Cote d’Ivoire: History, Government, Economics and Their Influence on Global and Local Issues July 11, 2008 Cote d’Ivoire Cote d’Ivoire was established as a French colony in 1893 and was a member of the Federation of French West Africa from 1904 to 1958. The people of Cote d’Ivoire were French people without rights to citizenship or representation from the French government. Felix Houphouet-Boigny was the first President of Cote d’Ivoire. He was elected in 1960, the same year that Cote d’Ivoire gained independence from France. Prior to this, Houphouet-Boigny had represented Cote d’Ivoire in the French National Assembly for thirteen years.
He also formed the first agricultural union for the cocoa farmers. Cote d’Ivoire was a single party state during Houphouet-Boigny’s control, during this time Cote d’Ivoire prospered economically. In the late 80’s, when the world entered the recession, cocoa and coffee prices dropped and so did employment opportunities. The state was pressured to reform and move away from the one-party status. The death of Houphouet-Boigny in 1993 saw the end of the political alliance with the west and the start of a political battle for his successor.
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Ethnocentrism in the form of Ivoirite began when political rivals and candidates began competing for the presidency. Ethnicity and nationality were questioned and Alassane Dramane Ouattara was not allowed to be a candidate and Henri Konan Bedie won the election. President Bedie ruled for six years amidst allegations of corruption and mismanagement. The country’s first coup occurred on December 24, 1999 when President Bedie was overthrown and General Robert Geui assumed control of the country. Geui’s promises to end corruption and create a pure Ivorian government were side lined by his political ambitions.
Laurent Gbagbo was elected president after General Guei fled the country. Education The education system in Cote d’Ivoire was adapted from the French education system. In the 1980’s education was of great importance and was a national priority, nearly one-third (Education, 1988) of the budget in 1985 was directed to education. The education system has three stages, primary school for six years; secondary school for seven years which prepares students to enter the working class or move on to higher education at a University.
Most public schools were tuition free but children were required to pay an entrance fee and to purchase uniforms. Although education is thought to be a basic human right, this concept has not been achieved in Cote d’Ivoire. According to UNICEF, almost one out of two children between the ages of 6 and 11 does not go to school (Education, UNICEF). UNICEF is an advocate for education of all children and emphasizes equality of genders. Cote d’Ivoire has an overall literacy rate of 43 percent. Economics
The economy under President Houphouet-Boigny focused on agriculture exportation as a developmental strategy. The many migrant workers flocked to Cote d’Ivoire to work in the jobs in the coffee and cocoa sectors. Despite recent attempts of the government to diversify the economy, Cote d’Ivoire still depends heavily on the exportation of agricultural products. Cote d’Ivoire is one of the world largest producers and exporter of cocoa beans, coffee and palm oil. As a result, the economy is very sensitive to the rise and fall of the price in the international market.
Approximately 60 to 70% of the population relies on the agricultural sector for survival (Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, 2008). After the civil war ended in 2003, the economy in Cote d’Ivoire suffered greatly, the nation lost foreign monetary support and economic growth was slow. In 2008, the World Bank announced that Cote d’Ivoire had paid the arrears of its debt thus making the country eligible for new assistance. Economic growth is likely to occur once peace is reestablished. References Cote d’Ivoire. (2008, January).
World Almanac & Book of Facts, Retrieved July 5, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database. Education. (n. d. ) UNICEF. Retrieved July 10, 2008, from http://www. unicef. org/cotedivoire/education. html Education. (1988, November). Library of Congress country studies. Retrieved July 10, 2008 Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. (2003, October). Background Notes on Countries of the World 2003, Retrieved July 5, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database. Akarue, J. (2006, December). Cote d’Ivoire still sitting in limbo. New African, Retrieved July 5, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database.