|Prime Minister||Charles Konan BANNY|
|Min. of Agriculture||Amadou Gon COULIBALY|
|Min. of Animal Production & Fisheries||Alphonse DOUATI|
|Min. of Civil Service, Labor, & Administrative Reform||Hubert OULAYE|
|Min. of Cooperation & African Integration||Mabri TOIKEUSSE|
|Min. of Communications||Charles Konan BANNY|
|Min. of Construction, Urban Development, & Housing||Marcel Benoit Amon TANOH|
|Min. of Culture & Francophony||Theodore MEL EG|
|Min. of Defense||Rene Aphing KOUASSI|
|Min. of Economic Infrastructure||Patrick ACHI|
|Min. of Environment, Water Resources, & Forests||Daniel Ayissi AKA|
|Min. of Family & Social Security||Adjoua Jeanne Brou PEUHMOND|
|Min. of the Fight Against HIV-AIDS||Christine ADJOBI|
|Min. of Finance||Charles Konan BANNY|
|Min. of Foreign Affairs||Youssouf BAKAYOKO|
|Min. of Health & Public Hygiene||Remi Allah KOUADIO|
|Min. of Higher Education & Scientific Research||Cisse BACONGO|
|Min. of Human Rights||Joel N'GUESSAN|
|Min. of Industry & Private Sector Promotion||Marie Tehoua AMAH|
|Min. of Justice||Mamadou KONE|
|Min. of Mines & Energy||Leon Emmanuel MONNET|
|Min. of National Education||Michel Amani N'GUESSAN|
|Min. of National Reconciliation & Institutional Relations||Sebastien Dano DJEDJE|
|Min. of Security||Joseph Dja BLE|
|Min. of Solidarity & War Victims||Louis Andre DAKOURY-TABLEY|
|Min. of State for Planning & Development||Antoine Bohoun BOUABRE|
|Min. of State for Reconstruction & Reintegration||Guillaume SORO|
|Min. of Technical Education & Vocational Training||Youssouf SOUMAHORO|
|Min. of Telecommunications & Information Technology||Hamed BAKAYOKO|
|Min. of Territorial Administration||Daniel Cheik BAMBA|
|Min. of Tourism & Handicrafts||Amadou KONE|
|Min. of Trade & Commerce||Moussa DOSSO|
|Min. of Transport||Abdel Aziz THIAM|
|Min. of Youth, Civic Education, & Sports||Dagobert BANZIO|
|Sec. of State for Civil Protection||Noel YAO|
|Sec. of State for Good Governance||Ginette YOMAN|
|Ambassador to the US||Dago Pascal KOKORA|
|Permanent Representative to the UN, New York||Djessan Philippe DJANGONE-BI|
Côte d’Ivoire — History and Culture
The culture of the Ivory Coast is layered and colorful thanks to the nation’s geographical location, collection of ethnic groups and years under French occupation. They have an excess of 60 different indigenous tribes and even more sub clusters, all with their own distinct identities and traditions. There are four main regions, namely the East Atlantic (Akan), the West Atlantic (Kru), and the Mandé and Voltaic groups. These cultural regions primarily differ in terms of language, economic activity, environment, and traditions.
The Ivory Coast enjoyed economic prosperity after its liberation from France in the 1960’s. However, things took a turn for the worse lately because of a military coup that commenced in December 1999. This was the first-ever threat to the nation's stability and led to the overthrowing of the government. After the rigged elections, junta leader Robert Guei declared himself the new head of state, but popular protest forced him to step aside and give the seat to Laurent Gbagbo.
The game-changing armed rebellion of 2002 caused a big split in the Ivory Coast as rebel forces claimed the country’s northern half. A peace accord was implemented by the end of 2003 after a three-month stalemate between the government and rebels.
Civil war broke out as a result of unresolved issues in citizenship and land reform, causing high tensions between the government and opposition. West African troops and French forces, along with UN contingents, settled in Côte d’Ivoire to promote peace and help with the demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation of the country.
Elections in 2010 was the first peaceful vote after the rebellion. Power transferred to the former prime minister, Alassane Outtara, in a 54-46 margin. However, tensions still run high between the supporters of the two warring parties, resulting in sporadic street-level combats and other protests. At the moment, travel to the Ivory Coast is deemed unadvisable for pleasure by many world governments unless you're on official business.
The diversity of culture in Ivory Coast is truly remarkable, with over 60 indigenous ethnic groups each with their own unique traditions. Different regions of the country have distinct music, art, festivals, and languages.
The Ivoirian cuisine takes inspiration from neighboring West African nations and most dishes use tubers and grains. Food is often served with the popular side dish of attiéké, or grated cassava. Maquis is a form of braised chicken or fish smothered in tomatoes and onions, and often served with a side of attiéké or kedjenou, which is chicken with mild sauce and vegetables.
Music is also a big part of life in the Ivory Coast, and while each of the country’s ethnic groups has its own take on traditions, some rhythms and melodies are universal. Music is used in all kinds of celebrations, as well as in times of grief. Different instruments including the talking drum, kpalogo, djembe, shekere, cleavers, and akombe are used to express various emotions. These are handcrafted from indigenous materials like animal skins, gourds and horns.
The most iconic Ivoirian art is the mask. The intricacy and variety of designs are truly impressive as these cultural symbols serve many purposes. They represent lesser deities, higher spirits and even the souls of the deceased. Ivoirians also produce ceremonial masks, each representing an entity. Wood carvings, fabrics and pottery are also popular art forms.
Due to their ethnic diversity, Ivoirians adhere to different kinds of religions and beliefs. About 34 percent of the population is Christian, while 27 percent is Muslim. The remaining minorities have storys and legends passed down by earlier generations and their ancestors.
Ivory Coast awaits return of ex-president Gbagbo 10 years after arrest
Ivory Coast is preparing for the return of former President Laurent Gbagbo on Thursday, a move that his supporters and the government hope will help easetensions that have hung over the country since his arrest a decade ago.
Supporters have been buying party memorabilia such as scarves, pouches and garments bearing Gbagbo's image in the Yopougon district of Abidjan, considered his political stronghold, since his return was confirmed on May 31.
The government of President Alassane Ouattara, which initially objected to Gbago's party announcing his return date without official approval, has accepted the plan as part of ongoing efforts to smooth tensions.
Gbago is to arrive on Thursday on a commercial flight from Brussels.
"His presence will reconcile Ivorians. He is coming to give Ivory Coast the peace that the country has lacked," Guy Besson, national secretary for Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front party, told Reuters.
Gbagbo served as president of the world's top cocoa-growing nation from 2000 until he was arrested after his refusal to concede electoral defeat to Ouattara in 2010, leading to a civil war that killed 3,000 people.
He was extradited in 2011 to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague where he faced charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election conflict.
Gbagbo denied the charges, and his supporters have long claimed that the charges were designed to remove the populist leader from the political scene.
Although the country found relative stability that helped fuel steady economic growth, bitterness remained among Gbagbo's supporters, and it bubbled to the surface in the November 2020 presidential election when at least 85 were killed in clashes.
Ouattara, whose decision to seek a third term sparked some of the violence in 2020, has made overtures to reconcile the country after his election victory, including allowing Gbagbo to return.
"I want to say that President Laurent Gbagbo will arrive in Ivory Coast in a spirit of reconciliation and peace," Gbagbo's spokesperson Justin Kone Katinan told a news conference in Abidjan on Monday. "He wants to play a major role in this reconciliation."
Gbagbo, 76, was acquitted by the ICC in 2019, and in March, the court upheld the acquittal. An order confining him to Belgium was dropped.
There were concerns however that his return could be complicated by an Ivorian court's outstanding 20-year sentence of him in absentia in November 2019 on charges he misappropriated funds from the regional central bank.
Ouattara said in April that Gbagbo was free to return, but the government has not said whether he has been pardoned.
Katinan said a political solution would be found to the conviction during the reconciliation discussions and Gbagbo had not made it a prerequisite for his return.
"By fixing June 17 date, we have confidence in our partner (the government), to find the political formula to manage this affair. Whether now or after, we trust, and it is on the basis of this confidence that we fixed the date," he said.
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Ivory Coast's former president Gbagbo attends Mass in public
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has made one of his first public appearances since returning home after nearly a decade in exile, attending Mass on Sunday as residents of his hometown made preparations for his visit.
Gbagbo, who was acquitted of crimes against humanity two years ago at the International Criminal Court, showed up at St. Paul Cathedral in Abidjan, where he was greeted by Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa.
The ex-president returned to Ivory Coast on Thursday after the government allowed his return. Earlier this year, the ICC upheld his acquittal on charges related to the post-electoral violence that engulfed Ivory Coast after its 2010 president election.
Gbagbo, the incumbent leader, refused to acknowledge defeat to Alassane Ouattara, sparking months of clashes between their supporters that left more than 3,000 people dead. Ouattara ultimately prevailed and has been the president of Ivory Coast ever since.
Some victims' groups have expressed dismay over his homecoming, saying that Ivorian authorities should now try him for his role in the conflict.
However, in his hometown of Mama over the weekend, jubilant supporters began making preparations in hopes that Gbagbo will soon pay the community a visit and visit his mother's grave. On Saturday, dozens of supporters gathered just a few blocks from Gbagbo’s house in Mama, where they sang and danced to celebrate his return to Ivory Coast.
Many said they hoped Gbagbo could now help the country overcome the current economic crisis and high unemployment rates exacerbated by the pandemic.
"Now that Gbagbo is back, we know that we are going to work,” said Lefri Sabrine, who hails from the same village as the ex-president's late mother.
Associated Press journalist Yesica Fisch in Mama, Ivory Coast contributed.
Once a stable and thriving economy, Ivory Coast has declined into a divided state due to xenophobia and dictatorships. A truce reached in April, however, may be the resolution Ivorians have been waiting for after a decade-old conflict.
What’s Happening Now
Alassane Ouattara won the presidential election in November 2010, but the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, refused to step down. Gbagbo employed security forces in the former capital of Abidjan as Outtara found refuge in a nearby hotel protected by United Nations forces.
Armed forces representing both leaders clashed on the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s biggest city, while civilians were caught in the crossfire. More than 700,000 people fled their homes.
Desperately holding onto power, Gbagbo continued to pay his soldiers and civil servants. But in mid-January, Gbagbo’s access to the country’s accounts dried up due to crippling economic sanctions imposed by the international community. Finally, France and the United Nations employed devastating airstrikes on Gbagbo’s presidential compound to force him to resign.
In April 2011, Outtara’s forces took custody of Gbagbo, and Gbagbo’s former military generals pledged allegiance to Outtara.
An Abridged History of Ivory Coast
In the 15 th century, Ivory Coast was part of the West African trade route in which Europeans purchased gold, ivory, pepper and slaves. French, Portuguese, and British traders established outposts in the region.
In 1893, Ivory Coast officially became a French colony. The African population, led by Samori Ture, strongly resisted French colonization and settlement until 1898 when Ture was captured. France’s colonial policy in West Africa reflected concepts of association, such that all Africans were French “subjects’ without representation in either Africa or France, and assimilation, which entailed extension of the French language, institutions, laws and customs in the territory.
After World War II, and in response to African allegiance during the war, France provided French citizenship for all African ‘subjects’ and the right to politically organize. In 1960, Ivory Coast gained independence as a result of a referendum by the French government to grant community status to all former French West African colonies.
The country’s first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, brought ethnic harmony and economic development to Ivory Coast. When Houphouet-Boigny died in 1993, he favored Henri Bedie as his successor.
Unlike Houphouet-Boigny, Bedie emphasized nationalism, and excluded his rival Alassane Ouattara from running for president because of his alleged Burkina Faso parentage. Bedie also jailed opposition supporters and excluded opponents from the army, which resulted in a military coup in 1999 led by Robert Guei.
In 2000 Laurent Gbagbo was elected as president to replace Guei. Outtara continued to be disqualified from elections, which sparked violent protests from Muslims in the north who felt they were being discriminated against in Ivorian politics.
In 2002, rebel forces from the north launched attacks in several cities. French troops pushed back against the rebels, and President Gbagbo responded by attacking residents in shanty towns in the north.
In January 2003, Gbagbo and rebel leaders signed an agreement creating a unified government. The government was unstable, though, and violence continued. Presidential elections were due in 2005, but Gbagbo postponed them until 2010.
The ground rises constantly as it recedes from the coast, and the northern half of the country consists of high savanna lying mostly 1,000 feet (300 metres) above sea level. Most of the western border with Liberia and Guinea is shaped by mountain ranges, whose highest point, Mount Nimba (5,748 feet [1,752 metres] see also Nimba Range), is situated in the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982), where the borders of the three countries meet.
The country is made up of four natural regions. The coastal fringe consists of a strip of land, no more than 40 miles (64 km) wide, studded with lagoons on its eastern half. Access from the sea is made difficult by the surf and by a long submarine sandbar. Behind the coastal fringe lies the equatorial forest zone that until a century ago formed a continuous area more than 125 miles (200 km) wide. It has now been reduced to an area roughly triangular in shape, with the apex lying a little to the north of Abidjan and with the base lying along the Liberian border. The cultivated forest zone, which lies to the east of this triangle, consists of forest land that has been partially cleared for plantations, especially along the Ghana border and in the area around Bouaké. The fourth region, the northern savanna, consists of a sparsely populated plateau, offering open ground favourable for stock breeding. About 4,500 square miles (11,650 square km) in this region have been set aside to form Komoé National Park, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
Ivory Coast is a country located on the west coast of Africa. It has a rich cultural tradition, artistic talents, and French-speaking prowess, among other things. To offer you an insight into this unique country, we have compiled 11 interesting facts about Ivory Coast.
11. The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire (previously known as the Ivory Coast) is a West African country that was once called the ‘teeth coast’ due to the trade in ivory.
Ivory is a precious material traditionally used in the making of ornamentals, sculpture, and furniture among other items. West Africa had a large population of elephants.
However, thanks to this trade that these populations were decimated. As the name gives ancient glory, it provides a paradox of what happens to a natural heritage lost at the urgent need of man’s ego.
10. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa, which is used to make chocolate. It is also one of the largest producers and exporters of coffee and palm oil.
The chocolate industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Chocolate is used in beverages and snacks. The probability of you having consumed cocoa from the Ivory Coast increases with every cup of chocolate you drink or every chocolate snack that you take.
9. Cote d’Ivoire’s Tai National Park is an ancient forest and home to the pygmy hippopotamus. It is one of the last remaining areas of virgin rainforest in West Africa.
Tai National Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982 due to it being one of the last remaining primary natural forests in West Africa.
Due to the high rate at which forests are being mauled in favor of cocoa plantations, this is probably the last heritage of virgin forest that Ivorian future generations will be able to set their eyes on.
The pygmy hippopotamus is the most famous of the species found in this 3,300 km sq. national reserve. There are 50 endemic plant species and almost 1,000 vertebrate species.
8. Abidjan is the largest city in Cote d’Ivoire and serves as its economic capital. It is the third-largest French-speaking population in the world.
Abidjan is commonly referred to as ‘the French capital of Africa’. This is due to it harboring the largest and highest concentration of French-speaking people in Africa in one locality.
Abidjan has a population of over 4 million people. Its famous landmarks include St. Paul’s Cathedral, the beach of Vridi, the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium, and the Le Plateu (CBD).
7. The African country of Cote d’Ivoire was the first black Republic and first non-English speaking country to win an Academy Award.
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, ‘Black and White In Color’ won Ivory Coast’s first academy award in 1976. This also debuted as the first non-English Academy Award in Sub-Saharan Africa.
6. Côte d’Ivoire was originally made up of numerous isolated settlements today it represents more than sixty distinct tribes, including the Baoule, Bete, Senoufou, Agni, Malinke, Dan, and Lobi.
Ivory Coast is a diverse country in terms of ethnicity. However, three indigenous groups take up over half of the population. Baoulés are the largest group taking about 20% of the population.
Betes form the second largest group with 18% of the population followed closely by Senoufu (16%) and Malinke (11%). Other groups include the Agni, Dan, and Lobi.
There are about 5 million Africans of foreign origin from the rest of West Africa with almost half of them being Burkinabes. French and Lebanese comprise the largest non-African group.
5. Little is known about Cote d’Ivoire’s first inhabitants, but weapon and tool fragments confirm the presence of early settlements.
Ivory Coast falls into a region that has been contested by various empires and invaders such that it is hard to know who were the original inhabitants.
4. Before being occupied by Europeans, Côte d'Ivoire played host to important states like the Kong Empire, Gyaaman, and Baoule.
There were many conquests in Ivory Coast before the advent of European colonialism. Some of the earliest empires to have occupied the land include the Songhai Empire and the Kong Empire.
Later on, the Anyi and Baoule invaded the region, and the Grand Assam and Assinie Kingdoms emerged. It was largely a contested land with reigns changing hands from one group to another in quick succession.
3. Côte d’Ivoire first took part in the Miss Universe pageant in July 1986, in Panama City when the country was represented by Marie Francoise Koume.
Ivory Coast made its debut in the Miss Universe beauty pageant held in Panama in 1986. Since then, Ivory Coast hasn't made much effort to keep the flame of Marie Francoise Koume in this pageantry burning despite it being home to some of the beautiful ladies in the world.
2. The traditional music style of many of the ethnic groups of Cote d’Ivoire is characterized by a series of rhythms and melodies that occur simultaneously, without one dominating the other. Music is used in many aspects of the culture the Dan celebrates rice, death, marriage, birth, and weather all with music.
Music is the best language of culture. As such, each society has its own unique music. Ivorian music blends rhythms and melodies in a deeply collaborative way without one imposing on the other.
Traditionally, singing is a past-time activity that most family members participate in as part of the folklore sessions. Welcoming guests, new seasons, fresh harvest, the birth of a newborn, rights of passage, deaths, and other events involve music.
1. The Fêtes des Masques, (Festival of Masks) held in November in the region of Man is one of Cote d’Ivoire’s biggest and best-known festivals.
Mask festivals are a common feature in most West African countries. They only vary in terms of mask design, the event being celebrated, and the period of celebration.
In Ivory Coast, Festival of Masks is held in November each year in the region of Man. This is usually carried out to pay homage to the forest spirits. Small villages contest in order to find the best mask dancers to carry out the homage task.
First Ivorian Civil War (2002-2007)
First Ivorian Civil War was a five-year conflict that occurred in the west African country of the Ivory Coast (also known as Cote d’Ivoire) between 2002 and 2007. The main belligerents of the conflict were the central government of the Ivory Coast, led by President Laurent Gbagbo and supported by France and the United States. Gbagbo also recruited the Young Patriots of Abidjan militia, Liberian mercenaries and pilots from Belarus. The insurgents, led by Guillaume Soro and called the Forces Nouvelles de Cote d’Ivoire (the New Forces) were supported by Russia, Bulgaria, and Burkina Faso. More than three thousand soldiers, militia members, and civilians were killed in the conflict. In 2004 United Nations peacekeepers, mainly soldiers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) entered the Ivory Coast but were unsuccessful in stopping the fighting.
The background of the conflict reflected the religious divisions in the Ivory Coast between the Muslim north and Christian south. The first president of the country, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who ruled from 1960 to 1993, was able to maintain the peace between the regions. His successors were not as successful and by the year 2000, there were open tensions between north and south. The influx of large numbers of immigrants from neighboring Burkina Faso also exacerbated tensions as native Ivorians debated whether the newcomers should have voting rights.
The civil war began on September 19, 2002 when northern troops launched attacks across the nation against the central government. Eventually, rebel forces attacked Abidjan, the nation’s largest city. Despite the attack on Abidjan, government forces remained in control of the city and of Yamoussoukro, the capital, and most of the south of the country while rebel forces took over the north and the central Ivorian city of Bouake. Attempts to broker a cease-fire were unsuccessful and fighting continued into the winter and escalated sharply on November 28, 2002 when two rebel groups, the Popular Movement of the Ivory Coast of the Great West (MPIGO) and the Movement for Justice and Peace (MJP) took control of the towns of Man and Danane. French soldiers, openly supporting the central government, recaptured the towns two days later.
Fighting continued into 2004 despite ongoing peace negotiations in the French town of Linas-Marcoussis. In one incident on November 4, 2004, Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo called for air strikes against the rebels. Two days later, an Ivorian Sukhoi Su-25 warplane mistakenly bombed a French military base near Bouake, killing nine French soldiers and an American aid worker. After the attack the French government began to withdraw its support for the Ivorian central government and in retaliation for the attack, destroyed most of the remaining planes in the Ivorian Air Force.
The war finally ended on March 4, 2007, which a peace agreement was signed between the government and the rebel forces in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Ivory Coast national football team was credited helping to secure this agreement when after qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, they called on all sides to negotiate a settlement. The Ivory Coast would remain at peace for four years until a new conflict arouse in 2011, the Second Ivorian Civil War.
Government back against the wall as energy woes continue
In early June, Foxtrot International (Bouygues) was able to begin operations at its CI-27 block thanks to the Sapura Berani platform supplied by Sapura Energy. The French major Total also recently awarded a service contract to the American drilling company Valaris. [. ]
Cocoa unions resist rolling blackout plans
For weeks frequent power cuts have put pressure on the country and industry unions have held several meetings with the ministry of energy to review its rolling blackout plan. [. ]
Total said to be backing out of Abidjan LNG import terminal
For a time, Total was the leader of the CI-GNL consortium in charge of the construction and operation of the future gas import terminal in Vridi, south of Abidjan, but it seems to have thrown in the towel. [. ]
Top offshore services companies Seadrill, Polarcus and CGG battle for survival
European drilling and geophysical services companies are seeing their activities shrink drastically under the impact of the economic crisis and Chinese competition, particularly in the onshore seismic segment. Several of them are even close to bankruptcy. [. ]
Foxtrot Block CI-27 drilling faces possible delay
Foxtrot International planned to launch its drilling campaign on Block CI-27 in April using the Sapura Berani platform, but it may now have to delay the project. [. ]
Perenco eager to move in on Petroci's CI-11 block
Franco-British family-owned Perenco wants to venture into Ivory Coast by rejuvenating aging state-owned oil fields. [. ]
Will lobbying from Martin Bouygues' troops win them more offshore?
SCDM Energy, subsidiary of French telecommunications group Bouygues headed by Martin Bouygues, has is eyes set on Ivorian oil concessions [. ]
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