Reunification wants is to share the wealth and not the misery. And to do this, it must, above all, help to create this wealth.
President Felix HOUPHOUET BOIGNY
Official name: Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
Area: 322 462 sq. km.
Population : 26,441,530 (2020)
Ethnic groups: More than 60.
Religions: Indigenous 10%-20%, Muslim 35%-40%, and Christian (Catholic, Protestant, and other denominations) 25%-35%.
Languages: French (official); Bété, Dioula, Baoulé, Abro, Agni, Cebaara Senufo, Others.
Independence: August 7, 1960
Currency: Franc CFA
Organizations: UN, AU, ECOWAS, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR, CONSEIL DE L’ENTENTE
HISTORY OF COTE DIVOIRE
Built with the migration of people from north to south in the past, what is known today as Cote d’ivoire was the history of several kingdoms. Indeed, in the 11th century, Islam was brought to western Africa by the traders from North Africa. Later, Islam was rapidly spread and was accepted and embraced by many empires in West Africa including the northen part of the contemporary Côte d’Ivoire. Large part of the territory in the 14th century was ruled by the Mali empire and later on by the Songhaï empire. With the livelihood of people who fled the south to the rain forest, after the 16th century, many other empires had emerged. During the 17th century in the south, the Abron kingdom by Jaman, was established; later the Kong Empire was also established by the Juula in the 18th, a muslim centered and agricultural empire which didn’t really last. In the mid-17th century in east-central Ivory Coast, other Akan groups fleeing the Asante established a Baoulé kingdom at Sakasso and two Agni kingdoms, Indénié and Sanwi.
The french conquest
Like many other African countries, Cote d’ivoire was also influenced by western rules in every part of their life. Indeed the first Europeans to explore the West African coast were the Portuguese. In 1886, France also started showing interest for the coast and firmly established themselves in Côte d’Ivoire through an aggressive exploration program. In 1887 Lieutenant Louis Binger first in line in Cote d’ivoire signed with authorities about four treaties establishing French protectorates in Côte d’Ivoire. The same year Marcel Treich-Laplène, negotiated five additional agreements that extended French influence from the headwaters of the Niger River Basin through Côte d’Ivoire. The first posts to be established in Côte d’Ivoire was at Assini and another at Grand-Bassam , which became the colony’s first capital.
As the share of Africa was very important to European, France rushed and claimed Côte d’Ivoire as a colony in 1893. Borders were determined in 1898, following the capture of Samory Touré. And in 1908 Gabriel Angoulvant, appointed as Governor, began the military occupation and forced the local population to abide by the existing laws, and supply the French forces with food, and ensure the protection of French trade and personnel. The imposition of forced labour and head taxes led to fierce resistance, especially among the Baule, Anyi, and Abe (Abbey). New revolts broke out when France conscripted thousands of Ivoirians to serve with other western African soldiers in World War I and II.
As a cocoa farmer and very soon concerned with the colonial policy which favored more French plantation owners, Felix Houphouêt Boigny and Auguste Denise, founded the country’s first agricultural trade union for African cocoa farmers.
Houphouët-Boigny’s all-African slate swept local elections in 1946. He was elected to the French Assembly, where he really strived to end forced labour. Convinced about his country’s performance through France, he maintained a very strong relation with France and was later the first African to become a minister in a European government. In 1960 Houphouët-Boigny, who had been a cabinet minister in two French governments, was elected president of the newly independent Côte d’Ivoire.
In 1946 Houphouët-Boigny helped found the African Democratic Rally (ADR), a western Africa–based umbrella organization that sought equality for Africans; the Ivorian branch was the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (DPCI). Though at first harshly repressed, the ADR achieved many of its goals. In 1960 Houphouët-Boigny, who had been a cabinet minister in two French governments, was elected president of the newly independent Côte d’Ivoire. After independence Cote d’ivoire was ruled by Houphouët-Boigny, Henri Konan Bédié, Robert Gueï, Laurent Gbagbo, and Alassane Ouattara (the current president).
Geopolitics and Interdependence
The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a country located in West Africa and shares borders with Guinea to the northwest, Liberia to the west, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the northeast, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.
Rich in natural resources, the country has oil, natural gas, copper, iron, gold and even diamonds. It also produces electricity in large volume which enables the exportation to neighboring countries. Côte d’Ivoire has a good amount of petroleum reserves with a production of 3 346 150 barrels in March 2019.
The first destination of Ivorian products remains the European countries, mainly Netherlands (11.4%), United States (9.1%), Vietnam (6.8%), Germany (6.4%), France (5.4%) as of the year 2018. And the exported products are cocoa beans, coconuts, brazil nuts, cashew, refined petroleum, Rubber and gold. This shows the trading dependence of western countries towards the country.
Moreover a deep analysis of côte d’ivoire’s cooperation with other countries shows that even though the country was a French colony their relationship is not that much oriented toward a trading cooperation. Indeed, the relationship between France and côte d’ivoire dates years back and is deeply rooted since the independence period and is still visible in many ways.
Talking about this relationship, it is impossible not to take into account a decisive factor called ”Francafrique” (a symbol of the relationship between France and its colonies), which will have impacted in one way or another the political life of this country and which translates into interference in the political affairs of the country, with the sole aim of containing its interests. Indeed, France’s interest in Côte d’ivoire may result in a control of the political life in what should be called its “pre-square”, particularly through the hidden choice of leaders who will perpetuate their interests instead of working for the citizens well-being. The events that have marked the electoral and post-electoral period of Côte d’Ivoire from 2010, have raised many questions from national and international observers wondering about the invisible hand of France. Alassane Dramane Ouattara as head of the country is a new page in the diplomatic relation between France and Cote d’ivoire. The question of the Eco, where everything seems to show a hidden will of the colonist to preserve his financial filiation with his colonies, is a proof of this.
In addition, the French military presence in Côte d’Ivoire reflects the fact that the independence did not really allow France to withdraw its role of “gendarme of Africa” as we know it. For example, the Port Bouet base is one of France’s support points in Africa after Djibouti, and the soldiers installed in Côte d’Ivoire (French Forces in Côte d’Ivoire) are there to ensure the primary function of security but also to look after thestrategic interests of France at the west coast and at the centre of the African continent and also strategically to provide support to French forces in Mali.
French-Ivorian relations are also reflected by the fact that given the strategic position of Côte d’Ivoire, it is a platform for access to other countries in the region, which explains the offensive of French companies in Côte d’Ivoire in almost all areas. In 2016 Côte d’ivoire had nearly 800 French companies.
These various points of cooperation between the two countries show the striking portrait of a France ready to do anything to maintain and strengthen its ties with what had been its colony.
Current political development
SDG3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
SDG 3 aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development for vaccines is an essential part of this process as well as expanding access to affordable medicines. Indeed all country should by 2030:
- Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.
- End preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1000 live births.
- End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
- Reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.
- Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
- Halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
- Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.
- Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
- Substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.
- Strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.
- Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries, provide access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines, in accordance with the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, which affirms the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all.
- Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States.
- Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.
- In order to contribute to the achievement of the SDG3 and to face the numerous challenges of the health sector, the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene (MSHP) of Cote d’Ivoire has redefined the strategic interventions of the sector in the National Health Development Plan (NHDP) 2016-2020, through a participatory and inclusive planning approach. The present NHDP therefore aims at the improvement and well-being of the populations, and this, through the construction of a performing, integrated, responsible and efficient health system, guaranteeing to every citizen living in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly the most vulnerable people, an optimal health status capable of supporting the growth and sustainable development of the country towards the achievement of emergence in 2020.
Many NGOs are also contributing in one way or another through activities of food donation to families of children with sickle cell disease, donation of medicines, medical and hygienic consumables and awareness activities for mothers and children on issues related to health in order to contribute to the achievement of the SDG3 in various regions of Côte d’Ivoire. As an example, the NGO Action Against Hunger (AAH) launched the e-Health Youth, on the 03, June 2019 a mobile application designed by a start-up of young Ivorian with the aim of providing better information to young people and raising their awareness on health issues. It allows an exchange of information that creates a bond of trust and can refer them to a health structure if there is a specific need.
Houphouet-Boigny, who died in 1993 at the age of 88, was born in 1905 in Cote d’ivoire when it was part of French Colonial West Africa. He belonged to a family of a tribal chief but became a doctor and a planter before going into politics. In 1944 he helped found the Syndicat Agricole Africain (Union of African Farmers) and in 1945 was elected to the French Assembly. In 1946 he was reelected to the French Assembly and formed a political party, Parti Democratique de la Cote d’Ivoire. His party was affiliated with the French Communitst Party, which at that time was part of a coalition governing France. In 1950 the French Communist Party left the ruling coalition and Houphouet-Boigny severed his ties with it. He rose in power and prestige. In France he was a member of the National Assembly and a cabinet minister and in Cote d’ivoire he was president of the territorial assembly and also the mayor of Abidjan. When French West Africa was offered independence, either as separate nations or as members of a federation, Houphouet-Boigny campaigned for self-government of Cote d’ivoire within the French Community. In 1960 he became president of Cote d’ivoire, a position he held throughout the rest of his life. He ran an autocratic, one-party state but he brought his opposition into the party rather than persecuting them.
Born in Grand Bassam, Jeanne Gervais is a woman politician in Côte d’Ivoire. A brilliant pupil at the girls’ school of Rufisque in Senegal, passing through Saint Cloud in France, she became the first female inspector of education. Very early concerned by the political life of her country, she joined the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire, where she was a member for a long time.
In 1949, concerned about the status of women, she took part in the women’s march, and from 4 March 1976 to 27 July 1977 as the first woman minister in charge of the promotion of women in the government of the first President of Côte d’Ivoire, Felix Houphouet Boigny. She actively worked for the promotion and emancipation of rural and urban women, with a focus on solving women’s problems. She was also active for many years as president of the Association of Ivorian Women.
She also held several positions from 1976 to 1983 in the first 8 governments of Félix Houphouet Boigny. Very committed, she was elected at the National Assembly as deputy just after the independence of Côte d’Ivoire.
1971: Soundjata, lion of Manding by Laurent Gbagbo
1991: Fin de siècle in Ivory Coast (1894-1895) by Niamkey Kodjo
1896: Arthur Verdier, 35 years of struggle in the colonies (Côte
2003: Félix Houphouët-Boigny: the dazzling fate of a young prey by Frédéric Grah Mel, Abidjan, 2003
2007: Slavery in the lineage societies of the Ivorian forest (17th-20th century) by Harris Memel Fote, Abidjan, Paris, 2007
2007: Forest and Ivorian institutions by Claude Garrier, Paris, 2007
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