General information: The close ties with France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa exports and foreign investment have made Côte d’Ivoire one of the most prosperous countries in tropical Africa. Decline in cocoa prices and political unrest, however, caused an economic downturn in 1999-2000. The first military coup in the history of Côte d’Ivoire on December 25, 1999, overthrew the government of President Henri Konan BEDIE. Presidential and parliamentary elections held in October-December 2000 provoked an outbreak of violence as a result of the ouster of opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA. In October 2000, Laurent GBAGBO replaced junta leader Robert GUEI as president, ending the military’s ten-month period in power.
Location: West Africa, on the Atlantic coast, between Ghana and Liberia.
Geographic coordinates: 8° 00′ N. latitude, 5° 00′ W
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 322,460 square kilometers; land surface area: 318,000 km2; water surface area: 4,460 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of New Mexico.
Land borders: total length: 3,110 km; with neighboring states: from Burkina Faso 584 km, from Ghana 668 km, from Guinea 610 km, from Liberia 716 km, from Mali 532 km.
Coastline: 515 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: 200 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles. territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Tropical on the coast, semi-arid in the far north; three seasons – warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and humid (June to October).
Terrain: mostly hilly plains; mountains in the northwest.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Gulf of Guinea 0 m; highest point: Mount Nimba 1752 m.
Natural resources: oil, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, hydropower resources.
Land use: arable land: 8%; cultivated land: 4%; pastures: 41%; forests and plantations: 22%; others: 25% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 680 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: extremely strong surf on the coast, lack of natural harbors; floods, sometimes occurring during the rainy season. Current environmental issues, deforestation (most of the country’s forests – at one time the most extensive in West Africa – were destroyed by the timber industry); water pollution by sewage, industrial and agricultural effluents.
Current environmental issues:
International agreements on environmental protection: Contributor: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands. signed but not ratified: no.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 16,393,221; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; changes in age structure and sex ratios may also occur (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 46.21% (male 3,803,397; female 3,773,455); 15 to 64 years old: 51.57% (male 4,343,518; female 4,110,805); over 65: 2.22% (male 180,463; female 182,583) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 2.51% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 40.38 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 16.65 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: 1.4 people /1000 people (2001 est.). note: more than 350,000 refugees fled to Côte d’Ivoire since the Liberian civil war broke out in 1990; apparently, by the end of 1999, most of them returned to their homeland.
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; under 15: 1.01 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.06 male/female; over 65: 0.99 male/female; for the general population: 1.03 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 93.65 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 44.93 years; men: 43.58 years; women: 46.33 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 5.7 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 10.76% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 760,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 72,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Ivorian; adjective: pertaining to Côte d’Ivoire.
Ethnic groups: Akan 42.1%, Guro 17.6%, Northern Mande 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mande 10%, other 2.8% (1998).
Religious: Christian 34%, Muslim 27%, non-religious 21%, animist 15%, other 3% note: most foreigners (migrant workers) are Muslim (70%) and Christian (20%).
Language(s): French (official), 60 local dialects, of which Dioula is the most common.
Literacy: definition: looking for 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 48.5%; men: 57%; women: 40%.
conventional long form: Republic of Côte d’Ivoire;
conventional short form: Côte d’Ivoire; local long form: Republique de Cote d’lvoire; local short form: Cote d’lvoire; former: Ivory Coast.
State structure: republic; multi-party presidential regime introduced in 1960. See politicsezine.com to know more about Ivory Coast Political System.
Capital: Yamoussoukro; note: although Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, Abidjan continues to be the administrative center; the US embassy, like other countries, is still located in Abidjan.
Administrative division: 50 departments: Abengourou, Abidjan, Aboiso, Agboville, Agnibi-lekru, Azope, Bangolo, Beumi, Bongwanu, Bon-duku, Bouaké, Bouafle, Buna, Bundiali, Biancuma, Vavoua, Gagnoa, Gran Lahu, Guillo, Dabacala, Daloa, Danane, Daucro, Divo, Dimbokro, Duekwe, Zuenu-la, Isia, Catiola, Korhogo, Lakota, Man, Manco-no, Mbahyakro, Odienne, Pedro, Sakassu, San Sas-sandra, Seguela, Sinfra, Subre, Taboo, Tanda, Tingrela, Tuba, Tumodi, Tyassale, Ume, Ferkes-sedugu, Yamoussoukro; note: Côte d’Ivoire may have a new administrative structure of 58 departments; additional departments whose names have not yet been recognized by the US Board of Geographical Names are: Adiaque, Alepe, Bokanda, Grand Bassam, Dabon, Jacqueville, Toulepleu, and Thiébissou.
Independence: August 7, 1960 (until 1960 – a colony of France).
National holiday: Independence Day, 7 August (since 1960).
Constitution: adopted November 3, 1960; amended numerous times, most recently in July 1998.
Legal system: based on French civil law and customary law; revision of legislative acts in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court is possible; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 21 years old; universal.
head of state: President Laurent GBAGBO (since 26 October 2000); note – came to power after the people overthrew the interim leader, General Robert Guy, who claimed a dubious victory in the presidential election; General GI himself came to power on December 25, 1999, overthrowing former President Henri Konan BEDI;
head of government: Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and Development Affi N’GUESSAN (since 27 October 2000), appointed by the President;
Government: a council of ministers appointed by the president; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; elections last held 26 October 2000 (next to be held in 2005); the prime minister is appointed by the president; election results: Laurent GBAGBO elected president; percentage of the vote – Laurent GBAGBO 59.4%, Robert GI 32.7%, Francis WODIE 5.7%, other 2.2%.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (225 members elected by direct popular vote for a five-year term in single-member and multi-member constituencies); elections: last held 10 December 2000 with by-elections 14 January 2001 (next to be held in 2005); election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – FPI 96, PDCI-RDA 94, RDR 5, PIT 4, other 2, independents 22, vacant seats 2; note: the next election will result in the creation of a Senate.
Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court, which consists of 4 chambers: the Judicial Chamber for criminal cases, the Audit Chamber for financial cases, the Constitutional Chamber for legal acts and the Administrative Chamber for civil cases; The law does not limit the number of judges.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) (Aime Henri Konan BEDIE); Popular Front of Côte d’Ivoire (FPI) (Laurent GBAGBO); Workers’ Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PIT) (Francis VODI); Rally Republicans (RDR) (Henriette DAGRI-DIABATE); Union for Democracy and Peace (Robert Guy); more than 20 small parties.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC (observer), OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WADB, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic Representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Youssouf BAMBA (Youssouf WAMBA); office: 3421 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone:  (202) 797-0300.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador George MU; embassy: 5 Rue Jesse Owens, Abidjan; mailing address: 01 W. R. 1712, Abidjan; phone:  20 21 09 79; fax:  20 22 32 59.
Description of the flag: three equal vertical stripes of orange (hoist side), white and green; similar to the flag of Ireland, which is somewhat longer and the colors on which are in reverse order – green (at the pole), white and orange; also similar to the flag of Italy, the colors of which are green (at the pole), white and red; The flag of France served as a model.