Poverty in the country is deep. In the UNDP Development Index 2011, Ivory Coast was ranked 170 out of 187 countries. Nearly half of the population was estimated to live in less than two dollars a day in 2008. Residents in the countryside are particularly vulnerable. The social and economic gaps are large with significant differences between different groups and regions.
Abidjan has several private hospitals that meet international standards. But large parts of the general health care system were razed during the civil war in the early 2000s. The northern part of the country was particularly hard hit. However, a number of health clinics have been able to be re-opened with the aid money. Only about half of the residents have access to basic health care.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Ivory Coast, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Child mortality is high, 123 out of 1000 children die before the age of five (2010). Infections such as malaria and measles as well as diseases caused by parasites require many lives. In the slums of cities, as in the northern part of the country, many suffer from malnutrition. About every fifth child is counted as malnourished.
In 2005, approximately seven percent of the adult population was estimated to be HIV-infected, which was one of the highest figures in West Africa. That year about 65,000 people died of AIDS and several hundred thousand children lost one or more parents. Refugee flows and increased prostitution, especially close to military posts, contributed to the spread of the disease. Later, the proportion of people infected with HIV has decreased – at least in the statistics – and in 2009 it was estimated to be below 4 percent. In order to fight the disease, special educational efforts have been planned in all schools.
Compared to other African countries, the Ivory Coast has had a fairly well-developed social insurance system for those who have formal employment.
Women have traditionally had a subordinate position and girls are still given less education than boys. However, more and more women have received high positions in recent years, thanks to positive treatment.
Genital mutilation of women was banned in 1998 but is still common, especially in the northern part of the country. Abortion is also prohibited and every year an unknown number of women die as a result of illegal abortions.
Both government forces and rebels have been guilty of rape and other serious violence. Women and children are particularly hard hit.
Trafficking in women and children, so-called trafficking, occurs mainly within the country, but also from neighboring countries (see also Labor Market). Women are smuggled from Ivory Coast to Europe where they are exploited in the sex industry.
Both the rebels and the government side used child soldiers in the civil war. There are estimated to be a few hundred thousand street children in the cities.
Crime is high, especially in the largest city of Abidjan. Wide availability of weapons (especially automatic carbines such as AK-47s) has led to increasingly serious violence in connection with crime. As a result, the number of private security companies has increased.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 59 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 2.6 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
1.2 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.6 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 73.1 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 32.1 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 5.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 68 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 11 percent (2018)
Ivory Coast has one of West Africa’s best developed networks of roads and railways. Through the country, connecting routes from the coastal neighboring countries Mali and Burkina Faso run to the Atlantic. A railway goes from Abidjan to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Both passenger and freight traffic have increased rapidly since 2004. There are plans to expand the rail link to Mali and Niger.
The road network is relatively well developed, especially in the south. However, most of the roads are in great need of upgrading, especially after the civil war. Several donors (mainly France, Germany, and Japan) have promised support for this. In 2011, China promised a loan to finance a new highway between Abidjan and Grand-Bassam.
The sealing traffic in Abidjan creates environmental problems and public transport is not able to meet the needs of the growing urban population. During the war, the military, rebels and local militia groups set up roadblocks and demanded travelers for money. Road users also have to pay to be escorted between government and rebel controlled areas. In recent years, there has been a refurbishment of the road network, not least around Abidjan.
The deep harbor in Abidjan is one of the largest in West Africa. The country’s second largest port, San-Pédro, ships most of the cocoa exports. The role of the Ivory Coast as a hub for trade in the region was damaged in the civil war. Freight traffic decreased or moved to other countries, but has subsequently increased again. Oil transport via Abidjan has increased rapidly in recent years.
International airports are located in Abidjan, Bouake and Yamoussoukro and domestic airports in a number of other locations. About twenty airlines fly from Abidjan to 35 destinations in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. The airport in Abidjan has the capacity to receive two million passengers a year. The airport is run by a French consortium. In 2014, it received 1.3 million passengers, which was four times as many as in 2010.
The fixed telephone network has been refurbished but still has major shortcomings. Since 2002, the mobile phone network has grown rapidly and several new companies, many of which are wholly or partly foreign-owned, have led to increased competition in the mobile phone market. In 2009, there were an estimated 13 million mobile phones in the country, compared to a million seven years earlier.
Weapons are destroyed at the ceremony
Gbagbo and Soro participate in a ceremony in Bouaké where, by burning a pile of weapons, they mark the end of the civil war.
Attacks on Prime Minister Soro
Prime Minister Soro survives an attack at Bouaké airport. Rebels who are unhappy with the peace agreement are suspected of the rocket attack.
Unity government is formed
The former warring parties form a unifying government with Guillaume Soro as prime minister. The coalition includes Gbagbo’s Ivorian People’s Party (FPI), the rebel side’s New Forces, opposition leader Alassane Ouattara’s Republican Assembly (RDR), Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI) as well as some smaller parties and civilian groups. President Gbagbo signs an amnesty law for crimes committed during the war. Exceptions are made for financial crimes.
Peace agreement clear
Following the civil war that broke out in 2002, a peace agreement was concluded between the government side, led by President Laurent Gbagbo, and the New Force rebels, led by Guillaume Soro.