Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire and officially as the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located in West Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro, and its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. Its bordering countries are Guinea and Liberia in the west, Burkina Faso and Mali in the north, and Ghana in the east. The Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) is located south of Ivory Coast.
Prior to its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire, and Baoulé. Two Anyi kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi, attempted to retain their separate identity through the French colonial period and after independence. Ivory Coast became a protectorate of France in 1843–1844 and later a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. Ivory Coast achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. The sovereign state maintained close political and economic association with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close ties to the West, especially France. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule in 1993, Ivory Coast has experienced a coup d'état, in 1999, and two religion-grounded civil wars. The first took place between 2002 and 2007 and the second during 2010–2011. In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution.
Côte d'Ivoire leads the world in production and export of the cocoa beans used in the manufacture of chocolate, supplying 46% of cocoa produced in the world. West Africa, collectively supplies nearly 70% of the world's cocoa crop, with Côte d'Ivoire leading production at 1.3 million tonnes, followed by neighboring Ghana with 720 thousand tonnes. Large chocolate producers such as Cadbury, Hershey's, and Nestle buy Ivorian cocoa futures and options through Euronext whereby world prices are set.
Cocoa is a shade-loving tree native to the understory of rainforests, growing at low elevation in the foothills of the Andes, and the great South American equatorial river basins the Amazon River Basin, and the Orinoco River Basin. The tree is a choice crop for areas of West Africa with low to slight elevations, good soils, and the constant humidity of the tropics. The crop is grown in Côte d'Ivoire mostly by smallholder farmers planting on 1-3 hectares. The pods containing the beans are harvested when a sufficient number are ripe, opened to separate the seeds and pulp from the outer rind, and the seeds and pulp are usually allowed to ferment somewhere on the farm, before the seeds are dried in a central location. The dried seeds are purchased by a traitant or buyer who travels among villages in an area to weigh, purchase and collect the crop.
Remains of a tank of National Armed Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FANCI) near Bonoufla (Vavoua, west-central Côte d'Ivoire)
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Alassane Dramane Ouattara (born 1 January 1942) is an Ivorian politician who was Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993. He is currently the President of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), a party which has its support base in the north of the country, and is a candidate in the upcoming 2009 presidential election. Besides being a politician he is also a technocrat, trained as an economist and having worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).
According to Ouattara, he was born in the Ivorian town of Dimbokro, although others have suggested he was born in Sindou, Burkina Faso. He was an economist for the IMF in Washington, D.C. from 1968 to 1973, and afterwards he was the BCEAO's Chargé de Mission in Paris from 1973 to 1975. With the BCEAO, he was then Special Advisor to the Governor and Director of Research from February 1975 to December 1982 and Vice Governor from January 1983 to October 1984.
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