Ivory Coast Travel Information

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Comoé National Park
Taï National Park

Facts About Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire)

Background: 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.
Government type: republic; multiparty presidential regime established 1960
Capital: Yamoussoukro
Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Geography of Ivory Coast

Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 5 00 W
Area:
total: 322,460 sq km
land: 318,000 sq km
water: 4,460 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 3,110 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 584 km, Ghana 668 km, Guinea 610 km, Liberia 716 km, Mali 532 km
Coastline: 515 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October)
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Guinea 0 m
highest point: Mont Nimba 1,752 m
Natural resources: petroleum, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 8%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 41%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 25% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 680 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible
Environment - current issues: deforestation (most of the country's forests - once the largest in West Africa - have been heavily logged); water pollution from sewage and industrial and agricultural effluents
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region; apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated

People of Ivory Coast

Cote d'Ivoire has more than 60 ethnic groups, usually classified into five principal divisions: Akan (east and center, including Lagoon peoples of the southeast), Krou (southwest), Southern Mande (west), Northern Mande (northwest), Senoufo/Lobi (north center and northeast). The Baoules, in the Akan division, probably comprise the largest-single subgroup with 15%-20% of the population. They are based in the central region around Bouake and Yamoussoukro. The Betes in the Krou division, the Senoufos in the north, and the Malinkes in the northwest and the cities are the next largest groups, with 10%-15% each of the national population. Most of the principal divisions have a significant presence in neighboring countries.

Of the more than 5 million non-Ivoirian Africans living in Cote d'Ivoire, one-third to one-half are from Burkina Faso; the rest are from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Liberia, and Mauritania. The non-African expatriate community includes roughly 20,000 French and possibly 100,000 Lebanese. The number of elementary school-aged children attending classes increased from 22% in 1960 to 67% in 1995.

Population: 17,298,040 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  46.21% 
15-64 years:  51.57%
65 years and over:  2.22%
Population growth rate: 2.51% 
Birth rate: 40.38 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 16.65 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 1.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
note: after Liberia's civil war started in 1990, more than 350,000 refugees fled to Cote d'Ivoire; by the end of 1999 all Liberian refugees were assumed to have returned; the 2000 rate reflects labor in migration
Infant mortality rate: 93.65 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  44.93 years
male:  43.58 years
female:  46.33 years
Total fertility rate: 5.7 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Ivorian(s)
adjective: Ivorian
Ethnic groups: Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (1998)
Religions: Christian 34%, Muslim 27%, no religion 21%, animist 15%, other 3% (1998)
Languages: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.5%
male: 57%
female: 40%

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Ivory Coast > Map Economy History