World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Travelling Guide
Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Travelling Guide

General 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. In October 2001, President GBAGBO initiated a two-month-long National Reconciliation Forum, but its ability to conciliate Ivorians with one another remains unclear.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than New Mexico

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

Population: 16,804,784

Ethnic groups: 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 20,000 French) (1998)

Religions: Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40% (2001)
note: the majority of foreigners (migratory workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%)

Language: French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken

Government type: Republic; multiparty presidential regime established 1960

Capital: Yamoussoukro; note - although Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, Abidjan remains the administrative center; the US, like other countries, maintains its Embassy in Abidjan.

Legal system: Based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic overview: Cote d'Ivoire is among the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to weather conditions. Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, it is still largely dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly 68% of the population. After several years of lagging performance, the Ivorian economy began a comeback in 1994, due to the 50% devaluation of the CFA franc and improved prices for cocoa and coffee, growth in nontraditional primary exports such as pineapples and rubber, limited trade and banking liberalization, offshore oil and gas discoveries, and generous external financing and debt rescheduling by multilateral lenders and France. Moreover, government adherence to donor-mandated reforms led to a jump in growth to 5% annually during 1996-99. Growth was negative in 2000 and 2001 because of the difficulty of meeting the conditions of international donors, continued low prices of key exports, and post-coup instability. Political instability continues to impede growth.

Communication/Telephone system: Well developed by African standards but operating well below capacity.

Places of interest: Politics aside, Côte d'Ivoire's powerful draw card is its people, so if you're interested in African history, art or music, this is the place to be. There's also a lot of physical beauty to take in, including the mountainous region around Man, the fascinating Senoufo area around Korhogo, Comoë National Park (West Africa's largest) and the remote fishing village and beaches of Sassandra. All these places are easily reached on some of the best roads in Africa.

Travel tips: Travelers are advised to check the most recent situation before visiting. Street crime has reportedly increased in Abidjan, and the general political and economic situation is subject to rapid change.