Côte d'Ivoire gained its independence from France in 1960. French is the official language, but the multiethnic population speaks sixty native dialects, of which Dioula is the most common. The Akan are the largest ethnic group. In 1983 the capital moved from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro, although Abidjan remains the country's commercial and administrative centre. From its independence until a military coup overthrew the Government in 1999, Côte d'Ivoire was a prosperous economy. The years since have been marked by rebellions, coup attempts and civil war.
The United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) was deployed in 2004 to facilitate the implementation of the 2003 peace agreement signed by Ivorian parties to end the civil war. Progress was made in the integration of former rebel forces into the Ivorian army, but elections were delayed until 2010. In those United Nations-certified elections, incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo was defeated by Alassane Ouattara. But, Gbagbo refused to accept the outcome of the election and the country descended into civic war again. In April 2011, after five months of conflict, Gbagbo was forcibly removed from office by Ouattara's supporters with the assistance of UN and French forces.
Following the 2010 Presidential election and the ensuing political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, UNOCI remained on the ground to support the new Ivorian Government. President Ouattara won reelection in 2015.
Côte d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Agriculture employs around two-thirds of the population. The Government is trying to boost gold and oil production.
Côte d'Ivoire is a member of La Francophonie, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States. Australia's diplomatic representation to Côte d'Ivoire is from the High Commission in Accra, Ghana.
Economic and trade information
- Country Fact Sheet [PDF]
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- The Australian High Commission in Ghana is responsible for Côte d'Ivoire