Cote d'Ivoire

The Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) is located in West Africa. Neighboring countries are Liberia and Guinea in the west, Mali and Burkina Faso in the north and Ghana in the east.

After independence in 1960, Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the dominant politician until his death in 1993. Under his government, the country remained linked to the West as a semi-colonial supplier of raw materials to the capitalist world order and supplied primarily cocoa, sometimes up to 40% of world production. Petroleum was also discovered. In 1995-99, after price falls on the world markets, which were exacerbated by requirements of the International Monetary Fund, the first unrest broke out, which then resulted in a full-blown civil war. Until the peace agreement in July 2007, the country was effectively divided into north and south. As a result of the presidential election at the end of 2010 (the person voted out didn't want to go), there were clashes again in 2011; also in 2013 and early 2017, when the army interfered in politics.

In 2012, daily wages for unskilled workers were 3,000-4,000 CFA, while skilled workers received ⌀ 10,000 CFA.



Officially, Ivory Coast is divided into twelve districts and two autonomous districts (for the large cities of Abidjan and Yamoussoukro). From the perspective of travelers, however, a division into four natural regions makes more sense:

The locations on the coast around the “de-facto” capital Abidjan.

Northern savanna
around Bouaké, Korhogo and Comoe National Park.
Bouaké · Korhogo · Comoe National Park

Southwest Woods
around Daloa, Divo and San Pédro, with the Taï National Park and the Nimba Mountains Nature Reserve
Daloa · Divo · San Pédro · Taï National Park · Nimba Mountains Nature Reserve

Eastern plantations
between the capital Yamoussoukro and the border with Ghana.



1 Yamoussoukro – capital with the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Paix, a copy of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
2 Abidjan – the former capital and still the cultural and economic center of the country today.
3 Grand-Bassam – seaside resort not far from Abidjan. The old town is partly a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its colonial architecture.
4 Dabou
5 Korhogo
6 San Pedro


More goals

There are several national parks designated.

1 Mount Nimba Reserve (Reserve Naturelle Integrale du Mont Nimba) . is a world natural heritage site and is partly located in Guinea.


Getting here

Official policy is to give the country name exclusively as Côte d'Ivoire.

Entry requirements
European travelers to Ivory Coast generally need a visa, which can be applied for at the embassy but is processed online via an external service provider:

Embassy of the Ivory Coast in Germany, Schinkelstraße 10, 14193 Berlin (Grunewald). Tel.: +49 30 8906960, email: Open: Mon.-Fri. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Embassy of the Ivory Coast in Austria,Neuergasse 29/6/20, 1030 Vienna. Tel.: +43 1 5810076, email: Open: Mon-Fri 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Embassy of the Ivory Coast in Switzerland, Thormannstr. 51, 3005 Berne. Tel.: +41 31 3508080, email: Open: Mon.-Fri. 8:30-15:30.

The visa costs 50 euros (also for Swiss people; note the exchange rate!). The passport must be valid for at least six months; proof of a yellow fever vaccination as well as proof of a hotel reservation or sufficient financial resources for the return journey are also required.

It is only possible to apply for an e-visa for entry via Abidjan Airport. This must be applied for on the official website at least three days before the planned arrival, and fees of 73 euros (payable exclusively by Visa or Mastercard) must also be paid. With the confirmation of the e-visa you will then receive an entry permit at the airport.

Visa extensions cost 65,500 CFA in 2018; if you want to stay longer than 90 days, you need a Carte de Résident, for 300,000 CFA.

See also: List of Ivory Coast diplomatic missions abroad

Tourists are allowed to take cash up to 10,000 CFA or the equivalent of 500,000 CFA in foreign currency.

Free quantities
From 15 years:

200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 25 cigars or 250 g of tobacco
1 bottle of wine and 1 bottle of liquor
¼ l perfume or ½ l cologne water

The only airport served by flights from Europe is Aéroport International Félix Houphouët-Boigny (IATA: ABJ) near Abidjan (see city article for details).

The other airports in the country are mainly used for regional traffic and only receive flights from neighboring African countries.

The Niger Railway transports passengers.

Long-distance connections to the capitals of neighboring countries are available from Abidjan.

The international driving license is required and is only valid in conjunction with the domestic driving license. Depending on the border crossing, a laissez-passer is issued for vehicles, the “fee” of which must then be negotiated. Although it is not officially required, police officers are happy to ask about it and will be compensated accordingly if they are missing (without a receipt).

In principle, it is possible to travel with your own car from all of Ivory Coast's neighboring countries. Due to the precarious security situation in West Africa, entry from Ghana is currently only a serious option.

In the summer of 2016, the land borders to Liberia were reopened. Crossings are unsuitable for motor vehicles at Péhékanhouébli, Bin-Houyé and in the very south at (Harper) Pedebo / Duokudi (Tabou), where small boats cross the river.

The extent to which it makes sense to sail in the Gulf of Guinea should be carefully examined. Increased pirate attacks, especially off Nigeria, were reported in April 2018.

Abidjan is the only port for clearing; Access is to the freight port. The mooring takes place in Carena or at the Cercle de la Voile d'Abidjan sailing club office (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). You don't need to expect specialized services. It should be noted that the lagoon is sometimes only 1.20 meters deep.


Local transport

The A3 is the only motorway-like road in the country; it takes you from Yamoussoukro to Abidjan (236 km) in just under three hours. Other main roads are also tarred and in fair condition by African standards. In the country there are the well-known slopes, which can be difficult to pass during the rainy season.



The official language is French, and seventy to eighty native languages are spoken, almost all of which are Kwa languages. The “lagoon languages” commonly used on the coast are linguistically comparatively far removed from the main branches.



Due to the politically desired strong overvaluation of the CFA franc, prices are generally too high for the quality offered.



Foufou is the most common filling side dish throughout West Africa. It is a solid porridge made from cassava or yams, which can also contain plantains. Otherwise there is often rice.

Common catfish (French: Mâchoiron africain, biol.: Arius africanus) are often caught in the lagoons. Okra sauce (sauce gombo) is popular with all kinds of meat and fish dishes. Also common is the sauce graine, made from palm oil. Tchep (ivoiria), is a commonplace food, known elsewhere as Wolof rice - a fatty rice dish with tomato paste and a little cassava added. Traditionally spooned out of the pot together.

The French colonial influence can also be seen in the fact that French fries and crepes are often available.

The beers include the products of the established Solibra, a subsidiary of the French Castel, with its Bock brand, and Brassivoire, a Heineken subsidiary founded in 2016 that sells Ivoire. Solibra also bottles Guinness and the fizzy drinks from an Atlanta manufacturer under license.



Exists prominently in certain districts of Abidjan.



There are simple and clean hotels for under 20 euros in most places. However, hotels that meet European standards are rare and expensive outside of the big cities.



The security situation in the country has become more tense again since the beginning of 2017. You should avoid leaving the hotel at night if possible, as the risk of being robbed on the street is particularly high at this time of day.

Drug possession and use are punishable by three months to five years in prison, while drug trafficking is punishable by up to twenty years in prison.

Homosexuality is not punishable.



Medical care in the capital is better than in the rest of West Africa; French-made medicines in particular are easily available.

Prostitution in the country is legal, but support services are not. The AIDS epidemic peaked in the country in 2004. Estimates for 2018 indicate 1.8-4% in the most sexually active age group 18-45. Around 45% of those affected are provided with medication.

Meningitis is more common throughout West Africa during the drier season from December to April. Malaria prophylaxis is necessary all year round. Dengue fever has been increasing in frequency since 2014. You should therefore pay attention to mosquito repellent throughout the day. Medicines, mostly made in France, are sufficiently available. Infections with the medina worm have declined sharply thanks to better water supplies, but cases of dracontiasis still occur, especially in the dry season.


Rules respect

The two most widespread faiths are Catholicism and Islam, although there is a south-north divide here in the country.

Post and telecommunications



Until 1986, the name of the state was officially translated into Russian as the Republic of the Ivory Coast. In October 1985, the Congress of the ruling Democratic Party decided that the word "Côte d'Ivoire" is a geographical name and does not need to be translated from French.

However, outside the countries of the former USSR, the name of the state is still translated (English Ivory Coast, German Elfenbeinküste, Spanish Costa del Marfil, port Costa do Marfim, Polish Wybrzeże Kości Słoniowej, etc.)



Southern Ivory Coast has 515 kilometers of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean at the western end of the Gulf of Guinea. The length of the country's borders with neighboring countries are: Burkina Faso 545 km, Ghana 720 km, Guinea 816 km, Liberia 778 km and Mali 599 km. The relief is rather flat, the surface profile is characterized by plains and plateaus. The west of the country alone has altitudes of more than 1,000 meters above sea level. Here, right on the border with Guinea, is Mont Nimba, which at 1752 m is the highest mountain in both countries. The north of the country is also crossed by part of the Upper Guinea threshold. Apart from that, the remaining levels are between 200 and 350 meters high.

The higher plateaus have rugged shapes and are made of hard material. The lower levels have gentler shapes and are generally made of looser material. Spacious, flat areas characterize the savannah landscapes as well as the small savannah pockets in the rainforest areas. The dominant element of the plains and plateaus is a ferruginous crust, visible on the surface as rust-colored plates but often obscured by sand, gravel or finer material.

Waters cover 4460 km² or 1,383% of the territory of Ivory Coast. On the one hand, these are the Atlantic Ocean and the adjacent lagoons in the south of the country, with the most important lagoon complexes being Aby-Tendo-Ehy, Ebrié and Grand-Lahou-Tadio-Makey-Tagba. There are numerous rivers that drain the entire country (see section: Hydrology). The largest lakes in the country are dams: the Kossous reservoir, the Buyo reservoir and the Ayamé reservoir. Finally, there are numerous streams and several wetlands.



The crystalline substructure consists of migmatites and gneiss (of igneous and sedimentary origin), charnockites, norites and various types of granites. They are part of the West African craton, which was formed more than two billion years ago. The phyllite rock consists largely of slate and quartzite. This base is covered by a thin layer of sediment consisting of clayey sand of continental origin and clay, sand and mud of maritime origin.

The soils of Ivory Coast have the same characteristics as those of neighboring countries in West Africa and many other tropical regions. They are loose, rarely hardened, made of a material in red ocher and dark rusty brown shades. These are ferrallitic soil types that were largely formed through weathering.



Ivory Coast lies between 4° and 10° north latitude; The distance to the equator is about 400 km from the southern coast of the country, that to the Tropic of Cancer is about 1400 km from the northern border. On the coasts of the Ivory Coast there is therefore a constantly humid tropical climate, which changes into a dry climate in the extreme north. The average annual temperature is 28 °C, but residents experience significant temperature differences between the northern and southern regions of their country and between the individual seasons.

The climate is shaped by the wind systems of the northeast trade wind and the southwest monsoon: In winter, the northeast trade wind (Harmattan) brings hot, dry, dust-laden air from the Sahara and dries out the land. The West African monsoon originates in the Gulf of Guinea, which means it brings warm, humid air. It determines the climate in the south of the Ivory Coast all year round, and in the north it brings summer rain.

Accordingly, there are three climate zones in Ivory Coast.

The equatorial climate (also Attié climate) in the south is characterized by small temperature fluctuations (generally between 25 ° C and 30 ° C), very high humidity levels (between 80% and 90%) and abundant rainfall, which is 1766 mm annually in Abidjan and 1766 mm in Tabou Reach 2129 mm. There are two dry and two rainy seasons here. The long dry season lasts from December to April, is characterized by extreme heat and only occasional rain. The short dry season falls in the months of August and September. The major rainy season lasts from May to July, while the minor one is in October and November.
The humid savannah climate (also Baoulé climate) determines the north of the rainforest zone and the south of the savannahs and begins about 200 km north of the coastline. The temperatures fluctuate significantly between 14 °C and 33 °C, and the humidity is usually between 60% and 70%. Annual rainfall is around 1200 mm in Bouaké. There are four seasons here too: two dry seasons from November to March and from July to August and two rainy seasons from June to October and from March to May.
The dry savanna climate (also known as South Sudanese climate) predominates in the northern savannah regions. It shows relatively strong daily fluctuations of 20 °C. The humidity is much lower than in the south of the country and is between 40% and 50%. Harmattan also occurs in these regions, in the form of a cool and dry wind, between December and February. The north of Ivory Coast only has two seasons: the dry season between November and June with isolated rains in April, and a rainy season between July and October. The annual rainfall recorded in this area is approximately 1203 mm in Korhogo.

The climate of Odienné, a city in the northwest, is influenced by the nearby mountains and therefore has higher precipitation values (1491 mm) and lower temperatures than regions east of it. In Man (located even higher in the mountains) the rainfall even reaches 1897 mm per year.



Above all, the four large rivers Cavally (700 km), Sassandra (650 km), Bandama (1050 km) and Comoé (1160 km) should be mentioned here. Other important rivers are either tributaries of it or are coastal rivers that have their own drainage basins. Worth mentioning are the Tabou, the Néro, the San Pedro, the Bolo, the Niouniourou, the Boubo, the Agnéby, the Mé and the Bia.



The vegetation can be divided into two zones: a southern, Guinean zone and a northern, Sudanese zone. The border between these two zones lies parallel to the coastline at approximately the 8th parallel. The southern zone is characterized by evergreen rainforest and mangroves (Guinean mangroves), one west of Abidjan, at the mouth of the Bia River, and one even further west of it at the mouth of the Boubo River. In the northern zone, dry forests (with periodic leaf change) and savannahs (the Sudan savanna, which covers a third of the territory, and the Guinea savannah) predominate, whereby the dry forest can be seen as a transition from the rainforest to the savanna. In the central part of Ivory Coast lies the Guinean forest-savannah mosaic, which consists of interlocking zones of grassland, savannah and dense wet forest and gallery forest on riverbanks.

Notable representatives of the flora in Ivory Coast are trees such as the baobab, iroko, tali, amazakoue, tiama and movingui, some of which are very important for the export of wood. Epiphytes and orchids grow in the forests, while snakeroot, manniophyton, garlic tree, Milne's redhead and belluci have importance as traditional medicinal plants.

The vegetation of Ivory Coast has changed fundamentally in recent decades due to human activity. Originally, a third of the country in the south and west was completely covered by dense forests. There were also tree savannahs in the center and north as well as small mangroves on the coast. Since colonial times, the forest cover has decreased significantly, partly through the establishment of plantations and partly through deforestation. In 2007, the natural forest cover was estimated at 6 million hectares.



The fauna is particularly rich in species. Among mammals, the elephant is the animal whose tusks, traded as ivory, gave the country its name. Its once high population in the forest and savannah has now been greatly reduced by hunting and poaching, so that it can now only be found in reserves. There are also hippos, giant forest pigs, duikers, primates, rodents, pangolins, big cats such as leopards and mongooses; Hyenas and jackals can be found in the steppes. The rare pygmy hippopotamus has one of its most important occurrences in the Taï National Park in the southwest of the country. Hundreds of species of birds also live here (herons, storks such as woolly-necked storks and marabou, ducks and geese as well as birds of prey). The West African armored crocodile lives in and along the rivers of the savannah, and the stumpy crocodile lives in the rivers of the rainforests. Snakes such as cobras, mambas, puff adders, Gaboon vipers and rhinoceros vipers, rock pythons and ball pythons are also found, as are termites, which decorate the landscape with numerous termite mounds, and beetles such as the pillworm. Numerous species of fish live in the rivers, such as cichlids and the African multi-spined fish, while in the coastal waters there are shrimps, sand tiger and other sharks, pipefish, rays, frogfish, flatfish and the rare loggerhead sea turtle. Numerous species, such as chimpanzees, are already very rare or threatened with extinction.


National Parks

Eight national parks have been designated since 1953, the oldest being Banco National Park. The best known are the Taï National Park (in the southwest of the country) and the Comoé National Park (in the northeast), both of which are also World Heritage areas. Other national parks are called Marahoué National Park (in the center, west of the Kossous reservoir), Mont Sangbé National Park and Mont Péko National Park (both in the west) as well as, on the coast west and east of Abidjan, the Azagny National Park and the Îles Ehotilé National Park.

The Mont Nimba Strict Nature Reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as the third World Heritage Site; A larger part of the Strict Nature Reserve (Category Ia of the IUCN categories) continues across the border in Guinea.



Pre-colonial period

Until colonization, the southern part of Ivory Coast had no state formation. The northern part, on the other hand, came under the influence of the Sahel empires from the 11th century, such as the Mali empire from the 13th century. At the same time, Islam came to this region through trade and military conflicts. In the 17th century, the city-state of Kong was the most powerful state in the region and a center of Islamic learning.


Colonial period

The Portuguese had been trading with the coastal tribes since the 15th century, but were pushed out in the 17th century by the French, who established the Grand-Bassam naval base in 1843 and declared the area the French colony of Côte d'Ivoire in 1893. The suppression of uprisings, particularly that of the Islamic leader Samory Touré, occupied the French colonial administration for several years. In 1895, Côte d'Ivoire became part of French West Africa, where the Code de l'indigénat also applied. In 1956 it received internal self-government.

According to the Loi Lamine Guèye of 1946, all citizens had the right to vote in elections to the French parliament and also in local elections. The right to stand for election was not expressly mentioned in the law, but it was not excluded either. In French West Africa, which included Côte d'Ivoire, there was no two-class voting system for the Paris Parliament elections as in other French colonies, but there was for all local elections. In 1952, universal women's suffrage was introduced for the first time under French administration. On June 23, 1956, while still under French administration, the loi-cadre Defferre was introduced, confirming universal suffrage.


Houphouët-Boigny era

On August 7, 1960, Côte d'Ivoire gained full independence under Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who was president until his death in 1993 (also head of government until 1990). Houphouët-Boigny, the founder of the unity party “Parti Democratique de Côte d’Ivoire” (PDCI), pursued pro-Western policies. In contrast to other states, which, among other things, pushed their colonial heritage into the background by changing their names and wanted to create an independent identity with names from the pre-colonial period, Ivory Coast maintained its close ties to France even after gaining independence in 1960 . Women's suffrage was reaffirmed at independence in 1960.

Unrest among the population led to the introduction of a multi-party system and the office of prime minister in 1990. Houphouët-Boigny's pro-Western and market economy-oriented policies made Côte d'Ivoire one of the richest states in West Africa and led to political stability.

As a “gift to the Vatican,” Houphouët-Boigny had the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace) built in his birthplace of Yamoussoukro. After three years of construction, he created an unmistakable monument for himself. In September 1990, Pope John Paul II inaugurated the church building. The prerequisite for accepting the gift was Houphouët-Boigny's promise to build a hospital near the basilica. This project was started after 10 years and was completed on January 14, 2015.

Houphouët-Boigny's successor was Henri Konan Bédié (PDCI) in 1993. The elections in October 1995, boycotted by the opposition, confirmed Bédié as president. In 1998, an amendment to the 1960 presidential constitution extended the president's term from five to seven years and strengthened his executive powers.


Military government

The fall in cocoa prices led to economic crises in 1999. In December 1999, Bédié, who had increasingly repressed opposition circles, was overthrown in a bloodless coup by the military led by General Robert Guéï. The country fell into a deep crisis. Under the slogan Ivoirité, xenophobic tendencies and discrimination against the ethnic groups living in the north of the country emerged. In 2000, Laurent Gbagbo won presidential elections from which the opposition candidate (Alassane Ouattara) had been excluded. This was justified by the fact that Ouattara's parents come from the neighboring country of Burkina Faso. The ongoing dispute over who was a true “Ivorian” and who was not ultimately led to an armed uprising against Gbagbo in 2002 and the crisis that followed.


Civil war and division

In September 2002, parts of the army (Forces Nouvelles) rose against the government and brought the northern half of the state under their control. This development had its background in ethnic tensions; Many people who have immigrated from neighboring countries live in Ivory Coast. But it was also a conflict over land and access to resources.

On behalf of the UN, more than 6,300 peacekeepers were stationed in the country to separate the rebels in the north and the southern part of the country (Opération des Nations Unies en Côte d'Ivoire). In addition, there were around 4,500 French soldiers in the country. The latter also acted on behalf of the UN, but were already stationed in Côte d'Ivoire before the crisis. The former colonial power France implemented a peace plan that envisaged power-sharing between Gbagbo's FPI (Front Populaire Ivoirien) and the rebel Forces Nouvelles. The war was thus declared over.

At the beginning of November 2004, the situation escalated again when government troops attacked targets in the north of the country from the air on November 4th. At the same time, offices of opposition parties and independent newspapers were vandalized in Abidjan. On the third day of the air raids, nine French soldiers were killed. In response, the French armed forces destroyed Côte d'Ivoire's entire air force (two fighter planes, five attack helicopters) within one day. The latter was subsequently declared justified by the UN.

The southern part of the country under Gbagbo was accused of not actually wanting power to be shared. Gbagbo has been destabilizing the situation for a long time with, among other things, calls for hatred and violence on TV and radio. By November 15, 2004, around 6,000 foreigners had been evacuated via airlift.

With South African mediation, the army and rebels again agreed on a disarmament and power-sharing agreement on July 9, 2005. This was intended to pave the way for presidential elections on October 30, 2005. The civil war was declared over for the second time.

However, neither disarmament nor elections were implemented. The reasons for this were inconsistencies in the procedure for registering voters and issuing identity papers. The UN decided to extend President Gbagbo's term of office by one year and appointed the non-party Charles Konan Banny as prime minister.

In mid-January 2006, the situation escalated again: violent demonstrations broke out in several places, resulting in deaths and injuries. Following a relevant UN decision at the beginning of February 2006, the accounts of three opponents of the peace process were frozen. The sanctions targeted Ble Goude and Eugene Djue, considered leaders of militant youth groups and supporters of President Laurent Gbagbo, as well as rebel leader Fofie Kouakou. The registration of previously paperless citizens with a view to the agreed elections, known as Audiences foraines, made only slow progress. The opposition claimed that it was being thwarted and partially prevented by members of the ruling party.


Treaty of Ouagadougou and power sharing

On March 4, 2007, after lengthy negotiations between President Gbagbo, rebel leader Guillaume Soro and Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré, a new peace treaty was signed. In contrast to the previous agreements, this agreement provided not only for the sharing of power but also for a permanent concertation framework in which Bédié and Ouattara were represented alongside Gbagbo, Soro and Compaoré. Soro was appointed Prime Minister of the newly formed government. This Ouagadougou Treaty contained detailed agreements on the issuance of identity papers, the creation of the electoral roll and the creation of a national army.

A few weeks later, the dismantling of the buffer zone began and there were the first joint patrols made up of government soldiers and rebels from the Forces Nouvelles (FN). In July 2007, President Gbagbo visited the rebel-held north for the first time in five years. There he took part in an official peace ceremony where weapons were burned in the presence of numerous African heads of state.


2010 presidential election

Finally, the presidential elections were held with a first round of voting on October 31, 2010. With a voter turnout of around 80 percent, the then incumbent President Gbagbo won the most votes with 38 percent, as did the opposition candidates Alassane Ouattara (RDR) with 32 percent and Henri Konan Bédié (PDCI) with 25 percent. A runoff election between Gbagbo and Ouattara took place on November 28, 2010. Before that, both announced that they would have the counting results checked. According to the results of the electoral commission CEI (Commission électorale indépendante), Alassane Ouattara emerged as the winner in the runoff election with 54% of the votes. However, the Constitutional Council annulled the results in four regions. As a result, Gbagbo has now won the runoff election. Both the previous incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara then took the oath of office. According to the mandate of the UN mission UNOCI, special envoy Choi Young-jin had to certify the election results. After his examination, he declared the election commission's result valid. Gbagbo was no longer recognized as the legally elected president by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. The International Monetary Fund threatened to boycott the country. After Gbagbo was arrested on April 11, 2011, the power struggle was decided in Ouattara's favor.


Another crisis in 2010/2011

From the 2010 presidential election onwards, there was a government crisis between supporters of both camps, with violent clashes and deaths. A blue helmet convoy was also attacked. Heavy weapons were also used against civilians. By the end of March 2011, a million people had fled the civil war. On April 11, 2011, the elected President Laurent Gbagbo was arrested by the troops of the internationally recognized election winner Ouattara after protracted fighting with the support of military forces from the UN and France. Ouattara and his Prime Minister Guillaume Soro had largely prevailed as the legitimate president.

Gbagbo was transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague in November 2011. Ouattara had to put up with the accusation of “victorious justice”. Until 2012, not a single one of its military's numerous human rights and war crimes had been prosecuted, those responsible had been named or even charged, especially not for the Duékoué massacre, in which, according to the International Red Cross, 800 people were brutally murdered by Ouattara's military




The population of Ivory Coast - known as Ivorians - is characterized by rapid growth, similar to that of most developing countries. Between 1975 and 2005, in just 30 years, the population tripled from 6.7 million to almost 20 million. According to the UN's average population forecast, a population of over 50 million is expected by 2050. This growth is due in part to immigration; the 1998 census showed that 26% of the population was non-Ivorian. These immigrants largely come from neighboring countries and were attracted by the relatively high level of economic development and social and political stability before the civil war. A total of two million people from Burkina Faso live in Ivory Coast, who make up the largest proportion of foreigners. In addition, numerous people from Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Liberia and Ghana immigrated. There are also Lebanese, who mainly do trade, Asians and Europeans. Foreigners who have been naturalized only make up 0.6%.

The number of births per woman was statistically 4.5 in 2020. However, in 1975 the rate was still just under 8 children per woman and has been falling continuously since then. This is due, among other things, to the fact that the number of people who have access to modern contraceptive methods is constantly increasing. While in 2012 there were only 8% of married women, in 2020 it is already 40%. Young people make up a very high proportion of the population: in 2019, 41.7% of the population was under 15 years old and just under 3% were over 65 years old. Likewise, the population is unevenly distributed across the country's territory. 57% rural population compared to 43% urban population, with the urban population increasing by 4.2% annually. The trend of rural exodus was further intensified by the civil war.

In Ivory Coast, a city is defined as an urban area with at least 3,000 inhabitants and in which more than 50% of the population has non-agricultural employment. In 2021, 52 percent of residents lived in cities, making Ivory Coast one of the most urbanized countries in Africa. The largest metropolitan regions are (as of the 2014 census):
Abidjan: 4,395,243 inhabitants
Bouaké: 536,719 inhabitants
Daloa: 245,360 inhabitants
Korhogo: 243,048 inhabitants
Yamoussoukro: 212,670 inhabitants
San Pédro: 164,944 inhabitants
Gagnoa: 160,465 inhabitants
Man: 149,041 inhabitants


Ethnic groups

The Ivorian state recognizes around 60 ethnic groups that have lived together peacefully for a long time. Marriages between members of different ethnic groups are no longer rare, especially in cities. The peoples are divided into four cultural and linguistic groups:
The largest population group is the Kwa group, which is mainly widespread in the center of the country. Of these, the Akan make up 42.1% of the total population: The most politically influential group in Ivory Coast are the Baule (23% of the population), who originally come from the east of the country, and the Agni (11%), while the Akan people also include the Abé and the Akie.
The Kru people, who also settled in neighboring Liberia, live in the southwest: Bété, Kru and Weh. They make up about 11% of the total population and also live in the south.
The Voltaic live in the north, making up around 17.6% of the total population: This is the settlement area of the Senufo farming and artist people (around 15% of the population).
The Mande group is located in the northwest: of these, the Northern Mande make up 16.5% of the total population, especially the Malinké/Dyula (5.5% of the population) with the city of Kong as its center; However, they can be found as dealers all over the country. The Southern Mande (10%) live in the area around Man - including Yakuba (5% of the population, also called Dan), who are known for their expressive mask and stele dances, and Guro (5%).

Due to rural exodus and increasing urbanization, practically all ethnic groups can be found in the cities. There is a certain tendency to live together in one's own neighborhood, especially in smaller cities.



In addition to the official language French, which is mostly used in a non-compliant manner, 77 different languages and idioms are spoken in Ivory Coast. The largest are Baule and Dyula, and Senufo languages, Yacouba, Anyi, Attie, Guere, Bete, Abe, Kulango, Mahu, Tagwana, Wobé and Lobi are also spoken. Nouchi is the colloquial language in Abidjan.

By far the most widespread language is Dioula, which is spoken and understood by a total of 61% of the population, especially in the north, and is of great importance as a commercial language. However, since the French colonial period, the country's only official and instructional language has been French.



There is a high level of religious diversity in Ivory Coast. The most widespread religions are Islam (38.6%) and Christianity (32.8%); The north is more Islamic, while the south is Christian. 11.9% of the population practices traditional West African religions - especially the Akan religion - which also influence the practice of other religions to a certain extent. Islam began to spread in the far north of Ivory Coast from the 11th century. Christianity was introduced to the coast by missionaries in the 17th century.

Current developments are characterized by growing Islamization. Shortly before the turn of the millennium, 40% of the residents adhered to traditional West African religions. Islam, which only around 24% of the total population professed in the mid-1980s, has since become the fastest-growing religious community, primarily through missions among the followers of traditional West African religions (especially the Senufo). In 2004, 35% of the population were Sunni Muslims. The “National Islamic Council” (Conseil national islamique; CNI), founded in 1993, acts as the umbrella organization for Muslim organizations in Ivory Coast. The Muslim student organization Association des élèves et étudiants musulmans de Côte d’Ivoire (AEEMCI) plays an important role within this umbrella organization. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca is organized by the Association musulmane pour l’organization du pèlerinage à la Mecque (AMOP). An important subgroup within the Muslims of Ivory Coast are the Yacoubists, the followers of Yacouba Sylla.

In general, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence prevail in Ivory Coast. The religious holidays are celebrated freely by the respective believers and accepted by everyone. Ivory Coast is officially a secular state, although state representatives are sent to religious ceremonies and special religious schools receive financial support from the state.



Many Ivorians live abroad, although the exact number cannot be determined because some of them have immigrated illegally in their countries of residence. Estimates put the number of Ivorians abroad at around 1.5 million. The most popular destinations for Ivorian emigrants are France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, the USA and Canada. These emigrants are of great importance for the Ivorian economy: on the one hand, they transfer large sums of money to support relatives who remain at home, and on the other hand, returnees from abroad are important participants in the real estate market.