Ivory Coast

Free and fair elections are at the top of the Cote d’Ivoire agenda, but the election is awaiting six postponements since 2005. In March 2007, current President Laurent Gbagbo signed the Ouagadougou Agreement, which involves a division of power between the president’s party, the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI)., and the rebel alliance Forces Nouvelles. The CPI was awarded to the Prime Minister’s Office by the leader, Guillaume Soro. The Ougadougou Agreement laid the foundation for a transitional government and for the resumption of a deferred voter registration.

However, the political situation took a surprising turn on February 12, 2010, when President Gbagbo disbanded the Independent Electoral Commission (Commission Electorale Indépendante de Côte d’Ivoire ), as well as the sitting government. Only weeks later, a new government and election committee was set up, but uncertainty about what will happen next and whether elections will continue.

Election lists and rising “ethnic tension”

The recurring issue of voter registration clearance led to the postponement of the election on November 29, 2009, and new dates were swiftly promised in February-March 2010. On November 10, 2009, the lists were published and a 30-day right to appeal allowed names on the provisional list to challenged. The provisional list had 5.3 million confirmed people and around one million waiting for confirmation. Following the appeal process, which ended on January 9, 2010, the Commission presented a new list of approximately 429,000 new names. Opposition politician and former leader of the Independent Electoral Commission, Robert Beugré Mambé, was accused of allowing almost half a million “strategically elected” people to be on the list. On the other hand, the opposition is blaming President Gbabgo and the FPI for a tactical postponement technique by contesting the list,

What seems to be about numbers in a list is in practice the group of people the “extra” people on the list represent. This gives an indication of which party they will be able to vote in an election, at a time when the question of who can call themselves Ivorian has flared up again. A peaceful choice further depends on disarmament processes and normalization of the rebel-controlled north and government-friendly militias.

From stability and economic miracle to uncertain times

In 1946, Felix Houphouët-Boigny established the political party Parti Démocratique de la Côte d ‘Ivoire (PDCI). At the independence of France in 1960, he became the country’s first president, and for more than three decades after independence, the country was under his leadership. His party PDCI was the country’s only allowed political party. The president had very close ties to the former colonial power and allowed French officials to continue in the new state apparatus and French companies to remain. The country was characterized by stability and prosperity for a long period.

During the 1980s, commodity prices plunged on the world market and the country raised large loans. In 1987, the economic crisis was a fact. A combination of the crisis and political pressure led to an opening for more political parties than the presidential PDCI in 1990. The opposition gathered mainly in the Front Populaire Ivorien(FPI), with opposition politician Laurent Gbagbo as leader and presidential candidate. However, it was PDCI’s Henri Konan Bédié who took power. In 1999, Bédié was capped by the military leader and “Houphouetist” Robert Guéï. Bédié fled, but left a murmuring ethnic tension, along with the question of who can be granted citizenship and called Ivorian. His biggest rival was Alassane Outtara, former prime minister of Houphouët-Boigny, who represents the predominantly Muslim northern areas. Guéï ran a similar campaign as Bédié, questioning Ouattara’s Ivorian citizenship, and Ouattara was excluded from the 1995 and 2000 presidential elections. north.

Gbagbo came to power after the 2000 election. The growing discontent from the north and the opposition led to coup attempts against Gbagbo in 2002, which divided the country into the rebel-controlled north and the government-controlled south. Both France and South Africa tried to mediate. However, a growing tension between the president and France led to talks between Ivorian government forces and French soldiers in November 2004. The UN became involved because of the unrest and sent peacekeepers in 2003. They will monitor a security zone that divides the country in two and is visibly present with cars in the streets and own radio channel.

Resources and processing

Ivory Coast is very rich in natural resources and has focused on agriculture, mainly cultivation of cocoa, pineapple, coffee, coconuts and palm oil. State revenues contributed to infrastructure development and in the wake of good economic conditions and peaceful conditions, the country attracted labor immigrants. President Houphouët-Boigny declared in his time that land property belonged to the one who cultivated it. Today, land rights are a difficult and contentious issue.

The port of Abidjan is the region’s most modern and an important transit point for goods from neighboring countries. Oil and energy have become the Ivory Coast’s second largest source of income after drilling began in the early 1980s. The country has one of the region’s best oil refineries, a larger gas power plant and several hydropower plants. Business is dominated by the country’s Lebanese colony, while French companies have interests in electricity, water, telecommunications and port traffic. There are also new investor countries such as China, India, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria and the Gulf states.

Political and economic crises, as well as rising corruption, have slowed the development of the Ivory Coast. The education system and the health care system have stagnated, especially in the north. Unemployment is rising, and the number of people living below $ 1.25 a day has increased from 10 percent in 1985 to 49 percent in 2008. Stagnation is increasing people dissatisfaction, and more people are looking back on Houphouët-Boigny’s time as a bygone era.

In 1983, Yamassoukro and Abidjan

Houphouët-Boigny added the capital and political and administrative center to their hometown of Yamassoukro. The very symbol of the Great Age, in the form of what was to be the world’s largest church, looms in the capital. One of the stained glass windows depicts Houphouët-Boigny as one of the three wise men next to Jesus and the disciples.

Abidjan, which used to be the capital, is still the largest city and economic center. The city has been considered the cultural center of West Africa, and was formerly referred to as “the Paris of Africa.” It had elegant casinos and large hotels and adorned itself with the title of the safest tourist destination in Africa. Skyscrapers and fashionable shopping districts were built during Houphouët-Boigny’s reign.

Large poverty areas, mainly as a result of the migration of migrant workers and refugees, can be seen as a contrast to the fashionable Abidjan. Abidjan has also been the main arena for political unrest and protests in the streets. According to Countryaah, the population of the city has increased as a result of the conflict, and crime has increased.

Country facts:

Area: 322 463 km2 (27th largest)

Population: 20.6 million

Population density: 64 per km2

Urban population: 48 percent

Largest city: Abidjan – approx. 3.8 million

GDP per capita: USD 1137

Economic growth: 2.3 percent

HDI Position: 163