Cote d'Ivoire
(Ivory Coast)

Herve' Yangni-Agnante MD,
CT Surgeon, Abidjan

Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Falling cocoa prices and political turmoil, however, sparked an economic downturn in 1999 and 2000. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE. Presidential and legislative elections held in October and December 2000 provoked violence due to the exclusion of opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA. In October 2000, Laurent GBAGBO replaced junta leader Robert GUEI as president, ending 10 months of military rule.
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean,
between Ghana and Liberia
8 00 N, 5 00 W
Population: 16,393,221
Area: total:  322,460 sq km
land:  318,000 sq km
water:  4,460 sq km
slightly larger than New Mexico
Climate: tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October)
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest
Elevation: lowest point:  Gulf of Guinea 0 m
highest point:  Mont Nimba 1,752 m

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