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Cote d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire

Summary

Known for its successful cocoa bean production, the coastal country of Cote d’Ivoire is plagued by corruption, pollution, and widespread poverty. The country is ranked as one of the twenty poorest countries in the world, nearly a quarter of the population lives on less than one dollar a day. Mismanagement of toxic waste has led to numerous health problems in cities, and sanitation infrastructure is insufficient for the population. Clean water is difficult to come by, and child labor is prevalent throughout the workforce, especially in the cocoa industry.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/iv.html

Demographics

Nationality
Ivoirian
Population
22,400,835 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Cote d'Ivoire Subcases

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Environment
Family
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Animals

Environment

The country faces difficulties with deforestation from excessive logging and water pollution from industrial and sewage runoffs. Additionally, flooding is common during the rainy season because the country has heavy surf and no natural harbors.1 Cote d'Ivoire’s economy is highly dependent on cocoa and other agricultural production, which is heavily influenced by the increasing air, water, and soil pollution present in the country. One of the main sources for this issue is the influx of toxic waste from discarded cell phones. The phones are left uncontained to decay, and the metals that leach out of the phones contaminate their surroundings.2

Family

After conflict in 2010, thousands of Cote d'Ivoire citizens made their way to neighboring Liberia, into refugee camps where intense sexual violence befell many families.1 36% of women suffer from female genital mutilation, and the northwest regions of the country have the highest rates of FGM. The practice not only causes innumerable health problems for the women, it also forces families into poverty due to the high expenses associated with the ceremony.2 Additionally, the problem of sexual and physical violence against women is a leading issue of domestic life. 26% of women report experiencing violence from their intimate partner.3

Human Rights

Political instability and ethnocentric violence have characterized the Cote d'Ivoire since 2007. The government continues to act with impunity and exercise considerable influence over an opaque judiciary. Elections result in considerable violence and arbitrary detentions by law enforcement. The Ivorian military continually commits human rights abuses when responding to threats against the nation’s security.1 Child labor is also a common human rights violation in Cote D’Ivoire. The cocoa industry is one of the country’s largest sources of income, and children are often used as laborers.2 Another leading issue is the lack of corporate accountability. Amnesty International cites problems with accountability for the thousands of pounds of toxic waste that were deposited in Abidjan and resulted in numerous health problems for locals.3

Education

Currently, almost half of children ages 6-11 do not attend school. The gender gap is still large, and access to education is higher in urban areas than it is in rural areas. Only 52% of all students complete the fifth grade.1 Additionally, employment in the cocoa industry often prevents children from going to school.2 Girls still face societal and cultural pressure to stay home or work in the fields rather than go to school.3 The national literacy rate is at only 43%, with the male literacy rate at 53% and the female literacy rate at 32%.4

Poverty

After the end of the civil war in 2011, the number of impoverished people in the Cote d'Ivoire skyrocketed to almost 50% of the population. The poverty rate is even higher in rural areas at around 62%.1 That number has now dropped to 46%. 9.4% of the population is unemployed.2 Cote d’Ivoire is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. Despite the booming cocoa industry, farmers do not make enough money to support families, and a quarter of the population lives on less than $1 per day. The government has created programs to try to boost the private business sector and balance out extreme income inequality.3

Religion

Islam is the most common religion in the Cote d'Ivoire at 43%, followed by Christianity at 34%.1 Around 17% of Christians are Catholic, and the rest are an assortment of Protestant denominations. More Muslims live in the North, and most Christians occupy the southern region of the country. The constitution of the Cote d'Ivoire provides for religious freedom.2

Clean Water

Approximately 18% of the population still does not have access to improved drinking water, and 78% of the population has no access to improved sanitation infrastructure.1 In rural areas, people have no choice but to use unclean water, which leads to an increased risk of waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhea.2 One of the largest difficulties facing the government is not only finding clean water sources, but also having enough clean water in order to meet the needs of local populations once they locate a source. Children have to walk so far to get water when their own supply runs out that it has a proven negative effect on their academic performance.3

Economy

Cote d'Ivoire’s economy has remained mostly unfree due to the ongoing political instability and regulatory inefficiency that plagues the country. The economic policy creates an environment that is almost completely resistant to private investments, which hinders prevents potential economic growth.1 Despite this, Cote d'Ivoire is the one of the world’s top exporters of cocoa beans and cashews, making the country the largest producing economy in West Africa. 2 The Cote d'Ivoire is very dependent on agriculture, and this sector provides employment opportunities for 68% of the labor force. 9.4% of the population is unemployed, and 46% of the population lives below the poverty line.3

Government

The Republic of Cote d’Ivoire is a presidential republic with a president acting as chief of state and a prime minister acting as the head of government. The most recent constitution was promulgated in 2016. There are seven main political parties, but around 144 additional minor parties exist.1 Transparency International ranks the country 108th out of 176 countries for perceived corruption, and the public scores their government 34 out of 100.2 Corruption is present at all levels and government officials operate with impunity.3

Health

The Cote d'Ivoire previously attempted a free universal health care system which failed after officials cited theft and unforeseen demands. 2.7% of the adult population has HIV/AIDs, which amounts to about 460,000 people. The country experienced 25,000 deaths from HIV/AIDs in 2015, the eleventh highest number of deaths related to this disease in the world. Life expectancy is 59 years. The maternal mortality rate is 645 deaths per 100,000 live births, and infant mortality is 11 deaths per 1,000 live births. 16% of children under the age of 5 are underweight. Additionally, there are only 1.4 doctors per 10,000 people.1

Children

Children’s rights and living conditions in Cote d'Ivoire are chaotic and often times unstable. The country has seen many civil wars, which leave children vulnerable to loss of health care, education, child labor, and human trafficking.1 The cocoa industry is one of the country’s largest sources of income, and children are used as cheap and easy labor. Children as young as ten years old are recruited to work in the cocoa forests, where they face slave-like conditions and little pay. After all the politically charged violence the country has seen, around a half million children have been displaced.2 10% of children are married by the time they are 15, and an additional 23% are married before they are 18. Experts have noted that high child Read More marriage indicators are poverty and a lack of education. 48% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 were married by the time they were 18.3 Show Less

Animals

Cote d’Ivoire contains lowland forest regions, as well as parts of the Guinean Montane forest. These regions are home to the western chimpanzee, the Mount Nimba otter shrew, and the leaf-nosed bat1, as well as the Diana monkey and western red colobus. Animals and other wildlife are threatened by mining, fires, and deforestation. Mining in the local mountain ranges is extremely lucrative, and therefore the forest is poorly protected through legislation. There are also threats posed by slash and burn agriculture, a migratory farming technique that routinely destroys parts of the forest each year.2

Cote d'Ivoire

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