Ivory Coast was one of France's African design
colonies with an economy based on cocoa and coffee
cultivation. The country has long appeared as a marvel
of stability and prosperity in Africa, though no
democracy. A coup d'état at the turn of the millennium
and followed by civil war led to political chaos.
Economic problems sharpened the contradictions within
the country. After new violence in 2011, the situation
improved, but there is still strong tension within the
Brief profiles of Ivory Coast, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Ivory Coast is located in West Africa at the
entrance to the Gulf of Guinea. The country's area is
about three quarters of Sweden's. In fact, during the
civil war of 2002, the country was divided into a
government-controlled southern part and a
rebel-controlled northern one. A peace agreement was
signed in 2007 and a reunion was initiated, but that
process is slow.
The Atlantic coast to the south consists of cliffs,
long sandbanks and shallow lagoon lakes. Inside the
coast, a rainforest belt is spreading, but most of the
original forest is felled. The most fertile soils are
found along the coast in the southeast, where most
people also live.
To the north of the rainforest, wooded savannas take
off. The landscape is mostly pretty flat. In the
northwest, however, there are outlets from mountain
areas in neighboring countries. Four major rivers flow
from north to south.
The country has a tropical climate with two rainy
periods in the south (May – July and October – November)
and one in the north (June – October). The annual
rainfall varies from 2,400 millimeters on the coast to a
few hundred millimeters in the north. In the south, the
average temperature shifts between 20 and 35 degrees
during the year and the humidity is high. In the north
it is slightly warmer, between 25 and 40 degrees.
The climate has become warmer and the rain more
irregular in recent decades, which has affected plant
cultivation (see Agriculture and Fisheries).
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
322 462 km2 (2018)
Swedish - 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana
Capital with number of residents
Yamassoukro (286,000 residents, census 2014)
Other major cities
Abidjan (real capital) (4,400,000), Bouaké (608,000),
Daloa (319,000), Korhogo (282,000) (census 2014)
Nimba (1752 meters above sea level)
Bandama, Komoe, Cavally, Sassandra
Abidjan 495 mm (June), 41 mm (Jan)
Abidjan 27 °C (Jan), 24 °C (July)
Success for RHDP in parliamentary elections
Ouattara's Alliance RHDP wins a majority of seats in the National Assembly,
with 167 seats and nearly 66 percent of the vote. In addition, a number of
independent members are elected to the Chamber. Ggagbo's party FPI wins only 3
seats. A setback for President Ouattara is the low turnout, according to
provisional figures, only 34 percent voted.
Parliamentary elections are held
On December 18, parliamentary elections are held after a week-long campaign.
30,000 soldiers and police guard the election, which can be carried out without
violent incidents. Over 1,300 candidates compete for 255 seats. Before the
election, Ouattara urged voters to give him a strong mandate to continue the
work he has already begun by voting for his alliance's Houphouetist Democracy
and Peace (RHDP) meeting. During Ouattara, the economy has grown rapidly, but
the opposition accuses him of ruling the country as a monarchy. Unlike the 2011
election, FPI also participates in the elections. Only 6 million voters have
registered to vote in the election.
Clear sign from the Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court finds that the new constitution has been formally
The statute is approved with clear figures
More than 93 percent of voters approve the new constitution, but voter
turnout is just over 42 percent.
The referendum will be held as planned on October 30. The opposition claims
that turnout is low, between 2 and 7 percent, but there are no official figures
yet. Minor incidents, such as stone throwing, are reported from hundreds of
Protests against new constitution before the referendum
Two days before the referendum, a thousand people gather in Abidjan to
protest the new constitution which they believe is undemocratic. The police
intervene with tear gas to disperse the protesters. The opposition urges voters
to boycott the vote
New constitution is approved by the National Assembly
The National Assembly approves the proposal for a new constitution with a
clear majority. 239 out of 249 members voted in favor, 8 against and 2
abstained. But the House is almost completely dominated by members who are close
to the President, since the opposition boycotted the parliamentary elections in
2011. To enter into force, the proposal must also be approved in a referendum.
The day after the vote in the National Assembly, the government announces that
it will be held on October 30.
The opposition rejects proposals for a new constitution
23 opposition parties criticize the proposal for a new constitution. They
argue that if it goes through it would pose a threat to the peace and stability
of the country.
Resolution on referendum
Decides by far the majority that a referendum on a new constitution should be
held, probably in September or October; The most important change is to abolish
the disputed "nationality clause" - that a presidential candidate must be able
to prove that both parents were born in Ivory Coast.
Ten arrested for terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso
All arrested are suspected of participation in the attack in Ouagadougou in
January. But three of them are also believed to have been involved in an act at
a Ivory Coast resort in March
The opposition opposes constitutional reform
In an open letter, 23 opposition parties criticize President Ouattara's plans
for a constitutional reform and demand that a constitutional convention be held
to produce a proposal. In particular, they object to the idea that the President
should appoint the Vice President.
Arrest warrants against Soro are withdrawn
It was Burkina Faso who had issued the order for Soro, who was accused of
involvement in a coup in the neighboring country in 2015 (see Burkina Faso:
Current Policy) (see January 2016). The Burmese military prosecutor says the
matter is now being referred to the Ivorian authorities, and that Interpol did
not want to assist them, since Soro is accused of a political crime but risks
being sentenced by a military court.
A referendum on a new constitution is planned for the autumn
At the same time, the parliamentary elections will be held. This is announced
by President Ouattara in early June. He also says he wants to reach consensus on
the proposal. However, the opposition is skeptical and FPI politician Pascal
Affi N'Guessan says after a meeting with the president that the whole process
has been initiated incorrectly.
New constitution is planned
President Ouattara appoints a committee of ten members to prepare a proposal,
among other things, he wants to set up a new post as vice president and
introduce permanent terms of office. The clause stating that a presidential
candidate's parents should be born in the country shall be removed. This will
then be approved in a referendum, which the president wants to hold before this
year's shoot. Ouattara says that talks should be held with the political
opposition, religious and traditional leaders, as well as with civil society
More French soldiers
France announces that the French force in the Ivory Coast will be expanded
from 500 to 900 men in the summer of 2016.
The UN raises sanctions
This applies in particular to an arms embargo that has been in effect since
Simone Gbagbo gets rejected
The former president's wife will thus face trial for crimes against humanity
since the Supreme Court rejected her appeal. The indictment concerns abuses
committed after the 2010 election.
Terrorist attacks in the south
At least 18 people were shot dead by militant Islamists on March 12 in an
assault on three hotels in the seaside resort of Grand Bassam near Abidjan.
Thirty people are injured. According to the authorities, six perpetrators have
been "neutralized" (three of them are reported to have been killed) (it is still
unclear how many they were, some witnesses speak of seven perpetrators). The
al-Qaeda group in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) takes on the blame for the act. At
least 16 of the victims are civilians, including four European tourists.
President Ouattara promises to tighten security in the country. Aqim has
previously conducted similar attacks on hotels in Mali and Burkina Faso. Aqim,
which has not been particularly active in recent years, has stepped up its
violence since joining forces with another Islamist group al-Murabitoun.
According to Aqim, the attack is primarily aimed at France and a revenge for
French intervention against Islamists in the Sahel region. It is the first time
an Islamist act of this kind has been carried out in Ivory Coast. Just over a
week after the act, 15 people are suspected of being involved in the attack.
Citizenship of Burkin's ex-president
Blaise Compaoré, who was toppled as president of Burkina Faso in 2014, has
been granted Ivorian citizenship as early as 2014, but the decision is only made
public at the end of February 2016. The decision must have been signed by
President Ouattara in November 2014. Compaoré is wanted in the home country,
including for the murder on President Thomas Sankara in 1987 and for having
threatened the security of the state.
The trial against Gbagbo begins
On January 27, he will be the first former head of state to be brought before
the ICC (see also Political system). The trial also includes the charge against
former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé. Gbagbo's supporters accuse ICC of
partisanship, as no charges were brought against the other side, which also
committed serious abuse during the 2010–2011 violence.
ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says the court will now intensify its
investigations into the abuses committed by Ouattara's supporters.
Gbagbo denies that there is anything in the charges when he appears before the
court on January 28.
While the prosecutor portrays Gbagbo as a person who triggered an "indescribable
wave of violence", his defense is trying to create a picture of a person who was
constantly trying to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but that France
was the cornerstone of this. The defense described Gbagbo as a person the French
establishment had never accepted.
Soldiers in court
On January 26, there are 22 soldiers facing trial in a military court for the
murder of former junta leader and President Robert Gueï (see also Modern
History). Bruno Dogbo Blé, former commander of the Republican Guard, and Séka
Yapo Anselme of the semi-military police force "Séka Séka", are charged with
ordering and organizing the murders of Gueï, his wife and their staff. Both two
are already in prison sentenced to long sentences for murder and other serious
Extended mandate for UN troops?
On January 19, President Ouattara asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to
extend the UN troops' mandate in the country until after the 2017 elections.
Arrest warrants against the President
Burkina Faso authorities are issuing an arrest warrant for the Ivorian
National Assembly's President Guillaume Soro on January 19. He is accused of
being involved in a coup attempt in the neighboring country in the autumn of the
previous year. This occurs after a recording of a conversation between Soro, and
a Burkinian politician, Djibril Bassolé, where they both express support for a
coup (the recording must be done before the coup attempt). Bassolé is allied
with Blaise Compaoré, former president of Burkina Faso, who was forced to leave
power in 2014. An arrest warrant has also been issued for Compaoré, who has been
living mainly in the Ivory Coast since 2014.
The arrest warrant against Soro creates tension between the Ivory Coast and
Burkina Faso. A press release from President Ouattara says the Ivory Coast
should try to solve all problems through diplomatic means.
On January 6, Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan submits his government's
resignation application. This happens after President Ouattara, after the
election victory, said he wanted to create a new, more dynamic ministry. But
already on the same day, Duncan gets commissioned to form a new government.