Foreign relations of Ivory Coast

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Ivory Coast
Recent history

Throughout the Cold War, Ivory Coast's foreign policy was generally favorable toward the West. In particular, Félix Houphouët-Boigny kept relations with France that was among the closest between any African country and a former colonial power. The country became a member of the United Nations at independence in 1960 and participates in most of its specialized agencies. It is also an associate member of the European Union. In general, President Bédié initiated and maintained relations with many countries of the European Union and Asia. Ivory Coast maintains a wide variety of diplomatic contacts.

Houphouët-Boigny was one of the first African leaders to establish ties with Israel. In 1973, first Ethiopia, then the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), broke ties with Israel as an act of solidarity with Arab members of the OAU. Virtually all of Africa followed suit including Ivory Coast. However, it was one of the first to re-establish relations with Israel in 1986.

Ivory Coast also sought change in South Africa through dialogue, and its newly named ambassador was among the first to be accredited to post-apartheid South Africa. Ivory Coast's foreign relations suffered following the December 1999 coup that brought President Guei to power. Many foreign institutions (including the IMF) withheld foreign aid.

Most of the western international community, as well as the OAU, considered the October 2000 elections to have been seriously flawed. Foreign donor institutions which halted aid pending a return to civilian rule have largely continued their freeze. The London Club has also not expressed a willingness to revisit the issue of debt rescheduling. The electoral shifts in the country therefore continue to mar foreign relations.

Regional and international assistance, however, helped to end the conflict in 2002, and to bring about the establishment of a power sharing government in 2003. The cooperative stance augurs well for Ivory Coast's foreign relations.

Regional Relations[edit]

The Ivorian government has historically played an important and constructive role in Africa. President Houphouët-Boigny was active in the mediation of regional disputes, most notably in Liberia and Angola. Ivory Coast is a member of the newly created OAU conflict resolution mechanism. In 1996-97 Ivory Coast sent a medical unit to participate in regional peacekeeping in Liberia, its first peacekeeping effort.

Ivory Coast is a member of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the African Mauritian Common Organization (OCAM), the Council of Entente Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Nonaggression and Defense Agreement (ANAD), INTELSAT, the Nonaligned Movement, the African Regional Satellite Organization (RASCOM), the Inter-African Coffee Organizations (IACO), the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), the Alliance of Cocoa Producers, African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP), and the Association of Coffee Producing Countries (ACPC). Ivory Coast also belongs to the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank.

Note: The political uprising of 2002 evoked critical regional dissonance, as well as incidences of xenophobia against nationals of neighboring countries residing in Ivory Coast. The long-term effects of this situation remained unknown in 2006.

Other Important Relations[edit]

In the past decade, Indo-Ivorian relations have considerably expanded as India seeks to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in the West African region. Ivory Coast opened its resident mission in New Delhi in September 2004.[1] Both nations are currently fostering efforts to increase trade, investments and economic cooperation.[2]

United States-Ivorian relations were friendly and close up until the time of the coup in 1999. While many other countries in the region were undergoing repeated military coups, experimenting with Marxism, and developing ties with the Soviet Union and China, Ivory Coast, under former president Houphouët -Boigny, maintained a close political allegiance to the West. Having served as Ivory Coast's first ambassador to the U.S., former president Bédié was also familiar with the United States.

The United States was sympathetic to Ivory Coast's program of rapid, orderly economic development based on austerity measures as well as its moderate stance on international issues. However, bilateral U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funding, with the exception of self-help and democratization funds, has been phased out.

On hold is the cultural exchange the United States and Ivory Coast maintained, through which prominent Ivorian government officials, media representatives, educators and scholars visit the United States to become better acquainted with the American people and to exchange ideas and views with their American colleagues.

Following the decision to bar the majority of parties from the October election, the United States removed all election observers and electoral funding. The U.S. also boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of President Gbagbo. The growing ties between Ivory Coast and Libya under President Gbagbo was seen as likely further harm U.S.-Ivorian relations. The political difficulties of 2002 have left Gbagbo in charge of a temporary power-sharing government in anticipation of new elections. In 2006, it remained difficult to know what the long-term effects would be.

Bilateral relations[edit]

China[edit]

China's permanent seat in the UN in Africa and the diplomatic game of "two Chinas" in Africa

China and Ivory Coast established the diplomatic relations on March 2, 1983.[3]

According to Xavier Aurégan, PhD at the French Institute of Geopolitics,[4] from 1983 to 2013, there are approximately 174 Chinese official development finance projects in Côte d'Ivoire.[5] Of these 174 official development finance projects, 112 are approximately 12 billion euros. The most expensive project is the urban center in Abidjan (8.9 billion euros). In addition, infrastructure accounted for 86% of the Chinese public assistance. The majority of Chinese aid is granted during the Ivorian political crisis between 2002 and 2010. Under Laurent Gbagbo, 69% of aid is thus assigned.[6]

In Abidjan, Chinese nationals are about 2500. They mainly occur in the trade, Adjamé, or restoration, Cocody. They created about 100 companies.[7]

Ghana[edit]

In 1989, after fifteen years of no progress, the Ghana-Ivory Coast border redemarcation commission finally agreed on the definition of the 640-kilometer border between the two countries. The PNDC thereafter worked to improve the transportation and communication links with both Ivory Coast and Togo, despite problems with both countries.[8]

By 1992 Ghana's relations with Ivory Coast were relatively good. Hopes for lasting improvement in Ghana's relations with its western neighbor, however, were quickly dashed following some ugly incidents in late 1993 and early 1994. They began on November 1, 1993, with the return of sports fans to Ivory Coast following a championship soccer match in Kumasi, Ghana, that had resulted in the elimination of Ivory Coast from competition. Ghanaian immigrants in Ivory Coast were violently attacked, and as many as forty or more Ghanaians were killed.[8]

France[edit]

Despite electoral wrangling, Ivory Coast continues to maintain extremely close relations with France. President Houphouët-Boigny, who was a minister in the French colonial government prior to independence, insisted that the connection be maintained. President Chirac visited Ivory Coast soon after his election in 1995, followed by the French secretary of state and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense. Examples of Franco-Ivorian cooperation are numerous.

French is Ivory Coast's official language. Ivorian security is enhanced by a brigade of French marines stationed in Abidjan. Some 20,000 French expatriates continue to make their home in Ivory Coast, and the country's currency, the CFA franc, is tied to the French franc. France maintains a military base at Port Bouët and has assisted in the restructuring of the Ivorian armed forces. France was the first country to recognize the victory of President Gbagbo in the October 2000 elections. France was also instrumental in the military efforts in the country during the 2002-2003 civil conflict. In February 2009, the French government decided to withdraw half of the 1,800 French troops currently stationed in Ivory Coast; the French president saying "The security risk in Ivory Coast has abated and waiting for elections whose timing remains uncertain no longer justifies the maintenance of a full military presence".[9]

India[edit]

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Ivory Coast have considerably expanded in recent years as India seeks to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in the West African region . The Indian diplomatic mission in Abidjan was opened in 1979. Ivory Coast opened its resident mission in New Delhi in September 2004.[1] Both nations are currently fostering efforts to increase trade, investments and economic cooperation.[2]

United States[edit]

Ivory Coast's relationship with the U.S. was cordial, if less intimate than its ties with its former colonizer France.

Russia[edit]

Russia works on UN missions to help the people of Ivory Coast. The help is sometimes done from the Russian embassy in Abidjan, but is also done from the embassy in Accra, Ghana. From these point of view, Russia regarded the outcome of the extraordinary summit held in Dakar, Senegal, of the Economic Community for West African States.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Foreign Relations of India-Ivory Coast". Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 2008-10-02. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "India to put $1bn in African oil". BBC. 2006-08-14. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  3. ^ http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/focac/183548.htm
  4. ^ http://chine-afriquedelouest.blogspot.fr/
  5. ^ Aurégan, Xavier, La Chine, d’un État honni à incontournable en Côte d’Ivoire. In : Croisements, N° 3, Séoul, 2013, pp. 86-111.http://croisements-revue.org/doc/Croisements3Extrait4-6.pdf
  6. ^ Aurégan, Xavier, La Chine en Côte d’Ivoire : le double jeu, Diploweb, avril 2011.http://www.diploweb.com/La-Chine-en-Cote-d-Ivoire-le.html
  7. ^ Aurégan, Xavier, Représentations, « intégrations » et organisations : les enjeux des dynamiques migratoires chinoises à Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire).http://www.cairn.info/revue-monde-chinois-2013-1-p-55.htm. Aurégan, Xavier, Les « communautés » chinoises en Côte d’Ivoire : analyse comparative de l’hétérogénéité des acteurs, de leur intégration et des territoires en Afrique de l’Ouest, Working Paper, Institut Français de Géopolitique, février 2012, 26 p. http://geopolitique.hypotheses.org/122
  8. ^ a b Owusu, Maxwell. "Relations with Immediate African Neighbors". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.[1]
  9. ^ "France plans major troop withdrawal from Côte d'Ivoire". Janes. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.