Ivory Coast

Cte d'Ivoire, (officially the Republic of Cte d'Ivoire), is a country in West Africa. Although it is commonly known in English as the Ivory Coast, the Ivorian government officially discourages this usage, preferring the French name Cte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages. Cte d'Ivoire has an area of 322,462 km2, and borders the countries of Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population, which was 15,366,672 in 1998, is estimated to be 18,373,060 in 2008.

Prior to its occupation by Europeans, Cte d'Ivoire was home to several important states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoul. There were also two Agni kingdoms, Indni and Sanwi, which attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and even after Cte d'Ivoire's independence. An 1843–1844 treaty made Cte d'Ivoire a "protectorate" of France and in 1893, it became a French colony as part of the European scramble for Africa.

The country became independent on 7 August 1960. From 1960 to 1993, it was led by Flix Houphout-Boigny. Cte d'Ivoire maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbours, while at the same time the country maintained close ties to the West, especially to France. However, since the end of Houphout-Boigny's rule, the country has experienced two coups d’tat (1999 and 2001) and a civil war, but recent elections and a political agreement between the new government and the rebels have brought a return to peace.

Today, Cte d'Ivoire is a republic with a strong executive power personified in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the official language is French. The country is divided into 19 regions and 58 departments.

The country, through its production of coffee and cocoa, was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. However, Cte d'Ivoire went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, leading to the country's period of political and social turmoil. The 21st century Ivorian economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant. About a quarter of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

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