Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
Formerly a French colony which gained
independence in 1960, the Cote d'Ivoire has experienced
tremendous political turmoil since 1999. Rebel forces
dominate the northern part of the country, and
despite a fragile truce and government of national
unity, there are still several thousand foreign troops in the country
to help maintain this truce. The United Nations imposed
an arms embargo in 2004. Despite this, the country is
one of the most prosperous in the region with a well
developed economic infrastructure.
The religious makeup consists of 35 to
40% Muslim, 20% to 30% Christian and the remainder indigenous.
The ethnic composition is 42% Akan, 18% Gur, 16% Northern
Mandes, 10% Southern Mandes and 11% Krous. Akan African art is
particularly well know for their pictographic symbols which
translate into deeply embedded cultural values. The famous
French painter Henri Matisse was particularly inspired by the
clean lines of the Dan masks.
The currency is
the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc, and the capital is
Yamoussoukro, while Abidjan remains the commercial and
administrative center. The judicial system is based on
French civil law
as well as customary law.
part of the country is situated on the Gulf of Guinea on the
Atlantic Ocean, Mali and Burkino Faso lie to the north, Ghana
to the East, and Guinea and Liberia to the west.
comparison, the country is roughly the same size as New
Mexico, with arable land at about 10%. The climate is typical
of tropical African countries with semiarid conditions to
the north and tropical weather along the coast. Most of the
inhabitants live along the coast, and the forested interior is
Natural resources include oil,
natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, copper, gold,
nickel, cocoa, coffee and palm oil.
The total population is about
17,6 million, and the people are commonly known as Ivoirian's.
The census rate of births is 4.5 per woman, and the adult HIV
prevalence rate is estimated at 7%, in 2003 it was estimated
that 570,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS.