successor.

Bédié administration

Bédié was re-elected in October 1995 with a landslide victory against a disorganized and divided opposition. He strengthened his grip on political power by imprisoning hundreds of opponents. The economic prognosis, on the other hand, improved, at least on the surface, with lower inflation and an effort to reduce foreign debt.

Bedié emphasized the concept of “Ivority” (Ivoirité) to exclude his rival Alassane Ouattara, who had two northern Ivorian parents, from running for future presidential elections. Unlike Houphout-Boigny, who was very careful to avoid any ethnic conflict and left access to administrative positions open to immigrants from neighboring countries, Bedié emphasized the concept of “Ivority” (Ivoirité) to exclude his rival Alassane Ouattara, Because immigrants from other nations make up a significant portion of the Ivoirian population, this approach denied many people Ivoirian citizenship, causing tensions between ethnic groups and resulting in two civil wars in the following decades.

1999 coup

Bedié, too, barred a large number of prospective opponents from the army. A group of disgruntled soldiers launched a military coup in late 1999, placing General Robert Gué in charge. Bedié sought refuge in France. The generals pushed for austerity and campaigned in the streets for a less wasteful society under the new administration, which decreased crime and corruption.

Gbagbo administration

Laurent Gbagbo ran against Gué in a presidential election in October 2000, but it was calm. Military and social turmoil characterized the run-up to the election. Gué was quickly ousted by Gbagbo after a popular revolt that resulted in approximately 180 fatalities. Due to his claimed Burkinabé nationality, Alassane Ouattara was disqualified by the country’s Supreme Court. Noncitizens could not run for president under the previous and subsequently amended constitution [under Gué]. This prompted violent demonstrations in the capital, Yamoussoukro, in which his followers, mostly from the country’s north, clashed with riot police.

Ivorian Civil War

An armed revolt happened in the early hours of September 19, 2002, when the President was in Italy. Demobilized troops revolted, initiating assaults in a number of towns. The fight for Abidjan’s major gendarmerie barracks continued until mid-morning, but by noon, government troops had taken control of the capital. They had lost control of the country’s north, and rebel troops established a foothold in Bouaké, the country’s northernmost city.

The rebels threatened to retake Abidjan, but France sent soldiers from its base in the nation to stop them. The French said they were defending their people, but their presence actually aided regime troops. The reality that the French were assisting either side could not be proven, but each side accused the other of doing so. It is debatable whether French efforts helped or exacerbated the situation in the long run.

It’s unclear precisely what occurred that night. The government claimed that former President Robert Gué led a coup attempt, and state television broadcast images of his dead corpse on the street; counter-claims alleged that he and 15 people were killed in his house, and that his body was transported to the streets to implicate him. Alassane Ouattara sought shelter at the German embassy after his house was set ablaze.

President Gbagbo cut short his vacation to Italy and said on television that some of the rebels were hiding in shanty settlements populated by foreign migrant workers. Thousands of houses were demolished and burnt by gendarmes and vigilantes who attacked the inhabitants.

A brief cease-fire with the rebels, who had the support of a large portion of the northern population, was short-lived, and combat over the prime cocoa-growing regions resumed. France deployed soldiers in to keep the cease-fire lines in place, while militias, notably warlords and rebels from Liberia and Sierra Leone, used the situation to take territory in the west.

2002 Unity Government

Gbagbo and rebel leaders reached agreements in January 2003 to form a “government of national unity.” Curfews were relaxed, and French soldiers were stationed at the country’s western border. The unity government was insecure, and fundamental issues persisted, with neither side attaining their objectives. In March 2004, 120 people were murdered in an opposition protest, prompting the departure of foreign nationals due to mob violence. The murders, according to a subsequent account, were planned.

Despite the deployment of UN troops to establish a “Zone of Confidence,” tensions between Gbagbo and the opposition deteriorated.

Gbagbo authorized airstrikes on the rebels in early November 2004, after the peace accord had essentially failed due to the insurgents’ unwillingness to surrender. On November 6, 2004, during one of these bombings near Bouaké, nine French troops were killed; the Ivorian administration said it was a mistake, while the French believed it was intentional. They retaliated by destroying the majority of Ivoirian military aircraft (two Su-25 planes and five helicopters), sparking violent anti-French rioting in Abidjan.

Gbagbo’s first term as president ended on October 30, 2005, but since conducting an election was considered unfeasible owing to a lack of disarmament, his tenure was extended for a maximum of one year, pursuant to a proposal devised by the African Union and approved by the United Nations Security Council. With the election date nearing in late October 2006, it was widely assumed that the election would not be conducted by then, and the opposition and rebels ruled out the prospect of another term extension for Gbagbo. On November 1, 2006, the UN Security Council approved a one-year extension of Gbagbo’s tenure; however, the resolution included provisions to enhance Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny’s authority. The following day, Gbagbo stated that parts of the resolution that he considered to be constitutional breaches will not be implemented.

On March 4, 2007, the government and the rebels, known as the New Forces, reached a peace agreement, and Guillaume Soro, the New Forces’ commander, became Prime Minister. Some analysts saw these events as significantly boosting Gbagbo’s position.

According to UNICEF, the water and sanitation condition was severely harmed after the conclusion of the Civil War. Water supply infrastructure in communities throughout the nation needed to be repaired.

2010 election

The presidential elections, which were supposed to take place in 2005, have been postponed until November 2010. Because of concerns about fraud in that panel, the preliminary results were released separately by the president of the Electoral Commission from the headquarters of Allasane. They showed Gbagbo losing to his opponent, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara.

The governing FPI appealed the results to the Constitutional Council, accusing the rebels of the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire of widespread fraud in the northern districts. Observers from the United Nations refuted these claims (unlike African Union observers). The announcement of the results resulted in high anxiety and violent outbursts. The Constitutional Council, which was made up of Gbagbo loyalists, declared the results of seven northern departments void, claiming that Gbagbo had won the elections with 51% of the vote, rather than the Electoral Commission’s tally of 54%.

Following Gbagbo’s inauguration, Ouattara, who was widely regarded as the winner by most nations and the UN, planned an alternate inauguration. Thousands of refugees left the nation as a result of these events, which prompted concerns of a return of the civil war.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki was dispatched by the African Union to settle the dispute. Based on the position of the Economic Community of West African States, which suspended Ivory Coast from all decision-making bodies, and the African Union, which also suspended the country’s membership, the United Nations Security Council adopted a common resolution recognizing Alassane Ouattara as the election winner.

Nguessan Yao, a colonel in the Ivory Coast armed forces, was arrested in New York in 2010 as part of a year-long US Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation into the illegal procurement and export of weapons and munitions, including 4,000 9 mm handguns, 200,000 rounds of ammunition, and 50,000 tear-gas grenades, in violation of a UN embargo. On the basis of their diplomatic passports, many additional Ivory Coast officials were freed. Michael Barry Shor, an international trader, was his collaborator and was based in Virginia.

2011 Civil War

The 2010 presidential election triggered the Ivorian crisis of 2010–2011, as well as the Second Ivorian Civil War. Both sides have been accused of committing many human rights abuses, according to international groups. Hundreds of people were murdered in the city of Duékoué. Hundreds of people were murdered in the neighboring town of Bloléquin. Military action was taken against Gbagbo by UN and French troops. On April 11, Gbagbo was apprehended after a raid on his home. The conflict wreaked havoc on the nation, and experts believe it would be difficult for Ouattara to restore the economy and bring Ivorians together.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Ivory Coast

Stay Safe in Ivory Coast

Côte d’Ivoire’s northern areas are prone to political instability and violence, so it’s a good idea to check with your embassy or ask other travelers about the situation before heading interior.

At this time, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, as well as the US State Department, advise against all but necessary travel to Côte d’Ivoire’s western districts of Dix-Huit Montagnes, Haut-Sassandra, Moyen-Cavally, and Bas-Sassandra.

Unemployed youngsters perpetrate the majority of crimes in Abidjan. If you ever feel threatened, you should seek the assistance of a middle-aged guy. This elder generation has a low opinion of young offenders and would most likely assist you if you are being harassed. In general, Ivorians are aware of the risks that visitors face in their nation and are frequently extremely protective of inexperienced travelers. This is particularly true in Abidjan’s Treichville and Adjame neighborhoods.

In a gun assault on a Grand Bassam beach resort approximately 40 kilometers from Abidjan on March 14, 2016, terrorists murdered at least 16 people. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the assault (AQIM). Côte d’Ivoire had previously been designated as a target for extremists, and security had been beefed up.

Stay Healthy in Ivory Coast

HIV/AIDS was previously pandemic in the nation, but it has subsequently improved dramatically, with an adult prevalence of 4.7 percent.



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