Cities: Principal city–Abidjan (economic capital, de facto political capital). Capital–Yamoussoukro (official). Other cities–Bouake, Daloa, Gagnoa, Korhogo, Man, San Pedro.

Population (2011 est.): 21,504,162.

Of the more than 5 million non-Ivoirian Africans living in Cote d’Ivoire, one-third to one-half are from Burkina Faso; the rest are from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Liberia, and Mauritania. The non-African expatriate community includes roughly 10,000 French and possibly 60,000 Lebanese. In November 2004, thousands of expatriates, African and non-African, fled from violence in Cote d’Ivoire. Subsequently, many expatriates slowly returned.
Ethnic groups: Cote d’Ivoire has more than 60 ethnic groups, usually classified into five principal divisions: Akan (east and center, including Lagoon peoples of the southeast), Krou (southwest), Southern Mande (west), Northern Mande (northwest), Senoufo/Lobi (north center and northeast).

The Baoules, in the Akan division, probably comprise the single largest subgroup with 15%-20% of the population. They are based in the central region around Bouake and Yamoussoukro. The Betes in the Krou division, the Senoufos in the north, and the Malinkes in the northwest and the cities are the next largest groups, with 10%-15% each of the national population. Most of the principal divisions have a significant presence in neighboring countries

Religions (2008 est.): Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7%.

Languages: French (official); 60 native dialects, of which Dioula is the most widely spoken.

Education: Years compulsory–school is not compulsory at this time. Attendance–57%. Literacy (2000 est.)–48.7%. Health: Infant mortality rate–64.78 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy–56.8 years.

Government – Type: Republic.

Branches: Executive–president (chief of state and head of government). President–Alassane Ouattara, Prime Minister–Guillaume Soro

Legislative–unicameral National Assembly.

Judicial–Supreme Court (3 chambers: judicial, administrative, auditing); Constitutional Council.

History: Cote d’Ivoire has been under French influence since the 1600s and in 1834 became a French Protectorate. In 1893 it became a French colony and in 1904 formed part of French West Africa. It was governed directly from France until post WW2 when some powers were transferred, becoming autonomous in 1958 and independent in 1960. After 33 years of pro Western stable government, things started to slide downhill until a coup in 1999. Since then there have been a number of insurgencies and rebellions, the most recent in 2010/11 when the previous president refused to allow his elected successor to assume power.

Looking toward the country’s future, the fundamental issue is whether its political system following the upheavals of recent years will provide for enduring stability, which is critical for investor confidence and further economic development. As is generally true in the region, the business environment is one in which personal contact and connections remain important, where rule of law does not prevail with assurance, and where the legislative and judicial branches of the government remain weak. Cote d’Ivoire has a high population growth rate, a high crime rate (particularly in Abidjan), a high incidence of AIDS, a multiplicity of tribes, sporadic student unrest, a differential rate of in-country development according to region, and a dichotomy of religion associated with region and ethnic group. These factors put stress on the political system and contributed to the post-electoral violence in 2010-2011.

There was a strong house church movement in Abidjan in 1999 and blogged as continuing in 2010 under Ralph Neighbour and Jack Taylor.


Pray for:

  • A continuing, nationwide move of the Holy Spirit.
  • A true indigenization of the work.
  • A return to political stability.
  • Ongoing discipleship of converts.
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