Ivory Coast i/ /, officially Côte d'Ivoire i/ / (French: République de Côte d'Ivoire, French: [kot d‿ivwaʁ] ( )), is a country in West Africa. It has an area of 322,462 square kilometres (124,503 sq mi), and borders the countries Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. The country's population was 15,366,672 in 1998 and was estimated to be 20,617,068 in 2009. Ivory Coast's first national census in 1975 counted 6.7 million inhabitants.
Prior to its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. There were two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, which attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and after independence. An 1843–1844 treaty made Ivory Coast a protectorate of France and in 1893, it became a French colony as part of the European scramble for Africa.
Ivory Coast became independent on 7 August 1960. From 1960 to 1993, the country was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny. It maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbours, while at the same time maintaining close ties to the West, especially to France. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule, Ivory Coast has experienced one coup d’état, in 1999, and a civil war, which broke out in 2002. A political agreement between the government and the rebels brought a return to peace. Ivory Coast is a republic with a strong executive power invested in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the biggest city is the port city of Abidjan. The country is divided into 19 regions and 81 departments. It is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, African Union, La Francophonie, Latin Union, Economic Community of West African States and South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone.
The official language is French, although many of the local languages are widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin and Cebaara Senufo. The main religions are Islam, Christianity (primarily Roman Catholic) and various indigenous religions.
Through production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. However, Ivory Coast went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, leading to the country's period of political and social turmoil. The 21st century Ivoirian economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.
The Dozo (also Donzo, Bambara for hunter, pl. donzow) are traditional hunters in northern Ivory Coast, southeast Mali, and Burkina Faso, and members of a co-fraternity containing initiated hunters and sons of Dozo, called a Donzo Ton. Not an ethnic group, the Dozo are drawn mostly from Mandé-speaking groups, but are also found among Dyula-speaking communities and most other ethnic groups in Ivory Coast. Dozo societies increased in the last decades of the twentieth century, and Dozo groups came into political prominence during the Ivorian Civil War. The Donzo Ton (Ton is a Mandé word for age-group, religious, or vocational associations) are but one of a number of hunter fraternities common in Mandé-speaking areas of West Africa. Similar, and in the case of West Africa closely related groups, exist as the Kamajor in Sierra Leone, Poro in Liberia, the Mayi-Mayi in Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Karamojong in Uganda. Sons of Dozos, as well as new adherents, are able to be initiated into the Ton, and undergo a series of secret rituals. There has been a long history of these hunter collectives (the Segu Bambara empire is said to have grown from such a Ton) and hunters were often viewed by farming or pastoralist neighbours as possessing special power, wisdom and strength. Collective organisations, as with many vocations in West Africa, existed in part to train and pass on needed skills. Hunters, though, are found in every community, and are not a strictly inherited role.
Students at a sport training in Abidjan
Amara Essy (born December 20, 1944 is a diplomat from Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Essy was born in Bouake. He was the Permanent Representative of Côte d'Ivoire to the United Nations from 1981 to 1990,and in January 1990 he was President of the United Nations Security Council. In 1990 he became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and while in that position he served as President of the 49th Session of the United Nations General Assembly from 1994 to 1995. In 1998 he gained the rank of Minister of State, while remaining Foreign Minister. He was replaced in the transitional government named on January 4, 2000. On July 9, 2001 he was elected secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Lusaka, Zambia, with the task of leading the OAU's transformation into the African Union over the course of one year. He took office as secretary-general in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on September 17, 2001. Essy served in that position until July 9, 2002, when the OAU became the African Union and he was appointed as interim Chairman of the Commission of the African Union.
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