Facts & figures
Full name: The Republic of Ivory Coast
Population: 20.6 million (UN, 2012)
Largest city: Abidjan
Area: 322,462 sq km (124,503 sq miles)
Major languages: French, indigenous languages
Major religions: Islam, Christianity, indigenous beliefs
Life expectancy: 55 years (men), 58 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
Main exports: Cocoa, coffee, tropical woods, petroleum, cotton, bananas, pineapples, palm oil, fish
GNI per capita: US $1,090 (World Bank, 2011)
Internet domain: .ci
International dialling code: +225
President : Alassane Ouattara
President Ouattara was elected in November 2010
Alassane Ouattara was internationally recognised as the winner of the presidential election in November 2010, but the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to give up power and had to be removed by force.
Visa & travel advice
Ivoirian Visa - The Ivoirian Embassies and Consular Offices are the only Competent Ivoirian Government Agencies, who are allowed to issue Ivoirian visas in another country. any risks which might arise when boarding flights or at Ivoirian ports of entry due to possible miscommunication, travellers are strongly recommended to apply with the Ivoirian Embassy and Consular Offices in United Kingdom to get Ivoirian visas before travelling.
- Best period
The weather is tropical along the coast and semi-arid in the far north. There are three general seasons: warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), and hot and wet (June to October).
Travel to Côte d’Ivoire is currently strongly cautioned against until the political situation has stabilized; at the end of 2010, elections were under way but results were slow to be announced. Despite the 2007 agreement, the country is still divided, with the rebel New Forces still controlling the northern and some western parts of the country. There is a risk of spontaneous demonstrations and political unrest that could escalate into violence. Power cuts may also be intermittent. Visitors should not travel after dark.
The date of the first human presence in Ivory Coast (also officially called Côte d'Ivoire) has been difficult to determine because human remains have not been well preserved in the country's humid climate. However, the presence of old weapon and tool fragments (specifically, polished axes cut through shale and remnants of cooking and fishing) in the country has been interpreted as a possible indication of a large human presence during the Upper Paleolithic period (15,000 to 10,000 BC),or at the minimum, the Neolithic period. The earliest known inhabitants of Côte d'Ivoire, however, have left traces scattered throughout the territory. Historians believe that they were all either displaced or absorbed by the ancestors of the present inhabitants. Peoples who arrived before the 16th century include the Ehotilé (Aboisso), Kotrowou (Fresco), Zéhiri (Grand Lahou), Ega and Diès (Divo).
- Music :
The music of Ivory Coast includes music genres of many Ethnic communities, often characterised by vocal polyphony especially among the Baoulé, talking drums especially among the Nzema people and by the characteristic polyrhythms found in rhythm in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Popular music genres from Ivory Coast include zoblazo, zouglou and Coupé-Décalé. A few Ivorian artists who have known international success are Magic System, Alpha Blondy, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Meiway and Christina Goh.
- Literature :
The first mention of French in the Ivory Coast possibly dates back to 1687 when two young people from Assini were sent to Paris by King Zéna and put under the protection of Louis XIV, or perhaps to 1882 when the wife of the manager of the first coffee plantation granted to a French person by King Amatifou, opened a school. However, it is important to look beyond such anecdotes and acknowledge the significance, richness and diversity of the local Voltaic languagues such as Mandé, Krou, Akan etc.. They dominated the life of the region in time past and continue to do so. The anthologies of short stories, legends and proverbs from the Ivory Coast, collected and translated into French by François Joseph Amon d'Aby, Marius Ano N'guessan and others, prove the point. Nevertheless, literature written in French has developed rapidly since the middle of the 20th Century. Some of the early writers include Aké Loba, Pierre Duprey de la Ruffinière and Zégoua Gbessi Nokan, but the best known literary figure from the Ivory Coast is without a doubt Bernard Dadié, one of the finest African writers of his generation, regardless of nationality. It is to him that the first play from the Ivory Coast, Assémiwen Déhylé (1936) can be attributed, as well as one of the first novels, Climbié and several other successful works. Other authors have also contributed to the depth and astonishing diversity in literature from the Ivory Coast. Among them should be mentioned Ahmadou Kourouma, Jean-Marie Adiaffi, Isaïe Biton Koulibaly, Zegoua Gbessi Nokan, Tidiane Dem, Amadou Kone, Grobli Zirignon, Paul Yao Akoto, Jérôme Carlos, Maurice Bandaman and many others.
- Film industry
Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Falling cocoa prices and political turmoil, however, sparked an economic downturn in 1999 and 2000. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE. Presidential and legislative elections held in October and December 2000 provoked violence due to the exclusion of opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA. In October 2000, Laurent GBAGBO replaced junta leader Robert GUEI as president, ending 10 months of military rule. In October 2001, President GBAGBO initiated a two-month-long National Reconciliation Forum, but its ability to conciliate Ivorians with one another remains unclear.
- Famous monuments
Basilica Notre dame de la paix
Tai National Park
- Architecture history
Côte d'Ivoire is a juxtaposition of the urban and rural. Its cities, particularly the fashionable Abidjan, are replete with modern office buildings, condominiums, European-style boutiques, and trendy French restaurants. They stand in sharp contrast to the country's many villages—accessed mainly by dirt roads—whose architecture is comprised of huts and simple abodes reminiscent of an ancient time. While the cities are described as crowded urban enclaves with traffic jams, high crime rates, an abundance of street children, and a dichotomy of rich and poor, the villages are filled with farmers tending their fields, native dress, homemade pottery, and traditional tribal rituals. Most traditional village homes are made of mud and straw bricks, with roofs of thatched straw or corrugated metal. The Baoule live in rectangular structures, while the Senufo compounds are set up in a circle around a courtyard. High fences surround many Malinke village of mud-brick homes with cone-shaped straw thatched roofs. The artistic Dan paint murals with white and red clay onto their mud-brick homes.