The population of Ivory Coast in 2015 was estimated to be around 24 million people, making it the third most populous country in West Africa. The majority of Ivorian citizens identify as Christian, with sizeable minorities of Muslim and other religious people also present. The Ivorian economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and exports, with the sector accounting for roughly two-thirds of the country’s GDP. Other exports include cocoa, coffee and timber. Ivory Coast has strong trade ties with its African neighbours, particularly Nigeria and Ghana, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Ivory Coast is a semi-presidential republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Alassane Ouattara was the President after winning reelection in 2010. In foreign relations, Ivory Coast is a member of both the United Nations and African Union and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its African neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Ivory Coast and some countries over territorial disputes. See ehealthfacts for Ivory Coast in the year of 2005.
Ivory Coast. According to COUNTRYAAH, Yamoussoukro is the capital of Côte d’Ivoire which is located in Western Africa. The country, which was torn apart by civil war in the early 2000s, took small but important steps towards a well-functioning democracy. In October, presidential elections were held, which were preceded by controversy, but which nevertheless went relatively calm. The former government party Ivorian People’s Front (FPI) was divided in the absence of President Laurent Gbagbo. Current party leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan was challenged by the circle of former Foreign Minister Aboudramane Sangare, who pushed a tougher line against incumbent President Alassane Ouattara.
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Singer advocated a boycott of the presidential election, but N’Guessan was finally named the FPI candidate. The election was held on October 25, attracting no more than 55% of eligible voters. Of these, 84% voted for Ouattara while N’Guessan received no more than 9% of the vote. Parts of the opposition organized protests under the name National Coalition for Change (CNC) against allowing Ouattara to stand. A controversial clause in the constitution prohibits people from foreign backgrounds from running for president, and Ouattara’s one parent was born in the current Burkina Faso. The demonstrations led to violence in several parts of the country, in some cases with fatal outcome.
Both Sangare and N’Guessan were sentenced in March to prison for their actions following the disputed presidential election in 2010, when Ouattara was recognized by the outside world as the winner. Civil war broke out since Laurent Gbagbo refused to give up power. N’Guessan, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison, escaped further imprisonment because he was jailed at the same time. The singer received five years in prison, but remained free until further notice. Among those who received much harsher punishment were Gbagbo’s wife Simone Gbagbo, former Chief of the Republican Guard General Bruno Dogbo Blé and former Navy Chief Vagba Faussignau, who were all sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Laurent Gbagbo himself remained detained in The Hague pending trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). His defender in September demanded that he be released for health reasons, which was rejected by the court. Later, in an expert statement, Gbagbo allegedly suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). In order to give the judges the opportunity to evaluate the president’s health status, the trial was postponed until January 2016. During the year, for the first time, prosecution was also brought against militia leaders who were on Ouattara’s side in the 2010-11 fighting. In the past, there have only been people loyal to Gbagbo who have been brought to justice for abuse during the civil war.
According to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the strong economic growth experienced by the Ivory Coast in recent years continued to continue in 2015 and 2016. N’Guessan pointed out before the presidential election that this growth did not benefit ordinary Ivorians, something that Ouattara after his election victory promised to take action. In June, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso were jointly granted a US $ 100 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The money will finance a project for modernized and simplified trade between the countries.
In April, the International Maritime Law Court (ITLOS) granted Ghana the right to continue its ongoing oil recovery in the disputed maritime area that the Ivory Coast also claims. New drilling is not allowed until the question has been decided on where the sea border between the countries goes, which is expected to happen in 2017. In July, the Ivory Coast strengthened surveillance along the Mali border. The reason was that Islamist rebels carried out several attacks in the southern part of Mali, near the Ivorian border.