Ivory Coast. The former rebels who rule the Ivory Coast’s northern half began their demobilization in May with the intention of disbanding their armed forces until the November presidential election. However, the disarmament took considerably longer than planned, and when the registration of voters also expired at the time, the country’s leader in November decided to postpone the election to 2009.
The presidential election, which would mark the end of years of conflict in the divided country, would have been held as early as 2005. The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the 8,000-strong peacekeeping force ONUCI until January 2009 and extended a series of sanctions against the country until October 2009. The sanctions include a ban on the sale of weapons to the Ivory Coast and the export of rough diamonds from the Ivory Coast. In addition, a number of individuals who are considered a threat to peace are punished with travel restrictions and frozen financial assets.
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Large price increases for food and fuel led to unrest on several occasions. President Laurent Gbagbo met the food price protests by cutting import duties and lowering taxes on a number of basic commodities. To compensate for a 10 percent reduction in sharply increased diesel and gasoline prices, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro ordered halved salaries for all ministers and heads of state-owned companies. Ministers’ trips abroad would be limited to the “absolutely necessary”.
The head of the local company, which in 2006 spread more than 500 tonnes of toxic waste on Abidjan’s dumps, was sentenced in October to 20 years in prison. A port official who provided the contract to the company was sentenced to five years in prison. Seven other defendants were acquitted. The Dutch company that shipped the waste to Ivory Coast avoided prosecution by paying US $ 200 million to the Ivorian state. 17 people died and thousands were injured by the toxic waste.
In December, a military court sentenced 84 soldiers to two years in prison for violence and looting during a payroll protest in September. Two men were sentenced to three years in prison and 18 defendants were acquitted.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Ivory Coast in 2008 was 20,532,839, ranking number 56 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.270% yearly, and the population density was 64.5690 people per km2.
At a 2005 estimate, the Ivorian population amounted to 18,154,000 residents (density 56, 2 residents per km 2), of which about 28 % is represented by immigrant workers. Even if the birth rate remains above 35 ‰ (2006), a slow trend towards its containment emerges, while the mortality values remain high (15 ‰). In 2003 the United Nations classified the Ivory Coast d’A. in 163th place in the world ranking of the Human Development Index (HDI, Human Development Index), an aggregate of three indicators: life expectancy at birth, education of the population and per capita income adjusted for purchasing power. In the years following the outbreak of the civil war, social services deteriorated and poverty became a growing problem, also because the international financial institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund) made the disbursement of loans conditional on the entry into force of agreements. of peace.
The economy of the Ivory Coast d’A. it is essentially based on two pillars: the cultivation of cocoa, of which the country is the world’s leading producer, and the port activity of Abidjan. The agricultural sector, despite the difficulties of the early 21st century, still employs 60 % of the active population, contributes about 28 % to the GDP and provides 60%% of export earnings. In the north, in the savannah area, subsistence crops prevail (maize, rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts, cassava, but also cotton and sugar), while in the south, in the forest area, which evolves into secondary forests, arborescent fallows and plantations perennials, the main crops are represented by cocoa, coffee, oil palm, hevea, coconuts, bananas, pineapples. Coffee and cocoa remain the key sectors of the country’s economy: the plantations employ 700,000 workers and provide more than a third of the population to live.
The profound political crisis that troubled the Ivory Coast d’A. since 2002 it had determined a division of the country: the Center-North was under the control of the rebel forces, the South subject to the government. Consequently, the crops destined for export, mainly present in the central-northern regions, recorded in the early years of the 21st° sec. a generally negative evolution, while in the areas which remained under the control of President L. Gbagbo the crisis did not have a direct impact on the main commercial crops (cocoa, hevea, pineapple). Furthermore, the insecurity of the conflict zones led to displacements of the population and agricultural labor, compromising crops and product marketing channels. The cotton production, due to the situation in the occupied northern area, did not exceed 245,000 t in the 2003 – 2004 harvesting year, against a potential production of 400,000 tons. The sugar supply chain and coffee production were also severely affected by the crisis. On the other hand, cocoa production, concentrated in the southern and south-eastern half of the country, was less damaged by the conditions of insecurity: the campaigns in 2003 and 2004 stood at very high levels (1.4 million t), for effect of which the Ivory Coast d’A. it remains in first place in the ranking of world producers, with 40 % of global production.
The extractive industries have seen their activity progress significantly, thanks to the increase in oil production (1,043,000 tonnes extracted in 2003) and natural gas, linked to the start of the exploitation of new fields. The secondary sector suffered from the crisis much more severely than agricultural activities. A significant decline in production was recorded both in the conflict zones and in the unoccupied areas, due to the difficulties of supply and circulation, the damage suffered by the plants, and the socio-political context which is not very favorable to investments. The textile and agro-food sectors were particularly affected, due to the difficulties in accessing the northern part of the country as well as traditional foreign markets (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger). Land and rail transport have been disrupted by the division of the country and the closure of the northern borders, which have compromised the ability to serve besieged areas and neighboring states. To satisfy their clients in the Sahel countries, the Ivorian operators had to use the roads of Ghana, with a considerable increase in costs. The ports of Abidjan and San Pedro, as well as the Abidjan airport, suffered a significant reduction in traffic.
The civil war has led to a worsening of relations with neighboring Sahelian nations (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), traditional labor suppliers to the Ivorian cocoa plantations, and many emigrants have had to return to their countries of origin, which have had problems with reabsorb them; in addition, the loss of remittances from emigrants in Ivory Coast d’A. dealt a severe blow to their economy. About 8,000 French citizens fled the country in November 2004, resulting in the closure of commercial and financial businesses and related unemployment.